Good day, everyone, and I will of course welcome you to the first SmackDown recap of the new year. Steven is currently not able to attend today’s festivities, so I’m here to step in and bring forth my bountiful Diva goodness like a Pilgrim on Thanksgiving. WWE chose to bless us with two matches this week involving the females, but let’s be honest… if one involves Hornswoggle, does it really count as something we can look forward to? I guess I’ll let you all be the judge of that.
Anyways, first up we’ve got a six person mixed tag team match as one of the most unpredictable trio’s in WWE history; The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya team up to face off against the brilliance that is Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes. It’s Rosa’s first televised non-battle royal/bajillion Diva tag team match in God only knows how long, but will it work in her favor? Or will Natalya and her duo of oddities take the big victory?
Alongside that, we’ve also got a unique bout that pits former Divas Champion, Layla up against a woman who could make a big statement before 2013 is said and done, Tamina Snuka. While the sound of that excites me greatly if only for the hope of hearing Tamina’s symphonic theme song once again, we’ll get to that in a little bit.
First up… *ahem*
The Great Khali’s shamefully addicting theme song hits, and yes while it pains me to admit I love and jam to the song each week, my focus this time goes straight to Natalya. The power couple walks out from the back with their odd little friend, as we get a recap of the Mae Young pregnancy on Raw for some reason. …Oh wow. This is actually the first time I’ve seen the reveal of the “baby” and now I see why everyone on my Twitter feed was so against it. Although I’m ashamed to admit my first thought is that since Hornswoggle was confirmed to be Mr. McMahon’s son in 2007, does this mean Vince and Mae did the deed? Okay… that’s all we’re going to say about that. Just wipe it from your memory like majority of Hornswoggle’s segments.
The trio begins to dance, as we then head to a break. We return to the sight of Mendes-Mania swaying her hips on the ring apron. I still miss their first theme song, but at least this isn’t as brutal as the Primetime Players switch. The bell sounds and we get things underway with the two women coming face to face until Nattie gets piefaced. This does nothing but fire the Dungeon Diva up, as she takes Rosa down and mounts her face into the canvas over and over! A snapmare into a dropkick gets a two count, with Nattie going for the Sharpshooter until Rosa slaps her across the mouth and tags in to Epico.
The Great Khali steps into the ring and Epico tags into Primo. Primo doesn’t really have much of a choice, as Khali flips him inside and chops him in the face. Poor Primo is taken to the corner and smacked across the chest, before the ungodly tag to Hornswoggle is made and he enters the ring. Primo gets kicked in the knee and then both men get stunnered… until Primo shoulder tackles the green clad leprachaun to the floor. Primo continues to mount him, as Rosa shakes and laughs on the ring apron. A double team mini dropkick, as Epico is now the legal man in. Epico taunts him, but Hornswoggle nails a few moves and tags into Khali.
Khali with some sort of fist, then a chop or two, and an elbow, as Primo runs in and splashes Epico by mistake. Khali throws Primo to the outside, while Epico goes for a backstabber to no avail. He then runs forward and is met with a chop to the skull as the oddities and Natalya win. Some form of dancing then ensues, which urges me to wish Rosa would run in and have a dance off with Natalya involving the stipulation that the winner and loser get to take turns slapping Hornswoggle. But nothing of that note happens, as Rosa plans for another day.
Back to the arena, as Layla stands in the ring for a second female oriented match taking place tonight. Her opponent? TA-MI-NA! Yes, that’s right. Let me take a few moments to indulge on this wonderful theme song. Alright, now that I can focus, Tamina makes her way out and steps into the ring for some competition tonight. The bell rings, with a lock up occurring as Tamina backs Layla up into the corner. The camera then zooms in on Tamina, who has some of the best facial expressions as she always perfects the look of disgust (See: Sunny‘s Hall of Fame induction).
Tamina throws Layla to the outside and hoists her into the barricade, before tossing her back in the ring. She looks to keep the momentum going, but Layla gets a small package for a two and then eventually falls victim to a clothesline by Snuka. Tamina locks in a sleeper hold as Layla sits in a split legged position which makes it look even more painful as she forces Layla to bend forward. Eventually, Layla kicks Tamina in the face and begins to score with a comeback of shots. A low dropkick and a facebuster follow it up, proceeding with a spin kick as she goes for the crossbody in the corner. Tamina runs up quickly and catches her in mid air, before switching it up into a Samoan Drop! She then climbs to the top of the nearest turnbuckle and majestically leaps off with the Superfly Splash for the surprising victory over the former Divas Champion.
Thoughts: Well, I want to go with the positive side and say it’s the thought that counts. We got two matches involving the Divas on tonight’s SmackDown, which is two more than we usually tend to get per week on the blue brand. So kudos to whoever decided they would give some of the lesser used Divas a shot in the ring this week.
Starting with the mixed tag, there’s not really much to comment on Diva wise. I guess my biggest surprise was that there wasn’t an obligatory catfight involving Rosa and Natalya right before the end of the match, but other than that it was pretty much the standard stuff. I liked that both got some ring time this week even if it wasn’t too much, and while I’m certainly no fan of Hornswoggle (if you couldn’t tell above), I’ll take Natalya and the Oddities over Natalya passing gas with Hornswoggle laughing at her near a cheese covered table anyday of the week! Plus, whatever keeps her on TV is good with me, as I still have my woes when it comes to Alicia Fox‘s absence most weeks as of late. Hopefully next week we can get something like Nattie and the Funkadactyls vs. Tamina, Rosa, and Aksana (or Alicia if she decides to be a heel), because I’d love to see SmackDown be the place for the Divas not in the title hunt to have feuds and matches together like tonight showed us.
Layla and Tamina’s match wasn’t too great for me, which I hate saying because I enjoy both women. Something just didn’t click with their chemistry and a lot of moments looked a little off. The Superfly Splash was great as always though, and I’ll never get tired of barricade spots. Part of me really wants Layla to turn heel because she doesn’t work for me as a face. I don’t dislike her or anything, but she definitely is someone who needs to be able to show her personality off, and she’s not really able to in this light like she was during the Laycool days. The heel side is kind of low right now anyways, so I think it’d be a good time as any when you’ve still got Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Natalya, and The Funkadactyls available to fill in face wise.
Speaking on the face/heel ratio, regardless of what I thought about the match, I love that WWE is showcasing and building more heels up because when Eve eventually loses the title, we’re going to need more legitimate challengers besides just her. You’ve got AJ who’s off with Dolph right now, and then I think all that’s left is Tamina, Aksana, and Rosa. Of those options, I see them choosing Tamina to be the second in command, so it’s great that they’re spotlighting her ahead of time and giving her some momentum leading into the future. Hopefully it continues and we develop SmackDown into a program that can be used to build up future contenders with Raw focusing on the ones we’ve already got in the title hunts.