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SmackDown Redux (April 25th, 2017): Welcome to SmackDown Live

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The first Women’s title defense since the Shakeup – and things are pretty intense! Every woman is out for that crown, regardless of their different approaches. Some fall flat on their face, some stay in their place, and others team up to get some shine. No matter how each woman gets noticed tonight, they all manage to do exactly that: get noticed. Now let’s take a look back at what happened:

Before her match later tonight, Charlotte spoke with Dasha Fuentes. Flair reminds us of her aim to take over her new kingdom at SmackDown Live. She tells us of how her blood is filled with gold, and not only does she want the SmackDown Women’s championship, but she needs it.

Becky Lynch is then interviewed by Fuentes about her former friend/enemy Charlotte. Lynch points out that although she doesn’t “approve” of Flair’s methods of getting title shots, she can respect that she’s getting results. Before the Lass Kicker can continue however, the team of Carmella (accompanied by James Ellsworth), Natalya and Tamina, also described as “the Welcoming Comity” interrupt her. The trio tell Becky that they need to know whether she’s with them or against them in terms of where she stands with the Charlotte situation. But before she can even respond, the group walk away, giving her some more time to think about her decision.

Renee Young soon talks to Naomi about the words that Flair shared earlier on in the night. Naomi gives Charlotte credit for beating her fairly last week, but states that to be the best, you need to be at the top, and being champion means that that title is reserved for Naomi. Naomi then compares herself to Muhammad Ali, whilst Flair is more like George Foreman.

Strong words… now cue the SmackDown Live main event!

The match proves to be extremely enticing. Both Naomi and Charlotte give their A-game and end up challenging each other’s best moves. Even when Naomi does her signature kicks and hurricanrana, Charlotte manages to reverse both of them. Naomi also brings her knees up to avoid the pain of Flair’s moonsault.

Flair and Naomi spend the match on a very equal level, with a few surprise kick outs. At one point, Naomi’s Rear View fails to allow her to recapture the title, as does Charlotte’s power bomb. The match continues to impress despite the fatigue of both women, however it comes to a halt once Tamina, Carmella and Natalya attack both challengers. Flair and Naomi attempt to overcome the group, but are knocked down with super kicks and a Nattie by Nature.

Ending the match, and the night, are the group that Flair overlooked…The team of Tamina, Natalya, Carmella and Ellsworth leave the audience in the audience in shock.

On Talking Smack, Becky Lynch is interviewed about where she stands. The Lass Kicker makes it clear that she refuses to “cheat [her] way to the top” and that she will never team with the “snakes” that are Tamina, Carmella and Natalya. She also states that she is very much looking forward to competing in the ring once again with Charlotte… But hey, anything can happen.

At one point of the night we also see another Lana promotional video, much like last week’s. This can be seen above.

Thoughts: The champ and the challenger put on a classic Great vs Great contest. Although Naomi is a bit of an underdog, she proves to be anything but. It is a very, very equal battle, and an extremely enticing one. Both women prove to be at the same level of ability, and have the crowd on their feet throughout. What’s so great about this is the fact that the two try some of their most well-known moves – moves that usually give them an upper hand in the match – and have them reversed. Naomi’s hurricanrana gets turned into a powerbomb, whilst Charlotte’s moonsault ends up hurting her torso rather than knocking out her opponent. The storytelling in this match is great. It’s proving that neither woman has had a challenger quite as tough as they have now, and it’s doing wonders for either woman. These are the top dogs over on SmackDown, and they’re letting us know.

Compared to every other match on the card, Flair and Naomi definitely get the loudest and most consistent reaction, proving to be main event worthy. This is a story worth watching, and it’s clearly far from over.

The idea of bitter enemies attacking the newbie isn’t exactly a fresh story, but it somehow feels that way here. Tamina, Natalya and Carmella all offer something different. Tamina brings the strength, Natalya brings the veteran knowledge, and Carmella brings the fresh viewpoint. And on top of that, Ellsworth brings in some comedy. This is a group that I could get used to, and if it means that we’ll be seeing them reign supreme for a while, I won’t be mad at it.

Going forward, we’re left wondering about the Lass Kicker, Becky Lynch. Will she side with her former rival, or will she relate to the other women of SmackDown Live more and team with them?

Becky may find herself relating to the fact that she’s been on SmackDown for a while and despise the fact that somebody else is yet again getting ahead of her. Or she can rekindle her friendship with (what will probably be a face) Charlotte. I predict (and hope) that Becky will team with the “Welcoming Comity” and give us something fresh. Her fierce, heel side back in NXT was some great stuff, so seeing again would be a fantastic thing to view. But seeing as there are currently three heel ladies and three – with the addition of Charlotte – faces on, I won’t be shocked if Becky aligns herself with her former PCB member.

My only worry is that this is going to lead to yet another three vs three tag team match at the next pay-per-view, something the ladies of SmackDown have found themselves synonymous with. And this may mean that the title picture is put on hold for a while… Which isn’t ideal.

Although she states that she’s not teaming with the Welcoming Comity… could this all just be a red herring?

What do you think of tonight’s match? Do you think this new stable will reign supreme? Which team will Becky align herself with? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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