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SmackDown Redux (July 20th, 2016): Two rosters, plenty potential

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]sasha banks double knees charlotte smackdown[/media-credit]

The table has been set. Each woman on the WWE roster has now been placed on either brand and it really can be anyone’s game. With a title on one brand and a wave of upcoming and underrated talent on another, this could be a very exciting time for the women of WWE. Though it could be bad, it certainly has potential to be good. We’ll just have to wait to see what’s in store for us… So before we get onto the discussion, let’s remind ourselves of the match we saw and the current rosters!

SmackDown immediately started off with Stephanie McMahonMick FoleyShane McMahon and Daniel Bryan deciding their first five picks for their respective rosters.

The full draft results were:

Raw:

  • Charlotte (shown on SmackDown, round 1, #3)
  • Sasha Banks (shown on SmackDown, round 3, #14)
  • Lana (w/ Rusev) (shown on SmackDown, round 4, #16)
  • Nia Jax (shown on SmackDown, round 5, #25)
  • Paige (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 7, #35)
  • Summer Rae (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 9, #44)
  • Alicia Fox  (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 11, #54)
  • Dana Brooke (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 11, #56)

SmackDown:

  • Becky Lynch (shown on SmackDown, round 3, #15)
  • Maryse (w/ The Miz) (shown on SmackDown, round 4, #17)
  • Natalya (shown on SmackDown, round 6, #27)
  • Naomi (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 8, #39)
  • Alexa Bliss (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 7, #47)
  • Eva Marie (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 10, #51)
  • Carmella (shown on WWE Draft Center Live, round 11, #59)

Our first match of the night (and technically, our only one) is a handicap consisting of Charlotte and Dana Brooke taking on Sasha Banks.

Surprisingly, this match doesn’t feel as bad as expected. Though it’s far from a classic, we do see some great spots – particularly the double knees by Sasha which are then transitioned into a big punch from Dana. However, though the match doesn’t prove to be very memorable, we do end up seeing Charlotte deliver the Natural Selection and pinning Sasha for the 3 count. So yeah, they kinda just threw that one away…

We also see Natalya head out to fight Alicia Fox. However, before she can even enter the ring, the Lass Kicker attacks her from behind to initiate a brawl, leading to the cancellation of the match.

Thoughts: Firstly, why has Sasha Banks’ first ever pinfall loss taken place today?! In a throwaway match that pretty much nobody cared to watch? The whole undefeated streak wasn’t really that interesting to begin with, but for it to go on so long, causing a bunch of women to job, and for it all to conclude in a throwaway bout… it all seems so pointless and redundant. The streak could have gone to many places. We could have seen NXT stars like Nia Jax or Asuka overtake her, or even have Bayley, her soon-to-be long term rival do the honors. But unfortunately, the loss has taken place in one of the most insignificant matches of her career, which is a huge shame. But what’s done is done, and this feud will hopefully escalate come Battleground. So, it may be best to just hold off on any excitement until after this Sunday’s showcase.

Now, onto the rosters…

There is a clear difference between which women were chosen for RAW, and those chosen for SmackDown.

RAW has the women that WWE either sees a future for, or views them as purely enhancement talent. We have the likes of Banks, Flair, Paige and Jax, all of whom are destined for success if all goes to plan. These women are definitely seen  as the stars of their brand. They will be in the main (and probably only) feuds for some time, and it should be good.

Nia Jax is the most interesting pick out of the lot. She hasn’t got a lot of experience, and with her look, crowds that aren’t aware of her (as well as those that are) will expect a lot from her. Her NXT work isn’t bad, but it isn’t good enough for her to be taken seriously. She definitely has potential, and I’m hoping that she has been holding back, but unfortunately this is a big opportunity for failure. Nia should be treated as a huge threat – she needs to be seen as even bigger than the champion. Her look and attitude can easily overtake any other woman. However, her wrestling skills may let her down.

Sasha, Charlotte and Paige are definitely all on the right show. The three are serious threats to be taken seriously in the division, and are all future multiple title holders. Each woman has a lot of people invested in them. Whilst Paige and Sasha have a huge army of fans, Charlotte has the WWE Universe praying to see her downfall. So seeing these three popular women on the flagship show is definitely the best choice for them.

Dana on the other hand, is not on the right brand. This was the perfect opportunity for WWE to split her ties with Charlotte and allow both of them to explore solo careers. They could easily say their goodbyes on Battleground (whether it be civil or end in a beat down) and then move on to newer things. Dana’s lack of experience yet high potential is perfect for the blue brand. She can work with the newer/underrated talent whilst improving herself and not making embarrassing mistakes. Being side by side with the women that every fan is watching has definitely had its impact, whereas if she were to work with the women on SmackDown her mistakes would not be as memorable.

And then we have the likes of Alicia and Summer… Initially, I was ever so happy to see their faces appear on top of red backgrounds. It seemed obvious to me that any woman on the brand with the title stands a good chance at competing for it (especially as it’s such a small female roster). However, then it sunk in. Though these girls are incredibly talented, in the eyes of WWE, that’s irrelevant. These women have been consistently appearing on Main Event and Superstars to put over the likes of Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch whilst failing to gain much momentum for themselves along the way. These women do deserve better, but unfortunately I don’t predict anything more than being squashed by Nia Jax and having the occasional good match on Superstars.

However, there could be a chance that these two will make their name. The roster is spread pretty thin right now, so if some of the other women fail to make an impact, management could very easily sway on the side of these two to save the day… #optimismhelps

SmackDown on the other hand… this is where things can get exciting.

Each competing lady on this brand is completely underrated. They’re being separated from the clear fan favourites and now it’s their time to show what they can truly offer.

Becky being removed from the Horsewomen scenario is brilliant for her. Though she already had momentum prior to the draft, she’ll now no longer live in the shadow of her former NXT colleagues. Banks and Flair will be working alongside one another on RAW whilst Lynch is now able to relaunch her solo legacy. The crowd will definitely be behind her, and she won’t have the other two taking that shine away from her any more.

This roster choice is also brilliant for the likes of Naomi and Natalya. These two are definitely the most talented in-ring workers this division has offered in years. Both are incredibly athletic, always manage to put over their opponent and have some great matches in their arsenal (with the ability to deliver much more). Previously they faced the same issue as Becky Lynch, except their non-NXT backgrounds and lack of a push didn’t help them very much. Now all of that will (hopefully) no longer exist. These two are certainly the most accomplished women on the roster (minus Maryse as she isn’t currently a competitor). They are the leaders of the division as their successes and time with the company outweighs the other female wrestlers’. This is the perfect opportunity to push these two as the veterans they should be seen as, rather than enhancement talent. They have the skill, they have the credits, and there isn’t anybody else standing in their way. This is the era that Natalya and Naomi finally receive a chance in the company and solidify themselves as the hardworking and phenomenal workers they are.

Both of the Smackdown NXT choices were the best possible picks. Alexa and Carmella have had a very similar ride in developmental. They joined at similar times, valeted male tag teams and even chased the NXT Women’s Championship at the same point. Their level of skills are extremely alike, and their chemistry in the ring is brilliant. So what better way than to bring them up to the main roster at the same time? Bringing both of them up at once allows audiences to get to know either of them simultaneously. We won’t be seeing one as a “veteran” and the other as a “rookie”, we’ll see them both as equals. This can easily initiate a long term feud that will have both of them at an even level, giving it a completely different feel than the typical underdog vs cocky heel feud. Instead, it’ll be two women, one evil, one good, both competing to be the best whilst each getting a fair share of wins/losses along the way. Both women can easily go over this way, and it can be great.

Now let’s discuss Eva Marie. Initially, I wasn’t pleased with her placement. I wanted Eva to be where the title was. Standing alongside fandom favourites like Sasha, Paige and Charlotte would be great for her heel persona. Her natural heat abilities combined with Banks, Paige and Flair’s IWC adoration would easily put each woman over in the way they need to be. However, she doesn’t need that just yet. And this is where she needs to be. It’s clear that SmackDown will remain the B show (with the entire roster, not just the women). There are only two championship belts and a lot of the future shining stars are on the red brand. So SmackDown will be treated as a sort of developmental for main roster talent. This is where talent will go to make their name but also work their way up. And as Eva isn’t quite there yet in terms of her in-ring ability, this will be the perfect way to begin her relaunch into the mainstream scene. Eva will gain experience alongside top tier talent like Becky and Natalya, put over babyface competitors like Carmella, whilst also attracting the attention of every hater waiting to see her fall. Placing Marie on SmackDown is a win for everybody involved, and I couldn’t be happier with this choice.

In terms of the two managers on the brands, I don’t predict an exciting future for the two. We will see both Lana and Maryse accompany their men and occasionally get some mic time. During season 6 of Total Divas they will definitely be used more, but it won’t be very lasting. It is a shame, especially as Maryse has a great past as a solo competitor. And in fact, The Miz having a dominant valet would make the two of them look even stronger, so it is a great annoyance that she most likely won’t be fighting…

How do you predict each woman will end up? Do you like these choices? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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