We have a number one contender, tea-time besties and impending rivals – all of which is courtesy of Battleground! The fallout from the pay-per-view gave us some interesting feuds to look forward to, so let’s see what the blue brand has in store for us!
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes catches up with the Women’s champion Naomi to discuss her encounter with Natalya at Battleground. And speak of the Devil and She shall rise… The Queen of Black Harts tells “Dash” to leave the two alone so they can have a war of words. The number one contender tells the champ that she has “tarnished everything that a WWE championship stands for” and goes on to emphasize how Naomi has turned the Women’s title into a “kid’s toy”. She states that the champ has “no respect for legends like the Hart Family” – the kind that “paved the way” for her. So, at SummerSlam, the Queen of Harts intends to take the title and “restore honor back to the women’s division.” Tough words from Natalya, but of course, Naomi never backs down.
Miss Glow fires back, stating that Natalya is “so stuck in that dirty dungeon of the past” that she can’t even see that the title she holds – as well as the Women’s Evolution – is about the future. Naomi confirms that she didn’t “tarnish” the title, she “earned” it, and even added a little piece of herself to it. And to end of the conversation, the champ insists that Natalya keeps “throwing [her] shade,” because regardless, at SummerSlam she shall be “blinded by the glow.” Oh it’s on.
Once Natalya leaves however, Miss Money In The Bank Carmella knocks (on her briefcase) as she enters the room. The Princess of Staten Island – sporting a “Free Ellsworth” t-shirt, tells the champ to not mind her, as herself and the briefcase are simply “looking into the future.” Capiche.
Lana appears to be starting the match off against Becky, but quickly tags out to Tamina. Snuka, looking disappointed in her partner, goes in anyway. Her and Becky have a decent fight, but it seems that Becky takes charge very quickly. Lynch immediately tries to implant the Dis-Arm-Her, the same move that eliminated both of her opponents two nights ago. Unfortunately she fails and ends up on the receiving end of a beatdown. Lana then makes Tamina tag her in once she realizes that they have the upperhand. The Ravishing Russian takes charge and puts in a few moves, targeting the back of Becky. A decent suplex followed by some holds and taunting follows through. Lana then tags in Tamina, whom inserts her dominance even more.
Eventually Becky manages to tag in her eager partner Charlotte. Flair takes care of business but soon finds herself knocked down by Tamina. Snuka is then blind-sighted by a self-tag by her partner – and this is where things go south, for Tamina and Lana at least.
Charlotte quickly gets to her feet to take down Lana, and manages to knock Tamina onto the outside mat. She then inserts a big-boot onto the Ravishing Russian and pins her: 1-2-3. The tea-time besties get the win!
As the winners vacate the ring, an angry Tamina makes her feelings known to a vulnerable Lana. I guess this pairing isn’t going to last quite as long as we thought.
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) July 26, 2017
On a typical night we’d have a Talking Smack segment to get through. But fear not, Renee Young and Daniel Bryan brought it back in the form of Smacking Talk! The two discuss how Bryan is the father of more than one Birdie Joe-Danielson. Turns out that Daniel was a very frisky five-year-old, and managed to be the father of Chad Gable. Wonderful!
Thoughts: The direction that WWE has been using for Lana is quite interesting. Initially it appeared as though she was going to replace the role of Eva Marie by being perceived as though she is getting opportunities without working for them, and thus attaining heel heat. But it appears that that may not be the case any more. After being defeated by Charlotte tonight, Lana is embarrassed in the sense that it almost makes you feel sympathetic. She doesn’t look around, humiliated that her haters are being proven right. Instead she tries to hide her shame as she seems disappointed in herself. And with the yelling of Tamina not too far away, the intimidation and embarrassment she feels must be pretty big. Could Lana be on the verge of a babyface push? And could this be a way for Tamina to become a big heel in the division? The Ravishing Russian may openly try to become a better wrestler, and with time we may be able to root for her. Let’s just work around those “you can’t wrestle chants” for now.
I have to admit that I’m kind of disappointed that Tamina didn’t address Lana’s lack of help at Battleground. A quick segment of Snuka pointing out how useless Lana is could have aided this intimidating dynamic between the two – even if the aforementioned babyface push isn’t happening. It would’ve been a nice way for the audience to understand the animosity a bit more, and to add some continuity to the storyline.
On a positive note, it’s great to see Charlotte retain some momentum. I was fearing that SmackDown were going to turn Flair into a bit of a punching bag to elevate new talent again and again. And whilst it did well for the past three showings, it was time for her to regain some momentum. She isn’t “the Queen” just because. She’s got that nickname because she earned it – and this win was very justified.
But where will this lead? Down the line Lynch and Flair will come to a crossfire. I mean, they are both very competitive Superstars going after the same goal – it’s an age old story in WWE. I just hope that when one of them inevitably turns heel that it is Becky that does it. We’ve seen Becky be blind-sighted far too often for her own good. And for someone that is supposed to be seen as one of the best, she should know better by now. So what better way to solidify her strengths by making her take down the Queen? In a few months, this would be a perfect story. And I can’t wait to see it!
The title picture appears to be the more interesting aspect of the division. Natalya and Naomi are wonderful talents and their backstage segment is a great beginning to their tale. Natalya needs to look like a tough heel – but not too tough because her awkwardness is what makes her so entertaining. We don’t need to see Trish Stratus or Victoria levels of heel from her, but we do need to despise her to an extent. And her relationship with Naomi is perfect for that. Natalya is holding on to her family’s legacy whilst Naomi is busy building her own. It’s a great way to combine a jealous, delusional heel with a kickass, inspiring face.
And speaking of kickass, inspiring faces, Naomi exemplified that and more in her promo tonight. Her championship belt design has been receiving critics from the WWE Universe – as Natalya made clear with her “toy” comment. And I can’t help but appreciate SmackDown giving the champ the platform to set them straight. Naomi is everything a role model should be, and then some. She overcame adversity, she pushed past some challenging opponents, and she did it all on her own. Adding her own glow to the belt is the perfect way to embody that. Go Naomi!
This week wasn’t a super thrilling one for the women as it appears the WWE and US titles were the main focus. But it still did a great job for the Women’s championship by establishing the roles the women will play. Let’s just see where it leads from here.
How do you feel about tonight’s events? Do you see a babyface push for Lana? What’s your opinion on the Women’s title picture? Let us know your views in the comments below!