On this edition, the crowning of a new number one contender for the Divas Championship on RAW is overshadowed by a startling heel turn from an unexpected source. In other news, Layla makes her return to the ring, a Night of Knockouts is announced for next week on Impact Wrestling, and the debut of Dana Brooke takes place on NXT.
Number One Contender’s Battle Royal
Per Kane’s instructions last week, the Divas division filed out to the ring to crown a new number one contender for the Divas Championship. Nikki Bella sat at ringside alongside her non-participating sister Brie to watch eight women battling for the right to face her at Extreme Rules. Whilst she didn’t seem too concerned with whoever her eventual opponent would be, the Divas were desperate to earn the chance to prove her cockiness unfounded.
A Divas battle royal often doesn’t prove the most exciting of affairs, simply due to the fact that they can be eliminated through the ropes. Natalya and Summer Rae were first to fall when they were caught off-guard by Rosa Mendes of all people. But she didn’t last much longer as Emma kicks her to the floor (with the aid of her dragging her body over). Emma was next to be ousted through an Alicia Fox dropkick, and then after some teamwork between her and Cameron, the tables were turned by Paige and Naomi throwing them both from the match.
This left the outright favorites of home country hero Paige and Naomi slugging it out for the crucial win and title shot that came with it. The pair had some close calls on a number of occasions, both trying to utilize their impressive leg strength to their advantage. Yet, after ducking a Rear View attempt, two kicks from Paige were enough to send Naomi scrawling out of the ring and earn the Brit a championship match in front of her fellow countrymen.
Yet, Paige did not get long to celebrate the feat, with a shocking turn of events during a post-match interview. Naomi ambushed the ring, beating Paige all over ringside, officially turning heel. The brutal assault left Paige injured, and Naomi simply laughed and later discussed that her previous victories should have made her number one contender. It was fresh, exciting, and Naomi showed real character and fire as a heel. With this change of attitude, will Naomi ride this momentum into the Divas Championship picture in Paige’s absence?
Layla vs Emma
In her first match back for many months, British-born Layla made her return to the ring on Main Event. The former Divas Champion looked in fine shape, and it is great to see her back due to her strong in-ring skills. She would face Emma, someone who has become very familiar with the Main Event scene. The opening exchanges though demonstrate the talent of both competitors, with some solid chain wrestling mixed in with some unique pin attempts.
The turning point arrives when Emma kicks Layla in the face, and the Brit uses that to grab the referee’s attention, before side-stepping him into the Aussie. Layla clearly hadn’t lost a step in the ring nor showing signs of ring rust, as she took control of the pace of the encounter. The crowd would in turn back Emma over their compatriot, due to the dominance of Layla and the inherent popularity of the kooky Emma.
Emma battled back into the match with clotheslines, before sending Layla into the corner for her Emma-Lock. A basement dropkick came close to getting her the win, but once again it wasn’t to be. Layla, after missing with a roundhouse kick, responded with a straight kick to the face of her opponent, before hitting her Lay-Out neckbreaker to register a victory upon her return. A good match, and Layla clearly is ready to push back on her return.
Although no matches specifically took place on Lucha Underground this week featuring their female wrestlers, there was some development in the feud between Sexy Star and Pentagon Jr. The vicious and lethal Pentagon looked to demonstrate his thirst for carnage by attempting to break the arm of ring announcer Melissa Santos. Sexy Star made the rescue by kicking her rival away, and the two stared each other down, exchanging insults, as they prepare for an inevitable clash in the near future.
Dana Brooke vs Blue Pants (Leva Bates)
A debut that has been built up for the past couple of months finally came to fruition on the latest edition of NXT. Dana Brooke, the bodybuilder and self-professed Total Diva made her first appearance in the ring, battling the cult figure Blue Pants. With a great deal of expectation behind the latest addition to NXT’s extremely impressive female roster, it is interesting to see what impression she will leave.
From the moment she made her way to the ring, you could tell that Brooke’s character was both supremely confident and self-absorbed. She also had a mean streak, quickly gaining the advantage and utilizing the bottom rope as a guillotine for Blue Pants. It wasn’t exactly the most technically impressive, and Brooke appeared to be pulling some punches in a beatdown of her opponent, but she carried herself well as the heel against the popular Blue Pants.
Brooke’s offense appears to be centered around showing off her strength and physique with every move she applies, and she could prove to be an excellent heel through that. Blue Pants battles back into the fray though with three high kicks stunning Brooke. But this flurry was merely delaying the inevitable, as Brooke hoisted her opponent on her shoulders, driving her Blue Pants hard onto the mat with a version of a Samoan driver for a first triumph. A decent start, and a good foundation for her to build upon when introduced to more established opposition.
Cameron vs Natalya vs Alicia Fox
Following last week’s happenings, three Divas would settle their differences in a triple threat match. Cameron was special guest referee for a bout between Natalya and Alicia Fox, and following the Canadian’s victory, the referee turned jackal with a pair of DDTs to both competitors. This uncalled for assault saw Natalya and Fox immediately gang up on Cameron, but she slipped out to ringside. Nattie then knocked Fox to the floor, and used the discus clothesline on Cameron which connected with thin air due to the recipients poor selling.
But this proved to be a minor glitch in a match that demonstrated a lot of positives in the Divas division. There were a number of solid exchanges between the individuals of this match, especially between Natalya and Fox due to their technical ability and athleticism. Not to say that Cameron didn’t work hard because she did, and being the biggest recipient of a Tower of Doom was a clear example of this.
Fox was again ousted from the ring, and after trading some pin attempts, Natalya has Cameron trapped in her torturous Sharpshooter. After a few seconds, Fox breaks it up, only to get caught in the same submission which she tapped to last week. But finally a second distraction by Cameron grabs Natalya’s attention enough to allow Fox to drop her with a jumping kick to the back of the head. It is not her that earns the hard-fought win, as Cameron throws Fox to the curb and preys on the Canadian’s prone body to steal the victory.
No matches between the Knockouts this week, but there was a special announcement made with every women’s wrestler in the company involved. Christy Hemme brought out Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Angelina Love, Brooke Tessmacher and Knockout’s Champion Taryn Terrell. She announces that next week will be TKO: A Night of Knockouts. However, she is soon cut off by Love arguing that the night should be devoted to her, seeing as how she is the most decorated champion in the company’s history.
This kicks off a slanging match between Love, Kim and Rayne until Hemme finally gets to talk about next week’s activities. There will be a fatal four-way match to determine a number one contender, with Kim, Love, Rayne and Brooke battling for that honor of challenging for her title. But, who the champion will be is another thing entirely, as in the main event Terrell will defend her belt against Awesome Kong, her toughest challenge to date.
This brings out Kong, who charges the ring and commences a brawl with all opponents. But it is on this occasion the champion that stands tall at the end, diving from the top rope onto every other Knockout outside the ring, setting her marker as the one to beat in the 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!