Sunday, September 19, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (October 18th, 2016): Hit me with your best shot

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”480″]alexa-bliss-twisted-bliss-naomi[/media-credit]

What a night! The ladies have been killing it and Team Blue is starting to feel just like it did a month ago. This week Carmella and Nikki Bella really made their feud personal, whilst Alexa Bliss and Naomi aimed to prove that No Mercy was just a fluke (in more ways than one). And just when we thought SmackDown was losing it…

Our first sighting takes place as Naomi and Alexa Bliss compete in a Singles match. Destined to reclaim her throne after the devastating No Mercy loss. The match starts off as Alexa tries to hide behind the referee to sneak in attacks to her opponent. Unfortunately for Bliss, Naomi is one step ahead of her and knocks her to the ground. Throughout the match both women take lead and we’re made to believe the match could go either way. Naomi inserts an impressive springboard and her crowd favourite kicks whilst Alexa remains cowardly and aggressive throughout. The match comes to a draw after Bliss overrules Naomi by pinning her after applying the Twisted Bliss.

Once Naomi escorts herself out, Renee Young asks the winning Alexa for any comments regarding her upcoming title match against Becky Lynch. A cocky Alexa Bliss, who by the way, is representing some Freddy Kruegar gear, states that in three weeks, the “fairytale is over.” She then ends her interview by saying that a new champion will be crowned, and it will be “the fairest of them all.”

Later on in the night, the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S Carmella walks out to the ring to lay out a few words for her “fearless” rival Nikki Bella. The Princess of Staten Island grabs hold of a mic and starts to address the WWE Universe, insinuating that she has some “tea” to spill about the woman that ruined her SummerSlam show. But before she can get into it, Nikki Bella storms out and encourages Carmella to say what she has to say, except to Bella’s face rather than behind like she usually does.

Carmella comments on Nikki’s appearance by saying how she’s “not surprised” that she is “stealing [her] spotlight” once again. But she then says that she knows that Nikki can get away with anything as her boyfriend is John Cena – cue the “ooohs” in the audience. Carmella quickly continues by saying that she isn’t “afraid to walk on eggshells” around Nikki like everyone else, and then inserts her two cents by saying that the only reason that Nikki is so “fearless” is because she can “go home to Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect.” Yikes. She then goes on to say that there’s not a single reason to hide it, hence why she’s no longer afraid to bring up Nikki’s relationship. Sound familiar, yet?

Nikki then fires back by saying that she isn’t “hiding” anything when their relationship is showcased on “two tv shows and a thousand pictures online”. She continues her statement by saying that the reason she doesn’t bring up Cena in the ring is because “what matters is being an athlete,” and it’s shameful of Carmella – as a woman especially – to take away all of Nikki’s accomplishments “because of a man.” Bella forwards her argument by telling Carmella that she reminds her of every internet bully she faces on a constant basis – and there it is.

The Princess of Staten Island replies by saying that she’s simply exposing Nikki for the “needy, whiney, clingy gold digger” that she believes she is. And then, cue the exclusive clip of “Total Need-Freak” in which Nikki is shown wanting John around her again, and again. Nikki responds by congratulating Carmella on her editing skills, but also doesn’t forget to remind her that she paved her own road, pays her own bills, fights her own battles and wears the pants in her relationship. Bella takes it one step further when saying that when WWE didn’t believe in her, she “trained even harder to prove them wrong” – and then her world shattered as she got injured, something Carmella doesn’t know the feeling of. She emphasises how hard she had to fight to get to where she is and why she wears the word “fearless” on her shirt. Bella announces that the fans also call her fearless as she is not afraid of “a Bo$$”, “a QUEEN” and “some Princess from Staten Island.” If she wasn’t already, Nikki certainly was at this point.

The segment then comes to a close as Carmella vocalizes that although Nikki may be “fearless”, she also “used [her] looks to get [her] foot in the door,” her sister “to get [her] foot in the ring,” as well as John Cena “to become a celebrity.” The shots have officially been fired.

Following that segment, Natalya confronts SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan about the upcoming 5 on 5 Women’s match that RAW agreed to compete in. After Bryan asks her why she thinks she should join the match, Natalya states that she “can teach everyone in this women’s division well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty that they possess inside, and give them a sense of pride to make it easier… to beat RAW!” A confused Bryan asks if she’s quoting Whitney Houston but Natalya insists otherwise, and although she doesn’t care who SmackDown faces, she “just [wants] to dance with somebody!” And then when Daniel says that he will consider her words, the Queen of Black Harts inserts a quick plug for 2Pawz’s Instagram. Oh, Nattie…

Coming back from the break, Natalya is seen still showing Bryan 2Pawz’s Instagram  – until, at the relief of Daniel, Dean Ambrose interrupts.

On Talking Smack the topic of Nikki’s hate is brought up. Daniel Bryan makes a point that the hate his sister-in-law gets is ridiculous. He states that both Nikki and Brie Bella are where they are because of their hard work. They did roles (i.e. valeting celebrity guests) that nobody else wanted to do, they go across the country to promote their brand, and they are the ones working hard everyday to improve. He also brings up the fact that Cena has never once pulled for Nikki, as showcased through him telling the Bella’s brother JJ Garcia to find his own way in (which can be seen on Total Bellas this week). Young also chimes in and together they point out that Brie was pregnant when she did a 10 day tour around the country to promote Total Bellas alongside Nikki, as well as work on their wine and clothing companies.

And with that, Daniel Bryan and Renee Young completely destroyed any Bella criticism in the space of five minutes.

Thoughts: Between the impressive match and the incredible mic segment, the ladies of SmackDown truly killed it this week!

The match was something that both Bliss and Naomi needed to happen. Either woman had an unfortunate night at No Mercy, but this match proved that the pay-per-view was a fluke – in more ways than one.

Both ladies had an impressive moveset and showcased that they do in fact have the chemistry needed to forward their current storyline. And at a tragic time like this, both ladies must bring their A-game to every battle.

Although this isn’t a five-star match per-say, what it does do is prove that both women are capable of putting on a good bout. Alexa, with her villainous/cowardly ways combined with Naomi’s fan favourite antics have been able to continue this (filler) feud as a way to still push both talents. Bliss is anchoring her aggressive nature whilst Naomi is getting closer with the fans. Both are making the audience either love or hate their opponent, and it’s really helping to push both Superstars.

We all know this feud is going to lead to both of them losing their title match to Becky, but it’s really nice to see two women putting each other over in the meanwhile. Naomi uses flashy moves and crowd interaction to get the fans to love her, and Alexa utilizes cheap shots and her antagonizing behaviour to get over in the opposite light.

Overall, Naomi and Alexa’s feud is going smoothly, and in the long run will help both of them.

And for the Carmella and Nikki segment… oh boy.

This is what the feud needed to get everyone invested. Whilst the aggression was clear, the constant attacks from behind were getting pretty old pretty fast. And what better way to revitalize the feud than to force the two to get really personal?

Nikki has come a long way in WWE. From being a valet to celebrity hosts and having a 6 day Divas title reign, all the way to becoming the longest reigning Divas champion, two successful TV shows and more, she’s definitely an accomplished woman. Yet somehow, a portion of the WWE Universe believes that she hasn’t earned a single bit of her success. So I’d imagine how difficult it must be for Bella to hear a lot of these comments. But, to make things even better, SmackDown are using this to their advantage by not only allowing Nikki’s opponent to get herself over with it, but to also allow Bella to fight back.

For years Nikki has been receiving this kind of backlash and she is finally able to stand up for herself whilst simultaneously rallying up an army to get behind her. The script, the delivery and the crowd reaction were all so on point that it has really amped up the feud altogether.

But I can’t give all the credit to Nikki. In fact, her opposition is arguably the star of this segment. We all knew that the Princess of Staten Island was a good worker, but by the end of this segment, we can never ever consider her a “newbie” again. Carmella truly brought it to the table, between her anger, crowd interaction and chemistry, she really made us believe every word she said. Even I, a huge Bella fan, had to cover my mouth in shock after hearing the words she shared. And not because “OMGZ CENA’S GURLFRAND IS BEING DRAGGED!!111” but because Carmella really came through here. She had us gripped to every word, waiting for Nikki’s responses and invested in the storyline.

This is really how one handles a side feud. There is emotion, chemistry and an actual valid reason for the two to hate each other – without a single championship belt being involved! Carmella and Nikki (as well as the writing team) are allowing audience members to care for the women by giving us a feud to look forward to.

Both feuds right now are brilliant. With the unfortunate incident of Becky’s injury happening, SmackDown are doing the best they can with the title picture. And on top of that, their female side feud is also on fire (and, besides the main event, the biggest highlight of the show).

What is your opinion on this episode? Are you invested in Carmella and Nikki’s feud? Do you think Naomi will bounce back from this loss? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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