This edition sees the build up towards Elimination Chamber, with Nikki Bella, Naomi and Paige given opportunities to build momentum before their Triple Threat Match over the Divas Championship. Also, on Impact Wrestling Taryn Terrell defends her Knockouts' Championship against Gail Kim inside a steel cage, and Emma and Bayley continue their heated rivalry on NXT.
Tamina Snuka vs Paige
With the return of Paige, the WWE Divas Championship picture has become more crowded and unpredictable. The Anti-Diva has not come back in search of any friends or alliances, as she quickly made enemies out of Naomi and Nikki Bella, and will battle both in a Triple Threat match for the title at Elimination Chamber. But, Paige was first tasked on RAW with an imposing challenge in the form of Tamina Snuka, the bodyguard of Naomi.
Both women are very well-versed in the ring and take very physical approaches, so I was a little disappointed with their respective showings in this match. It wasn’t terrible, but from the opening exchanges to the conclusion there were errors that derailed its impact. And it wasn’t likely benefited by enduring the Bella Twins on commentary. Paige and Tamina started out aggressively with forearms and kicks, before the daughter of Jimmy Snuka knocked her rival off the apron.
There were sporadic moments of enjoyment, such as the pair trading fists at the turning point of the bout, and Paige hitting a diving senton from the apron onto Tamina. But it was sullied by some really woeful performing of basic kicks and clotheslines where both should really know better. The critical moment was when Naomi connected with a cheap punch to the face of Paige, which the referee was clearly able to see but had to pretend otherwise. Tamina then connected with an awkward Samoan Drop to earn the victory in this decidedly sub-par encounter.
Nikki Bella vs Summer Rae
The Divas Champion Nikki Bella got an opportunity to build some momentum in the face of two intense challengers at Elimination Chamber, when she faced Summer Rae on Main Event. Summer has become very familiar with this show over the past year, as she continues to struggle to make a step up from being a filler opponent. But she takes it to the champion early on with a reverse elbow, but the brevity of this match as a whole means that the blonde’s advantage is very short-lived.
I’ll certainly give Summer credit for selling Nikki’s face buster on her knee really effectively, as it appeared to cause a significant amount of damage. Nikki then dominated most of the closing exchanges, coming close to the victory with her springboard kick. Summer responded with her own roundhouse kick, but that was not enough to cause an upset. Instead, the champion earned some form heading into her big title defense when she dropped Summer with the Rack Attack, with Brie happily watching on.
Emma vs Bayley
Fresh off the outcome of NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, Emma was looking to avenge her defeat in a tag team match against Charlotte and this edition’s opponent, Bayley. The Australian has taken on a new callous edge in a bid to show the loveable Bayley that having the support of the fans does not get you anywhere. Emma’s despicable attitude and alliance with Dana Brooke is a clear shift away from her old goofy persona, with a new look and entrance music in tow.
Emma’s aggression comes to the forefront early on, shoving Bayley down to the mat and then unleashing plenty of kicks to the gut on her trapped in the corner. But Bayley is not one to go down without giving plenty of fight in return, as she shows her anger towards the Aussie by connecting with a drop toehold and landing a flurry of punches the head of her fallen rival. The intensity inherent in this feud is tangible during this contest, as Emma regains the initiative with a low dropkick to the face, before wickedly grabbing the ponytail of Bayley to fling her around the ring.
Emma continues to taunt her opponent whilst she maintains this vicious assault on the hair of Bayley, until this cockiness costs her when the Californian battles back with a reverse elbow and suplex. However, when she ascends the second turnbuckle, Emma is able to bring her down with a dragon whip to the leg, before applying the Emma Lock to force Bayley to tap out. Although the action was far from over, as Brooke entered the ring to hold the defeated Bayley up for a disrespectful slap to the face from Emma. Charlotte arrived with the aim of ending this mugging, but would suffer a similar fate of a hard slap, and then a Samoan Driver by Brooke.
Paige vs Naomi
In a match that’s been a few months in the making, Paige and Naomi finally clashed on SmackDown. Naomi made a name for herself in the Divas division at the expense of Paige, taking the Brit out after she won a battle royal back in April, and usurped her role as number one contender for the Divas Championship. Now Paige is back and has already pushed herself back into title contention, when both she and Naomi will challenge Nikki Bella at Elimination Chamber. This was the perfect opportunity for one of the two to build momentum, as well as deflate a rival.
Naomi looks to get in Paige’s head with some taunting early on, but that doesn’t shake the assertive Anti-Diva. The Brit gets on the front foot, and uses that foot to trample Naomi in the corner, and then connecting with knees on the ring apron sending her opponent scrambling. When she reaches through the ropes to bring her back, Naomi reverses and sends Paige’s arm into the ring post. This shifted the course of action, as the former Funkydactyl strutted around in a position of control, focusing her assault on the damaged limb of her rival.
Naomi really impresses me as a heel, transitioning seamlessly from an arrogant swagger to a fierce scowl depending on her level of frustration with her opponent. Paige though battled back into the fray with clotheslines and a running dropkick. Naomi escaped the clutches of the PTO, but her bodyguard Tamina was quickly dispatched with a kick to the face. Paige’s strength caught Naomi as she attempted a running crossbody, transitioning her into the RamPaige to give the Brit a mental edge heading into the upcoming Triple Threat match. A good bout, but definitely could be improved with some more time, these ladies have so much more potential to explore.
Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim (Knockouts’ Championship)
One of the fiercest and most personal rivalries in TNA at present is between the matriarch of the Dollhouse, Taryn Terrell, and Gail Kim. The temperature of this feud was upped to its boiling point two weeks ago, when Terrell set her sights on stealing Kim’s husband Robert from her, claiming that she was the better woman in every way. Therefore, such animosity could not just result in a normal match for the Knockouts’ Championship, and the pair were instead locked inside a steel cage, keeping Jade and Marti Belle trapped on the outside.
Fired up by her disgust of what Terrell has said and done, Kim wasted little time dragging her blonde rival into the ring and getting the upper-hand in this title match. Kim repeatedly flung her rival into every edge of the six sides of steel it seemed to punish her. This beating persists until Jade uses a large camera hole in the cage to grab at Kim, which allowed Terrell to get a cheap shot in. Terrell then takes complete control, slamming her opponent against the cage, and ferociously flooring her with stomps, and a sweet jumping neckbreaker.
The hatred in Terrell’s eyes as she stares at Kim is clear to see, but she is unable to connect with her Cutter, which leads to a collision between both Knockouts. Kim fought back with kicks and clotheslines, and landed a nice crossbody from out of the corner onto Terrell, as the Dollhouse members worriedly look on. But, the critical moment came soon after, as Kim took a risk climbing towards the top of the cage, looking to dive onto her rival. Instead, she was caught out by Jade and Marti Belle scaling the outside, and they threw Kim hard onto the canvas. Terrell took advantage with a Cutter, and retained her prized belt.
The match might have been over, but the post-match humiliation was just beginning. All three members of the Dollhouse entered the ring, and Terrell assaulted Earl Hebner. They locked the cage door once again, which prevented Awesome Kong from making her way in to rescue Kim and decimate the Dollhouse. Jade and Marti Belle flung Kim into the cage repeatedly, then Terrell took things to the next level by taking off her rival’s wedding ring. She then concentrated her attack on Kim’s ring finger, looking to break it so the ring could never fit on it again. This personal feud is far from over with this latest case of disrespect.
Angelina Love/Velvet Sky Brawl
Later in the night, another feud between former teammates exploded once again. Angelina Love came out, flanked by security to aid her. She picks out her former Beautiful People ally Velvet Sky, who recently returned in the audience, and again found herself there this week. Sky maintained the same blank stare that she demonstrated upon her re-emergence on the scene, as Love threatened her from a position of safety on the stage with her team of bodyguards ensuring that she was likely safe from any harm.
However, that belief proved to be erroneous, as Sky did not shy away from the presence of four security guards surrounding her former partner. She leapt the barricade as soon as Love’s back was turned, and unleashed an incredibly brutal assault onto her. She was hardly derailed in her attack by the security personnel, who seemed to be unable to contain her aggression and anger towards Love. Eventually she was halted and restrained, but when being led away from the ring she did not once deviate her cold stare away from Love. It is clear that Sky has returned with a purpose.
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!