On this edition, Team Bella continue to prove the dominant force in the WWE Diva division, to the chagrin of Paige, Naomi and Tamina. In NXT, a surprise partner for Sasha Banks evens the odds against Dana Brooke and Emma, whilst Velvet Sky faces Madison Rayne in the latest episode of Impact Wrestling.
Two Ladies Leave Tough Enough, Another Joins
Tough Enough was hard on its female collective this past week, as both Dianna Dahlgren and Daria Berenato exited the competition. Dianna had been considered a serious contender to become the next WWE Diva, as she racked up challenge victories and impressed the judges. However, she endured a great deal of heat among her fellow contestants, and had discussed feeling homesick, so quit the competition.
As for Daria, she failed to entertain in the entrance challenge, and lost out in the public vote to Sara Lee and ZZ Loupe. I was sad to see her go as you could tell how passionate she was about the business, and realistically Sara should have been ousted. She seems like a very pleasant lady, but she’s lacking the personality and physical prowess of her fellow competitors. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did win, simply for her underdog status and large Twitter following.
However, Sara and the other women will have another force to contend with, as Tough Enough welcomed a replacement for Dianna in the form of Chelsea Green. The independent performer did not make the final thirteen, but should be considered a threat due to her background, having been trained at former WWE superstar Lance Storm’s wrestling academy. Chelsea has also been on RAW previously, playing the role of Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist.
NXT Divas Debuting At SummerSlam?
With the confusion surrounding the current storyline of Paige battling Team Bella, rumors are suggesting the situation will become a great deal clearer at SummerSlam. It is believed that Paige will join forces with Charlotte and Sasha Banks against the Bella Twins and Alicia Fox. The NXT pair have received rave reviews for their matches in developmental, and would be welcome additions to the main roster. Hopefully they will be treated with the same respect they have been in NXT.
Whilst Charlotte is practically nailed on to align with Paige, there have been reports that Bayley was also in consideration to be promoted to the main roster. However, due to her hand injury and having less experience in the ring compared to Banks, it is for the best that she bides her time in NXT before deservedly stepping up to the big leagues.
Mickie James Working GFW Television Tapings
As GFW prepare for their initial television tapings on July 24th, Mickie James has been announced as one of the competitors in a tournament to determine the inaugural Women’s Champion. James, who is a multi-time WWE Women’s/Divas Champion and TNA Knockouts’ Champion, definitely adds credibility to this event, and will be a genuine contender to end up with another belt for her already striking collection.
Total Divas Returns For Season Four
Finally, Total Divas made its return to the E! Network, and the reality show’s opening episode of Season Four already established a number of key talking points for the future. The main stories appear to be revolving around the Bella Twins, Eva Marie and Paige. Nikki Bella showed some remorse over her and Brie’s decision not to renew their contracts, believing the Twins could become the female equivalent of John Cena in WWE. Brie has initially been reluctant to change her mind, wanting to start a family with husband Daniel Bryan, but Nikki seems ready to sign on.
As for Eva Marie, she is the victim of a great deal of heat from the other girls due to her supposed special treatment. The redhead has been receiving personal wrestling training by Brian Kendrick in California before making her reappearance in NXT. Whilst it is clear to anyone who has witnessed an Eva Marie match/train wreck that these measures were very necessary, but it hasn’t endeared her to the other Divas, who believe she is being groomed for the top of the division simply for her looks. Despite not being a fan of this trashy reality series, I will endeavor to provide a brief overview of episodes for the remainder of this season.
Brie Bella vs Paige
WWE’s confusing stance on the Bella Twins persisted this week, as they continue to flip between face and heel on a nightly basis. On RAW, the trio of Nikki, Brie and Alicia Fox awaited the arrival of Paige, who was unable to capture the Divas Championship during the company’s tour of Japan. The Brit has not wavered in her mission to end their reign of terror, and looked to build upon her victory over Fox last week when she clashed with Brie.
They are undoubtedly two of the best workers in the Divas division, and despite a very short window to compete in they produced some good work. Brie gained the upperhand early, lifting Paige onto the apron and sending her falling to the floor. However, a miscued knee on the bottom rope sent Nikki and Fox at ringside flying, and set Paige’s comeback in motion. She provided her usual mix of clotheslines and hard kicks, yet couldn’t lock in the PTO. Brie’s responding missile dropkick missed, but this was where the numbers game came into play.
Paige sent Brie hurtling into Nikki on the apron, before kicking Fox off as well, but all this action allowed her actual opponent to connect with the Bella Buster to secure a victory. Team Bella certainly came off as heels in this, arguably more than they have at any time in this feud, showing their true viciousness with Nikki hitting the Rack Attack after the match. That was a statement that Paige’s plans to overcome the Bella Empire will be ripped to shreds, and this was a simple and poignant way to maintain the Brit’s role as a sympathetic babyface.
Team Alberto vs Team Johnny
Lucha Underground brought some of their unique action to the main event scene, in an eight-person lucha tag. Alberto El Patron brought together a team of himself, Sexy Star, Drago and Aerostar to oppose Johnny Mundo, Jack Evans, Superfly and Hernandez. Of course, this segment will focus on the efforts of the Lady of Lucha Sexy Star, whose main rival was undoubtedly Superfly. The former friends severed ties when Superfly lost his mask in a match with Sexy, and has now made it his mission to hand the same humiliation to her.
Sexy’s first involvement was in the traditional soaring through the air chain in a Lucha match, connecting with a twisting crossbody onto teammates and opponents at ringside. She legally got into the fray late on, battling Mundo, Evans and Superfly with conviction and intelligence, before the powerful Hernandez dropped her hard over his broad shoulder. Eventually, with the fast-paced action all around the arena, Sexy would be on the unfortunate end of a pin attempt, as Mundo rolled through her crossbody attempt and grab her trunks for the cheap victory.
Sasha Banks & Charlotte vs Dana Brooke & Emma
Dana Brooke & Emma have made no secret about their intentions to take over NXT, and are very self-assured in achieving that aim. To that end, the blonde vixens were found snooping in NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks’ locker room, scouting it out for when they eventually lead the pack. Banks though was certainly not ready to hand them this honor, and instead would agree to a tag team match on this edition. However, the Boss was without a partner until the very last minute, when Charlotte arrived to support her former BFF ally.
It was great to see the pair unite, in spite of the magic they can produce as enemies, and showed glimpses of their former friendship with a double finger snap following kicks to the front and back of Brooke. Both she and Emma were immediately on the defensive against Banks and Charlotte, the Nature Girl in particular looking dominant in her assault. But, that was cut off when, after chasing her Aussie opponent around the ring, Brooke booted her in the face. Her range of maneuvers remains primitive, but she carries herself with a natural charisma that will keep her relevant.
The heel unit focus the damage on Charlotte, trapping her in the corner, and Brooke looked good in that dominant role. One criticism I have of the layout of this match was the timing of the hot tag, as it came quite abruptly, lessening the impact when Banks exploded into the fray. She charged at her rival with knees in the corner as the crowd sang the Boss’ praises, and soon both she and Charlotte had their opposition in brutal submission holds to force them to tap out hastily. Banks and Charlotte celebrated their reunion, but the latter displayed it would be short-lived, by demanding a title match. Banks duly accepted, and that mouth-watering contest will take place next week.
Velvet Sky vs Madison Rayne
Following her victory over Angelina love a fortnight ago, Velvet Sky is back on the TNA roster (whether she likes it or not), and set her sights on another former teammate for her next challenge. Madison Rayne considers herself the Queen Bee in Impact Wrestling, and prior to this bout harped on about how she was royalty and Sky was no better than trash. That unsurprisingly earned her a kick to the gut, as Sky’s aggressive streak came to the forefront once more.
Just like her clash with Love, Sky sent the action to ringside quickly, hurling Rayne into the barricade and steel steps with authority. This added intensity has been good for her character, which had become overdone as one of the Beautiful People. But Rayne soon turned things around, looking to make the most of this rare opportunity to perform on Impact Wrestling after an extended absence. She has been a loyal servant to the company, and showed her own fire and fierceness to take the wind out of Sky.
Rayne soon had her former friend in position for her signature Scissor Stomp, driving Sky’s face against the mat repeatedly. But, Sky rose up virtually unaffected, unleashing some pent-up violence onto the Queen with kicks to the midsection and face. I will say the finish was not very appealing to the eye, as their motions were very deliberate and slow, and Sky took an age connecting with her Stunner. I’m still not sold on that being her finisher, but despite this underwhelming conclusion it was a decent contest between two veteran Knockouts.
Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs Naomi & Tamina
As the Bella Twins and Paige persist in their war, Naomi and Tamina have insisted on remaining neutral due to their disdain for both sides. However, this has yet to prove beneficial to their tandem, as they have consistently found themselves toppled by Team Bella members. They were hoping that this would be the night where they bucked the trend, as both competed against Brie Bella and Alicia Fox, with Divas Champion Nikki lurking at ringside.
These matches are always the most confounding to me in this entire ‘rivalry’ within the Divas division, as devalues the Bella Twins as heels if they are then the babyfaces in encounters with Naomi and Tamina. It makes no sense, and shows why this feud has been so woeful from a creative point of view. At least this match provided some of Tamina’s best ring work since her return from injury, as she looked every inch the wrecking ball she should always be presented as. But, the situation of having Brie getting crowd sympathy for a hot tag after what their stable did to Paige on RAW was nonsensical.
Fox entered the fray off the tag and was cleaning house with dropkicks and running boots, before connecting with the tilt-the-world backbreaker on Naomi. Tamina had made the blind tag, and looked set to secure victory with a Samoan Drop. But the Bella numbers game came into effect once more, Nikki jumping onto the apron as a distraction. This allowed Brie to push Tamina into Naomi on the apron, and Fox cleaning up with a Scissor Kick to win. A short but solid tag match, but this storyline continues to bemuse even the most ardent Diva supporter.
I’m still struggling, no matter how hard I try, to become invested in the Bella Twins angle currently taking place. They really seemed to be taking strides towards some concrete creative with the assault of Paige on RAW, establishing themselves as dominant heels. But, that was again confused by their babyface stance on SmackDown. This desperately needs more clarity to gain the audience’s interest, and if that takes Charlotte and Sasha Banks debuting, then all the more reason to get them on the main roster.
Speaking of Charlotte and Banks, their reformed alliance was entertaining to witness on the latest episode of NXT, but I am even more excited about the pair locking horns over the Women’s Championship once again. Both will be supported by the raucous NXT crowd, and likely putting the women on the main roster to shame with a masterclass in telling an enthralling story in the ring. Hopefully this won’t be their pinnacle, as if the rumors of them being promoted to the ‘big leagues’ soon are true, they might become victims of creatives indifference to women’s wrestling.
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!