Friday, September 17, 2021

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A Londoner’s Eye Quick Hits: Praise for AJ and Brooke, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maxine?, More!

I’m back with more quick hits on the world of women’s wrestling. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts so hit me up in the comments or via Twitter!

Let’s hop to it…

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Firstly, it’s been a pretty solid week for women in wrestling in both WWE and TNA. We have a new Knockouts Champion in Brooke Tessmacher over in TNA, while in WWE, the Divas division — which has been dormant over the past few weeks — really exploded all over our screens on a three hour Raw, as well as SmackDown. AJ has been the big focal point this week, getting some big segments on Raw and SmackDown which I thought were magnificent. Both segments made me gasp. I honestly did not see the kiss coming on Raw, or the O-face coming on SmackDown. More on AJ in a minute.

As well as AJ, Beth and Layla got some shine over the two shows as well heading into their pay per view match this Sunday. That’s good to see. Of course it’s disappointing that they left it till the week of the PPV to do something with the Divas Title, but what can you do?

And perhaps my favorite backstage segment ever? Natalya, Vince McMahon, Cameron and Naomi. When WWE gets it right, they really get it right. It’s a shame most of the time these backstage segments feel lame, but I really enjoyed this one.

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The world is talking about AJ this week and rightfully so. Never did I think when she was first paired with Daniel Bryan that her story arc would take so many twists and turns. I certainly couldn’t have predicted she’d evolve into the crazy/adorable (cradorable?) character that we’ve seen in recent weeks. AJ was given the ball and she’s more than run with it — she’s sprinted with it and killed all of the competition along the way. In my eyes, AJ is the standout contender for Diva of the Year and this is without even having a role in the Divas division! I’m really loving AJ’s work at the moment and her promos have been really good. The fact WWE gave her the opportunity to shine on Raw and SmackDown in the same week suggests to me that, like LayCool, the writers are impressed with AJ and enjoy coming up with material for her. Hopefully there’ll be more promos to come. Eventually, I’d love to see her get the Divas Title, but right now, the position she is in ranks above a championship, believe it or not — at least as far as the Divas are concerned.

Considering her past and being a lifelong fan of WWE, it’s heartwarming to see AJ come in and get this huge opportunity that all of the other Divas would just kill for, and even main event Raw. She has more than earned her spot with her work so far and proven that no other Diva can fill this role.

Congrats, AJ!

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Keeping with the praise theme, I praised Brooke Tessmacher last time and since then she’s become the Knockouts Champion, so I thought I’d follow up on what I wrote then.

I’m so proud of Brooke and excited for her title win. As I said last time, here is a girl who didn’t train on the independents, has been dismissed as “just another model”, but is actually making strides in the ring and holding her own against high caliber female wrestlers. If any one “model” wrestler deserves to be cut some slack at this particular moment, it’s Brooke.

In fact, I was pretty annoyed to read a posting on the Internet this week about Brooke being a “model” who didn’t deserve to win the title, and something along the lines of her taking an opportunity away from Mickie James. I’m curious as to whether this person has even seen Brooke’s work in the ring lately, or if they were just going on reading that she’d won the title? I’m betting the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hailing Brooke as a Sara Del Rey, but she has put on good matches and constantly shows signs of improvement. And guess what? She can only get better. Instead of tearing her down, why not acknowledge that she is applying herself at Booker T’s wrestling school in her spare time and working on upping her game?

With Brooke you have a total package. She’s a gorgeous model, but also an ever-improving and talented wrestler. TNA could use Brooke as an example of what a WWE Diva should be. Like it or not, pretty faces on television work and Brooke has the tools to have incredible crossover success for TNA.

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While AJ is enjoying success on Raw and SmackDown lately, the first NXT 3 Diva to truly break out outside of the all-Divas season, Maxine, seems to be lost in the shuffle and this makes me sad.

With NXT Redemption, a show that Maxine was an integral part of, now coming to a close, I wonder what the future will hold for Maxine? I’m truly hoping it isn’t just losing matches to the current Diva in the spotlight.

Maxine on NXT Redemption was a revelation. I’d even go as far as to say she was without a doubt, male or female, the star of NXT Redemption.

Maxine proved that today’s Divas can be more than just one-dimensional babyfaces or heels, and brought back a little of that attitude that we used to see in the Divas during the days of Trish, Lita, Victoria, Jazz etc. She was tough talking and could back it up. That mean streak, that attitude, is what is missing in the Divas today and for a while on NXT, Maxine brought that back.

I hope WWE realizes the unique talent that they have in Maxine and like AJ, they utilize her in a role where she can shine. Maxine could be the next big heel icon in the Divas division if given the opportunity.

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The new season of NXT kicks off next week with the Divas from FCW involved. I’m curious to see how the show will work and if it’ll feature storylines. Given that the show needs to introduce a whole new roster of talent to the audience, I’m worried that the Divas may get the short end of the stick.

However, the Diva I’m most excited to see on the new NXT? Sofia Cortez. Here’s a Diva whose in-ring work has been praised by Trish Stratus, so I think fans can expect to see big things from her.

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Speaking of new shows, on an independent level, SHINE Wrestling is kicking off next month from the folks behind EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA’s Internet pay per views on WWNLive.com. The wonderful Daffney is involved in the project, as is Lexie Fyfe.

Lots of talents have been announced for SHINE 1, which boasts a roster of local girls and name talent. That will certainly help the promotion create its own identity as it hasn’t just borrowed its roster from other promotions.

Amongst the big names announced so far, Mercedes Martinez, Sara Del Rey, Jazz and Nikki Roxx are all steady hands with proven track records. Then there’s younger, newer girls such as Reby Sky, who has faced criticism early on in her career for being a “model”, trying to shake that tag. I’m excited to see her in this setting, as I believe it’s her first foray into all-female promotions. I’m willing to give her, and the other young girls on the card, a chance — and I think you should too.

There’s always an excitement with a new promotion because you want to see how that first show will pan out — not just ring-wise, but production-wise, venue-wise etc. From what I understand, WWNLive.com is known for having good production value, so I’m excited to see what they can bring to the table in that respect. I’m looking for tight editing, nice graphics, good quality video etc. No pressure, guys!

Good luck to the folks at SHINE on their debut show!

Order SHINE 1 at WWNLive.com

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Next time in the column, I want to answer some of your questions! Leave them in the comments or email them to me at [email protected].

What do you make of my quick hits? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter!


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