Thursday, October 21, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (November 8th, 2016): Everybody wants to rule the world

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]becky-v-alexa[/media-credit]

SmackDown headed to Glasgow this week and within it we saw two women’s matches! With the team trying to get themselves together and the Women’s championship on the line, we didn’t exactly see the ladies get along. And though this is bad news for team blue, it’s good news for us – because who doesn’t love it when these women want to rip the hair out of each other’s scalps?

Before the show starts, Alexa Bliss is confronted about her views on what will happen that night. She states that after waiting so long for her chance at the title, tonight is the night is goes where it belongs. She emphasises how bad of a champion Becky Lynch is, and makes sure we know that the title will change hands.

Becky is then confronted for her thoughts. The champ says that she is “focused” and “ready”, whilst being very confident that she will leave the 899th episode as the champion. And though Alexa wants her to be, Lynch confirms that she refuses to be afraid of anyone, especially her small but fierce opponent.

Later on in the night, our first women’s match of the night takes place! Team Blue Women Survivor Series coach Natalya (with a trusty whistle) is set to face off against Naomi – with captain Nikki Bella on commentary! Natalya leads the way and eggs on the fact that Naomi needs to step her game up as she does so. However, when Carmella storms out to ringside to taunt her rival Nikki, the coach feels the need to get between the two. Natalya, pleading with the women to stop (with help from her whistle) gets shoved out the way by Nikki, who then punches the Princess of Staten Island in the face. Natalya then gives her fellow team member a scolding before quickly running into the ring before the 9-count turns into a 10. Unfortunately for the Queen of Black Harts, Naomi rolls her up for the victory, allowing both Nikki and the Glowtastic one to bask in the glory of the win.

Maryse is soon seen by her husband The Miz’s side as they confront SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon. As Bryan tells the pair of the news about the Cruiserweight title potentially moving to SmackDown, the Sexiest of Sexy reminds him that The Miz is still owed his title shot. So, Bryan creates a title match between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler at SmackDown 900!

An hour or so later, the show’s “main event” takes place – though it isn’t the last match we see, so do with that what you will. A quick promo package is shown, and both women are then in the ring. It has a bit of a big-fight feel to it, which is great. Throughout the match, both women take charge and pull out the big guns. Alexa performs her Insult to Injury, amongst others, whilst Becky enforces her Bexplex and, to take the win, the Dis-Arm-Her. However, as noted by commentary and seen on camera, Alexa had her foot on the rope as she tapped – but the referee didn’t notice it and Becky was awarded the win.

The controversial win is then brought up in a Fallout video. Lynch is very much accepting of the fact that the win wasn’t clean, but insists that when Alexa inevitably groans about the loss, that Becky is more than happy to continue the fight. However, her focus remains on the fact that she will be going into SmackDown 900 (next week’s episode) as the women’s champion.

During Talking Smack, Alexa, turning up with a bandaged (?) arm interrupts Daniel Bryan and Renee Young. The angry loser demands that her General Manager give her a rematch as she unfairly lost. And though Bryan agrees, he also praises Becky for breaking her opponents arm as that is the kind of fire he wants on their women’s Survivor Series team. Weird.

On the same show, Maryse and The Miz discuss tonight’s antics. Maryse becomes her husband’s mouth piece – though he whispers a lot of things into her ear. She reminds Bryan of how disrespected the two feel and how they would like to be traded to RAW. Bryan is happy to agree and says that if The Miz loses his title match, he will gladly trade the pair for someone like Sami Zayn or Cesaro. Maryse then reminds Young and Bryan that ratings for Talking Smack sky-rocketed after the two appeared on it. Bryan quickly responds with “in an episode that [Maryse] didn’t talk in” – ouch. The rest of the segment does repeat itself but the points are made very clear.

Thoughts: This was an okay episode of SmackDown. Though both stories do develop the tale some more – which I’m very appreciative about – the actual matches weren’t as great as they needed to be (more so the former rather than the latter).

The first match has great storytelling, I’ll give it that. It’s really great that we’re seeing Natalya nail her role as an overprotective and entitled coach, as well as an annoying heel. Natalya may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but here she really shone through and definitely came across as the star. The great thing about Natalya’s work is that it shows consistency, as well as a genuine story within the division. She wants so badly to be accepted and included that she practically created her own role and demands everyone to follow suit with it. It’s brilliant!

However, the match itself isn’t so impressive. Though we have a two hour show and a 5 star match isn’t necessary, a little more excitement could’ve been included. This contest felt like any other random match that these two have faced off in, and it didn’t need to be. With Survivor Series being so close, allowing Naomi to show off her skill just a little bit more could’ve helped the team be taken more seriously. But we didn’t get that, and it’s pretty disappointing.

Before we get onto the main event, let’s discuss Maryse! It’s rare that she does something noteworthy on this show (not her fault, she does play the role of a valet) but this week I can’t ignore her. It’s great that WWE are giving her more things to do as back in the day, her mic work was where she excelled. It’s great that the only female valet finally feels like an incredibly important part of the Miz’s story. And though I’m not her biggest fan, she does do a pretty good job this week – minus a slight bump on the post show, which she recovers from.

Now moving on to the main event. Firstly, I really, really, really appreciate the effort put in to make this match have a big-fight feel. Though it isn’t the last match on the card (so technically not the *main event*), it still feels extremely important. Between the pre-show interviews, mentions from commentary throughout the night and the impressive promo package, effort is put in to make it seem significant. The only issue is that it doesn’t go on last! What use is a main event if it doesn’t go on last?

But anyway, let’s discuss the actual match.

Though this is definitely not a two star bout, it’s also not a five star one. Both women do put in a good effort and keep the interest going, but it’s not as good as it should have been. The chemistry and story are both present factors, the only problem is that it’s as if both women are holding back. Either woman has had an impressive resume of matches, yet in this one, it stumbles a little. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good match – the best one of the night – it’s just not as impressive as we’re lead to believe it should be.

However, it’s almost confirmed that the women were told to hold back once the ending takes place. There will be a rematch (thankfully). And the women should definitely go all out.

What do you think of this week’s show? Are you a fan of Maryse’s work? How do you think the title picture will look? Will the ladies get along next Sunday? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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