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, there are three championships up for grabs, as Nikki Bella, Sasha Banks and Taryn Terrell put their gold on the line. Also, Sexy Star faces a mountainous challenge in the form of Big Ryck, and a three-time Divas Champion makes a long-awaited return to the ring.
Naomi & The Usos vs Natalya, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The Tag Team Championship scene continues to be a prominent point of television in the build-up to WrestleMania, with Naomi and Natalya being dragged in to support their significant others. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro continue to be preoccupied with the Usos after last week’s shady title defense, and RAW featured a six-person mixed tag with all these combustible elements involved.
After some initial battling from the tag teams that saw them spill to the outside, Naomi entered the fray with a high kick from the apron to Natalya. A jackknife cover was athletically countered by the Canadian, as they began their excellent chain wrestling maneuvers. These two prove every time they meet that both are extremely well-versed in the ring, and could really produce some amazing matches if given longer than a few minutes to do so.
Natalya re-injures her leg that was first hurt when she interfered in the tag team title match last week, and is able to escape to her corner to tag in her husband Kidd. But Kidd doesn’t have much luck against the Usos, to the point where he is compelled to tag Natalya back in, despite her apparent leg injury. She limps back into the ring, shouting why Kidd would force her back into action, and Naomi takes advantage with a roll-up to give her team the victory. A short, fun match from all-involved.
Nikki Bella vs Paige (WWE Divas Championship)
Later in the evening, Paige is given another opportunity to capture the Divas Championship against Nikki Bella, following the shady conclusion to their match at Fast Lane. The Brit has been a consistent thorn in the side of the Bella Twins, but has fallen victim too often to their numbers game. The choice of Emma as a supporting partner did not prove beneficial last week, so Paige will go it alone in pursuit of a third reign with the title.
This match proved a great deal better than their contest at the PPV, both Divas determined to vindicate the #GiveDivasAChance movement. Paige began as the dominant force in the contest, throwing Nikki hard against the ropes and employing some headbutts. But when action returned from the break, Nikki had asserted control thanks in no small part to a vicious Alabama Slam. I really like the way Nikki applies rest submission holds, as she trash talks her opponent and uses the opportunity to show-off her strength and charism.
Both ladies then collided in the center of the ring with clotheslines, and when they returned to a vertical base Paige was on fire. Three clotheslines of her own and then a single-legged dropkick handed her the initiative, until Brie attempted to distract her from the apron. She was immediately kicked to the floor by Paige, and Nikki received another kick to the jaw to set her up for the PTO. Yet, just when it appeared as though a new Divas Champion would be crowned, Brie busted into the fray, causing the disqualification loss for her sister.
The Bella Twins then proceeded to double-team Paige, and just when Nikki was lining her up for her hard forearm smash, the music of AJ Lee blared around the arena for the first time in three months. The crowd popped hugely for the petite Diva’s arrival, as she entered the ring and cleaned house, taking down both Bellas. Assistance from unlikely ally Paige saw the two clear the nefarious sisters from the ring. Nikki might still have her title, but her pride will undoubtedly be hurt. As for AJ and Paige, both will likely have their sights firmly set on ending the Bellas’ stranglehold on the division.
(As a side note, for fans that were chanting CM Punk when AJ arrived, can’t you just grow up and move on already? Nobody cares anymore, it’s been over a year.)
Paige vs Summer Rae
Taking a short detour from her pursuit of the Bella Twins, Paige would compete on Main Event against Summer Rae. Summer’s performances have been steadily improving in recent months, although she has not been afforded too many extended matches to really test her. As for Paige, she will be determined to keep up momentum, as the Divas Championship likely hasn’t escaped her vision.
This was a decent match, nothing special but perfectly solid. Paige dominated the early going with her aggressive headbutts and knees, until Summer was able to claw to the ropes when she went for the PTO. A thumb to the eye followed by her patented Spin Kick brought a near-fall, and then Summer was able to go to work on Paige with her long legs her biggest weapon. I do like her new stretch submission where she places her legs across the back of her opponent whilst pulling on their arms. Paige recovered with her own kicks to the face of Summer, locking her eventually in the PTO to get the submission victory.
Big Ryck vs Sexy Star
Lucha Underground continues to push their female competitors as true rivals for the men, which is a refreshing perspective to take. A couple of weeks ago, Sexy Star was able to overcome tremendous odds to defeat all three members of the Crew, thanks in no small part to a distraction by Big Ryck. But, both these athletes would desire a piece of the trio, and so would be placed in a match against one another to determine who gets that opportunity. And whilst Sexy is as fierce and determined as they come, she might have bitten off more than she could chew with Ryck.
That didn’t cause any fear in her however, as Sexy attempted to chop the big man down with kicks to the leg, followed by a running dropkick. Ryck to his credit did not wish to hurt Sexy in any way, but was eventually enraged by his opponent’s stubbornness, missing with a clothesline and Sexy earned a near-fall from a crossbody. However, this was the best it got for the feisty female, as Ryck set her up for the Urinagi, before placing her on the canvas and holding her shoulders down for the three count.
This result was swiftly followed by the emergence of the Crew from backstage, the three men overwhelming Ryck with the numbers advantage. Sexy attempted to get some revenge and aid Ryck’s plight, but the gang members were not as chivalrous as her early opponent. They took her out with a flapjack into a Codebreaker, but Ryck was able to take advantage of the distraction to clear the ring of the vicious Crew.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte (NXT Women’s Championship)
The ladies took to the main event of NXT this week, as Charlotte invoked her rematch clause to take on Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship. The Boss won the title when she pinned the Nature Girl in a Fatal Four-Way match at Takeover: Rival, and has carried the belt with a newfound swagger ever since. But, Charlotte will take heart in the fact that Banks has never defeated her in a one-on-one encounter. One thing for certain is that considering the body of work these two ladies have built up in the past months, this wouldn’t be a match to miss.
From the outset, her poor record against Charlotte appears to be playing on the mind of Banks, as she attempts to use the referee as a shield and run away from the ring with her title. Charlotte though is having none of those tactics, dragging her opponent back to the ring and attempting an early victory with her bridging Figure Four Leglock, with Banks only just able to reach the ropes. As action returns from the break, Banks has asserted a measure of control, slapping her rival across the face before transitioning a headscissors into her crossface submission. The power of Charlotte though allows her to escape with a running jawbreaker, as the crowd clap their approval.
No matter how many times these two meet, they add elements to their formulas to make it compelling every time. Banks gets her knees up to block Charlotte’s senton following a moonsault, and then focuses her assault on the lower back of her opponent. Her submission specialty comes to the forefront, wrenching on the back of Charlotte with stretches and the Bank Statement crossface, with Charlotte barely able to reach the ropes. Charlotte makes a late rally, first with a spear, and then when Banks attempts a Figure Four of her own, Charlotte applies one wrapped around the ring post.
Yet, when she sets up to follow this up with some Natural Selection from the top rope, Banks grips onto the ropes as Charlotte falls hard onto the canvas. The champion quickly capitalizes with a cover, placing her feet on the ropes to both secure and cheapen her victory. Another excellent match between these two women, who would undoubtedly light up RAW or SmackDown with similar performances.
AJ Lee vs Brie Bella
In her first match since losing at TLC in a Divas Championship match, AJ Lee makes her return against Brie Bella. Prior to the match, the Bellas cut a promo referencing the Give Divas A Chance movement, suggesting it has been them that have been giving the others opportunities, but they don’t measure up to standards. AJ Lee skips down to the ring, seemingly unaffected by the boastful words of the Twins, and has Paige in tow to provide some back-up.
AJ demonstrated early on that she had not lost a step in her time recovering from injuries, mixing up with some good chain wrestling, followed by a nice spot where she slides out of the ring and grabbed Brie by her ankles, pulling her face first to the mat. Brie though is no pushover, and has proven one of the most competent performers among the Divas division. She connects with a missile dropkick, and uses that to take control of the pace of the contest. Her greater height comes to advantage, as Brie mocks Paige at ringside whilst maintaining an advantage of AJ with some impressive moves.
But, a missed attempt at another missile dropkick affords AJ some reprieve from Brie’s onslaught. She hits a Lou Thesz Press with strikes, before taking Brie down with a neckbreaker and dropkick to the outside. A staredown at ringside takes place between all four Divas in the vicinity, before AJ and Brie return to the ring, the petite athlete locking her rival in the Black Widow. Nikki attempts to interfere much like on RAW, but Paige pulls her out of the ring, leaving Brie helpless and forced to tap out to the dreaded submission hold.
Taryn Terrell vs Awesome Kong (TNA Knockouts’ Championship)
The third and final Championship bout this week is a Davina vs Goliath battle, as Taryn Terrell defends her Knockouts’ title against Awesome Kong. The blonde bombshell has been a great fighting champion since capturing the belt in November 2014, but this is a challenge that she’s never faced before. Kong’s size, strength and experience add up to an almost indomitable combination, and many would consider Terrell crazy for taking up such a match.
Terrell typically showed no fear from the outset, jumping into Kong with fists flying. Yet, it didn’t take long for the giant to assume control of the match, almost toying the champion with the ease in which she tossed her around the ring. Any offense Terrell inflicted was short and minimal, with even a flying clothesline from the middle rope not even causing Kong to step backwards. It wasn’t exactly technical mastery by any stretch of the imagination, but the dominance of the challenger was plain for all to see.
But, the champ avoided certain doom when Kong missed a splash in the corner, and Terrell fought back as hard as she could with punches in the corner, followed by hanging Kong across the top rope. For the first time in the match she was able to get the monster off her feet, but the crossbody cover only earned a one count. That seemed to be Terrell’s last flurry, as she attempted a couple of tired-looking Cutters, only for Kong to throw her off in both instances. Kong proceeded to step on a battered champion, referee Earl Hebner trying to call her off, but she threw him away, causing the disqualification.
This was no reprieve for Terrell though, as Kong threw the victorious champ into the steel steps, and setting her up for an Implant Buster on the outside. However, she was halted by the emergence of Gail Kim, who got in her longtime rival Kong’s face, and then the experienced Knockouts battled up the ramp, Kong seemingly leaving with the advantage. When will these two once again renew their rivalry in a match, and can Terrell avoid dropping the championship to the powerful Kong in future?
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!