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 two women vs men matches on Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground, whilst AJ Lee and Paige prepare for their WrestleMania bout against the Bella Twins on SmackDown.
AJ Lee vs Summer Rae
After hearing the Bella Twins list off a number of terrible puns referring to their involvement in the WWE/Flintstone crossover movie, anything would have been an improvement. AJ Lee competed on her first match on RAW since returning to WWE, and would battle Summer Rae. Summer, along with Cameron and Eva Marie, have taken the ‘Give Divas A Chance’ movement as a motivation for their rise up the roster, even though it wasn’t exactly directed at them.
Out of the three though, Summer certainly has the strongest wrestling acumen, and demonstrated some of that in this short match. Both her and AJ demonstrated some solid athleticism with some acrobatic pin attempts and headscissors. A particularly nice spot was where Summer countered a wheelbarrow lock by AJ into a sit-out facebuster. For the time it was afforded, it was unlikely both ladies could have achieved anything more, so should take heart in that.
There were a few sloppy moments, like AJ’s swinging neckbreaker that I have yet to see anybody effectively sell, and the build-up toward the conclusion was somewhat stilted. In the end, AJ locked in the Black Widow submission, and Summer did not last long before being forced to submit. AJ celebrated with frienemy Paige, the two still a little hesitant and awkward with the closeness of their alliance.
Naomi vs Natalya
Later in the evening, an even shorter match took place within the Divas division, as Naomi and Natalya once again crossed paths in representing their husbands’ tag teams. The pair have demonstrated a great deal of potential when they match-up, but this week they were not given nearly enough time to do anything special. Moments like their inventive pin attempts, Natalya pulling Naomi down into the splits and the Sharpshooter reversal were nice, but leaves a bad feeling when one imagines what they could achieve in eight minutes rather than two.
Natalya spent a great deal of the match screaming in the direction of husband Tyson Kidd when he attempted to offer advice from ringside. Eventually, Kidd and Cesaro tangled with the Usos outside the ring, the Samoan twins getting the better of the exchange. Natalya missed her discus clothesline and ran straight into the Rear View, this maneuver handing Naomi the victory. A short, forgettable encounter, one that still leaves me hoping they will eventually feud over the Divas Championship in order to get more time to perform.
Nikki Bella vs Naomi
It was the turn of the Divas Champion to take to the ring on Main Event, as Nikki Bella battled against Naomi. In a battle of strength against speed, Nikki would have the added bonus of her sister Brie at ringside to keep the former Funkydactyl on her toes. Many people have considered Naomi a future Divas Champion due to her talent and athleticism, so this was a great opportunity to prove it.
Nikki shows her usual charisma and self-assurance early on with some jumping jacks and poses. Her power then forces Naomi back into the corner, and control is maintained until her opponent utilizes her ample derriere to her advantage. Naomi continues to push her advantage over the champion, kicking her to the outside on numerous occasions and landing a high leg drop. A pep talk from Brie seems to have Nikki back in the match, but it isn’t long before both sisters brought together by Naomi pushing the champion into her sister.
When the referee is distracted, Brie sneaks a cheap shot to the leg of Naomi, a maneuver that would prove a critical turning point. Nikki continued to focus on the leg in her very methodical style, including a slightly botched spot where a snapmere with intent of the injured limb hitting the bottom rope missed entirely. The referee consistently checked on the extent of Naomi’s injury, and even a high kick to the head of Nikki saw her crumple to the canvas. She missed a crossbody attempt, but when Nikki tried to capitalize she was rolled up in a small package, and Naomi scored a shock win over the champion.
Ivelisse vs Angelico
In the first of a pair of inter-gender contests this edition, it is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago, as Ivelisse continues to demonstrate no intimidation in battling Angelico despite the size and strength difference. Only this time Son of Havok would not be at ringside, but the special guest referee, which would certainly point toward some biased officiating towards his girlfriend. But Ivelisse will be determined to make sure that doesn’t become an issue as much as Angelico.
Angelico like last week has a little fun to start with, kissing Ivelisse’s hand and dodging her following kick, before dropping her to the mat. Ivelisse though is no pushover, battling back with a succession of armdrags, using her opponent’s size against him. A hurricanrana sends Angelico to the outside, and Ivelisse follows up with a corkscrew crossbody from the top rope onto him. She is extremely talented in many aspects of wrestling, leading one to question how she would have fared had she remained in NXT.
Despite the fire of his opponent, Angelico still feels bad about getting any offense in on her. But, that quickly dissipates when he attempts a running knee to the corner, which Ivelisse only avoids due to a helping hand from Son of Havok. This continues to be a running theme, even though Ivelisse is desperate to have a fair fight. Angelico taunts Havok by dragging his girlfriend into some compromising positions, before feeling bad for connecting with some of his actual maneuvers. Ivelisse responds with a West-Coast Pop, and the kick-out earns Havok a slap. Angelico’s missed kick to the referee connects with his opponent, and a fast count later gives him the contentious victory.
Alexa Bliss vs Carmella
Heading into NXT, it is time for two unsung wrestlers to get the spotlight for a change. With the focus of the division shared between Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch, less attention has been paid to the likes of Alexa Bliss and Carmella. Well, they were given an opportunity to show what they could do this week, and they did not disappoint.
The pair lock up, and start some rapid chain wrestling that leaves Carmella’s arm trapped by Bliss, who takes the opportunity to pander to the crowd. Carmella battles back with a firm knee to the gut, but Bliss dives off the top rope with an arm drag, before combining that into an inventive pin attempt. This was the start of a decent showcase for the two, as Carmella battled back with her own brand of self-obsessed offense, sitting on Bliss across the ropes, choking her whilst she checked her nails.
Carmella’s aggression comes to the forefront as she dominates the following exchanges, keeping the diminutive Bliss grounded on the canvas. The blonde pixie does not give in to this constant assault, and battles back with forearms and a leg sweep sending Carmella to the mat. Her athleticism is to be applauded, despite some sloppy moments, like Bliss’s standing moonsault which doesn’t connect fully. But, there was not mistake with her excellent Sparkle Splash, which gives her a solid victory. Maybe Bliss will be making even more of a splash in the future following this victory?
AJ Lee & Paige vs. Summer Rae & Cameron
In anticipation of their tag team match at WrestleMania, AJ Lee and Paige get a tune-up match against Summer Rae and Cameron. The Bella Twins are on commentary, but let’s try and focus on the positives. The frienemy tandem start out with some combination offense, Paige whipping Cameron into a reverse elbow by AJ. This control is broken by a distraction from Summer on the apron, leading to Cameron getting an attack from behind.
Whilst the focus would be on the WrestleMania bound divas, Summer and Cameron show some chemistry with a seamless tandem assault on the three-time Divas Champion. AJ though battles out of the corner, knocking both rivals to the apron and reaching her British partner. Paige makes light work of Summer, kicking her to the canvas and locking in the PTO to force an easy submission victory. Post-match, Nikki Bella throws her cap at a departing Paige, the two squaring up only to be separated by their partners.
Brooke vs Robbie E
In the second woman vs man battle of the week, it is a match between a former couple, as Brooke looks to take her cocky former boyfriend Robbie E down a peg or two. The New Jersey native was flanked by his Bro-Mans and Angelina Love, but those odds didn’t appear to phase the former two-time Knockouts’ Champion. She was the early aggressor against the cowardly Robbie, until his greater height and strength saw him push Brooke down and he celebrated like he’d won the World Championship.
Robbie was equally proud of himself when he twice leapfrogged Brooke, only to see his celebrations cut short with some forearms to the face and chops to the chest. She mocked her ex by cooling off in the corner, and Robbie charging in only saw him connect with the turnbuckle. A distraction by Love gives Robbie his opportunity, connecting with a heavy suplex to Brooke. But, an attempted splash from the corner sees him hit nothing but canvas.
Brooke flies over the top rope onto the crafty Love, before ascending the top turnbuckle to attempt the same on Robbie. He catches her mid-flight, but can’t maintain hold of her as she applies a gutwrench hold. Jesse attempts to interfere with a dropkick, but lands it on his tag team partner instead. Brooke tackles the interloper out of the ring, before taking advantage of his blunder with a jackknife cover to gain a satisfying victory.
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!