Welcome to another Xplosion Write-Up! These seem to be a lot more frequent these days, which I love. It’s not quite Main Event – probably more in like with Superstars – but it’s got the potential to grow into something similar and more storyline relevant.

This week, we have Velvet Sky returning to the show to take on Madison Rayne. Watch the match below:

Velvet is running solo here, surprising me by showing up without Angelina Love by her side. She starts the match with what’s become her schtick, faking out on tie-ups and frustrating her opponent. Madison falls into that trap and finds herself trapped in a waist lock, Velvet transitioning it into a side headlock and then a wrist lock.

Madison flips her way out of the hold and applies a wrist lock and a side headlock of her own, moving quick on Velvet and rolling her up for a schoolboy pin. Velvet kicks out at two. Madison stays on her, though, and goes for a backslide pin, which Velvet kicks out of as well.

Madison applies another side headlock. Velvet soon shoves her off into the ropes, but on the return Madison lays her out with a shoulder block. Another side headlock is applied to Velvet, but this time she counters it, hooking Madison’s arm back before going for another headlock. Madison quickly does the exact same thing, wrenching the arm to free herself and locking in the headlock.

Velvet backs Madison into the ropes and knees her in the stomach, getting free of the hold. She whips Madison into the opposite ropes, but her follow up clothesline is ducked. Velvet then hits the ropes and finds herself tossed by an arm drag on the return. Madison hits another arm drag and a sit down dropkick, prompting Velvet to seek refuge in the corner. She draws Madison over and grabs her, driving her face-first into the turnbuckle. We head out to a commercial.

When we return, Velvet’s got the upper hand, whipping Madison into the corner and hitting her with a big clothesline. She tosses Madison across the ring by her hair and, after disposing of some leftover strands of hair, wraps her around the top rope, planting a boot in her back and wrenching her arms backwards. She sends Madison back into the corner, hitting her again with a clothesline.

Velvet plants Madison in the middle of the ring and locks in a sleeper hold, slamming her to the mat when she starts to fight out of it. She positions Madison again and this time kicks her square in the back before laying her out with a sit down dropkick. She goes for the pin, but Madison kicks out at two.

For some reason, Velvet can’t believe this, and demands a recount, going for another pin. Again, Madison kicks out. Unable to get the pin, Velvet settles for slamming Madison’s head on the mat and going for another corner clothesline. Madison blocks it this time, though, charging for an attack. Velvet does too, though, and the Knockouts end up taking each other out at the same time, leaving both of them prone on the mat.

Velvet gets to her feet first, but her attack is blocked. Madison takes control, going on an offensive streak capped off with a kick to the side of the head. Madison goes for the pin, but only get a two-count. She preps for the spear, but Velvet dodges it, sending her shoulder first into the corner.

Velvet rolls up Madison, but she kicks out. She hits a bulldog and starts to think she’s got the match in the bag because she grabs her pink tote bag of tricks, pulling out a paper bag for Madison’s head. She tries to put it on her, but Madison shocks her with a roll-up, pinning her and winning the match! As Madison celebrates her sudden victory, Velvet pitches a fit, unable to believe what just happened.

Thoughts: This was a little slow for my taste, though I appreciate that they tried to make the match a bit more technical than usual, trading holds. It made Velvet look a lot more competent than your average vampy heel, but after the fifth side headlock or so, I was fidgeting.

Having forgotten the spoilers for this match, I half expected Velvet to win the match to get her mojo back from back to back losses to Gail Kim. I’m glad she didn’t, though, because Madison deserves to be more than someone whose stock is falling just to emphasize Gail’s rise in the division.

It’s not all bad for Velvet, though: this match made me more interested in Velvet as a character. This is the Velvet I missed when she was a babyface: bratty and cocky. The bratty side certainly came out when she pitched her fit after the match. It was a nice touch to have her act childish, rather than showing her seething after her loss. It adds a bit more to her character, seeing her react like that. Xplosion is a good place for Velvet to hone that and differentiate herself from Angelina, who by comparison is a lot cooler headed, at least from my perspective. Since Velvet’s practically her sidekick at this stage (not to say that that couldn’t change), why not have her be the wild card? It gives her something to do aside from Angelina’s dirty work.

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