Backstage in Mr Shane McMahon’s office, we see the SmackDown Live Commissioner talking to Naomi. The champ asks about who her next challenger will be, with the hope that it isn’t Lana, yet again. Charlotte Flair then walks into the room, sharing the same feelings as Naomi about Lana. Becky Lynch is the next woman in the ring, jokingly (but not really) stating that she deserves to be the number one contender. Natalya, Lana and Tamina soon fill the room – and it appears that Shane called them all in for a chat. He announces that at Battleground, Charlotte, Becky, Tamina, Natalya and (to everyone’s surprise) Lana will compete in a Five-Way Elimination match. The winner of the contest will face the champion Naomi for her title at SummerSlam. Charlotte is less than pleased that Lana will be in the match, but Tamina immediately jumps to her new friend’s defense, as does Natalya. She says that Charlotte is just like Lana, as all of her opportunities have been handed to her – except it’s only through her family history. Lynch then gets involved and insinuates the same for Bret – or, Nattie, as she corrects herself.
After noticing the tension, McMahon introduces the match for the night, as the team of Natalya and Tamina will take on Charlotte and Becky!
After the five women leave the room, with Naomi and Shane still standing Carmella enters, with some papers in hand. She gives McMahon a document from her attorney, insisting that James Ellsworth’s suspension is unjust. But instead of taking it seriously, McMahon rips it to shreds. Yikes!
Now onto the match!
The match starts off with Becky Lynch and Tamina, with the Lass Kicker taking charge. Charlotte is then tagged in and takes ahold of their lead. Tamina then manages to knock Flair down, giving herself the opportunity to tag in Natalya. Once Becky is tagged in she soon finds herself being beaten down by her opponents. This seems to take place for a while. The Lass Kicker is cornered, beaten and kept away from Charlotte. However, after kicking out of Natalya’s attempted Sharpshooter, Lynch jumps up and tags in her friend.
Once Charlotte takes down Natalya, Lana comes out, distracting Miss Flair. Whilst this happens, Natalya quickly tags in Tamina and plays dead. So when Charlotte comes back to place the Figure Eight Leglock, the legal Tamina superkicks her head, and pins her: 1-2-3.
In the SmackDown Fallout, Flair discusses the upcoming pay-per-view match. Despite her and Becky having a better bond than Tamina and Lana, Charlotte will put that aside and focus on becoming the first ever female “Triple Crown” champion (which is including both current Women’s belts and either the Divas or the NXT Women’s championship).
Throughout the night we see Maria Kanellis and Mike Kanellis are seen looking for Sami Zayn. And when they find him, they demand an apology. Zayn insists that he’s already apologized, but the Kanellis’ don’t think so. And after he asks the two what they even are doing at SmackDown, he receives a slap from Mrs Kanellis, and a vase to the back of the head from Mr Kanellis. Ouch.
Thoughts: So we have quite a bit to discuss here. But first, let’s get on to Becky and Charlotte’s relationship. I know they’ve somewhat bonded over the past few weeks, but why have they gone from enemies battling to best buds purely because they were made to team together once or twice? I understand the fact that both women are faces, but it’s pretty peculiar that we’re supposed to believe that they have the same bond as the Bella Twins without any connection between their previous storyline and now? It may have been a little over a year ago, but Charlotte’s personality hasn’t changed an awful lot since then, despite no longer being a bad guy. A backstage segment of the two discussing their relationship would’ve been appreciated, but it will do, I guess.
Now onto the pay-per-view match.
It’s pretty weird that we’re having yet another Fatal-Five-Way match at a pay-per-view. SmackDown does a good job at making the women all feel equal by doing this, but sometimes it does feel a bit overdone. And what makes it worse is that despite losing three times, Lana is still being placed on the same level as the other women whom have all gone through two Money In The Bank Ladder matches (not title matches!). And on top of that, Carmella isn’t being included at all. She may be Miss Money In The Bank but since when did holding the briefcase stop a Superstar from becoming the number one contender for a title? Seth Rollins was in multiple title matches – and number one contender title matches – whilst he had his briefcase. But that doesn’t apply to Carmella? Weird.
And speaking of Carmella, SmackDown have really missed the trick here. After (temporarily) removing Ellsworth from the equation, this was the Princess of Staten Island’s time to step up. She’s been killing it on the mic lately, but with James by her side, the heat hasn’t transpired all that well. So with him now gone, Carmella had the perfect opportunity to talk with the crowd and get them to hate her – and just her. But instead she’s made to show up backstage for two minutes and then goes off screen for the rest of the night. No in-ring mic segment, no interference with a match, not even a basic backstage interview. If Carmella is to soar as the first ever female briefcase holder, then she needs to be given opportunities to do so. She can’t be made to rely on Ellsworth, whom only really has heat on himself, rather than shifting it to her. Carmella needs to fly solo – and this perfect opportunity was unfortunately missed.
However, there is a good point to this show. And that is the Tamina and Lana alliance. Instead of Tamina being the muscle that helps somebody else get the victory, she has Lana sneakily give Snuka the win. Tamina is now using her muscle to get herself to the top, whilst Lana is doing what she does best – staying on the outside and interfering when necessary. This is what we need to see Tamina do. And to see her be the first person to pin Miss Flair since the Shakeup is definitely aiding her dominance. Tamina is one to watch, and having Lana by her side is giving her that heel edge she needs. It’s brilliant.
For the upcoming match, I don’t see Tamina, Charlotte or Lana winning. Although they may be the biggest storyline coming up right now, they may have their feud settled on the side at SummerSlam whilst the title picture is between Naomi and Becky or Natalya.
Charlotte seems to have it in for Lana, as she was the most vocal with her disliking of her. And with Lana being the reason she lost tonight’s match, it won’t come as a shock if the two (or three) find themselves properly feuding in the near future.
And with the title being on the line at SummerSlam – it could be the perfect opportunity for Miss ‘Mella to get her shining moment.
Naomi has been holding the crown for over 100 days now, so by SummerSlam, she’ll definitely have a pretty lengthy reign. Fans are by her side, loving everything she does. And if she is to overcome a big battle at the biggest party of the Summer, Carmella’s cash-in could be a pretty devastating blow. It just depends on how things play out.
WWE could reiterate the Welcoming Committee’s attack where fans were disappointed that a fair battle was put to a devastating end. Here, Becky could be the challenger and a face vs face feud could definitely grab people’s attention.
Or, Natalya can be the evil opponent that Naomi overcomes, and Carmella’s cash-in can truly take away her first SummerSlam moment.
What are your thoughts on the showing? Who do you want to see victorious at Battleground? Let us know your views in the comments below!