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SmackDown Redux (December 11th, 2009) – Table for Two at TLC

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With the last minute addition of a Women’s Championship match to this Sunday’s TLC pay per view, the Divas of SmackDown were given a brief build-up to the event. After Maria‘s return last week,  we saw the obvious tag team match as she made her in-ring return, teaming with Mickie James against Layla and Michelle McCool.

Once again, those ‘Piggie James’ t-shirts manage to get on camera despite Layla and McCool wearing ring attire this week; given management’s current distaste for Mickie, I’m sure more creative input went into how to get that agenda across on screen than you know, the actual storyline. Anyone who thinks those shirts aren’t a dig at Mickie personally is positively fooling themselves.

Anyway back to the action, fans [read: me] held their breath for Maria’s in-ring return. It’s too bad I didn’t hold it longer and pass out, because that would have been more fun than Maria’s ring attire. There’s mismatched and then there’s just plain stupid. Watch the match below:

In an ultra short match, we kick off with Michelle and Maria, which is perhaps for the best. Maria vs Layla seems like a trainwreck waiting to happen. I’ve said it several times before and I’ll say it again, Maria works with no one better than she does with Michelle. It’s a real testament to McCool I think, that she’s able to bring so much out of Maria and knows just how to work with her to carry themselves to a decent match. The match starts with a couple of dodgy armdrags and wholly unconvincing kicks from Maria before she reverts back to the role she plays best — Michelle’s rag doll. Michelle hits a nice spinning backbreaker. McCool then knocks Mickie off the apron, which results in the #1 Contender trying to get in the ring. The distraction allows for Layla to get in an illegal move in her corner. With order then restored, Michelle tries to wear down Maria, who counters with a leg scissors sold perfectly by McCool.

The two Divas then tag out to their respective partners, Mickie tosses Layla across the ring by the hair before hitting her with running clotheslines. Layla manages to sneak in a move but Mickie then hits her with a Thesz Press. Mickie attempts to throw Michelle off the apron, as she did with her earlier. Layla charges at Mickie, Mickie moves out of the way and Layla hits her partner instead. The mix-up allows Mickie to roll up Layla for a quick pin.

Honestly, there’s not much to say about this match, it was utter filler before this Sunday’s pay per view match. My only point of comparison would be the work between the two veterans and the two rookies; while Michelle worked well with Maria, the exchange between Mickie and Layla looked awkward at times. I don’t see Mickie as someone that brings out a lot in her less seasoned opponents and I think that’s something perhaps WWE should call into question instead of something as ridiculous as her weight. While Michelle was still learning, early last year, she had a few great matches with Layla on SmackDown. Just earlier this year, Melina brought out a whole new side to Layla also — but the two and a half matches between Mickie and Layla haven’t been up to that same standard. I would say looking over on Raw right now, Melina seems to be meshing better with Maryse better than Mickie did also. I think that area is something Mickie needs to work on and I could understand if WWE weren’t happy with her in that sense as opposed to whatever trivial bullshit they’re mad at her for.

As much as this match has been something of a ‘dream match’, I can’t say I’m all too excited for Mickie vs Michelle this Sunday. It really could go either way in the ring — it could be great or it could be a snoozefest. Either way, we hope you find out with us in our live blog at 7.45pm ET/12.45am UK.

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