Thursday, September 23, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (July 7th, 2016): Natalya kicks some lass

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]Natalya-attacks-Becky-Lynch-SmackDown[/media-credit]

Though this week’s antics do not involve a single women’s match, it isn’t an entirely horrible show. In this week’s edition of SmackDown, The Queen of Harts and Lass Kicker put on a brilliant show  that pushes their story to new heights. However, the Boss, Predator and Women’s Champion fall slightly flat…

But, before we get into the mix of things, let’s remind ourselves of what happened!

Becky Lynch sprints out for a singles match but is immediately stopped by an attack from Natalya. “The Queen of Black Hearts,” as Mauro Ranallo puts it, attacks Lynch from behind and smashes her into the barricade to keep her down. As Becky lays defenseless, we see Natalya put the Lass Kicker in the Sharpshooter, demanding for her to tap out.

Later on in the night Sasha Banks discusses her biggest enemy, Charlotte, with Renee Young. Sasha reiterates how she isn’t “all hype,” as Charlotte claims, but before she can continue, the Women’s Champion and Dana Brooke show up laughing. Charlotte is seen wearing rainbow colored glasses in the style of Sasha’s as well as a pair of “Legit Queen” rings on her fingers. Charlotte states that Sasha gets her clothing from the “Nicki Minaj knock-off dollar store” (???) and Banks replies with “no boo boo, that’s where you get your clips-ins from.” So, yeah.

Dana then interferes and challenges the Boss to a one on one match on RAW so that she can gain some redemption for herself. As Banks is about to offer a fight tonight, Charlotte chips in by saying that “the Taco Bell chihuahua doesn’t make the rules” (seriously, stop it). Charlotte then makes up for these bad lines and says that she doesn’t wear costumes and fake jewelry – as she tosses Banks’ merch on the floor – and is the LeBron James of the division. Sasha then walks off after claiming to take the title one day and accepting Brooke’s offer.

Throughout the night we also see Lana stand idly by as Rusev comments on Zack Ryder’s challenge for the United States ChampionshipMaryse is also seen accompanying The Miz backstage as some of the guys laugh at Monday’s food fight antics. She then stands by his side during his successful match against Kalisto.

Thoughts: Natalya and Becky’s feud hasn’t been a very big highlight of recent weeks. It felt as though as soon as it began, it ended straight after. However, this week’s SmackDown makes things feel slightly different. When Becky is gearing up for her match, it feels as though we’re just going to witness another throwaway bout between Lynch and the go-to women Summer Rae – but that’s not the case. Despite the match not actually happening, we do get some storyline progression. We aren’t seeing Natalya idly stand by or say something awkward backstage. Instead we’re seeing her take action. We’re seeing Natalya show the aggression Becky has been bringing out of her. She is finally retaliating believably and not as though she couldn’t care less. Though this segment was short, the impact of it was very necessary.

However, the one issue I do have is with Becky’s selling. For Natalya to come across as a genuine threat, both women need to play their role. Whilst Natalya has the aggression on lock this week, Becky’s reaction to it isn’t so great. When in the sharpshooter we hear a few unenthusiastic yells from the Lass Kicker and a refusal to tap out. As much as Becky not tapping makes her look tough, it does little to put her opponent over. And regardless of who the veteran may, both competitors need to be taken seriously for the feud to follow suit.

Now let’s move on to the backstage segment. This feud has tons of potential to be memorable. And whilst the women are talented, this segment does not do them justice. The lines are far too corny and try-hard whilst the insertion of Dana feels as unnecessary as announcing Brock Lesnar’s segment on SmackDown. Dana is pretty much there to pose as a threat (but not really) to Sasha so that Banks can get some momentum without discrediting the champion. And whilst on paper this looks great, the actual work falls flat almost every time. The two lack chemistry and, though they are both skills, they are on completely different scales on the talent bar. These women need to work within their own means. Sasha should stay with Charlotte whilst Dana moves lower down the card. And on the topic of changing things up, this writing NEEDS improvement. Just because once makes a pop culture reference, that doesn’t immediately make it good. It has to actually make sense…

All three women are great talents, they just land on different scales. And though they do give it their best shot, one can only do so much when the writing is terrible. However, this is pre-draft SmackDown, so what can we really expect?

Did you enjoy this week’s show? How do you think things should change when the brand split takes place? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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