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.
On this edition, Nikki Bella and Paige contest the Divas Championship at the first Fast Lane event, Taryn Terrell has a challenge for Awesome Kong, and the #GiveDivasAChance movement hits full swing thanks to some difficult times for the ladies on television.
Nikki Bella vs Paige (Divas Championship)
The Divas Championship was on the line on the final stop before WrestleMania, the inaugural edition of Fast Lane. Paige had been building a great deal of momentum heading into the event, with numerous victories over Summer Rae, Cameron and Brie Bella preparing her for a shot at the title. Meanwhile, the champion Nikki Bella had instead been taking an extended break from competition, focusing on mind games to get the Anti-Diva off her game. But tanning her stomach, insulting her looks and stealing her ring gear, as well as being extremely uninventive creatively, only spurred Paige into this match.
What followed was an okay match between the pair at the PPV. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly special, but there were a few moments to savor within the match. Nikki Bella in was on good form, first blocking Paige’s knees on the apron and throwing her to the floor. She then connected with an Alabama Slam and a sunset flip powerbomb which brought near-falls. Paige also held her own with her usual aggressive action and kicks to come close to capturing her third reign with the belt.
However, the quality of the match was let down by a mixture of an apathetic crowd (a typical obstacle divas have to overcome these days) and not brilliant storytelling. There were a number of reversals, but there wasn’t much sustained offense or development of a heated battle. It was just like one move to the next without solid build. The finish was also poorly put together, as Nikki threw Paige into the turnbuckle and rolled her up, grabbing a handful of tights to secure the victory.
The Bella Twins vs Paige & Emma
In a match that launched a Twitter movement, this was a low point in the WWE’s relationship with the Divas division that has already been notoriously undervalued. Following Fast Lane, Paige had been screwed out of winning the Divas Championship due to some Nikki Bella grabbing a handful of tights. However, her sights remained set on getting some revenge and building towards another championship opportunity. So, she teamed with sometime friend Emma, her kooky friend that has not had nearly the impact Paige as had since joining the main roster, to battle both Bella Twins in tag team action.
However, what would take place could certainly not be considered a true wrestling match. Paige was knocked off the apron by Brie Bella, distracting Emma enough that she was immediately hit with the Bella Buster to give the twins the victory. Post-match Nikki took down Paige, ending this entire segment at around three minutes. The poor quality of this match as well as the ridiculously small slice of the three hour episode of RAW led to the #GiveDivasAChance movement on Twitter, and a significant outcry against the treatment of the Divas in WWE. You can read more on this sorry tale in my special edition of Divas Debrief here.
The Bella Twins vs Paige & Emma
RAW’s poor excuse for a tag team match was luckily given a great deal more time on Main Event to play out. However, this would have been bittersweet for the Divas and their fans due to the much lower viewership of this C-Show. However, whilst this match couldn’t be any worse than the debacle of Monday night, let’s just say that these four women have certainly had better matches on their resume.
Emma was very substandard in this match. Every kick or clothesline she connected with looked sloppy, and even her selling of the opponent’s offense was not very impressive. This might be explained due to not being in action for a long time on television, but the Aussie didn’t give a very good demonstration of why she should get more. The other divas were holding the match together, with both Bella Twins being very solid heels with their domination of Emma. Paige did not get much of a look in, as Emma was eventually pinned once again by Brie following a Bella Buster.
Becky Lynch vs Bayley
The NXT women continue to revel in the additional time that the Divas on the main roster are sorely lacking, as Becky Lynch and Bayley would continue their personal rivalry. This stems back to when the Irishwoman turned her back on both Bayley and the fans a few months ago. It then grew in animosity when Lynch and Sasha Banks targeted the leg of her rival, forcing her out of action for a number of weeks. With Banks the new champion atop the division, this match would also be seen as an excellent opportunity to climb the rankings and get a shot at the belt.
This match was unsurprisingly solid, given Bayley’s charisma and new aggressive streak mixed with Lynch’s technical ability and submission specialty. Lynch in particular continues to impress me in the ring, and as her character evolves and she’s now winning matches, she has become a genuine contender in the division. Her pumphandle suplex in particular is really impressive, with a great deal of power throwing Bayley across the ring. The flow of this match was great, as well as the storytelling, and any low points were veiled really well.
When both were perched on the top turnbuckle, Lynch was able to throw Bayley off and her arm was caught on the top rope. This damage was initially not enough to deter the huggable diva’s offense, as she continued her assault of the redhead. But, Lynch isolated the arm at the conclusion, first in an armbar and then straddling Bayley’s shoulder, wrenching the arm towards her. This immense agony forced her to tap out, handing Lynch another great victory as she rapidly climbs the ranks.
Natalya vs Naomi
SmackDown took a leave from the Divas Championship chase to instead focus on the Tag Team Championship picture, and the two women caught in the center of it. Natalya and Naomi have been representing the new champions Cesaro & Tyson Kidd and the former champs the Usos respectively. They would settle some of their disagreements of their husbands in a singles match on the blue show. Considering these are two of the most athletically gifted divas on the roster, it would prove a very compelling match.
The chain wrestling for the first few minutes was very interesting, as the flexibility of Naomi mixed very well with the strength and technique of Natalya. They traded holds and maneuvers, including a spin in the Alabama Slam by Natalya. They were clearly looking to impress with the small amount of time they were afforded. Then the turning point came with a hefty kick to the leg of the Canadian, taking her down in the corner. This brought Kidd up to the apron, where he and Cesaro were soon kicked down by the Usos. But, Natalya clutching her leg proved to be a ruse, as she suckered Naomi in for the discus clothesline and won the match.
With WWE gaining a great deal of negative reception due to the treatment of their Divas division, the TNA Knockouts were given adequate time to perform on Impact Wrestling with two segments. First, Knockout’s Champion Taryn Terrell made her way out to the ring with a determined look on her face, following the recent attack by Awesome Kong. The champion has proven to be a fighter, never wanting to shy away from a challenge, and decides to call out the giant Amazon to see whether she can take the championship from her.
This initially brings out Gail Kim, who speaks honestly to Terrell about how Kong is the toughest woman in wrestling history, but this doesn’t deter the champ, who states she needs to prove herself worthy of the belt. As she panders for the crowd, the lights go out, and Kong appears opposite Terrell. The champ shows no fear by unleashing some strikes despite the immense size difference, but even a dropkick off the turnbuckle can’t knock Kong off her feet. The main issue I had with this segment is the ease in which Kong dominated Terrell, with just a standing splash and the Implant Buster required. It just makes me feel that when they eventually compete for the title how anyone can take Terrell’s chances seriously due to the ease of Kong’s advantage.
Angelina Love & Robbie E vs Brooke Tessmacher & Chris Melendez
The second Knockouts segment of the night was a mixed tag team match, with a warring ex-couple on either side of the contest. Robbie E and Brooke Tessmacher recently broke up following their stint on the Amazing Race, and have been at each other’s throats since then. On Impact Wrestling, Robbie teamed with supporting member of the BroMans Angelina Love, whilst Brooke paired up with one-legged former soldier Chris Melendez.
Robbie seemed far more interested in battling Brooke, and although it is normally against the rules, the Knockout seemed more than willing to fight her former boyfriend. However, this was simply a ruse for Love to attack Brooke from behind, and then the Beautiful Person took control of the action with her height advantage. A nice Samoan drop among other power moves kept her in control, until she took too long showboating and missed a splash in the corner. Brooke battled back with clotheslines, and then connected with a flapjack on Love.
Unfortunately for her, Robbie had blindly tagged himself back into the match. With Melendez distracted by the antics of the other BroMans at ringside, Brooke ascended to the top rope aiming for Love, only for Robbie to throw her off hard onto the canvas. The Jersey Boy then slid into the ring and got the victory by pinning his former beau, and once again embarrassed Brooke since the pair returned to the ring.
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!