This edition sees the Divas WrestleMania match build up with a pair of singles matches between the Bella Twins, Paige and AJ Lee. Also there is a shock result in NXT with championship implications, and Taryn Terrell battles the odds once again, facing both Awesome Kong and Gail Kim with the Knockouts’ Championship on the line.
Nikki Bella vs AJ Lee
The #GiveDivasAChance movement has lost some steam in recent weeks, leaving many including myself fearing that it would simply be a flash in the pan. But, on RAW the Divas were given a chance to open the show and get it going in a big way, and that opportunity delivered. The story between the Bella Twins against AJ Lee & Paige had been dragging a little due to the inactivity of the sisters in the ring. But, Divas Champion Nikki Bella was placed in action against AJ, and demonstrated the peak of her skills and why she is top of the division.
They were given a lot of time to tell a story and perform in front of a refreshingly receptive audience. Whilst I would immediately state that it was not perfect, with some botched moments and clear calling of spots from both Nikki and AJ, there was a great deal positive to come of out this encounter. It was a very good match, with Nikki playing the powerful and self-assured heel like a professional and AJ playing on the counter attack with a speedier, more high-risk offense.
The most positive aspect though was the reaction of the crowd to what was going on. Maybe it was the fact they went on first, and the audience just wanted to see a match after another twenty minute opening promo. But they responded to what was going on in the ring and got behind AJ as the plucky babyface. However, after about ten minutes, Brie and Paige got into an altercation at ringside, the Brit sent into the ring post. AJ showed concern for her frienemy, before walking into a vicious forearm followed by the Rack Attack to give the champion a hard-fought, though slightly tainted victory.
Naomi vs Alicia Fox
*Will be updated as soon as WWE gets their act together and makes this episode available for broadcast. For now, the only thing for certain is that Naomi defeats Alicia Fox with the Rear View*
Whilst the women of Lucha Underground weren’t in direct competition this week, they still made a noticeable impact on the show. Firstly, in a handicap match between Big Ryck and The Crew, the giant’s strength proved enough to eliminate most of his rivals from the battle. However, it took some assistance from another rival of the Crew, Sexy Star, to encourage a fleeing Mr. Cisco back to the ring. And she watched in delight as Ryck’s standing side slam through the table sent a humbling message to the Crew.
Then in the main event, the siren Catarina looked on from ringside whilst one of the most brutal casket matches unfolded between Fenix and Mil Muertes. And she had a crucial role to play, as after taking an inadvertent clothesline from the monstrous Muertes, Catarina sealed her former love in the casket, handing the victory to Fenix.
Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks
It’s a very special night in NXT’s history, as for the first time they broadcast an episode from outside of their Florida base, with a show in Columbus, Ohio. Strangely enough, this is also the home of one of NXT’s excellent divas, in the petite form of Alexa Bliss. She may appear to be the human equivalent of Tinkerbell, but as her match against Carmella displayed last week, Bliss packs a punch. But, she faces a huge step up in competition in her hometown, as she battles the best the brand has to offer in the form of NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks.
The crowd is still heavily split despite the hometown advantage of Bliss from the outset, such is the reputation that Banks has for the quality of matches she has produced in the past. She also looks really comfortable with the title around her waist. Yet Bliss is the one bringing the early fight to the Boss, fists flying as she looks to make an impression. Although she would hope to do better than a botched drop toehold a few seconds into it.
Banks then asserts herself with her fierce maneuvers and extremely aggressive rest holds, which are an underrated part of her status as a ring general. But Bliss is able to produce after her early botch with some acrobatic moves to the champ, making sure people recognize her talents in the extremely impressive ranks of women in NXT. The action spills to the outside, with Banks hitting Bliss into the ring apron, before herself being sent into the ring post on a seven count. The champ is counted out, and the surprise win for Bliss has earned her an immediate title opportunity next week. Will Bliss pull off another stunning result?
Paige vs Brie Bella
Following their brawl at ringside during the Nikki Bella/AJ Lee match on RAW, it was fitting that Paige and Brie squared off on SmackDown. With their respective partners watching on from ringside and discussing their perspectives on their animosity towards each other, the action in the ring was immediately aggressive. Paige speared Brie through the ropes to start brawling at ringside, shades of their scenes on RAW, until Brie creates separation with a wicked slap.
Brie dominated the vast majority of the contest, knocking down Paige with a missile dropkick and keeping her floored with submission holds. When Paige was able to get some offense in the later stages, it was following double clothesline collision in the center on the ring. The Anti-Diva attempted a straight kick, but was reversed excellently by Brie, then connecting with a running knee. A lackadaisical pin though is countered into a roll-up by Paige, and this outsmarting wins it for her. The Bella Twins will have to make sure their natural cockiness won’t cost them at WrestleMania, and hopefully Paige will be given more time on offense at that same event.
Also, in the video below, Natalya employed a sat-out powerbomb to defeat El Torito in the first ever inter-species tag team match. Of course, I could go into greater detail, but considering the effort WWE put into making this match, I don't think that would be very fitting.
TNA Knockouts’ Championship – Taryn Terell vs Awesome Kong vs Gail Kim
Impact Wrestling has seen plenty of title matches take place since their move to Destination America, and the Knockouts’ Championship has been no exception. Taryn Terrell has arguably been the most fighting champion in the company’s history, male or female, as she has battled all comers and still has the gold wrapped around her waist. But, she has to contend with two of the most dominant competitors in the history of the Knockout’s division, as both Awesome Kong and Gail Kim contend for another run with the belt.
Unsurprisingly, Terrell and Kim focus their giant rival first, but seem to just collapse down on top of her in a clumsy fashion. Really, the opening moments are filled with a number of botched moments, which don’t seem fitting of the talent in this match. Kong’s strength though is overwhelming from the get-go, swatting away Terrell and Kim like they were pesky mosquitos. Both her opponents have a fighting spirit that keeps them coming back for more, but that only gets you so far with a beast like Kong.
She sets Kim up for the Implant Buster, but she wriggles free and Terrell attempts to capitalize by rolling up the monster. But any maneuvers on her only succeeds to slow her down, not stop the might of Kong. She wants to end in crushing style with a splash on the champion from the middle rope, but misses. Terrell connects with her jumping cutter, but is stunned to see the giant kick out. Kong is soon taken out by a flying Kim, leaving the two smaller Knockouts renewing their battle. A sunset powerbomb almost hands Kim the victory, but then Terrell reverses an Eat De-Feet into a roll-up to beat the odds once again and retain her title.
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!