Each week, DIVAS DEBRIEF runs down the events that transpired in women's professional wrestling from the past couple of days. From the WWE Divas to the TNA Knockouts including some other companies as well, Smark Out Moment attempts to keep you up to date on all things going on with the ladies of the ring.
This edition includes an epic Fatal Four-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship, Paige steps up her pursuit of the Divas Championship, and Awesome Kong competes against Madison Rayne on Impact Wrestling.
Paige vs. Brie Bella
With Fast Lane now only a week away, Paige is definitely making a considerable push towards the Divas Championship that currently belongs to Nikki Bella. While her pale, gothic appearance and raven black hair have drawn superficial criticism from the catty Bella Twins, they cannot help but be somewhat intimidated by her current run of form. Brie hoped to bring an end to that to bring Paige’s momentum to a shuddering halt. But this just seemed to give Paige a much-desired chance to channel her recently deceased mentor Drew McDonald’s physicality onto her rival.
Brie Bella continues to impress me in the ring, even in matches that are given little time to work with. Her technique has reached a really effective level, and as the heel she controlled the pace against Paige. While I still think her character and move-set is more effective as a babyface, she demonstrated some grit and aggression in her attack on Paige. She enjoyed inflicting punishment, and that’s a good signal that she’s doing her job well.
If there is a criticism besides the minimal time, it is that Paige is being booked as a comeback babyface in recent matches, rather than a stronger competitor. She won via a misplaced attempt of interference by Nikki, followed by a RamPaige to Brie. Really, after the year Paige had last year she should appear more dominant in her matches, even as a face, who loses the momentum due to some underhanded tactics of her opponent. This match she was for the most part out-wrestled by Brie, which shouldn’t be the case in the build up to Paige receiving a title match.
NXT Women’s Championship – Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch
Sometimes when you are writing a weekly article on women’s wrestling, you can become easily disillusioned by the repetitive, short and uninspiring contests offered on a constant basis. That is why NXT is so important, as more often than not they produce something that gives you hope for the present and future. This edition was no exception, as the live Takeover: Rival special was another night that confirmed that NXT is the place to be for the wrestling fan, as Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch produced an epic contest.
If there were any notable faults about this Fatal Four-Way, I couldn’t spot them, and I’ve re-watched this match numerous times over. From the first moment to the final pinfall it was a fantastic feat to watch. Charlotte demonstrated why she is the most exciting prospect in the division with a polished performance, and a willingness to take huge bumps. Banks was completely on par with the champion, with some excellent storytelling and a great suicide dive. Lynch produced some excellent strength and technique in her performance. And Bayley was the lovable underdog with great gusto, including a Belly-to-Bayley off the second rope.
The excellent early work between the four ladies was hectic, with none getting the sustained momentum required. But this built to a wonderful concluding section, where after some flying to the outside, Bayley looked like she might have had her Sami Zayn moment after landing her finisher from the turnbuckle. Yet, Banks pulled her away and made the pin attempt, only for the valiant champion Charlotte to kick out. She then locked Charlotte in her Bank Statement Crossface, and when she refused to tap, Banks pulled her into a pin to win the NXT Women’s Championship.
Finally Banks has ascended to the top of the division, and nobody can argue that she doesn’t belong. After a time where it seemed she’d never achieve that feat, it was a great moment to see her holding that championship aloft. What was even better was witnessing the show of respect between her and Charlotte that allowed her to maintain her cocky heel character. With Charlotte assured to move on to the main roster soon, Banks is certainly the ideal candidate to rule over NXT for now.
Naomi vs. Natalya
I’m not planning on giving this match a great deal of coverage, because neither Main Event nor the bout really deserve it. The show has been relegated to a level befitting Superstars in the past month, and has lost any charm and intrigue it once built up. But, moving onto the actual match, you would imagine that the current feud between The Usos and Tyson Kidd & Cesaro over the Tag Team Championships would play into this match. Naomi and Natalya are both intimately connected to this feud, which could have led to some added aggression in the match.
Instead in a brief contest where Natalya was in charge for the most part, the climax was a sequence of pins that eventually earned Naomi the win. This rather anticlimactic ending was followed by the pair hugging it out and then dancing to Naomi’s theme music. It was almost like Natalya was happy to of lost so she could dance afterwards. I know both are babyfaces, but the current feud of her husbands could have added a little more animosity to make this something more than a forgettable filler match.
Paige vs. Summer Rae
SmackDown saw another opportunity for Paige to build some more momentum in her charge for the Divas Championship as the Anti-Diva took on Summer Rae. The dancer has shown some slight signals of improvement in recent weeks when it comes to in-ring competition, but was last week utterly dominated by Brie Bella on Main Event. A battle with Paige doesn’t seem to hold out much hope either for Summer, as a victory would be nothing short of a major shock.
And so it turned out to be as Paige pulled out a dominant opening, flooring Summer with her powerful kicks, and taking the opportunity to eye up her competition Brie and Nikki Bella on commentary. This attempt at intimidation briefly distracted her enough to allow Summer to gain a foothold with a roundhouse kick and then an Indian Deathlock. But Paige soon fought back with clotheslines and another straight kick to the face, then capturing Summer in the PTO for a submission victory. If Nikki Bella finds herself in that hold next Sunday, she might have to kiss her precious Butterfly Belt goodbye.
Awesome Kong vs. Madison Rayne
This from the outset appeared to be a considerable mismatch, and so it proved to be as Impact Wrestling emanated from Glasgow, Scotland. Awesome Kong returned to the ring with a vengeance last week, an extremely physical encounter with the powerful Havok ending with Kong’s hand raised in victory. This week her opponent was considerably more diminutive, but even more prestigious with regards to championship success. Madison Rayne is one Knockout’s Championship away from becoming the record setter.
But after this performance, she’d likely be more concerned about whether her ribs are still intact. In a match that barely lasted two minutes, Kong proceeded to flatten Rayne with tackles and a splash in the corner. Rayne got a brief moment of respite and hope when Kong missed a big splash, but an attempted dropkick from the middle rope missed her sizable target. In the end, Kong secured a dominant victory with the Implant Buster, letting the entire roster know if they were ever in doubt that she is back to rule the roost.
So there you have it, the breakdown for the week in women's wrestling. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!