Thursday, October 28, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (June 18th, 2015): Team Bella Recruits Another Member

Welcome to another SmackDown Redux! This week on the blue show, we’ve got Brie Bella taking on the lonesome Paige. It’s no two-on-one Handicap match, but Paige is still outnumbered, having converted no one to Team Paige yet.

Will Paige’s performance here inspire someone to finally join her side? Let’s watch:

Pre-match, we spy Brie heading towards gorilla with Nikki by her side. However, instead of following her to the ring, Nikki opts to let Brie handle this on her own. No twin magic tonight!

After a recap of Paige’s failed attempt to rally the rest of the Divas on Raw and her loss against the Bellas, we begin the match. They tie up, Brie taking control and backing Paige into the corner. She pounds Paige’s back against the turnbuckle repeatedly before planting her with a running bulldog. She goes for an early pin, but Paige kicks out.

Brie hits Paige in the side of the head with a dropkick and then pull her to her feet. She tries to whip her into the ropes, but it’s reversed, and she’s tripped up by Paige on the return. Paige blasts Brie with a knee to the face and covers her for the pin. Brie kicks out.

Brie gets to her feet quickly and knocks Paige down with a dropkick. Paige then returns the favor, hitting a dropkick of her own before driving Brie back-first into the corner, ramming her midsection with her shoulder and a few right hands. Paige lifts Brie up to the top turnbuckle, prepping for a high risk maneuver. Brie battles back, though, and takes Paige down with a sunset flip into a powerbomb! She covers Paige, but only earns a two count. With that, we head to a commercial.

Back from commercial, we see Brie in the midst of some offense, kneeing Paige between the shoulder blades. She makes another pin attempt, but Paige again kicks out. Brie starts to get cocky, pulling Paige to her feet and taunting the crowd before hitting a neckbreaker. Another pin attempt, another kick out by Paige.

Brie props Paige up against her knees, grabbing her face for a chinlock submission. Paige feels the pain, stomping her feet as Brie mocks her with a kiss on the head. Paige soon fights out, but she doesn’t get far, and finds herself driven into the corner face-first by Brie. She kicks Paige a few times before the referee forces her back. When she returns to inflict more damage, Paige slips out of the way and traps Brie for some elbows to the head. She then knees her roughly in the stomach before climbing to the second rope and ramming her head into her knee repeatedly.

Brie goes stumbling across the ring and ducks Paige’s first attack, but a follow-up kick lands directly and Brie is sent rolling out of the ring. Paige follows, taking out Brie from the ring apron with a tumbling splash. Paige is slow to her feet, but manages to toss Brie into the ring and head to the top rope. Brie feigns a leg injury, distracting the referee with her plight while out of nowhere comes Alicia Fox! She knocks Paige off the top rope, allowing Brie to immediately hit her with a Bella Buster and claim victory.

Alicia applauds Brie’s win and the two head up the ramp together to meet Nikki. The Divas Champ rewards Alicia with two Bella t-shirts. That’s a $50 value!

Meanwhile, Lana continued her stalled exciting storyline with Dolph Ziggler, accompanying him to the ring for his win over Bo Dallas while Rusev looked on:

Afterwards, the pair was interviewed for an online exclusive:

The two reveled in Dolph’s victory – the first he’s gotten with Lana at ringside. He brushed off Bo’s rude comments about them, saying it’s great to be “undefeated”. He suggests they goto Hooters to celebrate, and Lana is quite pleased with the idea. Maybe she really likes chicken wings…

Thoughts: Brie vs. Paige was a fun little match. Those two work well together and made what could have been a throwaway SmackDown match much more than that. Now back on the dark side, Brie has proven that she can be a great heel as long as she’s not relying too heavily on rest holds. I hope she continues to mix it up and finds a way to let the heelishness inhabit her would-be babyface moveset, like Naomi has.

I really liked the powerbomb off the corner, too. Speaking of, Paige seems to have taken a ton of knocks lately, what with the uptick in high risk offense in her matches. Someone get that girl an ice pack. She’s putting her body on the line in the name of putting on exciting Divas matches, and she deserves a ton of credit for that. I’m sure she and the rest of the Divas hit the glass ceiling when it comes to busting out certain spots, so kudos to her for finding ways to color outside the lines.

I’d love to see all of this turn into an all-out civil war between the Divas. It would allow everyone to get a bit of the spotlight, reinforce how important the Divas Title is and give fans a much needed sense of the division’s scope. This feud was flat when we were asked to take Paige’s word for the plight of the rest of the Divas. If everyone is forced to pick a side and get involved, suddenly things seem a little less half-assed. I’d much rather see Emma and Naomi stick up for themselves rather than hear Paige name drop them in a promo. That’s not to say I want Naomi to side with Paige – I’d prefer her to be the one wild card in this scenario. I don’t want anything messing with her heel status, and I don’t believably see her siding with the Bellas after what went down over the past few months.

This feud isn’t lighting the world on fire just yet, but things have definitely improved. Color me intrigued. Maybe the creative team will expend some effort on this story after all. If we’re going to see a line being drawn down the middle of the division, there’s a lot of ways this can go – NXT Diva debuts, heel turns, face turns, former Diva Tough Enough trainer returns – and that makes this exciting. That being said, if the payoff is a Lumberjill match, I’m egging WWE Headquarters.

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