In this special edition of DIVAS DEBRIEF, we run down what the female superstars of SmackDown Live have been up to.
WWE SmackDown Live: July 26th
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Becky Lynch started the match off with fiery aggression, going right after her former friend, but Natalya soon found a way to power back. The match remained even split throughout, with Natalya kicking out of nearly everything Lynch threw her way, including a leg drop from the top rope. Natalya attempted to put Lynch into the Sharpshooter, but the Lass Kicker escaped, locking Natalya into the Disarm-her, forcing her to tap.
Following the match, Renee Young looked to interview Lynch, but she was cut off by Alexa Bliss, who called herself the personification of the New Era. Naomi interrupted her, proclaiming that she would be shining in SmackDown Live. Naturally, Carmella interrupted her, introducing herself with a moonwalk and her patented introduction. Eva Marie then debuted a new introduction, catwalking out and not saying a word. Frankly, after her introduction, she had no need to.
The match itself was an excellent showing for both Natalya and Lynch. The crowd was very invested, which speaks to the storytelling skill both women have. The introductions, however, while mildly entertaining, felt very contrived. That being said, SmackDown Live's roster, small as it may be at the moment, boasts plenty of potential and talent, and has no shortage of characters, which the segment highlighted well.
Winner: Becky Lynch
WWE SmackDown Live: August 2nd
Becky Lynch vs. Eva Marie
Following both Superstars' entrances, with Eva Marie's taking roughly as long as an Undertaker entrance, the bell rang and Eva Marie began to favor her left leg, retreating back into the turnbuckle. Lynch looked eager to get to wrestling, but the referee backed her away, and Marie flashed a quick smile. The referee called for a trainer, and the match was called off.
Heel genius or bad booking was the argument that broke out on social media following the match. On one hand, Eva Marie faking an injury to avoid having to face Lynch is very much in-character and garnered plenty of heat. But it also brings up the question of whether or not WWE can afford to use such a tactic when its women are barely showcased enough as it is. Introducing the characters is important, but WWE must do it in a way that allows its athletes to be, well, athletes. The women's division absolutely cannot be treated as an entertainment segment; establishing characters is not enough. If Eva Marie is indeed expected to be one of the cornerstones of SmackDown's women's division, never having her actually compete does not legitimize it in any way.
Winner: No contest
Natalya vs. Carmella
Following an interruption on Carmella's backstage interview with Renee Young by Natalya, Carmella entered, mic in hand, spouting off her usual introduction. But she didn't even make it to the ring before Natalya attacked her from behind, knocking the charismatic Superstar the the ground before locking her in the Sharpshooter.
Two no-contests in a single show took away from what was an excellently executed segment by both women. It showcased Natalya's newfound brutality and made Carmella sympathetic. However, there are not many excuses that can be made for the lack of women's matches and overall exposure. If SmackDown Live wants its women to be taken seriously, they need to give them time to slowly build their characters instead of introducing them in a contrived manner. They must spotlight individuals, not the entire division at the same time.
Winner: No contest
This was what occurred on the past two episodes of SmackDown Live. You can also check out our recap of the past two weeks of Monday Night RAW. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!