Thursday, October 28, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (May 29, 2009) – Twice as Nice

As Raw dwindled away it’s only compelling storyline this week, SmackDown has furthered both of it’s Diva storylines. Perhaps it’s the so-called ‘lack of Superstars’ on the show that have allowed the writers to utilise all of their stars to the fullest extent (just look at Charlie Haas, talk about a new lease on life). The WWE Draft last year was used to ‘beef up Raw’ and would supposedly leave ‘SmackDown crippled’, but it’s shown no signs of being crippled if you ask me.

Watch below as we get a double dose of Divas action, as Melina faces off against her #1 Contender’s ally, Alicia Fox. Later, following a mound of hype, Eve and Layla finally go one-on-one:


ALICIA FOX VS MELINA

• • • • •

EVE TORRES VS LAYLA

SmackDown continued to gain a solid lead over Monday Night Raw with it’s two matches, even if it was a weaker showing for the brand. No offence to any of the Divas involved and I enjoyed all four Divas’ work, but in comparison to the matches we’ve seen with Melina, Gail Kim and Michelle McCool, it was a slightly weaker show for the Divas. The fantastic Gail Kim was benched this week, and while I personally missed her presence on the show, there was plenty enough on the broadcast to make up for it.

Before I get into individual matches, I want to point out the great way that SmackDown’s writers have kept storylines going from week-to-week, showing recaps before matches and making everything seamless in terms of last week’s show into this week’s show. The match booking makes sense when you watch the recaps before the match begins and that’s something that Raw doesn’t do too often. Yet here, we had that with both matches.

So looking at Melina vs A-Fox, Melina as always looks great. Meanwhile Alicia gets a new theme of her very own, it kinda reminds of a Nelly song without the lyrics but it fits her. Michelle on the other hand, seriously hot mess. The boob tube look doesn’t suit her considering she hasn’t got much going on in that department. Gaudy.

I’m a big fan of both of these Divas and it’s just crazy to think that just over a month ago Alicia was a manager on ECW. The SmackDown writers have turned her on her head and here she is, toe-to-toe with the Women’s Champion, Melina. The Draft really can do wonders. To me, Alicia didn’t come across as the ‘less experienced’ Diva, that dynamic just wasn’t there. I felt like I was seeing two very talented, abled wrestlers in the ring and I think that definitely helps. I don’t know about you guys, but I see Alicia as a ‘wrestler’ now, unlike say if this match was between Melina and Kelly or Maryse; there would be an obvious feeling of mismatch. Alicia on the other hand, has me sold and hanging on her every move. And I think some of that is in her confidence and the way she carries herself in the ring with that swagger we know she posesses. She steps into the ring ready for a match and no offence to Maryse, doesn’t overcompensate with hair flips etc. to hide her flaws.

From the outset, Alicia is aggressive and sort of reminds me of Melina in her early SmackDown days, which must be kind of ironic for the Women’s Champion. Some back and forth action and Melina does the Ma-Trish. We’re on the outside now as we get a staredown between Melina and Michelle, leaving Alicia to hit a very well executed dropkick through the bottom ropes. Interesting since that’s the very move Gail Kim hit on her a few weeks back. Melina hits the floor with an ‘ouchy’ splat, nice selling by the Champ. Alicia then takes a bit of a lead but the more experienced Melina manages to take advantage using her very innovative moveset, notice the use of her legs throughout the match. Melina is definitely one of the most innovative wrestlers on the Divas roster, there’s never a boring spot where she’s concerned.

Things get a little more botchy here into the finish, and as we know from live reports, Melina attempted to go for her Last Call but Alicia buckled under the weight. They obviously cut that here, as the camera cuts to Michelle as Melina goes into the inverted leg-split drop (we really need a name for that) for the win.

It wasn’t the greatest match, but it kept up the SmackDown standard.

Next up we have the culmination of the much hyped feud (which is unusual for the Divas) between Layla and Eve. Speaking of that ‘SmackDown standard’, here’s where standards could really slip. There was a lot of pressure for Eve and Layla to deliver considering the great work we’ve seen from the Friday night roster of late. Neither are amazing in the ring, so this was either hit or miss in a big way. Thankfully, it was a ‘hit’ [although a minor one] as Eve and Layla managed to work toward a decent match that I would go as far as to say, was better than the Divas Championship match on Raw this week.

No one expected much technicality from these two and unlike Alicia, I don’t really see them as ‘wrestlers’. They haven’t managed to work towards earning that tag yet. I’ve been a fan of Layla’s since day one and I’ve wanted nothing more than to see her really become a big part of the women’s division but it seems Alicia has passed her by. Nonetheless, she is still decent in the ring as proven here; she carries most of the match and does a good job of it. I have no doubt, with some more matches under her belt [hopefully with Gail, Melina, Michelle and Alicia] she could get better. The only thing that let her down was her ugly ring attire, a huge shame for the usually fashion-savvy Diva. Eve on the other hand, I have never been to impressed with. To me she’s generic in the ring, a little blah and yes, while she can work an okay match, she just doesn’t pop off the screen for me. Not to mention my gripe with her is that in every match I’ve seen her wrestle, she tends to get winded half way through.

Like Alicia, Layla shows flares of Melina early on, launching at Eve and pounding her leading to a roll-around catfight. Well, no one was expecting technicality. Layla shoves Eve into the side of the ring and delivers a nice kick on the outside and then throws Eve back in the ring and continues to dominate most of the match. The match was very basic, not too many standout spots but it worked. I think both of these girls can work believable matches and there wasn’t too much botching at all, which is a good thing. When push came to shove, they delivered. If I had to speculate, there’s a reason why Eve was moved off her usual interviewing position and given a storyline over the ‘active’ Maria, who’s been relegated to backstage. Not a bad little match, definitely not the best but the SmackDown standard is maintained for another week.

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