On this edition, Nikki Bella has a hard time holding onto her Divas Championship when she has both Paige and Naomi breathing down her neck. Also, Carmella and Alexa Bliss take their contention into the ring on NXT, Sexy Star again battles Pentagon Jr, and Jade represents the Dollhouse in a clash with Brooke on Impact Wrestling.
Nikki Bella vs Paige vs Naomi (Divas Championship)
The three biggest names in the WWE Divas division today collided at Elimination Chamber with the Divas Championship on the line. No love was shared between any of the combatants, as Nikki Bella, Paige and Naomi had made clear in the shows building up to this there were no alliances. Brie Bella and Tamina barred from ringside, it was a level playing field for all involved, and they were all confident of their chances of clasping the Butterfly belt at the conclusion.
Considering the fact that these are three of the best women’s wrestlers in WWE today, this triple threat match fell far short of expectations. Sometimes it got hard to watch, as there were some very noticeable botches that took away from the positive aspects of the bout. The most glaring error was when Nikki set up for a springboard dropkick that Naomi ducked, and Paige scrambled across the ring in a desperate bid to get struck but fell short, which looked horrendous.
The pacing of the match was sloppy, and highlights came few and far between. A Tower of Doom featuring a German suplex by Naomi on Paige was cool, as was Naomi using the Rear View to stop Nikki hitting the Rack Attack on the Brit. But it was stagnant at times and too many maneuvers looked ugly to get me and other fans excited. It is a shame, but they had an opportunity to put on a showcase for the crowd and utterly squandered it. Nikki retained with a Rack Attack to Naomi, keeping her long championship reign alive and well.
Nikki Bella vs Paige (Divas Championship)
After batting away the challengers at Elimination Chamber, Nikki Bella was immediately thrust into another title defense the next night on RAW, this time alone against Paige. The Anti-Diva was the unlucky challenger that did not suffer the pinfall, and was ready to get her singles opportunity for the championship that she earned in a battle royal two months ago. They would definitely be hoping for a performance that improved on the lackluster showing at the PPV, and for the most part they succeeded in that.
Nikki was the early aggressor with some solid chain wrestling between the pair, followed by a belly-to-back suplex on Paige. The champion dominated the early exchanges, not giving her opponent a moment to fight back with stretches and some nice suplexes. She almost forced a submission with a version of a Texas Cloverleaf, but Paige got to the ropes and responded with a firm kick to the gut of Nikki. That briefly sends the champ scrambling, but she soon has Paige set up for the Alabama Slam, until the Brit escapes and connects with a hard knee to the face.
Nikki then hits the slam, but the action from that moment on becomes very back and forth. It was a huge improvement on Sunday’s contest, as Nikki and Paige traded blows in their pursuit of victory. Eventually, Paige connects with a hard RamPaige from the second rope, but before she can make the cover the champ rolls to ringside.
What follows is a blast from the past, as Brie appears from under the ring with fake hair extensions, and the Bella Twins performed Twin Magic. Brie then rolled up Paige with her face covered, helping Nikki the champion. A very good match, but Twin Magic seems a little redundant these days considering the sisters’ vast difference in appearance since they started in WWE.
Paige vs Alicia Fox
After missing out on the Divas Championship as the result of some contentious actions, Paige was looking to take up some of her frustrations on Main Event against the ultimate utility Diva, Alicia Fox. Now currently treading the line between face and heel depending on the stance of her opposition, Fox is now the ideal feature for this show’s small, less invested audience. This will likely be a solid encounter, but if you’re looking for a meaningful result you’re probably more suited looking elsewhere.
Paige began the match on the front foot, employing her submission wrestling to her advantage, wearing down Fox first with an armbar and then a version of the Regal Stretch. This doesn’t force her to tap though, and the Brit sends her opponent to ringside with a hard knee to the face. But this is where the tables turn, as Paige’s attempted baseball slide is caught by Fox, who pulls her hard onto the floor. This switch in control is sustained when the action returns from the break, as Fox keeps Paige grounded, and mocks her by shouting that this was her house.
Paige’s early attempts at fighting back are snuffed out by Fox’s long legs and vicious streak, but she makes a mistake by ascending the turnbuckle. Paige throws her hard across the top rope, and with Fox stumbling at ringside, hits her with a running senton from the apron. Returning to the ring, Paige attempts the PTO but is fought off, until Fox misses a scissors kick and is taken down by a pair of kicks. At the second attempt Paige locks in her patented submission, forcing Fox to tap out and ending this solid encounter.
Ivelisse, Son of Havoc & Angelico vs Big Ryck, Cage & DelAvar Daivari (Trios Championship)
The Trios Championship continues to be a heavily sought after prize in Lucha Underground, as the team of champion underdogs faced another challenging proposition. A still injured Ivelisse alongside Son of Havoc and Angelico would defend against three intimidating challengers, Big Ryck, Cage and DelAvar Daivari. As per usual, this Trios match was chaotic, entertaining and innovative, and well worth a watch.
However, as this article focuses on women’s wrestling, Ivelisse’s injury once again limited her involvement. Son of Havoc and Angelico appeared concerned about tagging her into the match due to her damaged ankle, so she spent most of the contest watching from the crowd. Her only real involvement was a brief distraction towards Daivari which turned the tide for her team, and eventually Ivelisse, Son of Havoc and Angelico retained their titles.
Pentagon Jr vs Sexy Star
A rivalry that has grown incredibly personal in Lucha Underground is the one between Sexy Star and Pentagon Jr. Sexy has stood up to the demonic servant in his bid to cripple and sacrifice all opponents, and defeated him a few weeks ago in singles competition. This week, they squared off once more in a submission match, and the intensity and animosity between the two stepped up significantly under these stipulations.
Sexy was immediately up for the fight, but stopped dead in her tracks with Pentagon’s vicious kicks to her knees. The pair traded blows in the turnbuckles before Sexy has the wind taken out of her with a dropkick. Sexy though is the first to push the submission aspect of the fight with a guillotine choke, but Pentagon escapes to begin his assault on the arm of his rival. This sets the stage for an excellent encounter, as Sexy takes to her lucha libre background with a hurricanrana and a senton dive through the middle rope onto Pentagon.
Sexy from that moment assumes control by using the ringside environment to punish Pentagon, and locks in a leg lace submission when the action returns to the ring. He escapes however and soon applies his own unique hold onto Sexy, a leg stretch in a tombstone position. She counters into an attempted armbar, but is then floored by a wicked super kick to the face by Pentagon. This exceptional contest has a great back-and-forth to it, as Sexy dives from the crowd onto Pentagon at ringside to keep her chances alive.
The fans were clearly enthralled by this battle, as Sexy looked to have Pentagon beat with a single-legged Boston Crab. But, she is taken out by Superfly of all people, her former friend who she was forced to unmask and aided in his fights with Pentagon. This shocking development allows Pentagon to floor Sexy with a Package Piledriver, and then made her submit with a modified surfboard stretch. A superb match, and whilst Sexy lost, she was fortunate to survive intact as Pentagon looked to break her arm, only for her to be rescued by Vampiro.
Eva Marie Promo
In her first appearance after a lengthy hiatus, Eva Marie arrived in NXT for an interview on the stage. Following her surgery, the redhead has been training with Brian Kendrick in anticipation of a return to action, and the former WWE Tag Team Champion has been impressed with her improvement and work ethic. And Marie talked passionately about how the women of NXT are revolutionizing how the gender is looked upon in professional wrestling, and how she wanted to continue her progression among this talented group.
However, this segment was slightly difficult to watch, due to the wholly negative reception Marie endured from the NXT crowd. The fans have been used to excellent performances from their female athletes, and Marie has a history of dreadful contests from her days on the main roster. Marie will have to work extremely hard to overcome these preconceptions of her poor ability and attitude if she is to make an impact in developmental, but I am hopeful of her chances.
Alexa Bliss vs Carmella
After the controversial ending to the NXT Tag Team Championship match at Takeover: Unstoppable, Alexa Bliss and Carmella took to the ring to represent their allied tandems. Bliss’ unexpected heel turn allowed Blake & Murphy to retain their belts, and has imbued her with a fiercer and brasher attitude. However, whilst the character and charisma of these two competitors is compelling, at this moment in time their wrestling ability falls far short of others on the roster. Obviously this is developmental, but both Bliss and Carmella require a lot in that department.
The moves employed by both were incredibly basic, a limited range including shoulder tackles, hair pulls and headlocks. When you compare this to matches between Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch where they push the limits every opportunity they get to perform, this was utterly unadventurous. Bliss would win with a roll-up, grabbing the ropes in the process. The feud between the trios is likely far from over, but hopefully an improvement in quality will be evident the next time Bliss and Carmella clash.
Brooke vs Jade
The Dollhouse have been calling the shots in the Knockouts Division since their debut, as they demonstrated with their sadistic assault of Gail Kim last week. But, with Knockouts’ Champion Taryn Terrell taking a night off from the ring, it was left to Jade to battle Brooke and continue the new stable’s dominance. And she tried to get a cheap shot in quickly, only for the former champion to have it well scouted. Brooke rapidly got into the groove with a monkey flip, but her attempt at another is blocked by Jade, who follows up with a running dropkick.
When Brooke is sent to ringside, Marti Belle takes advantage of Jade distracting the referee by landing a forearm smash, and then sending her scrawling back into the ring. The Dollhouse member takes control following this interference with blows and kicks to the face of Brooke, and then throwing her around by her hair. Brooke occasionally fights back with a pin attempt, but is cut off by the strong kicks of Jade. Until the Texan lands one of her own, followed by a flying clothesline from the second rope.
From that moment, the action became very back and forth, as Brooke and Jade traded maneuvers to try and assume full control. Jade slammed her opponent down, but missed with an asai moonsault, to which Brooke responded with a facebuster. The cover though is interrupted by Marti putting her teammates’ foot on the bottom rope, and when Brooke grabs her by the hair, she is accidentally kicked to the floor by Jade. The Tess-Shocker connects and Brooke has a hard-fought win. But the Dollhouse clearly didn’t take defeat well, attacking Rebel backstage after she congratulated Brooke on her victory.
The events of RAW still fresh in her mind, Paige partook in an interview on SmackDown with Renee Young, and had plenty of things to get off her chest. She began by stating how sick and tired she was of the Bella Twins sitting atop the Divas Division, and suggesting they were the ones holding the rest of the locker room back. She lists her, Emma, Summer and Naomi as women who have suffered due to the spotlight continuously shining on Nikki and Brie.
Paige prided herself on being different, and not pushing for the celebrity culture that both Bella Twins seem to thrive on. She finishes off this strong promo by saying that she does not join trends, but looks to change the world for the better. And Paige will go about changing her world by seemingly ridding the Bella Twins from it.
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!