Sunday, October 17, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (September 11th, 2009) – A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words

Last time on SmackDown: Michelle confronts Maria backstage, again warning her against Dolph. Later, Maria & Eve took on Natalya & Layla, with Eve getting the pin on Layla.

This week: Is the Dolph saga heading for a plot twist? How about the Melina/Michelle feud–is it going to reclaim the spotlight after being relatively nonexistent last week?

This is getting to be a set-in pattern, as we once again start the show with a backstage segment. We see the lovely and talented Dolph Ziggler walking up to the Divas locker room door. Michelle approaches him and turns on the charm. He says he’s looking for Maria, and she offers to help, knocking on the door. Oh.. This might get good:

Layla answers the knock, opening the door. Signs of a coordinated attack begin to surface as Michelle asks Layla if Maria’s in the room. She says no, and looks to leave the scene. Michelle, trying to look as enticing as is possible while one is hobbling on a crutch, asks him what he sees in Maria, wondering why he could be with a “ditzy little girl” like her when he could be with a “sexy woman” like herself. She veers off her crutch and Dolph catches her, allowing Michelle to get a handful or 5 of his ass. In the distance, we can see Layla taping the whole thing on her cellphone. He pushes Michelle against the door, rejecting the advance and repeating “No. No No.”. He leaves, and Layla shows Michelle what she got on her phone. Michelle deems it “perfect”. Uh oh.. Does GTV have a modern counterpart?

On the wrestling side of things, Melina makes her way to the ring, seemingly oblivious to what has recently gone on. One has to wonder how Maria will react to that footage, and what that means for her friendship with Melina. Something tells me shouting “I told ya so!!!” isn’t Melina’s style. Layla, accompanied by Michelle, makes her entrance, and we’ve got a match:

Layla gets to an aggressive start, kneeing Melina and latching her into a headlock. Melina shoves her into the ropes, and on the return Layla shoulder-strikes her onto the mat. Layla bounces off the ropes, leaps over Melina’s prone body, and bounces off the other side of the ring. Melina makes her own leap, getting some air as she launches over Layla, who reaches the ropes for a 3rd time and gets hit with a flapjack delivered by Melina. Dizzy yet?

Melina goes for the pin, but only gets a 1-count. She strikes Layla, backing her into the corner. She climbs the second rope, getting some elevation as she pounds Layla’s head. Layla has had enough of this, shoving her and sending her flying several feet onto her backside. She goes on the attack, kicking Melina in the stomach and locking her into a submission, pulling her arms back with a boot firm on her spine. Layla eases back, turning the hold into a seated maneuver. The Divas take on the image of a ship, rocking back and forth. With that metaphor, I guess Melina would be its screaming figurehead. Layla releases the hold, kicking Melina’s face to the mat and bringing her to her feet, only to plant her back to the mat with a snapmare.

Layla takes another trip to the ropes and uses the momentum to dropkick Melina in the back. She gets a 2-count out of Melina, and stands up, flustered and yelling at her. This allows Melina to sit up and hook Layla into an inside cradle pin. No dice. Before Layla can attack, Melina delivers a few blows to her stomach, continuing on an offense attack. Layla reverses an irish whip, sending Melina into the corner and charging after her. Melina leap frogs backwards, over and behind Layla, spearing her into the corner. Between Layla and Melina, there’s enough screams to fill a horror movie in this match..

Melina sets Layla up, laying her across the second ropes and climbing up, standing on her stomach before driving both her knees into it. She climbs back up the turnbuckle, grabbing Layla by the hair and smashing her down with her flying face plant. One would think this would be it for the match as Melina goes for the pin, but no! Layla kicks out at 2, and Melina can’t believe it. She pulls Layla up and to the middle of the ring, seemingly setting up for the Primal Scream, but Layla reverses it, booting her in the stomach and irish-whipping her into the ropes.

This sends Melina heading in Michelle’s direction at ringside, but Michelle backs off, and Melina hooks her arms into the ropes to stop her momentum. Layla takes the bait and runs at her, but Melina locks her head with her legs, kicking her in said head. Layla charges again, and Melina sends her throat-first into the second rope. She runs the ropes, looking to strike the back of Layla’s head, but when she gets there, no one’s home. She goes flying through the ropes, landing on the outside.

Michelle still keeps her distance and Layla pulls Melina back into the ring by her hair. The referee scolds Layla for using her hair, and as he is distracted, Michelle drives her crutch into Melina’s ribs. Melina screams in agony as Layla drags her to the middle of the ring and gets the 3-count and the win. Layla and Michelle depart ringside (Good lord, Michelle looks inhumanly tall next to Layla..) as Melina glares, gripping her ribcage.

Another relatively short match between Melina and Layla. Still, like last time, the ladies made good use of their time, telling a story and going for impressive spots while not turning the match into a spotfest. Layla keeps using her various submissions while Melina keeps mixing up her usual moves, changing the set-ups and keeping them fresh. For example, her using the ropes instead of the turnbuckle for her leg head-chop move was interesting. She’s becoming pretty fearless in her bumps too, falling far from the turnbuckle onto her backside and sailing out of the ring onto the outside. When a lot of her matches have seen her taking the brunt of the punishment, it’s kind of a given that she’ll need to step up in that department, and it looks like she is. She’s no Lita in terms of risk-taking, but with how the WWE likes to handle the Divas with kid gloves, I’ll take what I can get.

If Layla is to become Michelle’s sidekick, wrestling for her, I’m excited to see what she can develop into. Michelle’s injury has benefitted her more than anyone, as she’s been racking up the ring time in the past few weeks. This can only help her to develop into a persona all her own, so when Michelle is finally well enough to wrestle, she’ll be able to stand on her own two feet (Layla, I mean. Pun not intended.). I’m not sure where they can go from here, with Michelle unable to get physically involved apart from using her crutch as a weapon. Their matches are entertaining, but there’s only so many times we can see Layla and Melina go one-on-one.

I feel that this Maria/Dolph storyline is going to intersect with this one, as Layla and Michelle have made themselves as much apart of it as Melina is. Will Maria react in a hostile towards Melina for her warnings being proved true? Would that make sense? I don’t know, but I don’t see any other way that it could go other than Maria running away weeping. And, all those things considered, will this result in a Maria heel turn? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week for the picture (or camera phone video) show to start. Get your popcorn ready..

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