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SmackDown Redux (May 23rd, 2017): Lass on top

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Backlash was a pretty dull night for the women of SmackDown, and this week’s fallout could offer a different path. With the Welcoming Committee’s streak of dominance, the women’s division is bound to take a turn.

This week the ladies are on early on in the show as Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch (accompanied by SmackDown Women’s champion Naomi) take on Natalya and Carmella (whom have Tamina and James Ellsworth by their side). The first half of the match is full of grapples and taunts, with not a lot going on. Though for the most part it appears that Flair and Lynch have it in the bag.

Fortunately for us, when the ad break comes on we get to see a silent version of the match continue in the corner. From this point, the Welcoming Committee take charge with their dirty tactics. With some distractions from the outside, The Queen of Black Harts and the Princess of Staten Island take over. At one point however, we see Naomi jump on Tamina, and kick Ellsworth out of the way. Lynch manages to get ahold of the situation and forces Carmella to tap to the Dis-Arm-Her. A bit of redemption for the Lass Kicker there, it seems!

A little later on in the show, Natalya walks into Shane McMahon’s office, demanding a title shot. She reminds him of the fact that he told her to simply earn and ask for it, and with her win at Backlash, she believes that she is eligible. Carmella and Ellsworth then interrupt and claim the same thing. Becky then gets involved and says that as the original champion, it’s her belt to claim. Snuka soon joins and reminds the group that unlike them, she has yet to fail at an opportunity. Miss Flair then alerts the room that she would have been champion had the Welcoming Committee not ruined her match. McMahon, as adorable as ever, states that all of the women will get their opportunity. He issues a Fatal-Five-Way Elimination contest for next week. The winner of the contest will face Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s championship in four weeks at Money In The Bank!

Thoughts: The best way to describe this episode is as a disappointment. The match is lacklustre and doesn’t offer anything other than some form of retribution for Becky. Though it does put the women on a level-playing field, it feels as though everything is moving slowly.

We’re aware that Becky is a good wrestler and that Carmella is supposed to be seen as weak. So although we receive a bit of a reminder, nothing else really happens in the match.

But there is a level of hope when the Fatal-Five-Way is announced. We’re finally moving the title picture forward, and we’re seeing the women act as solo competitors rather than Divas Revolution teams. They’re turning on each other so we get some kind of development here. However, I can’t help but feel like SmackDown has turned into what RAW used to be.

RAW used to have no story progression and make us wait for big moments. We’d occasionally get some big pay-off, but for the most part we were stuck waiting for things to get better. This is how the SmackDown women’s division feels. I don’t want to watch a show just to wait for it to get better. It should be good every week. But instead we have two tag matches with the last two showings with very little storytelling. Unless we count Tamina saying one word as progression, we’re really not getting much.

It’s disappointing that SmackDown was once seen as can’t miss, and now if you read the headline results you’ve pretty much seen all you need to see. Anyone who went to WWE.com to see who won the Backlash match would be on the same page as everyone who watched both shows. And that’s a problem.

What did you think of this episode? Do you want to see more progression with the story? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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