This edition is highlighted by a major shakeup in WWE, as three women from NXT look to send the Divas division to new heights. NXT is in the spotlight as well this week in its own right, as Sasha Banks clashes with Charlotte for the Women’s Championship. Additionally, Sexy Star competes for a famed Aztec medallion as she pulls double duty for Lucha Underground, and Taryn Terrell puts her TNA Knockouts’ Championship on the line against Brooke Tessmacher.
Gabi Eliminated From Tough Enough
Another female competitor would leave Tough Enough this week, thinning their ranks faster and faster. Following her failure to grasp the concept of what a promo truly is, Gabi Castrovinci was the clear choice to be eliminated by the WWE Universe. This would upset fans of reality television, as her rivalries with the other housemates were highlights of recent shows, but great news for fans of wrestling as Gabi, to put it bluntly, sucked and clearly had no passion for WWE. It was little more than a platform towards fame for her, so it is for the best that she’s gone.
It was a fellow wannabe Diva that dodged the bullet this week, as Sara Lee maintains a massive fan following in spite of her woeful performances in every aspect of professional wrestling. Until her last minute promo against Paige which was exceptional, she seemed not to have a second gear on the microphone and was hazardous in the ring. Yet, considering the landslide of public she received in the bottom three vote, it appears she is the favorite to become the next Diva. Sara’s a nice girl, but that isn’t enough to be a wrestler, so the sooner she steps up or leaves the better.
Eden Stiles Stands Up For Stardust
The return of Stardust to WWE this past week disappointed a wide section of the fans, who desired Cody Rhodes to step out of the face paint in light of his father Dusty’s passing. This negative reception and outright criticism brought out a formidable defense from his wife Brandi Runnels, better known as ring announcer Eden Stiles. On her blog, she scolded those that wanted Dusty’s death to be a ‘stepping stone’ for Rhodes to climb up the ranks, and praised the bravery of her husband to return only a month after this tragedy and perform as the eccentric Stardust.
Total Divas Recap
Episode of Total Divas was released this week, and Eva Marie continued to be a buzz name throughout due to last week’s confrontation. The show was set around WrestleMania weekend, and had a number of side stories revolving around Paige dressing up for the Hall of Fame ceremony, Brie Bella finding out that she wasn’t pregnant, and Naomi getting heat over her decision to stand up for Eva Marie. Also, Natalya’s family strife persisted, as she endeavored to make her father Jim Neidhart join for a WrestleMania Axxess signing in spite of his recent poor health and addictions.
Stephanie McMahon Instigates A Diva Revolution
After months and months of lackluster storylines and creative misdirection, the WWE Divas division got the shot in the arm it desperately needed on RAW this week. What began as a standard Nikki Bella promo, pushing the dominance of Team Bella and bemoaning a lack of competition for the Divas Champion, she was interrupted by the emergence of Stephanie McMahon. This was the highlight moment required, as it displayed the significance of what was taking place, as well as showed McMahon was firmly behind a revolution in the Divas division.
McMahon called out Paige to the ring, stating that she was encouraged by the Brit’s desire to bring change to the Divas division for the better and eliminate the Bella Empire. To that end, she provided Paige with the support the rest of the current Divas were reluctant to give her, by plucking Becky Lynch and Charlotte from NXT to form their own alliance. This was a standout moment that got the crowd on their feet, as the performances the ladies of NXT produce on a nightly basis is setting a new bar for the quality of women’s wrestling.
However, there was one other NXT star left out, but that was rectified with the emergence of Naomi and Tamina as neutrals in this equation. McMahon hadn’t forgotten them, and introduced their new ally in the form of NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. The sight of these three exceptional women created undoubtedly the most captivating segment involving Divas in recent memory, as chants of ‘This is Awesome’ were audible when the new factions confronted Team Bella.
The ensuing brawl wasn’t exactly pretty or particularly well-choreographed, but it didn’t need to be. Every one of the nine ladies was given a chance to fight and get into the action, showing that this gang warfare will not be a one-sided encounter. In particular the image of all three NXT women locking Team Bella in their signature submissions was a clear signal that change is here, and it is long overdue. This was arguably the best section of the entire episode of RAW, and if this momentum can be held, this is a new, glorious dawn for the Divas division.
For more on this moment and what it could hold for the Divas going forward, be sure to check out this Triple Threat article featuring myself, Carlos Toro, and Leslie Joy.
Sexy Star vs Superfly; Sexy Star vs Marty Martinez
With the battles for the coveted Aztec Medallions enticing many within Lucha Underground currently, Sexy Star was ready to throw her mask into the mix on this episode. Her opponent in this venture would be bitter rival Superfly, who has targeted Sexy since a match with her cost him his mask. However, if he was hoping to secure his revenge in this contest, he would be bitterly disappointed. Sexy within a minute of the bell transitioned a tilt-the-world headscissors into a Fujiwara armbar to earn a submission victory and the medallion.
Yet, that would not be the end of her night, as her celebrations would be interrupted by the abhorrent Marty Martinez. He claimed that her medallion belonged to his native Aztec tribe, and demanded to immediately challenge for it on those grounds of ownership. Sexy has never been one to back away from a fight, and duly accepted by striking at Martinez with chops and punches, using her speed and intelligence to gain the early advantage.
However, Sexy certainly couldn’t match Martinez in the power stakes, as he caught her flying in with a crossbody, following up with a scoop slam. He would build on this advantage with a figure-four leglock, until Sexy was able to flip onto her stomach and reverse the pressure. A running boot to the face stunned Martinez, and she soon had him locked in the armbar that forced uperfly to tap earlier, and Martinez would crumble in the same fashion.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte (NXT Women’s Championship)
Following their brief alliance last week in a victory over Dana Brooke & Emma, an old and storied rivalry reignited on NXT, as Sasha Banks and Charlotte contested the Women’s Championship. These two clashed throughout 2014 and 2015 over the prized belt, cementing themselves in the process among the elite wrestlers on the NXT roster, male or female. Whilst this has developed deep feelings of respect for one another’s accomplishments, this would not deter their ferocious intensity and desire to be the absolute best. And the classic that took place this week illustrated that perfectly.
Watching a match between these two, or indeed any of NXT’s phenomenal female athletes feels special, and this bout in particular took those emotions to new heights. Charlotte controlled the early exchanges, using her height and athleticism to overpower Banks, flipping her across the canvas in a figure four headlock. But the crafty Banks exploited an opening in the corner, stretching her rival across the turnbuckles then hitting her patented knee drop across the gut.
There were numerous great spots to keep the fans enthralled throughout this competitive battle. Charlotte brought out her father’s legendary ‘Flair Flop’, which Banks mocked with her own Nature Boy strut. Banks then locked in a vicious straight jacket stretch, pulling Charlotte into some ridiculously painful holds. Her submission specialty would keep the challenger down for a while, before Charlotte broke loose with a powerbomb that had the champ bouncing off the mat. Both these ladies were putting their bodies on the line in the pursuit of an awesome contest.
The closing exchanges got feisty, as Banks got in Charlotte’s face, stating that she was better than the Nature Girl. This resulted in some aggressive shots fired on both sides and near falls aplenty. Charlotte applied the figure-four leglock, and although Banks made it to the rope she refused to give up the hold, dropping to ringside with the champ’s leg still being contorted. But, the Bank Statement was soon clinched, and whilst Charlotte fought tooth and nail to escape in spite of how far she was bent backwards, she soon had no choice but to surrender.
Banks retained the bout in another tremendous fight between these exceptional performers, a sign of things to come hopefully on RAW in future. She and Charlotte then tearfully embraced in the center of the ring in an emotionally charged moment. It was as if both recognized both what they have accomplished in NXT and how great they have become, losing themselves amid the rapturous appreciation of the audience. It was a fabulous sight to behold, and they should be hugely proud of all they have achieved thus far. Hopefully, their futures will be just as bright.
Taryn Terrell vs Brooke Tessmacher (Knockouts’ Championship)
Another championship match would take place on Impact Wrestling, as Taryn Terrell defended her Knockouts’ Championship against Brooke Tessmacher. Terrell was closing in on 8 months as champion, and thanks to the assistance of her Dollhouse teammates was able to best Brooke and Awesome Kong a fortnight prior. But, with ominous messages of Gail Kim’s return following that defense, would Terrell’s focus become distracted enough for Brooke to pull off the upset?
It didn’t seem that way at the start, as an immediate diversion from Jade and Marti Belle allowed Terrell to pummel Brooke in the corner. This was followed with a running neckbreaker, as the champion showed little sign of relinquishing her belt on this night. With the Dollhouse taking some shots at the challenger at any viable opportunity, it seemed Brooke was fighting a hopeless cause, but that didn’t stop her scrapping.
Terrell for the vast majority of the contest was in complete control, using the outside environment and numbers game to keep Brooke’s chances to a minimum. A sidestepped dropkick attempted by the champ allowed Brooke to build momentum, until it was cut off by more Dollhouse trickery. Then, the lights suddenly went out, and when they returned Gail Kim was standing over the fallen body of Marti. A headscissors sent Jade into the ring post, followed by a swinging kick to the head. This confusion distracted Terrell enough that she walked into a woefully executed facebuster by Brooke, capitalizing on the situation to pin the champ and become the new Knockouts’ Champion.
This was an okay match, marred by some shoddy spots and maneuvers, mainly on the shoulders of Brooke. Personally, I’m not a fan of her as the champ as she doesn’t have the wrestling acumen of others on the roster, and it takes away from a feud Terrell and Kim could have over the belt.
Formation Of Team BAD
With the battle lines drawn on RAW, three distinct teams were forged to contest over domination of the Divas division. And dominating is exactly the mantra professed by one of these units, as Naomi, Tamina & Sasha Banks christened their trio Team BAD, which stands for ‘Best At Dominating’. They cut a nice backstage promo on SmackDown forging this alliance, and stating that they would be the group standing tallest when all three teams come to blows in future.
This was an awesome week for fans of women’s wrestling, as we were treated to hopefully the beginning of the revitalization of the Divas division on RAW, and a phenomenal match over the NXT Women’s Championship. The newest Divas are shining lights that could cut a bright future for the female roster for years to come, if they are given strong creative focus. However, having been burned many times before, I will still reserve judgement until further into this story, as I’ve been trained not to trust WWE Creative when it comes to their female talent.
TNA also has a new female matriarch atop the Knockouts’ Division, as Brooke was the one to topple Taryn Terrell. In my opinion, this was poor booking for the company, as the real story at the center of Impact Wrestling should be Gail Kim dismantling the Dollhouse. Having Brooke as the champion clouds that rivalry up, as Kim and Terrell should be trading the title. It might sound harsh, but I truly hope Brooke is little more than a placeholder until this feud really gets ignited.
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!