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SmackDown Redux (August 16th, 2016): The tables are set for SummerSlam

SummerSlam is the first real time either brand will get the chance to prove themselves. And for the women’s division of SmackDown, each member has an equal opportunity to prove themselves. And in the build up to the hottest event of the summer, these ladies are not messing around.

The first female driven segment of the night is a singles match scheduled between Naomi and Eva Marie. Naomi is first to come out and delivers a spectacular new entrance featuring a remixed version of her previous theme, a funky outfit and show stealing choreography.

After her incredible entrance is over, Eva’s begins. And after hearing the announcer hype up her “spectacular debut”, he tells that Eva Marie “has been delayed due to traffic and will be unable to complete,” but she leaves us with her sincerest apologies.

Later on in the night Becky Lynch and Carmella take on Natalya and Alexa Bliss. The match is very smooth and highlights the rivalries between the two teams. But things take a left turn as Eva’s music hits the sirens and she walks out into the arena, offering herself as a distraction. Unfortunately for Eva though, Naomi also uses the same tactic and runs after the Red Queen as payback for earlier. As the two run into the ring Natalya throws Naomi outside and attempts to roll up Becky. The Lass Kicker however has other plans as she reverses the pin into a Dis-Arm-Her and forces the Queen of Harts to tap. Becky, Carmella and Naomi celebrate the victory whilst Natalya and Alexa retreat and a regretful Eva watches on.

After the match a graphic showcasing an upcoming SummerSlam match is seen. We now know that Becky, Carmella and Naomi will be taking on the team of Eva, Alexa and Natalya in a six-woman tag this Sunday.

Once the show ends, Talking Smack officially begins. During the half-hour show the likes of Naomi and Becky are interviewed by Renee Young and Daniel Bryan. Before anything important can be discussed, Natalya invites herself to the panel and insults the two women ahead of her.

Throughout the show the ladies discuss their wishes for the brand, thoughts on other competitors and their opinions on the current state of the division.

Becky insists that the division needs a title. She loves the idea of fighting with each other, but believes that the division needs to have a bit of gold to fight for. Natalya agrees with this concept and believes that the title should be called the “Queen of Black Harts”, as she is iconic enough to have a championship named after her.

We also witness the Lass Kicker state that Eva Marie doesn’t care much for wrestling and annoys her with her choice to cancel every match she is scheduled for.

And, when questioned on her new gimmick, Naomi boasts about how happy she is to finally be alone and not be in a tag team. She believes that this is her time to shine and she will make a name for herself.

Prior to the women’s division segments, the Sexiest of Sexy Maryse is seen at the start of the show during a Miz TV segment alongside Dolph Ziggler, WWE champion Dean Ambrose, and her husband The Miz.

Thoughts: At this point, it’s pretty hard to prefer the red brand over the blue. What SmackDown is doing with its female competitors is brilliant. Whilst every lady is getting their time to shine, no one is forcing pointless mic segments or throwaway matches for the sake of it. Instead, we’re seeing the women give us a little at a time, whilst including the entire division. All of this is slowly building up to a competitive and dominant division, one step at a time.

What allows SmackDown to prevail this week is that it highlights the individual personalities rather than utilize some to only push others. We’re seeing Eva reinsert herself as the comical heel, Becky’s feisty nature shines through, Carmella and Alexa are showcasing their talent, and Natalya is holding herself as the antagonist she needs to be.

And, best of all, the one woman with the least amount of spotlight over the past weeks is now tonight’s biggest highlight. Naomi delivers an incredible new entrance and perfectly inserts herself into the division’s storyline without negatively impacting any dynamics. SmackDown evidently understands how important the former Funkadactyl’s comeback to WWE is. After years of being ignored and underutilized, being placed within a division of mostly fresh and untouched talent is exactly where she needs to be. And right now, Naomi is being given the perfect opportunity to make her name known with a new gimmick and what looks to be an important role.

The work on Talking Smack also allows these women to get their personalities across whilst building each other up and pushing the feuds forward. This week Becky manages to rile up the anger of the fans by egging on Eva’s disrespect for the art of wrestling. Becky not only allows Eva (and her team) to attract a bit of heel heat, but she also allows herself (as well as Carmella and Naomi) to be seen as the one(s) with passion for the sport.

The upcoming SummerSlam match is now able to tell a genuine story of good versus evil. Alexa, Eva and Natalya have been built as exciting villains that we want to see perform and/or be defeated. On the other hand we have Becky, Carmella and a revamped Naomi that have the crowd on their side and are fighting for their appreciation. Either team’s intentions are very clear now, and this match will (hopefully) be an exciting one to watch.

Seeing all six members of the division receiving the spotlight on the first real pay-per-view of the brand split is a perfect way to introduce the ladies as important factors of the show. Throughout this match, all competitors will be given the chance to prove themselves (both in and out of kayfabe) and allow management to decide which members truly deserve the ultimate push of the lot.

The table is now evenly set, and it’s up to each performer to deliver for a reward.

Are you excited for SummerSlam? Who do you think will be victorious? Who will be fed the pin? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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