SmackDown Redux (September 26th, 2017): Rebuilding the Queen’s Empire


We’re two weeks away from Hell In A Cell. And with our women’s match already scheduled, how will the challenger fair in the coming weeks? And is the champion going to gain much momentum going into the event? Let’s see for ourselves!

Before the show, Renee Young asks the challenger Charlotte Flair about her current state of mind. The former Women’s champion tells us that she feels “stronger than ever” after spending a few weeks off. But now that that’s (somewhat) behind her, her focus is on winning the SmackDown Women’s championship. Before the interview can continue, a wild briefcase appears near Flair’s head. Yes, it’s none other than Miss Money In The Bank, Carmella! Oh, and James Ellsworth, whom is demanded to sit as ‘Mella talks.

The Princess of Staten Island praises Charlotte for her recent struggle, but quickly brings her back down to Earth. She states that “in this life, there are no winners,” except maybe for Carmella, that is. Cue the cackle! The Queen quickly retaliates by saying that as she is back, the women’s division’s landscape is “changing.” And a great way to show this off is by teaching Carmella a few “tricks” in the ring tonight. Looks like we have our match ready. Flash forward this first-time-ever match? Yes!

Charlotte starts off the match by ruling it a little, putting Carmella down for the Figure Eight. This attempted early finish falls flat however as ‘Mella kicks her opponent to the corner. She then tosses her necklace to the side to grab the referees attention, and whilst Flair is on the middle rope, a chained Ellsworth grabs her foot. The briefcase holder then inserts a Frankensteiner, sending the champ to the ground.

When we return from commercial break, the Princess is still beating down on the Queen, thanks to Ellsworth. After an extensive grapple and a slam to the ground, Charlotte gets up. However a cross-body from ‘Mella is inserted and a 2-count pin follows. A 2-count roll-up is then next, which leads to Charlotte’s head being smashed into the turnbuckle and an inverted DDT laying her out. Still, Flair kicks out at a near-fall. What will it take? Seems like Carmella is stressing here. And although the crowd has been pretty quiet throughout the night, a duel “let’s go Charlotte. Carmella” chant follows. Doing well, ladies!

As Flair gets back to her feet she gets a boot to the head, which sends her stumbling backwards. She attempts a roll-up pin but Carmella kicks out. However, the match draws to a close as Charlotte inserts her own big-boot to the head, knocking out her opponent and scoring herself a pin-fall victory. Congrats, Flair!

Before the victor can celebrate however, the champ walks onto the stage to have a few words. Natalya, full of pride, tells Charlotte about how “happy” she is to know that Ric Flair is recovering. In fact, nothing makes her happier than knowing that he’s well enough to see his “overrated daughter” fail at beating the champ. And with a “woo” and an evil laugh, the champ vacates the stage…

Thoughts: Carmella’s work tonight proves that she can hang with the best of them. She is a future Women’s champ, which the briefcase almost guarantees. So with that in mind, she needs to wrestle decently. ‘Mella makes sure to prove that although her character work is practically perfect, that her wrestling is also pretty great. She dominates the match and allows the crowd to cheer for both her and her opponent. The Princess of Staten Island is able to convince the audience that Charlotte is worth rooting for, whilst also having a reaction of her own. Clearly, Miss Money In The Bank is doing well, and it’s only in due time that we see her climb the ranks to championship gold.

The dominant work of Carmella is something to note down. Could this be a sign that she’s able to take down Flair at the right time? The briefcase can be cashed in at literally any moment… Maybe a post-match one in two weeks?

Something the show does especially right is allow for some form of character development. Charlotte is going through somewhat of an underdog story right now; she isn’t being treated as though she’s a rookie, but she’s attempting to make up for lost time whilst she was away for a few weeks. And her lost time is clearly catching up with her. Whilst Charlotte has been away the other women have been stepping their game up. In what would previously have been an almost squash match, Carmella manages to lead the entire contest. She is constantly taking down Flair with grapples, slams and distractions. The old Flair would at least be offering more offence. So, clearly some work needs to be done.

Charlotte may have been missing for a little while, but her talent is still holding strong. Fortunately for Flair she does manage to score the win by overpowering her opponent with a big boot. Carmella’s lack of ability is highlighted here as Flair’s boot is stronger than hers. It’s nice to see that whilst Charlotte isn’t exactly on her A-game right now that she’s still able to be a tough fighter.

This dip in Flair’s work is also on the champ’s mind, and it’s giving her all of the ammunition needed to gloat – or so she thinks. Natalya has worked in the WWE (and as a wrestler) longer than Charlotte, and has also been by her side throughout her entire career, so she definitely knows her stuff. So when she notices a slip in an opponent’s work, she’ll obviously take advantage of that. The champ stands comfortable at the top of the stage – far, far away from her opponent – boasting about tonight’s events, and it’s clear that she’s feeling confident. Charlotte however, is standing even more confident, practically begging for Natalya to get in the ring with her. Are the mind games going to work for the champ? Well, she has one more week to get inside her opponent’s head, and it doesn’t seem to be working.

Charlotte needs to get herself back on her A-game whilst Natalya needs to use better psychology to take over her opponent’s mind. Both have their work cut out for them, and the clock is ticking. Who will rise to the occasion? We’ll have to wait and see.

What do you think of the night’s events? Is Charlotte going to regain her momentum before the pay-per-view? Will Natalya manage to take over her opponent’s mind? When will the briefcase be cashed in? Let us know your views in the comments below!