In this edition, the SummerSlam Divas match is announced, as the three stables continue to vie for dominance on RAW and SmackDown. GFW invades the Impact Zone, leading to a heavyweight clash between Awesome Kong and Lei’D Tapa, whilst on NXT, Bayley bids for a title shot at Takeover: Brooklyn in a match with Becky Lynch.
Gigi Eliminated from Tough Enough
Another week, another reason to despise Tough Enough and everything it stands for. After narrowly avoiding the bullet last week thanks to Paige’s save, Gigi couldn’t dodge the second shot, as she became the penultimate woman eliminated from the competition. In spite of being the overall strongest female performer in the contest, a match with Tanner proved her undoing, as she failed to embody the babyface character she was supposed to portray. As such, she received the lowest percentage of the audience vote against Tanner and Sara Lee.
It is another disappointing but expected blow, as Gigi clearly demonstrated she had the passion and conditioning to be an asset over time to the Divas division, and hopefully this isn’t the last we see of her. This leaves Sara Lee and Amanda to battle for the $250,000 contract. Despite being two of the weakest contestants across the whole season, they have survived to the final, where they will stand before the public and Sara Lee will undoubtedly win.
Update on Return of the WWE Divas Search
More reality competition news, as WWE continues to forge ahead with plans to reintroduce the WWE Divas Search for the first time since 2007. After discovering talents like Layla El, Michelle McCool and Maryse over the years, the series will return on the WWE Network to find the newest Diva to join developmental. However, it will not be organized in the same manner as Tough Enough, after executives determined it has been a failed project in serious need of revamping.
Sasha Banks on Talk is Jericho Podcast
NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks recently appeared on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast to discuss her origins in wrestling and some funny stories backstage. Banks in particular discussed how big a champion Triple H is for the Divas division both on the main roster and in NXT, stating he is the predominant reason they are getting more television time. She also talked about accidentally hitting Vince McMahon backstage whilst talking to him prior to her debut as part of Team BAD.
Team Bella vs Team BAD
One criticism I have had with the current Divas Revolution angle, which on the whole has been very successful, is the spotlight being directed almost exclusively onto Team PCB. Obviously, they are the predominant babyfaces in this three-way feud, but it has belittled the ability of Team BAD and especially Team Bella. The Bella Twins should be better positioned due to their history controlling the WWE and Nikki holding the Divas Championship, yet have constantly been playing second fiddle to Charlotte. With PCB out of the equation, both they and Team BAD had the chance to demonstrate their talents.
As long as you were able to drown out the sound of Paige’s voice on commentary, this was a solid tag team encounter. Alicia Fox was straight out of the gates with her tilt-the-world backbreaker on Naomi, before Nikki entered to take some shots at Team BAD’s leader-elect. Still, there was only one member of the BAD group the crowd wanted to see, and their chanting for Sasha Banks was rewarded when she tangled with her fellow champion. Nikki fought back against both, showing why she is pushing for the longest ever Divas Championship reign, but after the break she was being worn down by her rivals.
Eventually Nikki was able to reach her sister Brie, who exploded into the action with kicks and clotheslines in her husband Daniel Bryan’s home state. The ‘YES’ chants were loud and constant as Brie Mode switched on, taking down Banks with a missile dropkick. However, she was stopped dead in her tracks by a wicked clothesline by Tamina who tagged into the fray. She went for her signature superkick, only for Brie to duck and roll-up the enforcer of Team BAD and earn the victory.
The action was far from over though, as the sore losers in Team BAD ganged up on Brie for a post-match assault, leading to Brie’s teammates and Team PCB to enter the ring to begin yet another division-wide brawl. After some wild fighting between all nine Divas, it was Charlotte and Sasha Banks staring each other down in the center of the ring to a strong crowd reaction, before being backed up by their respective factions. As all three teams prepare to go to war in a triple threat elimination tag at SummerSlam, it is anybody’s guess who will emerge victorious.
Bayley vs Becky Lynch
After her exceptional victory over Charlotte last week, Bayley had one final obstacle to overcome in her bid to challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover: Brooklyn. But it wouldn’t come easy, as she battled Becky Lynch for the number one contender slot, with champ Sasha Banks watching from commentary. Bayley and Lynch have had a storied history in NXT, when the Irishwoman made a name for herself off the back of assaulting the cheery hugger. Things are different now, but both still share the goal of holding the coveted gold that adorns Banks’ waist.
This would prove to be another exposition of how much Bayley has developed, from being a lovable underdog to a significant threat in NXT’s famed women’s division. Both her and Lynch would trade-off in the opening exchanges, neither getting a firm foothold over the other, until Bayley dropped her opponent with a running bulldog. However, Lynch from the outset had her rival’s arm as her bullseye, and that would eventually pay dividends following a unique suplex onto that damaged limb that gained her control of the match.
The range of maneuvers Lynch has to target and weaken that extremity is scary, and really allows her to stand out as an in-ring technician. Bayley was also a trooper for enduring this strong offense, yet when she tried to mount a comeback with some quick pin attempts, Lynch launched her across the ring with a pumphandle throw. Bayley fought back again though with charges into the corner and her flying reverse elbow. She even pulled out a rarely seen Oklahoma slam, but Lynch would not stay down.
A series of quick counters saw Bayley trapped in the deadly Dis-Arm-Her of Lynch, but she was fortuitously close to the ropes to force a break. Lynch would go for her signature submission again after blocking an attempt at the Bayley-2-Belly, only this time her focus on the arm would prove her undoing. Bayley reversed the momentum into a schoolgirl, securing another crucial win and cementing herself as the challenger to the Boss’ throne. Bayley has come a long way in her years in NXT, and it will be enthralling to see her strive for the gold in Brooklyn.
Awesome Kong vs Lei’D Tapa
As Global Force Wrestling invaded Impact Wrestling as part of their relationship with Jeff Jarrett, it led to a battle between two of the most unique and powerful women’s wrestlers in the world at the moment. Lei’D Tapa, who previously competed in TNA as Gail Kim’s sizable enforcer, returned to compete against Awesome Kong, the Knockout’s division’s current monster. This collision of behemoths was actually worth the spectacle it was presented as, unlocking some of Kong’s potential that had been sorely lacking since her return to the company.
The early exchanges were slow, which would be expected with two giant competitors, as both vied for the first knockdown with tackles and clotheslines. Eventually, Kong earned the first meaningful blow of the contest when she launched herself with a running crossbody into Tapa. That likely would have crushed any other Knockout, but Tapa recovers and floors Kong with a high kick to the temple. The physicality stepped up after that point, Kong hitting a splash, and then Tapa showing incredible strength by hoisting Kong for a Samoan Drop.
Action spilled to ringside as these monsters forgot all about the rules of the match, too concerned with proving who the most dominant force was. The brawled on the floor until the referee proceeded to count both ladies out, with Kong and Tapa ignoring this announcement and continuing to fight all the way backstage. The answer of who the better of the two was not settled tonight, but a rematch would certainly not deter many after this appetizer.
Charlotte vs Naomi
After last week’s tag team match was supposedly clouded by the wrong finish, Charlotte and Naomi got the opportunity to create their ideal clash on this week’s SmackDown. Last time, Naomi overcame her genetically superior rival, and immediately got in Charlotte’s face with a slap across the face. The Nature Girl responded with a Lou Thesz Press with some shots to the face of her opponent, before returning the favor to Naomi with a slap of her own. Naomi retreated to ringside among her Team BAD colleagues, and took down Charlotte with an enziguri when she gave chase.
When action returned from the commercial break, Naomi was beating the hell out Charlotte with repeated forearms, before vaulting onto her opponent. She talked smack throughout her dominant spell, flooring Charlotte with a dropkick, followed by a splits leg drop. But this would not keep Charlotte down for long, as she employed her patented chops to the chest of Naomi, then sending her crashing down with a wicked spear.
Naomi would then find herself launched over the top rope onto Sasha Banks and Tamina at ringside, taking all three members of Team BAD out in one fell swoop. Charlotte wasted little time dragging her opponent back into the ring, locking in the Figure-Eight, the bridge causing Naomi to tap out in a hurry. A good match between two of the most athletically gifted women on the roster, and it continues to build Charlotte up as the new face of the Divas division.
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!