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SmackDown Redux – August 29, 2008

This week: Maryse put herself forward as the top heel on SmackDown, as she and Natalya defeated Michelle McCool and Maria. The match ended in a big brawl between the Divas Champ and the French hottie. Meanwhile, Brie Bella made her debut beating Victoria… but there’s more to this story than just that.

Thoughts & Reactions
Okay, this week’s SmackDown Redux may read more like a rant so brace yourselves. As much as I’ve grown to love Maryse, how the hell did we go from Maria vs Maryse and Michelle vs Natalya to Maryse hijacking the Divas Championship title shot from Natalya?! I thought the tag team feud was about furthering Michelle/Natalya and Maryse’s supposed feud with Maria. Instead, we now have set up Maryse as the new title contender for Michelle McCool – and in the process, Maryse is now the top heel on SmackDown? This week’s episode really felt as though they were phasing out Natalya, who has been the biggest heel among the SmackDown Divas and pushing Maryse and this pisses me off. WWE has built up Natalya so strongly and in the course of two hours, they switch their game plan and now this division apparently hinges on Maryse who is a weaker wrestler and a weaker character than the thrid-generation Diva.

This week it seemed as though Natalya was being made to look like the new Victoria, in which case, what does that say about Victoria? Natalya was only on SmackDown to make up the odds for her team and to be the “hired muscle”, make no mistake, this match was all about putting over Maryse. I just don’t get it and after this match, I was left very frustrated and pissed off. Maryse has unfinished business with Maria and now she’s going after Michelle too?! Oh sure, let’s just give her two feuds. I don’t know what Natalya has done to piss off management or creative but after last night’s SmackDown, it seems that the third-generation Diva is on the outs. And I am not happy. The new direction seems to be Maryse as the new top heel. No offence to her, because I do like her work, she has improved so much and I’ve become a fan – but she is no Natalya. Maryse is fine as a secondary heel (sort of like the Melina to Beth Phoenix earlier this year), but I think it’s far too soon to break Maryse out as the top heel especially when you have someone as over and as capable as Natalya. NOT HAPPY.

As for the match, the work was good and I enjoyed both the match and the very impressive scuffle after the match. Michelle really went after Maryse after the match, did you see? I thought she was throwing some real stiff shots, it looked really real and looked so good on screen, so kudos to both Divas. To touch upon the segment that preceded the match, well let’s just say, Maryse spluttered her lines. Understandable for someone who’s first language is not English but if that’s the case, WWE shouldn’t be putting her in a position to cut promos.

As for the Brie-Victoria match, I already talked briefly about this yesterday but it doesn’t hurt to talk some more! Again, Brie was very impressive in her debut match. As I wrote yesterday, it seems that these inexperienced workers tend to try and pull off flashy moves (see Kelly Kelly) to compensate for their lack of knowledge. But Brie didn’t exactly go that route, her moves were pretty basic, she just found a new, innovative spin on them and that made her a lot of fun to watch. Like Melina, she is fun to watch in the ring and I thoroughly enjoyed her first effort. One match in and she is already a far superior worker to some of the girls who’ve been in the WWE and have been wrestling way longer than her such as Maria. I remind you, Brie has only been wrestling for one year down in FCW. We got a brief appearance from Brie’s sister Nicole after Brie went under the ring. You can spot the difference like so: During the match, Brie wore a belt. After “returning” from under the ring, no belt. Two very good matches, however the booking for the second was far better than the first.

Individual Assessments
In this portion we will look at each of the Divas individually and the role they played, adding more thoughts yadda yadda:

Brie Bella: Great debut for Brie. I hope Nicole’s as good.

Maria: Maria, meet Brie. Take notes.

Maryse: I guess Maryse is the new top heel. How? I don’t know. She’s likable and growing on me but just no.

Michelle McCool: Nice brawl with Maryse, she showed a lot of intensity.

Natalya: Poor Natalya, she is but hired muscle at the moment.

Victoria: I know a lot of fans get pissed off that Victoria jobs to less experienced Divas, but Victoria seems comfortable in her position and is happy to put over younger stars, as any veteran should. If Victoria wanted to be treated as Women’s Championship material and be the biggest heel on the roster, she would have left when her contract expired or when it expires.

Fashion Focus
The Good: Michelle. I know this was just another variation of her usual ring attie, but I love that shade of purple on her. It was very flattering.

The Bad: Brie was impressive in the ring but not feeling the outfit.

The In-Between: Everyone else.

Digital Photos (Courtesy of WWE.com)

• • • • • • • •


MICHELLE & MARIA VS. NATALYA & MARYSE

VICTORIA VS. BRIE BELLA

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