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Thursday, February 27, 2020

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WWE Tribute to the Troops Redux (December 17th, 2014): The Divas Spread Some Christmas Cheer

Happy holidays and welcome to the annual Tribute to the Troops Redux! As is the show’s custom, we have a Christmas-themed bit of silliness on deck for the Divas. It’s a Santa’s Little Helpers Battle Royal featuring Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Cameron, Emma, Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Paige, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae.

It’s dumb, but it’s the holiday season, so whatever… Let’s have some fun!

Before the match, we get a quick look at Brie, Nikki and Paige’s costumes as they stand around backstage:

A+ effort on the costume, Paige. I’d love to know what they were talking about before they started comparing costumes. Total Divas chatter? AJ Lee trash talk? Either way, none of them looked too enthralled.

Time for the match!

Once everyone’s in the ring and the bell sounds, the Divas pair off, Nikki taking on Paige while Brie faces off with Naomi. Emma pounds on Rosa, Cameron and Summer team up on Natalya and Alicia wanders between conflicts.

Emma fakes a punch to Rosa’s face, making her cower. With her back turned, Emma pulls up Rosa’s dress and laughs at her. Rosa plucks Emma’s Santa hat off her head and holds it just out of the shorter Diva’s reach. When she can’t reclaim her hat, Emma simply socks Rosa in the face. Rosa gets the ultimate revenge, tossing Emma out of the ring and eliminating her (!!!).

Rosa made an elimination in a Battle Royal! Release the balloons!!!!

Yeah… I suppose we’ve been waiting a while for this one.

Rosa celebrates with some dancing, and Summer can’t help but notice. She stops what she’s doing and starts a dance-off. My vote goes to Summer, but Rosa’s new at this. She’s good at the silly heel dancing thing, but kind of in a Jillian Hall way.

Everyone stops to watch this, apparently out of some morbid fascination. They soon see enough and ambush the two, splitting them up and dumping them out on opposite sides of the ring.

Cameron is pleased with her hand in this and takes this moment to bust out her compact mirror. Naomi sees this and snatches it. She holds it out for Cameron a bit, allowing her to admire her reflection before tossing it to the ground and sending Cameron out of the ring, eliminating her.

Paige attacks Naomi, headbutting her. Meanwhile, the Bellas team up on Alicia, Nikki holding her up as Brie kicks her in the midsection. They toss her into the ropes, taking her out with a double dropkick on the return. They then roll Alicia out of the ring to make another elimination.

The Bellas then decide to take on Paige, who hides behind the ring post, out of reach. Well, not quite out of reach. Paige extends a friendly hand to Nikki, who slaps it away. She comes up with another idea, pulling out some mistletoe. The Bellas aren’t into this idea either, and hit Paige with tandem boots, sending her off the ring apron and eliminating her.

They reenter the ring as Naomi is working on Natalya. They break up that fight, Nikki taking Naomi while Brie lays into Natalya. Nikki’s plan backfires, though, as Naomi takes control and flattens her with a Lou Thesz Press. When they get to their feet, Naomi is sent into the corner, but she halts herself, catching Nikki from behind with her legs. Nikki turns herself around, though, pulling Naomi away from the corner and hitting an Alabama Slam.

Nikki tosses Naomi out of the ring, but Naomi hangs on to the ropes. Nikki doesn’t notice this, assuming that Naomi’s been eliminated and turning her attention to Natalya. Brie tries to take out Natalya with a baseball slide, but she gets nothing but air, and slides out of the ring, eliminating herself.

Nikki pounces on Natalya, and Naomi soon follows, shoving Nikki out of the ring and eliminating her. She then kicks Natalya and sends her out too, making the final elimination. Naomi wins! She celebrates with some dance moves and mood lighting.

Lana and Rusev also made appearances on the show, delivering some glad Russian tidings to the troops:

Daniel Bryan shows up to defend America’s honor, and several men from the military back him up. Rusev decides against fighting them, and America wins the day!

Thoughts: As far as Battle Royals go, this one wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t see too much awkwardness, which is usually the plague of Diva Battle Royals. The elimination spots were unique, especially the ones at the end, with Brie sliding herself out of the ring.

The comedy bits were hammy (the dance off, Cameron’s elimination, the mistletoe), but I suppose silliness is to be expected in a Santa’s Little Helpers Battle Royal. Whenever something like this is announced, we know we’re not in a for a mat classic. Frankly, I just hope it’s not too awkward and clusterfuck-y. The USO vibe of Tribue to the Troops allows for the over-the-top silliness too, and it’s nice to see that the Divas can pull it off.

I’m not sure what (if any) impact this Battle Royal has on Naomi’s storyline, but it’s yet another moment in the spotlight for her. It might have made more sense if this aired before SmackDown, as it could’ve been used as an excuse to give her that Divas Title shot against Nikki. Still, it’s nice to see Naomi stand tall again. If there’s one push that’s been overdue, it’s hers. A silly Christmas Battle Royal win may not mean much in the long run, but it is a small part of what’s become a big wave of momentum for Naomi.

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