Monday, October 18, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (July 24, 2009) – Eve Has Hart, Michelle’s A-List Makeover

sd24july09

We’re kickin’ it old school this week! For one week only, Melanie’s back, kids! Erin is off on her holidays this week but will return to the SmackDown Redux next week. Let’s hope I haven’t lost my touch…

This week’s SmackDown saw the final push into Night of Champions this Sunday, as Melina vs Michelle McCool was the final match announced for the card. For storyline purposes we have Melina ‘invoking’ her rematch clause for the Women’s Championship. Check out their segment below:

‘Monotone McCool’ is back this week — that’s what happens when you get rid of an amazing could-be mouthpiece. Yes, the scripting was kind of standard but I enjoyed the jibes: calling the make-up artist ‘historic’, forgetting Trish’s name. It could have come across well, but Monotone McCool strikes again. There’s no inflection in Michelle’s speech, there’s no emphasis on the words, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michelle flunked Drama in high school. It probably makes matters worse that I watched this segment after watching a promo by the Beautiful People on last night’s Impact. I watched this and in my head, I pictured how Velvet Sky would say it and how she’d hit the mark and have the right tone. Promos aren’t Michelle’s strongest suit granted, but the execution came off extremely flat & the truth is, this was one of the better scripted promos she’s received from the writers.

Melina on the other hand has always had great promo skills and we saw that here, I would say that Melina is the closest to Trish Stratus who was a master of the delivering humorous promos and interviews [click here for an example]. Melina’s promo called for humour, “Congratulate you… on being the biggest phony in WWE history,” and she pulled it off well. As a heel, Melina’s promos were awesome but as a face, it needs to be toned down so it doesn’t come off as bitchy and I think she found the right balance here. Melina’s the complete opposite of Michelle, she had the perfect inflection in her voice: “You know what that means.” My only advice to her would be to dial it up a little more on the humour a la Trish, using her hands and her face to match to kind of sell that comedy.

So on Raw we had the hairspray and on SmackDown we have the foundation, anyone sensing a pattern? The little punch line “I also tone hair,” was cute. Michelle walking away didn’t really work for me, isn’t she supposed to be aggressive and no-nonsense? Wouldn’t she turn right around and left-hook Melina? It was okay but I thought it was unrealistic for Michelle to walk away.

Anyway that sets up their match for Night of Champions, a match that hasn’t really been pushed until now which sucks. There was a lot they could have explored between The Bash and this PPV. But Melina has been set up as a strong contender and a ‘thorn in Michelle’s side’.

Thoughts on Eve vs Natalya after the cut:

Following the six person match last week, it was inevitable that we’d see this singles match as Eve Torres faced Natalya:

So despite this being a match between the Divas, they come out to their respective team’s music… go figure!

Eve’s mismatch outfits bother me, then again I’m not completely loving Natalya’s attire either.

Moving into the match, Eve kicks off by trying to subdue arguably the most powerful Diva on the WWE roster with a headlock. But Eve soon succumbs to Natalya’s bashful nature, as she pushes the former Diva Search winner. If I was Eve, I’d be intimidated. But nope not Eve, she locks in another headlock into a side-snapmare and finds an even tighter lock around Nattie’s head. Both Divas get to their feet as Natalya begins to elbow her way out of the headlock, throwing Eve into the corner but gets a knee when she tries to charge at her. But then, we see the strength and power of the third generation Diva — catching Eve in midair and hurling her down to the canvas in a powerful slam.

The tide begins to turn in Nattie’s favour now, as she controls the match, mounting Eve and hitting her with forearms. She then goes for one of her signature moves, the surfboard as JR so rightly chimes in, “When was the last time we saw a Diva even attempt this move.” Natalya then moves into what could have been an amazing curb stomp but hits kind of a mini one, driving Eve right into the canvas.

Things begin to go south for the Hart Dynasty Diva, missing a legdrop and then getting kicked in the midsection by E-V-E followed by a clothesline and one of her awkward dropkicks. A few moves later, Eve walks right into the fantastic discus clothesline that Nattie ended things with last week. It doesn’t however, have quite the impact it did last week, due to Eve’s selling of the move. Eve rolls over to the bottom rope to avoid a pin situation, but meets Natalya’s fists of fury.

Going into the finish, Natalya props Eve up on the top turnbuckle setting up a back suplex but Eve elbows Natalya followed by a knee, which throws her off balance and she hits the canvas in perfect position for a moonsault. Eve begins to set up her moonsault, taking a little too long if you ask me — was she scared? But it doesn’t matter, as she hits a very athletic moonsault, which looked really good in mid-air… and then she landed. Eve missed the mark somewhat, it looked like her knees hit the canvas in ouchy fashion way before the rest of her body landed.

Eve picks up the win in a so-so match. I refuse to believe that Eve’s elbows and a knee could subdue Natalya onto the canvas long enough for that moonsault, but whatever. It was okay but I much, much prefer her handspring moonsault. You could tell that was unique and something that could be recognised with Eve, but the standard moonsault we saw here will always be compared to a former Women’s Champion.

All in all, I thought it was a decent match but nothing really stood out. We’ve seen far better work from Natalya against the likes of Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox, who are on a similar level of ability to Eve. Eve is getting better, my main complaint about her has always been that she looks winded and doesn’t seem to be able to get through a match without looking like she’s in pain. Thankfully, I didn’t notice that here so I’m guessing she’s begun adjusting to wrestling regularly now.

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