Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (May 2nd, 2017): Pick a side or get left behind

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It’s time to pick a team, and it’s time to stand your ground. With the Superstar Shakeup holding its impact, the Welcoming Committee are still feeling a little blue. And although last week they stood tall, can they handle the pressure of doing it again? Let’s take a quick look at what happened throughout the night!

Our first sighting of the night takes place as Becky Lynch is interrupted by the Welcoming Committee. The group of NatalyaTaminaCarmella and James Ellsworth attempt to convince Becky that she needs to realise that SmackDown newbie Charlotte Flair is taking their opportunities from them. And after the convincing argument, Lynch is left thinking about the decision.

As set earlier in the day, Charlotte Flair and Naomi were advertised to tag against Carmella and Natalya (with James Ellsworth and Tamina by their side). But unfortuantely, during an interview in which Flair was explaining her feelings towards the “Welcoming Committee”, she received yet another warm welcome as they attacked her, leaving her too hurt to compete in the match.

The match then takes place and despite her music playing during the break, the newbie doesn’t show, so we end up seeing Naomi take on the team of Carmella and Natalya alone. It starts off with Carmella attempting to kick the champ, but a quick set of kicks to her torso forces ‘Mella to be suffering at this point. Soon Natalya tags in and we see yet another impressive set of moves between the Queen of Black Harts and the Queen of Glow. Naomi eventually feels the pressure of the handicap and it shows as she is left defenseless. Fortunately however, a hurt Charlotte walks to the ring and manages to be tagged. She dominates for a while but, the Welcoming Committee with their dirty tactics, prove to be too much for the duo.

Natalya distracts the referee from counting Naomi’s pin on Carmella, but is then kicked on the head, landing on the outside. Ellsworth attempts to get involved and is also forced to the outside. Taking advantage of the moment however is Carmella, as she rolls Naomi up – pulling the tights – and scoring the victory.

The Welcoming Committee, or, “Nattie and the Pussycats” as some readers describe them as, quickly attack Naomi and Flair. Despite their efforts, the numbers game works out well for Natalya and co. and they dominate the scenario. But before we know it, the Lass Kicker Becky Lynch walks to the ring and confronts the trio, and Ellsworth. After looking at either party, she then shakes the hand of each standing woman. Then when it came to Ellsworth, instead of shaking his hand, she offers to hug him. And instead of going forward with the hug she tosses James into Tamina and attacks Natalya.

Though this act of bravery starts off strong, the numbers game comes into play yet again and Lynch finds herself on the ground. The trio quickly kick out Naomi, Charlotte and Becky and gloat to the crowd, mirroring the same result as last week.

The trio and Ellsworth then go on to Talking Smack to discuss tonight’s events. Before they can begin, Carmella makes it a point that she requires some water after her very important pinning of the champion. James of course gets it for her.

Reflecting on the night’s results, the Welcoming Committee refer to Lynch as a snake, and complain about how many opportunities they have given her to join the better side. Natalya soon mentions the fact that Becky “loves to play the victim” as well as the “martyr,” claiming that all of the hair dye “went to her head” – got ’em.

When the question of who deserves to be the number one contender for Naomi’s title pops up, Carmella believes that she should as she was the one to pin the champion. Natalya on the other hand, believes that it should be her as she is – the self proclaimed – “leader of the locker room”. The group then quickly backtrack and decide to stay on the same page.

After Tamina highlights the fact that the trio are all generational Superstars like Charlotte, Natalya harps on about how the group are all about “honesty, loyalty, integrity and respect.” Before leaving, Neidhart says that unlike Charlotte, they aren’t riding on the coattails of their father. Pause for a minute.

Thoughts: The division is at a great point. We’re seeing under-looked talent standing tall, as well as stories and characters develop. The addition of Charlotte and Tamina has truly aided this division to new heights, and it’s a wonderful thing to watch.

Although each woman has a really intriguing angle, Becky’s is the most interesting right now.

Lynch teasing a heel turn in tonight’s episode is excellent storytelling. I didn’t want her to join the Welcoming Committee during the first opportunity to do so, but I definitely see her jumping on board soon.

Becky resonates with the crowd because she’s the ultimate good guy. As anchored on Talking Smack, she pretty much always plays the role of the martyr as she sacrifices herself to help her friends/obtain her goals.Having the crowd believe in her good side allows them to root for her even more. And emphasizing this now will truly make her (hopefully) inevitable heel turn so impactful.

The face turn of Charlotte is also doing pretty well. Flair has rarely been on the receiving end of cheers lately – as she is always obtaining thunderous boos – so the amount of fans on her side tonight is great to hear. What we needed to see with Charlotte was someone to sympathise over, but not so much that she looks weak. We’ve seen this woman win an Iron Man match, a hellish triple threat at Wrestlemania 32 as well as the infamous Hell in a Cell contest. So if she were to be taken out completely by a little ambush, it’d be pretty ridiculous. So what SmackDown did was highlight the fact that the trio has an impact, but not so much impact that a simple ambush can take down the Queen. Continuity!

The Welcoming Committee themselves are doing a fantastic job. It’s enticing seeing them reign supreme, anchor their cowardly/heel characters and further the storylines of multiple women.

I can safely say that both RAW and SmackDown’s women’s divisions feel fresh! It’s truly a great time to be a WWE women’s wrestling fan as we’re seeing some great work on both sides.

Also, as a side note, like my colleague Alex, I’ll be attending the live tapings next week. And I can’t wait to see what these lovely ladies will get up to then!

What did you think of SmackDown? Which team are you on? Will Becky turn heel? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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