SmackDown Redux (August 2nd, 2016): Eva escapes a Lass Kicking

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On a usual week of no women’s wrestling, complaints would be the norm. However, despite not receiving many of the women actually competing in the profession, we do witness great character and story development for more than just one or two ladies… And for a brand with up and coming and underrated talent, this is what we need to see the most.

Our first match of the night is scheduled to be the Lass Kicker Becky Lynch vs All Red Everything Eva Marie. After Becky is in the ring, Marie delivers her far too dramatic yet ever so perfect entrance in which she poses at the fans and indicates that she will be taking home the victory. But, her indiciation is far from reality. Once Eva jumps off of the middle turnbuckle after a glorious pose, something appears to be wrong with her leg. After limping to the other side of the ring and complaining to the referee and trainer, the match is quickly called off – to Marie’s delight, of course.

Following her match Eva is then treated by the trainer for her ever so serious medical injury. The injury is so serious that the trainer is unable to deliver any information by the time Tom Phillips shows up for questions.

We then see an altercation between the Princess of Staten Island Carmella and The Anvilette Natalya happen in the next segment. As Renee Young began to interview the former NXT star, Natalya stormed in to interrupt. As the self described “Queen of Harts” and the uncle of WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart, Neidhart felt entitled to an interview from Young over the final SmackDown draft pick. Carmella quickly defends herself by saying that despite being the final pick of the brand, both women are in the same place regardless. So of course, to settle their differences in the only way professional wrestlers know how, a match is scheduled for later that night.

As Carmella soon makes her entrance to the ring, Natalya quickly attacks her from behind and throws her into the barricade. As the Staten Island Princess is laying defenseless, she is forced her to tap out to the Sharpshooter, screaming for release.

Thoughts: Though we didn’t receive much wrestling this week, the progression for both the characters and the stories is brilliant!

What I adore the most about Eva’s gimmick is that she is capitalizing on the response she gets from fans. This allows her to make the audience seethe at her existence by somewhat proving them right about her “lack of dedication” to the profession. Everything her haters say about her caring for her look and ignoring the wrestling is made out to be true, which gives her the perfect reaction.

The 2013 Diva Search winner was able to make part of the crowd yell in frustration at her “disrespect” for the business, whilst another part would cackle in glee in response to her hilarious ways. Either way, nobody watching is bored during Eva’s performance – and that is what WWE requires the most.

Marie may not be everyone’s favorite wrestler, but what she does do is keep us invested in her performance, whether we love her or not.

After her lack of speech last week followed by her non-performance this week, I predict that we’re getting a Fandango pre-Wrestlemania 29 shtick where Marie will refuse to wrestle until she appears on a grand stage… like SummerSlam, maybe?

Also, huge credit to Eva for the humorous work this week – never thought she’d make me laugh, but she did!

Our other female oriented storyline is also perfectly executed this week. Natalya has had some trouble fitting into her heel gimmick which, when we remember her first run in the company, is pretty strange. However, it seems like she’s really getting the hang of it again!

What worked this week is a combination of her booking and her portrayal of it. With the Queen of Harts emphasizing her relation to Bret Hart and then degrading Carmella’s success, it gives us the cocky vibe Natalya needs to be hated. And of course, her brutal attack before the match was a great way to show her off as a strong heel.

This tactic works so well as fans want to see Carmella make her in-ring debut. We all want to witness what the Staten Island Princess can deliver on the main roster. And, just as we were about to be given that opportunity, Natalya took it away from us.

Natalya is coming across as a bitter and jealous heel, and it works for everyone involved. She has hatred for up and coming talent such as Becky Lynch and Carmella – talent that has time to grow and an appeal to the masses. And through the use of these cowardly and bitter tactics, Neidhart is not only able to give herself a good character, but the women she works alongside of can be pushed as baby faces in a better light.

The only complaint about this week’s antics is the lack of Naomi and Alexa Bliss.

Naomi just made her return a week ago and didn’t make a single appearance in this week’s show. And then we have Bliss who made her WWE debut that same night, and she was also nowhere to be seen. It is difficult to feature so many women within a two hour slot, so it’s not always possible to do so. However, it is fairly disappointing when two of the roster’s best women are forgotten about in week two of the new era – here’s hoping that next week is better for them!

How do you feel about this week’s show? Do you like the character and story progression? Let us know your views in the comments below!