On this edition, Naomi thrusts herself into the Divas Championship scene in Paige’s absence, a new number one contender for the NXT Women’s title is crowned, and a Night of Knockouts on Impact Wrestling is underlined with the debut of the Dollhouse and a Knockouts Championship main event.
Naomi vs Brie Bella
After her sudden and unexpected change of attitude, Naomi has pushed her way into a Divas Championship match at Extreme Rules against Nikki Bella. Whilst I have been immediately impressed by the way she carries herself as a heel, I do share a little issue with how this has just as quickly turned the Bella Twins face. There should be more of a process behind it than we’ve turned one of the Divas heel, so you’re now babyfaces by default. It’s lazy storytelling, but it at least led to a decent match her between Naomi and Brie Bella.
The match itself was given a good amount of time to play out, and produced a solid contest. Naomi was very aggressive from the outset, shoving Brie down by her face and keeping her pinned down as long as possible. Whenever Brie could fight back, Naomi would stop her, once with a kick to the gut which saw the Bella fall hard to ringside. Naomi is a natural heel; getting in the face of the referee, taunting the crowd, keeping her opponent underfoot, she knew how to control the ring.
Brie deserves a great deal of credit as well. Despite playing a heel for the last few months, she managed to get the fans behind her as the babyface in this match. Her fight back got the audience on their feet, with a missile dropkick from the middle rope earning her a near fall. But another heelish act of a slap to the face, followed by the Rear View, was enough to earn Naomi an emphatic victory. If she performs like this against Nikki, she could easily become Divas Champion for the first time, and I think few would begrudge that happening.
Brie Bella vs Alicia Fox
Brie Bella was thrust straight back into action after the disappointment of defeat to Naomi on Main Event, as she battled Alicia Fox. This was another indication that the Bella Twins are moving toward a babyface turn during this feud, and although it has been rushed, it did need to happen eventually. Both these ladies are strong competitors in their own right, and should be given a decent amount of time to perform on this show in particular.
Fox carried the majority of the action as the heel, applying her usual offense that included her crisp tilt-the-world backbreaker and Northern Lights suplex. It was nothing new but she has her standard maneuvers that she has perfected over time. Brie was in the role of the feisty underdog, a role her husband Daniel Bryan made his own, and got the crowd firmly in her corner during her late flurry. She really works well in this position, and I think she should have stayed babyface after her feud with Nikki due to this natural, positive charisma. Brie won after avoiding a scissors kick and connecting with a Bella Buster to end this decent encounter.
Sexy Star vs Pentagon Jr
Lucha Underground is a fun environment to watch the lucha libre style of wrestling, but it can also produce some full-blooded action. This was the case in this match between Sexy Star and Pentagon Jr, which had been built on the back of the latter’s desire to sacrifice any opponent in his line of site. Last week, Pentagon interfered at the end of a match between Sexy and Superfly, and proceeded to break the arm of Superfly, angering Sexy to levels that have rarely been seen. She will no doubt be looking for vengeance on behalf of her fallen friend.
Pentagon did not show any leniency to his female competitor, a pair of hard kicks showing that Sexy was in for a fight. But, in spite of the early beating she withstands, Sexy does not give up without a fight, and takes any opportunity she can to capitalize on any overconfidence by her opponent. It seems she is derailed permanently when Pentagon catches her senton dive and transitions it into a double-hook facebuster. Yet, she battles on with fire, spinning into a tornado DDT before soaring through the middle rope into a senton.
For all her fight, Sexy is left winded by a powerbomb by Pentagon, with both knees thrusting into her back simultaneously. Whilst she is able to kick out, she is clearly left hurt by that maneuver. Pentagon looks to complete another sacrifice by wrapping her arm up to potentially break it. However, Sexy squirms out of the predicament, and is then able to reverse a tilt-the-world into a back stabber in order to defeat Pentagon. A good match, but something tells me this feud is not yet over.
The Trios Championship Battles
The other two matches of the night I cannot really do justice for in words – they really need to be witnessed to be fully appreciated. The contests over the Trios Championships prove absolutely incredible battles, with fast, high-flying combinations and tandem offense abounding. The team that is the focus of this section is the trio of Ivelisse, Angelico and Son of Havoc, the most dysfunctional team within the entire tournament. They were the underdogs compared to the two other teams in the finals, especially after the beating Angelico withstood throughout and Ivelisse suffering a leg injury.
However, showing true guts and determination in the face of the immense power of Big Ryck, The Mack and Killshot, they fought through the pain and low expectations to win, after Angelico connected with the Fall of the Angels on Killshot. But, Dario Cuertes seemed to have other thoughts in his nefarious mind. With the trio having overcome the odds to triumph, the Authority of Lucha Underground introduced the Crew as the final opponents, and placed a No DQ stipulation.
As was to be expected, the Crew came to the ring armed with kendo sticks and bad attitudes, and proceeded to lay a thorough beating on any person standing in their path. Ivelisse’s leg made her spend a great deal of time grounded, whilst Son of Havoc and Angelico were decimated around the ring. However, a moment of craziness changes everything, as Angelico dives from a huge height onto two members of the Crew. Ivelisse beats them all with kendo sticks, before directing her partners to hit high-flying moves to win them the Trios Championships in spectacular scenes.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Bayley
The NXT Women’s Championship has arguably developed more prestige in the past year than the Divas Championship, so having the opportunity to win the title is a great prize for any within their talented roster. The three most established women below current champion Sasha Banks would fight for the next chance to battle the Boss. Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch have all fought for the belt before, and would all relish an encounter with Banks one-on-one.
Immediately Lynch is focused by both her opponents, and she is soon ousted from the ring to allow Charlotte and Bayley to square up. The crowd is firmly behind the popular Bayley, but are compelled to applaud the Nature Girl when she flips her around with a figure-four headlock. This is the catalyst for the action to pick up, as Bayley and Lynch then take Charlotte out, the Irishwoman finishing her off with a pumphandle throw.
Lynch then controlled Bayley for the most part, targeting her previously injured leg, with a phenomenal transition into her Four-Leaf Clover submission after Bayley kicked out of a roll-up. But, before the pain became too much, Charlotte returns with Natural Selection on Lynch. The match gets the crowd on their feet throughout, and they reach a fever pitch when Charlotte gets Lynch up for a powerbomb, with Bayley’s reverse elbow dive as a combo.
Bayley looks to take advantage of this situation, throwing Charlotte and then hitting Lynch with the Belly-to-Bayley, but Charlotte breaks it up. She pinpoints the damaged leg and locks in her Figure-Eight Leglock with her added bridge, the pain etched on Bayley’s face. However, before she can submit to the agony, Lynch slips in to cover Bayley, pinning her to win the match and become number one contender. An excellent contest, and hopefully the title match itself with Banks will prove just as exciting.
Naomi vs Natalya
Naomi had a final chance to build some momentum on the way to her Divas Championship match at Extreme Rules in a singles match with perennial combatant Natalya. This will be the ninth time these two have fought against each other in 2015, despite never being involved in a significant feud. With Nikki Bella preparing for her title defense against Naomi and her new attitude, and the former Funkydactyl will be looking to implement that in this match against the Canadian.
This was a disappointingly short match compared to the majority of the other matches on display this week involving women’s wrestlers. Naomi again demonstrated her new vicious streak to the fullest she could, shutting down Natalya with stomps and punches. Natalya battled back with a nice spot where she bounced Naomi off the ropes and into her step-over dropkick. She attempted the Sharpshooter, but Naomi got clearance with a slap to the face, and one Rear View later she had another victory on the road to Extreme Rules. She even gave Natalya a parting kick after the match for good measure.
Brooke vs Gail Kim vs Angelina Love vs Madison Rayne
Impact Wrestling branded their latest edition as a Night of Knockouts, and with three matches involving some of the fiercest women in professional wrestling, it was treated as a big deal. With the Knockouts Championship up for grabs in the main event of the evening, the night’s opening bout was set to determine who the next challenger would be. Four former champions would contest that honor, and like the earlier Triple Threat match on NXT, produced a stellar performance that showed why the Knockouts are a crucial component of TNA.
The match got going quickly, with Madison Rayne knocking down Brooke on the stage during her entrance. She and Angelina Love then attempted to double suplex Brooke, but she hung onto the apron and Gail Kim followed up with a double dropkick, which sent Brooke into the ring apron. The former Beautiful People teammates soon had a double team advantage over Kim in the ring, which proved effective to the point where Rayne eventually kicked Love out of the way. Brooke re-entered the fray with fists of fire, and the crowd was getting behind her solidly as she hit a facebuster from the second rope on Rayne.
A nice spot soon followed when all four Knockouts locked each other in a chain of submission holds, until Rayne was able to wriggle free. Diving maneuvers abounded, an elbow drop by Brooke followed swiftly by a missile dropkick for Kim, and the crowd began chanting for the awesome action of the match taking place. The climax soon came as they traded finishing moves, but it was Brooke that nailed the decisive one with the Tess-Shocker to Rayne, and capped off this excellent battle by becoming number one contender.
Jade vs Laura Dennis
A debut that had been pre-empted by weeks of vignettes, the pairing of Jade (formerly Mia Yim) and Marti Belle, otherwise known as the Dollhouse, entered the Impact Zone for the first time. And, if fans thought that AJ Lee and Paige were an unstable pairing, they have not seen anything yet. Even before Jade’s match with Laura Dennis they were berating ring announcer Christy Hemme to include their stable name in her entrance, before dancing around in a circle. It was a surreal first impression to say the very least.
Laura Dennis showed this wasn’t going to be your typical squash match when she caught out Jade early on with some chain wrestling and pin attempts. But this only served to rile up the already unstable competitor, as she regained control with a gutwrench suplex, screaming “I hate you” at her opponent. It was apparent that Jade has the wrestling acumen to get it done in the ring, throwing Dennis around the ring expertly. And as soon as Dennis began to fight back into the action, Marti responded by tripping her up.
This is where the action took a fascinatingly disturbing turn. The referee exited the ring to eject Marti, who then proceeded to throw him into the steel post. Both members of the Dollhouse proceeded to beat down Dennis in the ring, but their attention shifted when Hemme announced Jade had lost by disqualification. They assaulted Hemme, punching her in the face and flinging her into the steel ring steps, finishing off by stuffing a jawbreaker into the redhead’s mouth. This was a remarkable debut, but proved only a taster for what was in store.
Taryn Terrell vs Awesome Kong (TNA Knockouts Championship)
In a match that has been brewing for months, Awesome Kong finally received her one-on-one title match against Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell. To say this feud has been lopsided in favor of the giant challenger would be an understatement, but the blonde bombshell Terrell has never backed down from this large challenge. And she was quick to up the ante for this championship defense, by making it a No Disqualification affair.
Due to this late stipulation, this match became decidedly brutal, and demonstrated the hard work and punishment Terrell is willing to put herself through in any match. Kong swung her around outside into the guardrail, hit her with kendo Sticks, and slammed her across the mat. Terrell would not stay down though, using weapons and her environment to her advantage to try and take down the monstrous Kong. It wasn’t technical mastery, but it sure was effective.
But, it came down to a moment few likely saw coming. Kong had Terrell positioned on a table, and looked set to splash down on top of her. Then came the Dollhouse from the back, beating the giant with kendo sticks, and then assisting Terrell in powerbombing Kong through the wood. The champion retained, and officially announced her allegiance to the Dollhouse with a jawbreaker in the gullet of Kong. The landscape of the Knockouts Division just changed dramatically.
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!