A lot of people, myself included, were left flabbergasted when the mysterious Raw GM announced last Monday night that Michelle McCool and Layla would face off against Divas Champion, Natalya, and Beth Phoenix in the first ever Divas Tables Match at TLC. Lets face it, the WWE doesn’t exactly have a reputation for taking their girls seriously, and when this announcement was read I pretty much felt my jaw hit the ground from sheer and total shock. I quoted several times this week that this match had all the potential in the world, but it would end up being a total hit or miss. Thankfully for everyone involved, from the girls to the fans, the match was an absolute hit. Beth, Natalya, Layla, and Michelle made history last night and put their bodies on the line just to entertain the fans in the audience and those watching around the world. They proved that above all else they are wrestlers with just as much passion for the business as the people who bust their asses on the independent scene for years. Those people who write the Divas off just because they work for a company that only believes in giving them five minutes of airtime a week (max) that they’re not capable of putting together a truly good show. I really hope that everyone who watched the match or will watch will appreciate that the four ladies involved made the best use of their allotted time and did everything they could to make the match memorable.
It truly was one of the best Diva matches I’ve ever seen.
Former Divas Champions, Lay-Cool, are the first two to make their way to the ring. The Slammy award winners have their statues in their hands as they make their way to the ring. Both Michelle and Layla are sporting new ring gear and allow me to show my real wrestling fandom here; no doubt the top ring gear I’ve ever seen. Wow, both of those outfits are gorgeous. Anyway, moment over. Lay-Cool aren’t their usual confident selves as they go to the ring. They walk past several tables and Layla pretty much looks like she wants to cry. Michelle takes her hand and they finish walking together. As both members of Lay-Cool get on the apron, Layla declares that she doesn’t want to do the match at all. The cameras cut to highlights from SmackDown featuring what went down between all four women before cutting back to the ring. Michelle and Layla were seen having just watched the package and of course, that just got their emotions going again. They turned around and pointed to the pink table, crying about what could happen to them, when the Glamazon’s music started to play.
Beth, in a brand-new and totally sexy hot pink and black glamasuit, struts on stage with a look of confidence etched across her face. She drags her hands along the tables lining the entrance and made her way to the ring. The champion followed and she capped off the entrances with a hot new outfit herself, done primarily in pink. I love big time Diva matches. They always bring out the best in new ring attire. Natalya got in the ring and played to the crowd, who responded with a huge pop for the popular Canadian Diva. Nattie passed over the title (which is not on the line tonight just to reiterate) and all four girls got set to start the match. The bell rang and Lay-Cool started things off by attacking Natalya and Beth. It didn’t take long for the powerhouses to gain control. Natalya slammed Michelle down to the mat, while Beth bullied Layla, and eventually deposited her on top of Michelle. Beth and Natalya followed it up by getting the table and sitting it up in the corner of the ring. Beth walked over to Michelle and picked her up on her shoulders. The Diva of the year started screaming and struggling, which caused Beth to have to take a step back. Layla was waiting on the ropes and grabbed a handful of the Glamazon’s blond hair. Beth didn’t allow Layla to distract her from trying to put Michelle through a table. She simply picked Layla up as well and walked both girls towards the table. Lay-Cool wiggled free and Beth put on the breaks before she got two close to that pink table!
Beth came at Lay-Cool with a double clothesline attempt, which only Layla managed to duck. Unfortunately for the fashion-savvy Brit, Natalya was waiting and nearly took Layla’s head off with a clothesline of her own. Natalya tossed Layla out of the ring and Michelle was left alone to fend for herself. She was standing precariously on the ring apron, right in front of a table that had been set up on the outside. Beth tried to push her onto it, but the athletic Florida State grad managed to fly over the table and land on the ground. Beth followed her to the outside and ‘helped’ Michelle back into the ring. Out of nowhere, Layla comes flying through the ropes and Beth gets sent flying to the mat. Nice. Michelle went to the outside and slammed Beth’s head down on the table. Meanwhile, Layla went back to Natalya, and they continued their own little fight. Beth and Natalya were tossed back into the ring, and both members of Lay-Cool leveled them with some stiff kicks from behind. Michelle forced Beth to the ropes and started choking her, while Layla enjoyed having Natalya at her mercy. Natalya ended up in the corner, right next to Beth. Layla started stomping away on the champion, and then Lay-Cool teamed up to whip Beth into Nattie. Layla scooted to the outside of the ring and Michelle casually tossed Beth to the outside.
Warning: This is where Beth takes an absolute sick looking bump that the WWE had to replay 234907823947234 times, and twice in slow motion. Ohmygod, just awful!
Layla grabbed a table from outside and Michelle helped her get in the ring. While Layla worked over Natalya some, Michelle took her time getting the table ready for business. Once the legs were up, Michelle shoved her foot underneath Natalya’s chin and started choking her. Layla flipped the table over and with Beth practically dead on the outside, Natalya was at the mercy of her biggest Diva adversaries. They double teamed her for a little bit before Michelle went over to the ropes. She sat herself down on top while Layla slammed Natalya’s head off the table. Michelle motioned for Layla to bring Natalya to her and she scooped up Natalya so Nattie’s legs were locked on Michelle’s shoulders. Layla grabbed the table and brought it closer, and you can only imagine that Michelle is going to attempt to put Natalya through the table via top-rope Faithbreaker. Some how Beth drags her from the outside and jerks Layla from the ring. She saves Natalya and goes at Michelle full throttle. Beth picks the Floridian up and holds her high in the air. The crowd is going nuts and by some miracle, Michelle escapes this and puts Beth back down for the time being. What she doesn’t realize is that Natalya is waiting for her and takes her down with a strong clothesline. Everyone but Layla is down for the time being.
And speaking of Layla, guess who sneaks back into the ring?
The first ever British-born Women’s Champion looks around at the carnage while she tries to decide what to do. She heads over to Beth first and stands on her neck. That causes the Glamazon all sorts of discomfort and a pleased Layla turns her attention to Natalya. She kicks Natalya through the ropes but the champ’s legs get hung up. She manages to save herself from smacking her head on the table but Layla is all to happy to release those legs, which means Natalya is now kind of laid on the table outside of the ring. Natalya rolls off the table but Layla is back to tending to business inside of the ring. She moves the brown Lay-Cool table around until she finds a position for it, and she looks over at Beth. She picks the Glamazon up and they start fighting. Layla forces Beth to the ropes, but Beth is able to knock her back with a kick to the gut. Layla fires back with a forearm and a kick to the gut of her own, and she grabs Beth by the hair and drags her into the center of the ring. She locks her arm around Beth’s neck and clubs her from behind. She goes for a suplex, which would send Beth crashing through the brown table, but Beth blocks it. Layla clubs her and tries again. Once again, the New York powerhouse manages to block. Layla knees her in the stomach and wants to try for a third suplex, but Natalya comes over and she and Beth get Layla high in the air. Layla starts screaming and spazzing out, and Michelle comes back into the fray. She ducks under Layla and inbetween Glama-Hart and knocks the table over so Layla doesn’t go through.
Michelle takes the table out of the equation and fires at Natalya with a vicious shot to the kidneys. She shoves Natalya into the corner and whirls around, catching Beth with a kick to the jaw that lays her out. Michelle kicks Beth away and goes to Natalya. She is looking to end the match but Natalya has other plans. She grabs Michelle and gets her ready for the Sharpshooter. Layla tries to break it up but Natalya sends her sprawling on top of Michelle.
Surely she’s not…
Ohmygod. Natalya teases and finally locks both members of Lay-Cool in the Sharpshooter. The crowd is absolutely on fire for this and I’m doing my best not to mark like a fangirl while watching this match for the third time. Beth sees what’s going on inside the ring and she grabs the pink table, setting it up for the big finale. She taunts Lay-Cool while they scream, cry, and tap out, and she tells Natalya that’s it time to finish them off. Goosebumps! Beth and Natalya go for Lay-Cool, but shockingly enough, Lay-Cool still have fight left in them! They kick Glama-Hart away from them and Michelle sends Beth to the outside. Layla levels Nattie with a kick to the skull and Natalya holds her head in pain. Layla and Michelle take their time recovering. They’re not only feeling the effects of the match but of that brutal double sharpshooter! They finally get up, albeit they’re both wobbling, and Michelle starts pounding away on Natalya. Layla drags the pink table to the center of the ring and Michelle attempts to pick Natalya up and suplex her through it.
Nattie, being the champion that she is, isn’t about to let it end that way. She fights back with her fists but Layla is quick to help out her bestie. Together, Lay and Cool force Natalya into the corner. Michelle forces her on the top rope while Layla drags the pink table closes to them. Michelle uppercuts Nattie and both she and Layla go up the ropes. They lock their arms around Natalya and it seems like they want to superplex her right through the table. Beth comes running back and tries to save the day, but Layla grabs her by the hair, drops down, and runs the Glamazon right into the ring post. Beth takes another horrendous bump to the outside and Layla hurries back. She double checks the table to make sure it’s perfect and she climbs back up the ropes where Natalya and Michelle had been improvising. Once Lay-Cool are ready, Nattie somehow has the presence of mind to knock both of their heads together. With Lay-Cool momentarily stunned, Natalya was able to try and force them off of her. Lay-Cool hung tough for a minute, but Natalya muscled them off and sent them flying into the table. It didn’t break all the way, so the match wasn’t over. With the crowd on their feet and solidly behind her, Natalya perched herself on the top rope and went flying into the air. She landed right on top of Lay-Cool, breaking the table, and ending probably my personal favorite Diva match of all-time.
Is there really anything else that I can possibly say about this match that hasn’t already been said? It basically speaks for itself. From the double Sharpshooter, to Lay-Cool finally getting their comeuppance, to Beth Phoenix bouncing back after all those sick landings, this match had it all. It wasn’t perfect, but nothing ever really is. What it was, though, was the true coronation of Natalya as champion, the climax and moment of Beth’s return, and maybe the ending for the two Divas who worked their asses off to bring the Divas division out of the gutter that the WWE put it on.
Say what you will about Michelle and Layla, but David said it best last night when he pointed out that these girls have carried this division through all the injuries and set-backs it has had this year. I have so much respect for Michelle and the wrestler/entertainer she has turned out to be. I can’t say enough about Layla. She is no model. She is a true performer and one of the absolute best on the roster. She has it all and those people who try and take it away from her are nothing more than wrestling snobs who can’t look past their own narrow-minded attitudes to see how far this woman has come in her career.
As far as Natalya and Beth go…brilliance. They are the definition of “Diva”: Sexy. Smart. Powerful. Natalya is a true champion in every sense of the word. And Beth, it’s just so good to have her back. We all know and adore how great these two are at what they do and I’m so glad that both of them were put together as a tag team even if last night was the last time that will happen.
TLC gets nothing but five out of five stars for me. What an amazing way to end the decade for the Divas of the WWE.