Another edition where championships are up for grabs, as Nikki Bella defends her Divas title against Paige, and Sasha Banks has to fight off the challenge of Alexa Bliss. Also, Naomi faces Alicia Fox on Main Event, and Brooke Tessmacher attempts to chop down the massive Awesome Kong.
WWE Divas Championship – Nikki Bella vs Paige
Nikki Bella appeared to be willing to risk it all on RAW this week, as she put her Divas Championship on the line prior to her and Brie’s tag team match at WrestleMania. However, she did not specify whether Paige or AJ Lee would get the opportunity, and told them to determine the challenger between themselves. This was clearly a move to engender some tension between the “frienemies”, and eventually Paige put forward a case that AJ was willing to agree to, and the British Anti-Diva would have the chance to get the ultimate momentum booster heading into Mania.
If the tag team battle at WrestleMania gets anything like the attention of this match, then I will be pretty convinced that the Give Divas A Chance movement is actually taking hold. The women on NXT have often been praised for their wrestling prowess, and both Nikki and Paige demonstrated that they are capable of making the fans sit up and take notice. Paige would dominate the early exchanges with her fiery aggression and knees to the chest, and whilst Nikki feigned control with her push-up taunting, the Brit took her down at every turn, including a flying clothesline from the apron to the floor.
When action returned to the ring, the champion was able to battle into the stronger position with a facebuster on Paige onto her knee. What I especially enjoyed about this match was that there always seemed to be something happening, as the rest holds were sporadic and short, as the ladies took their time slot to show some of the best maneuvers they had to offer. A mid-ring collision with clotheslines allowed Paige to return in control with clothesline and a running dropkick that Nikki sold really well. A springboard kick in response by the champ was soon followed by a super kick from Paige.
The near-falls from that point came thick and fast, and the crowd responded with a great deal of enthusiasm. Nikki set Paige up for the Rack Attack, only for the challenger to escape and connect with the RamPaige, but that only brought another two count to the shock of the audience. Chants of “This is awesome” were audible, and as action spilled to the outside, AJ looking in the opposite direction swung wildly at who she assumed was Nikki. Instead it was partner AJ, and the champion took advantage with a massive forearm. One Rack Attack later and her title reign survived.
AJ after her part in the result entered the ring to seemingly apologize for inadvertently costing Paige the title. The Brit however was in no mood to listen to her regret, as she took AJ down and the pair engaged in a heated fight that left the Bellas extremely happy. Their plan had worked to perfection, as they had created a wedge between their rivals, and Nikki held onto her precious gold another day. How would this impact their contest on the Show of Shows this Sunday?
Los Matadores & El Torito vs Cesaro, Tyson Kidd & Natalya
In a rematch from the previous edition of SmackDown, the Tag Team Champions and Natalya battled with Los Matadores and El Torito. As expected, this wasn’t much of a technical classic, and it followed pretty much the same pattern as their contest prior to this. Natalya’s exposure in the ring was limited to fighting the mascot El Torito, and when the bull kicked out of her discus clothesline, she attempted the same powerbomb finisher. However, Torito reversed this and rolled the Canadian up for the victory.
Naomi vs Alicia Fox
Two Divas currently on the fringes of main television are Naomi and Alicia Fox. Whilst the former has spent more time recently supporting the Usos in the pursuit of the Tag Team Championships, Fox has not enjoyed much benefit with her most recent turn as her relevance remains low. Still, as two of the most competent and athletic wrestlers among the Divas division, they will look to put on a great show for fans in the build-up to WrestleMania.
Fox is a very good heel both in terms of her charisma and controlling the pacing of the match. But Naomi’s athleticism is very hard to contain, as she transitioned a headlock into a sunset flip after springing off the top rope. She followed this up with a hurricanrana and rubbing her ample backside in the face of Fox, until Naomi was stopped by a huge tilt-the-world backbreaker.
The experienced Diva asserted dominance with her Northern Lights suplex and trash-talking her rival at every opportunity. Yet it was Naomi that wrapped up victory in a short but fun match, after a bulldog onto the second turnbuckle and kick to the head gave her the chance to flip Fox into a pinning predicament from the apron. That is a second consecutive win for Naomi over Fox, and hopefully 2015 will see her chances in the Divas Championship picture increase greatly.
NXT Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss
Last week’s unique show from Columbus, Ohio went particularly well for one of the natives, as Alexa Bliss earned a victory over NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks via count out. This shock result pushed the petite Diva into an immediate rematch with the title on the line. It would be a phenomenal feat for her to repeat this stunning result, although she would need to get the win in the ring to force the title to change hands. But, Banks will be the outright favorite in both experience and ability.
Banks is simply incredible, and even though Charlotte is the offspring of Nature Boy Ric Flair, she really gives the impression of being a 21st century equivalent with her swagger and self-assurance. But it is Bliss who gets the early action in, keeping the champion on her toes with some inventive roll-ups which, although a little sloppy, fully demonstrated her athletic ability. The powerful ring general Banks though soon has the challenger at her mercy, stepping on her hands and slapping her across the face, and then rubbing salt in by a mocking curtsy.
Bliss’ attempts to get her feet up in the corner simply leaves her open for Banks to drop her knees over her abdomen, and then applying one of her vicious submission holds. Bliss attempts a schoolgirl but the Boss retains her vertical base, only to get caught in a small package soon after. Bliss then sends Banks hard to the ringside floor, and realizing a count out here doesn’t help her, action returns to the ring.
Her unique Bliss flip connects with both knees to the gut of Banks, followed soon by a sunset flip out of the corner. The crowd really gets behind her as she ascends the turnbuckles, but is caught by Banks, thrown hard to the mat, and locked in the Bank Statement, which she cannot escape from. A good outing for Bliss in showing some future potential, but Banks is the queen of the NXT locker room at this moment in time.
Prior to WrestleMania, AJ Lee was given a slot on a threadbare edition of SmackDown to address the audience and most importantly Paige after the events of RAW. AJ notes how badly both she and Paige want to wear the Divas Championship, and as such it will always be a source of contention between the frienemies. She references how much it means to them, which led to their brawl on RAW.
Paige came out and seemed to still be hurting from AJ’s inadvertent hit which cost her dearly against Nikki Bella. She shows sincere worries as to whether she can trust the woman who she feuded with throughout 2014, but eventually they agree that the Bella Twins need to be taken down more than anything else.
This brings out the wicked sisters, who waste little time running down the accomplishments of Paige and the absence of AJ Lee for a few months, and stating that every Diva and woman wants to be a Bella. Paige fights back, stating she is proud to represent ‘real women’ and the freaks across the world, and that she and AJ will take their plastic backsides down at WrestleMania. This excellent promo work by all ladies after the impact of RAW has really helped sell this match when it looked dead and buried, so hopefully they will be given a fair opportunity to impress.
Awesome Kong vs Brooke Tessmacher
Awesome Kong has been tearing through Impact Wrestling since her return, and has hardly been knocked down, let alone beaten. The giant competitor has made no secret about her desire to take the TNA Knockouts’ Championship from Taryn Terrell after two missed opportunities. However, this week she had to settle for a match with Brooke Tessmacher, who has seemingly washed former boyfriend Robbie E out of her hair and is also looking to ascend through the division and into title contention.
Brooke immediately looks to avoid any attacks by Kong whilst getting in as many shots as possible to the huge athlete. However, it doesn’t take long for the monster to floor her with a clothesline. The rest of the match follows a similar pattern, as Brooke keeps trying to make a dent, whilst her massive opponent swats her away and asks for more. She eventually gets Kong down with a facebuster counter, but a follow-up elbow drop barely registers a two count. So inevitably, Brooke is counted down after a chokeslam and Implant Buster in an adequate match.
After the bell though, Kong doesn’t seem ready to end her night, as she hits another slam on Brooke before setting a table up at ringside. Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell comes to the aid of her fellow Knockout, but soon has the wind taken out of her sails when Kong smashes her into the guardrail. Terrell is able to get her down once, yet is then sent hurtling into the steel steps, and then powerbombed through the table. How much longer will the blonde bombshell be able to withstand Kong’s relentless pursuit for the title and destruction of the Knockouts division?
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!