Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (November 22nd, 2016): Bliss bites back

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An uneventful Survivor Series is behind us and the focus is now back onto the ladies of SmackDown! This week we’re treated to multiple women segments, with multiple storyline progression – and though it’s not all as good as it should be, I can’t help but be grateful for it after the terrible pay-per-view we just witnessed.

Our first sighting is a conversation between Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon. As Bliss demands to know the date of her rematch, the SmackDown Women’s champion Becky Lynch walks in to give her the details. The Lass Kicker announces that she will be defending her title at the TLC pay-per-view on December 4th against Alexa. Before the conversation can continue however, the Queen of Black Harts Natalya storms in, with her trusted whistle. She tells Shane that herself and 2Pawz stayed up all night rewatching the Survivor Series match and they “both” came to the conclusion that the loss of team SmackDown was at the fault of Becky Lynch. She explains that she was threatened by Alexa Bliss as she’s “afraid” that Alexa will take the title from her, and thus ruined any chance the team had of winning. Shane then chimes in and states that the more important topic is figuring out who attacked Nikki Bella before the match, because, according to him, had the captain been present for the match, the result may have been different. He then announces that Natalya will be facing the SmackDown Women’s champion in a match tonight – something the Queen of Black Harts isn’t too happy about. Alexa then leaves as Natalya makes a Titanic reference (something Dean Ambrose shows up to confirm). And once Natalya is out of the room, Ambrose and Lynch are being their usual, adorable selves whilst talking to Shane.

The match shortly takes place later on and lasts a few minutes. Natalya teases the crowd and Becky makes a few good moves, but in the end we see Natalya tapping to the Dis-Arm-Her.

However, after the match the number one contender, who is on commentary, storms into the ring, knocking out the champion with a DDT. Alexa then gloats to the audience and walks away in pride as a defenseless Becky Lynch lays in the ring.

Later on in the night, Nikki Bella confronts Carmella, accusing her of the attack Sunday night. Carmella tells her that if it were her, she’d own up to it like she always does, but she didn’t do anything. Bella, who is far from convinced tells her that regardless, their feud will be settled at TLC in a No Disqualification match!

Thoughts: Whilst there isn’t anything huge in this week’s episode, it was still a good one to watch. But before we get into the main story, let’s discuss Nikki and Carmella.

FINALLY! The No DQ match that we’ve all been wanting is finally happening! This feud needs to end with a match like this as the pair have been going at it since the summer. It’s pretty clear that these ladies absolutely hate each other, so a match of this calibre is what is needed. I’m sure these ladies will bring it, and this match is definitely a long-time coming.

It’s really refreshing to see WWE caring for their side women feuds. It’s been a while since non-title women feuds have been taken seriously (not including the Survivor Series thing – if anyone still takes that seriously, that is). And it looks as though Carmella vs Nikki may be one to watch…

However, I’m somewhat disappointed that Alexa and Becky do not have a stipulation attached to their match. But on the other hand, I’m semi okay with it.

The idea of a stipulation match tends to make sense when there’s a really serious feud based on genuine emotions (see: every Hell in a Cell match prior to 2016). And though this feud is great, it’s not necessarily a personal battle like Carmella and Nikki (or even Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles). Alexa and Becky are very much a feud based off of a number one contendership/a title, so it may not be the most fitted for a stipulation.

What I appreciate about SmackDown is that they don’t flesh out stories for their women’s division for the sake of making history or shock value. Their stories take time to build and have a genuinely interesting reason to be shown. And whilst I personally would like to see Alexa and Becky face off in a TLC match, it may be best to not pull a RAW and do it for no relevant reason.

It’s also pretty weird that Alexa is taking Becky out with a DDT this week. The move is obviously a dangerous one, but after being overused by pretty much everyone in the world of wrestling, it has definitely lost its impact. If only Alexa could have followed the DDT with an Insult to Injury, then maybe the attack could look more effective.

What are your thoughts on this week’s show? Are you excited for TLC? Let us know your views in the comments below!


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