Saturday, October 16, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (Oct. 9th, 2009) – Big Boots, Breakups, & Blubbering

Last time on SmackDown: The 10th Anniversary of SmackDown took center stage, as Divas from every brand served as Lumberjacks for a Women’s Championship match between Michelle and Melina. With some help from Raw’s heels, Michelle retained her title.

This week: With Michelle defeating Melina, does that close the curtains on their feud, and if so, will both go their separate ways this week? Will Maria finally take some initiative?

We kick off the show with Eve Torres making her way to the ring. It’s been a while since we’ve seen her in one-on-one action, so this should be a bit of fresh air. Next out is Michelle McCool, bedazzled knee brace and all. I wonder if Michelle’s having violent flashbacks to that ill-fated house show match with Eve that landed her with that bum knee in the first place..

At the start of the match, the two fight for momentum, struggling against one another in a tie-up. Michelle eventually gets Eve in the corner, pounding her fiercely. Eve tries to get out, but Michelle shoves her back in, showing some great aggression. She pauses for a moment and Eve takes advantage of this, turning the tables and taking her to task in the corner. Dragging Michelle to the center of the ring, Eve whips her back into that same corner, as if Michelle were a boomerang. She goes for the attack, but only gets a face full of Michelle’s elbow.

Michelle goes after Eve, but Eve sweeps her legs out from under her, mounting and pounding her in the head. This turns into a bit of a cat fight, Michelle flipping to the top and putting in her licks. Eve eventually shoves her off, and Michelle retreats outside the ring. Eve follows, and they go for a quick chase before Michelle slides back into the ring, looking to attack Eve upon her entrance. Eve, though, telegraphs Michelle’s kick, catching her leg. She clotheslines her and goes for a unsuccessful pin attempt. Both are slow to their feet, but as Eve goes to grab Michelle, Michelle makes a grab of her own, pulling Eve face-first into the second turnbuckle. She lays prone in the corner, and Michelle takes a run at her, slamming her thigh into her face.

Eve demonstrates some great selling, looking absolutely exhausted as she’s sprawled out on the mat. Michelle admires her work before yanking Eve foot-first to the middle of the ring, mounting her and punching her in the head. Eve looks to be moving slower and slower as Michelle hovers over, kicking and driving her braced knee into her head one, two, three times, finishing it off with a good old-fashioned leg drop. She then grabs Eve behind by the neck, placing her knee square on her back and yanking her head back, choking her. The referee checks her hands to make sure it’s not an actual choke, but it’s close enough–Michelle’s obviously not focusing on taking out Eve’s back.

She grows tired of this, letting for and allowing Eve’s face to slam into the mat. Not giving her any time to breathe, Michelle grabs her hands, criss-crossing them in front of herself and pulling back. This submission isn’t as easy, as Eve seems to be fighting back a bit. Resistance is futile though, because Michelle eventually gets Eve to her knees, locking in the hold and shaking her back and forth violently for good measure. Eve tries to fight out, but Michelle keeps her on her knees. Eve finally gets to her feet, using brute strength to get the advantage. She goes to flip Michelle forward, but the Women’s Champ only performs a cartwheel in response, staying on her feet. Though, Eve meets her quickly with a clothesline, finally knocking her down.

Eve goes on a string of offense, nailing two dropkicks before hitting her senton. She goes for the pin, but Michelle kicks out. As Michelle crawls to her feet, Eve jogs around, getting the fan momentum behind her. Michelle conveniently stands herself in the corner and Eve looks to hit a handspring elbow, but is met with Michelle’s knee in her back, slamming into the mat in response. Michelle drags her up and preps for a suplex but Eve turns the tables with a small package. Michelle kicks out at two, but Eve moves quickly to the ropes, hoping to keep her down. She goes for a clothesline that Michelle ducks, and on the return Eve eats boot, a big boot to be exact. Michelle quickly goes for the pin and gets the win. She celebrates and exits, cocky as ever..

Well that was a fun little match. As always, the Divas get minimal screen time, but Eve and Michelle really took advantage of it. They told a story with the match and showed the kind of animosity you usually only see after a few weeks of feuding. Even though they don’t really have any kind of history, there was an aggression there that was really believable. It’s almost as if they really have something against each other. I’ll just chalk it up to good ring psychology. Eve took most of the punishment, but did it well. She sold Michelle’s numerous submissions like a champ, and her bursts of offense were quite good. She’s no wilting babyface, that’s for sure. I can’t help but wonder what a feud between these two would be like. Maybe I won’t have to wonder, because I get a sneaking suspicion that the WWE is switching gears from the Melina/Michelle feud. If they have, they finished it pretty abruptly. Ending it in such a way isn’t being very respectful to the work those two girls did together for these past months, so I hope this isn’t the end just yet. If it is, I guess this match is some consolation, because I really enjoyed it all the same.

And speaking of switching gears, it’s time to focus on Maria and her endless troubles. For the first time (as far as I can remember), Maria accompanied Dolph Ziggler to the ring for his title match with Intercontinental Champion John Morrison. This can’t possibly end well..

Maria’s seated in a folding chair at ringside, as instructed by the referee, looking pretty awkward. She sits, watching the match until the action spills outside. She leaves her seat to get out of the way, and Dolph grabs the chair, hoping to use it as a weapon. He props it against the apron and gets back into the ring, but Maria grabs the chair, propping it back and sitting in it. I can’t decide whether she wanted to keep him from cheating or is just that dense. I’m hoping it’s the former.

Dolph eventually goes to grab the chair, but it’s not there! He looks incredulously at Maria, who stares back, not indicating her motives either way. Morrison takes advantage of Ziggler’s distraction, winning the match and retaining his title. She checks on Dolph as Morrison celebrates.

Backstage, Maria pleads with Dolph to talk to her. He tells her that he has a professional life and a personal one, and he thought she could differentiate between the two. Maria says she thought they were a team.. Dolph tells her that he sees bright lights and potential in her professional life, he doesn’t she hers in his personal one. He departs, and Maria displays some crying that looks more like she has a bad case a food poisoning rather than heartbreak.

I guess that explains why she randomly decided to manage him tonight. Maybe she felt threatened by Melina’s claims and thought by managing him, she could prevent disaster. The whole thing is pretty ham-fisted, though. The chair gag was pretty dumb, and made her look even stupider by taking the chair away when he clearly wanted to use it. And by the way, was he planning on using it in front of the referee? I don’t think he or the creative team really thought any of it through. I kind of shudder to think how this will pan out with Melina factoring in..

If this week was any indication, it’s clear that the Divas wrestling is much more satisfying and entertaining than them showing off their amateur drama school talents. Michelle/Eve rocked, and Maria just ended up looking like a suffocating fish. Hey, maybe that’s business as usual!

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