Friday, September 17, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (February 18th, 2016): On Your Mark, Get Set, Brie Mode!


With Fastlane right around the corner, the Divas Division has been as competitive and unpredictable as ever. Surprise wins, dysfunctional alliances, retirement announcements (kinda), and all the great booking a Divas fan could ask for leads us to our two matches at the Pay-Per-View (not one on Pre-Show, BOTH on PPV).

This episode of SmackDown features Sasha Banks versus Tamina and Divas Champion Charlotte taking on the woman that put her on the map, Natalya. How will these matches shape the lap before Fastlane? Let’s find out!

First up, Sasha Banks is seen backstage, heading to the ring as the commentators discuss her relationship with her tag partner at Fastlane, Becky Lynch. Tamina makes her way to the ring with Naomi (and I’m unsure of this whole theme song thing: is it Tamina’s, Naomi’s, or Team Bad/Naomina’s? I need answers!) We get a clip of Naomina beating up Becky backstage. Sasha make her way to the ring solo as the commentators discuss again, the trust issues these women have.

The bell rings, and a “Let’s Go Sasha” chants starts. They lock up and Tamina powers The Boss down to the mat and mocks the fans. She picks her up and tosses her across the ring by the hair a few times. She goes for the cover and gets two.

Tamina attempts a back suplex and Sasha counters and finds refuge in the corner. Tamina charges and Sasha gives her a trio of elbows, followed up by a trio of her knee attacks to the corner. She drags Tamina to the ring and goes for the cover, gaining a nearfall.

Naomi gets on the apron to jaw-jack with Sasha, and gets a punch for her troubles. Sasha ducks a clothesline from Tamina delivers an impressive bulldog into a Banks Statement, Tamina taps out, and Sasha wins the match.

As soon as the referee raises The Legit Boss’ hand Naomi attacks her from behind and does the Sasha’s signature sway pose. Tamina gets up as well to get a piece of the action jumping Sasha. Then, Becky runs to the ring and makes the save for her former Team B.A.E. partner. When Becky tries to help Sasha up, she’s met with a shove and Sasha tells her that she didn’t need her help.

After the break, Becky meets up with Sasha to reason with her. She tells her that they need to be on the same page instead of being at each other’s throats and if Team B.A.D. wins, they carry the momentum to WrestleMania. They both express their desire to have a WrestleMania moment. Becky says that she has tried to work with Sasha, but if she can’t get her ego take the backseat, she’s done amd walks way. Sasha grabs her by the arm and says they are not friends but she hates to lose. The two shake hands and agree to kick some lass, like a boss.

After a vignette about her Charlotte makes her way to the ring to face Natalya, who’s already in the ring.

The bell rings and Nattie takes control with a side headlock and Charlotte counters with a head scissors lock and then proceeds to “WOO” to the former Divas Champion. Nattie gets fired up and hits another side headlock, the champion powers out by slamming Nattie’s head to the mat.

Nattie goes to the corner and Charlotte charges in, Nattie dodges and hits a back seated suplex, then hits her signature basement dropkick. The crowd loves Nattie and Nattie loves the crowd as we head to the commercial break.

Back from break, Charlotte catches a kick from Nattie, who turns it into a unique hold and cranks on it for a moment before suplexing the Champion. Charlotte rolls out the ring and Nattie with a baseball slide. She rolls her back in the ring and Charlotte rolls again, allowing Charlotte to hit the big boot.

Charlotte rolls Nattie in, applying a body scissors and then transitions into a headlock. Nattie powers out a little, but Charlotte answers dropping her weight for a nearfall. After a missed knee drop, The Anvilette hits the Nat by Nature-German Suplex combo and Charlotte leaves the ring again. When Nattie goes to the apron Charlotte sweeps the leg and then goes back in the ring to apply the Figure Eight and Nattie has no choice but to tap.

Charlotte celebrates by mocking her Fastlane opponent Brie Bella‘s husband with “YES!” chants. Then we hear BRIIIEEEE MOOOODE and Brie Bella rushes to right and attacks Charlotte and pays homage to her husband with a series of side kicks to the chest and goes for the running Knee when Ric Flair pulls Charlotte out of the ring. The only thing left in the ring is Brie Bella and the Divas Title and Brie holds up the title to a huge response from the crowd.

Thoughts: Another week, another solid SmackDown. It’s a rare treat to see two Divas matches on an episode, but with the stakes being so high and this being the last show before Fastlane it was a necessity. To me, sometimes it is the little things that makes the difference between “good” and “great”. For instance, I liked that we got buildup outside of the Divas matches on this show. I liked the use of that Facebook video of Becky and Team B.A.D. as well as that vignette hyping up Charlotte’s run. Those things did not have to be there, but they were, and it adds value and respect to this division.

Tamina/Sasha was a good little match but did not need to go long. The bulldog-into Bank Statement was a good finish that shows how much Sasha is invested in her maneuver, and adding that “RKO Outta Nowhere” layer upon said move. Naomi has shined as a heel and even in her managerial role, continued to prove why she is a huge asset to this division. Her beatdowns are second to none and provides that “World Star!” element due to the realism of her attacks. The taunt of Sasha’s pose was perfect. And Naomi made the most out of her seemingly smaller role tonight. Becky as well continues to provide fans a hero that they can root for, as evident by those Becky chants during the post-match attack and it was a good decision to have Sasha be upset after receiving help, protecting her heeldom.

The segment afterward was goes back to my theme of the Divas getting more than usual attention and treatment. The segment could have ended there, but we got more. And that more was a nice cherry on top heading into Sunday’s tag match. Becky’s expression and speech skills are improving each week and she looked great here. And again, Sasha’s heeldom was protected by her taking the business approach. That was a very good way to tie things up for the build of this tag match.

Nattie/Charlotte 5 was another good little match as well. The thing is when the overall segment results in something that really propels the story forward, you don’t need a super long match. Anytime we see Nattie wrestle it’s a good thing and she brings the best out of her opponents. I wish we could see more of her but, here’s to wishful hoping! Charlotte’s growth as a heel continues to get stronger. Here’s the issue: her dad is Ric Flair. He “Woos” and people go batshit. It may be time to rethink using him as a manager because whenever Charlotte does something heelish, Ric’s actions create a positive reaction with creates an off-balance atmosphere for Charlotte’s character. I hope after ‘Mania, Charlotte goes solo and splits with Naitch.

Brie Bella as a babyface is like eating the Chicken Alfredo pasta from Jason’s Deli. It’s just meant to be and perfection. The crowd’s pop for her holding the title gave me GOOSEBUMPS. I’m so happy to see that the crowd is in full support of Brie. Great job to the commentators for shining a light on Brie being the only one left to protect the Bella-Cena-Danielson legacy and her strength through this time has been remarkable to see. There’s something about Brie that makes you wanna root for her right now and come Sunday, the whole arena will hope to see her day come.

Sunday’s show looks to be another great night for Divas. Two matches, both with exceptional build and actual stories we can follow. Since we don’t do predictions as writers anymore I’m going to give you mine. I hope Team B.A.D. wins because they need a huge win after putting over so many people the past year and that loss will propel Sasha into a rage that will regain her that heel response that she needs to get back to on Becky. About the Divas title match, I’m unsure. Since Brie is retiring soon, i believe she should retire as Champion after her contributions and elevating this division after almost a decade (and we still needed a Brie title run after the Stephanie feud TBH) but imagine the heat if Charlotte retains. I think that would help her out as well because she’s become this egotistical,entitled brat the past few months. Either way, that match will be emotional since I love Brie and have watched her grow into the performer she is today ever since she wore the flare out pants back in ’08.

What did you think of the show? Show Charlotte have looked more dominant? Did you enjoy the pact of Becky and Sasha? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

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