[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″][/media-credit]
SmackDown’s women’s division is slowly but surely becoming the dark horse of this brand war. With almost every woman receiving a good portion of character development and screen time this week, the storytelling and presentation of the women is brilliant.
So, let’s get right into this week’s antics and look at what exactly makes this episode so great.
Our first match of the night was scheduled to be Eva Marie vs Becky Lynch. After both women made their entrance to the ring and were ready for the match, All Red Everything suffered another fatal issue: a wardrobe malfunction. As Marie scurried to the back in horror with a towel around her chest, the Lass Kicker was left frustrated as she was – yet again – without an opponent. So, instead of heading to the back without a match, Lynch called out any other woman that wanted to challenge her – and, in order to make her in-ring debut on SmackDown, the short but fierce birthday girl Alexa Bliss showed up!
Before starting the match Bliss walked down the ramp with a microphone in hand to make her voice heard. And in her signature patronizing tone that we all know and love, Alexa made it very clear that she would be victorious after defeating the blue brand’s “first female choice” in the following match.
Alexa and Becky had a decent match as they both offered great defense and attacks, with the pair playing fairly. That is, until Eva Marie’s music hit the sirens and the arena was encapsulated with red lighting. Unfortunately for the Lass Kicker her focus quickly shifted to Eva, which manged to give Bliss the chance to take advantage. Becky then subsequently felt the wrath of being shoved to the turnbuckle and then slammed to the ground. With her opponent defenseless, Alexa cleverly took to the top rope to input the Twisted Bliss and secured the pinfall victory.
After the match, Charly Caruso confronted Eva to discuss her wardrobe malfunction. The Total Divas star expressed her excessive disappointment as she wasn’t able to make her debut. After finishing her heartfelt complaint, Eva stated that she “will be ready to make [her] debut next week” and left us with a blown kiss.
Once Marie headed backstage she stated in a Fallout interview that after experiencing “every woman’s worst nightmare,” next week she’ll be “ready to go.”
Later on in the night, we witnessed All Red Everything discuss her wardrobe malfunction on Talking Smack with Renee Young and Daniel Bryan. Whilst repeating her conversation with Caruso, Marie emphasized that the following week’s episode will feature her “spectacular debut”.
Towards the end of the conversation she also detailed the one member of SmackDown’s female roster that she found to be the most boring. And, based on her over-the-top gimmick and entrance, Carmella was the Red Queen’s answer.
The other female focused segment of the night was a singles match between submission specialist Natalya and the debuting Carmella.
As Carmella made her way down to the ring she managed to get a few words in on how she was going to “smack [Natalya] so hard” that the Queen of Harts would become blind. Before the Princess of Staten Island could finish her speech, Neidhart attempted to repeat last week’s attack. Unfortunately for the former Divas champion Carmella came prepared and scored the first hit. The WWE rookie then quickly threw Natalya into the ring to begin the match.
Though this contest wasn’t exactly the highlight of the show, we did witness a few good spots here and there. Towards the end Natalya managed to gain some momentum by ruling the match. However, as she attempted to end the bout with the Sharpshooter, Carmella knocked her down and quickly locked the Queen of Harts in the Code of Silence, forcing the submission specialist to tap.
Maryse also made an appearance as she talked to Renee – or really, her husband The Miz – in a backstage segment. The Marine 5: Battleground stars gazed into each other’s eyes as they complimented one another to inflate their already large egos.
Thoughts: What makes this episode so great is how well each character is being built up. From Eva’s cowardly obnoxiousness and Becky’s competitive attitude, to Alexa’s fiery nature and Carmella’s corny positivity, each woman has a well featured character and good amount of screen time to showcase it.
Something that allows SmackDown’s women’s division to shine over RAW’s is that the stories feel engaging and aren’t NXT repeats or squashes. Each woman is given a fair chance to shine and we’re being made to witness them all grow under their own terms.
Top heel and babyface characters such as Eva and Becky remain on everyone’s radar by forcing each audience member to have some kind of reaction to their work. As stated last week, Eva leaves everyone either frustrated or in a fit of giggles after her performance whilst Becky, the clear protagonist, receives cheers as she makes her passion for wrestling – something the audience will clearly appreciate – ever so clear.
In terms of rookies Carmella and Alexa, they manage to fit into the spotlight in their own way. Though they aren’t the top talking point, both of them make an impact by coming off stronger after fighting two well known names.
So that Alexa can be SmackDown’s top heel in the division, she manages to defeat the crowd favourite at a poignant moment. Becky perfectly gets the crowd on her side by emphasizing her passion for wrestling, so with Alexa overcoming the babyface at this particular point, instantaneous heat is sent her way.
Carmella on the other hand, goes for a different yet fairly similar approach in order to make her name heard. Unlike Alexa, the Princess of Staten Island wants the crowd to cheer for her. So to do that, she needs to overcome someone the audience doesn’t like, and must do so in a memorable way. Pinfall victories are great, but when facing a woman that is famous for her submission finisher, there is no better way than to make them tap with your very own. And as a rookie making their debut match, crowd members are forced to remember Carmella’s victory as she conquers one of the company’s best talents in their own genre of wrestling.
And even as a bitter Natalya fan, I can appreciate this booking. After suffering a humiliating loss this result can only make the Queen of Harts even more jealous and have even more reasons to hate the newbies. Natalya’s gimmick is that she demands to be known as the veteran that she is. So, being embarrassed by a rookie will only start a fire in her stomach and make her even more angry.
SmackDown perfectly highlights most of its women by making their appearances matter. We aren’t seeing the female competitors repeat things they did on developmental or two weeks ago. Instead, we’re witnessing these women make names for themselves by telling engaging stories and having their own moments to shine.
The only possible issue is the whereabouts of Naomi. The former Funkadactyl is one of the most talented members of the women’s division and should be recognized as that. She has proven time and time again that she is a great wrestler and, judging by the crowd reaction from two weeks ago, she is very adored. Though she isn’t exactly a wrestling veteran, compared to her current co-workers, she can be seen as such.
Naomi is very much capable of putting on fantastic matches. And with this in mind, maybe the idea of her not putting other women over just yet can be a silver lining in disguise. The future of the Total Divas star could be used for a point in the story in which the crowd are fully aware of the newbies. This can work in her favor as Naomi can bounce off of their newfound momentum and can allow the remarkable athlete’s underrated and often ignored voice to finally be heard.
Overall, SmackDown truly delivers a great show this week. Each woman that is featured is used wonderfully. The stories are great, the performances are great, and the general feeling of watching it is brilliant.
How do you feel about this week’s show? Are you liking Alexa and Carmella? What are your feelings regarding Eva, Becky and Natalya? Is the future bright for Naomi? Let us know your views in the comments below!