Thursday, September 16, 2021

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SmackDown Redux (September 27th, 2016): The newbies shine as the champs decline

It’s our penultimate episode before the big night! No Mercy is ever so close and the claws are out for our ladies of the blue squared circle! With some cheating, attacks from behind and a potential kick-off match in the makes, this week’s work is a pretty good one. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the antics that happened!

Our match this week is a lengthy rematch in which Nikki Bella and Naomi take on Carmella and Natalya! Before the match we see either team discuss their opponents in an attempt to get the upper hand. The Queen of Black Harts says that Naomi is a “nobody” that believes that she’s “all glow,” when really, she is “no go.” Carmella continues by discussing how much of a “shame” it was that last week’s match ended so soon. She then went on to say that she plans on making sure that “Little Miss Fearless” disappears for good.

Naomi and Nikki then enter and their backstage segments are also shown. Naomi preaches about how feeling the glow is about not letting haters like Natalya dim your light. Nikki then says that Carmella doesn’t have her worried as she is purely fuel to help her legacy burn forever. Yikes!

The match then begins and Naomi and Carmella show some great offence and defense. Both women switch leading roles and we even see Naomi moonwalking like the Princess of Staten Island – and I think Nikki attempted it too (still love you, but… let’s stick to the booty shake!). After we return from a break it’s Natalya and Carmella that are leading the charge as they share turns beating down Naomi. However, once Naomi tags in Nikki, the Total Bellas star takes control of the match.

Things are going well for Bella for a short while, but then, after a distraction from Natalya, Carmella quickly rolls her up for the three count. A frustrated Nikki is left calling out at a smug Carmella, whom leaves the arena boasting in her 2-0 lead against the longest reigning Divas champion.

Later on in the night we see our SmackDown Women’s champion Becky Lynch head out to the ring. However, before she can do anything, an aggressive Alexa Bliss knocks her to the ground. Once Bliss is done with her attack she yells at a defenseless Lynch that she doesn’t deserve the title. And with that, the Small but Fierce Alexa struts off backstage.

In a SmackDown Fallout video, Alexa Bliss is asked about why she refers to Lynch as a “loser.” Here Bliss quickly repeats her words from earlier and hurries away.

After the show, the Lass Kicker discusses the women’s division and tonight’s antics with Renee Young and Daniel Bryan. She states how the women’s division on SmackDown is the one to watch, and vows to overcome Miss Bliss at No Mercy.

Thoughts: After a disappointing segment with Nikki and Carmella last time round, we’re definitely treated this week. Whilst I would have much preferred to see Nikki come out strong for once, this was still a pretty great way to further the feud. Carmella is still fairly new to the main roster, so with her constant wins over Nikki, it is definitely setting her up as a huge threat. And this isn’t just setting her up as a threat to Bella, but with the fact that she’s able to overcome this dominant force, it makes her seem more powerful than the other women too.

Also, it really was a treat to see Carmella being featured heavily in a match. For the majority of her time on SmackDown Live, the Princess of Staten Island has been seen avoiding conflict and mostly inserting sneak attacks. However this week, she proves that not only is her character being written well, but Carmella can actually get down in the ring too. She dominates Naomi for a good portion of the match and her heel-like tactics make me want to hate her, even though I personally am a huge fan. The former NXT rookie is now slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with. And even if the storyline may feel fairly repetitive, it’s definitely still got my interest and is pushing new talent (which I prefer over what RAW seems to be doing, if I do say so myself).

Now, moving on to the negative of the week. That Becky and Alexa segment felt like it didn’t belong in the show. I understand the need to push the more important women’s division storyline, but this was not the way to do it. My biggest problem with this is the fact that there’s no reason given for Becky coming out. There’s no interviewer seen in the ring, no announcement for her presence (though we do hear a plug for what she’s doing after the show on the Network) nor do we even have any women left on the roster to pretend she would be fighting against – even though Tom Phillips claims she was “getting ready for a match.” It is very important that Alexa inserts her dominance. The way that she did it was great, however, it just didn’t feel right. When Becky came out and was attacked, I didn’t know how to feel. I loved the work of Bliss, but if everything were to be explained a little better then maybe the segment would have flown well.

However, despite that little hiccup I do want to end the post on a good note. Even though it’s definitely not going to be known as the “feud of the year,” I really appreciate how Natalya and Naomi aren’t seen as afterthoughts of fillers for tag matches (even though as of now the latter should be true). SmackDown could easily forget the two exist and hire random local talent – because that seems to be the popular decision elsewhere – but they don’t. Instead we’re still seeing these ladies shine and be given opportunities to make their mark. No, they may not execute 3-counts, but they’re also not being pinned. And on top of that, they’re given good booking to show off their great wrestling and to build their character.

Overall, this week’s work was great! I would have much preferred Nikki coming off a little stronger in the end, but it’s still not a bad show. The idea of Carmella constantly beating Bella is getting fairly predictable, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it simultaneously.

What did you think of the show? Did you like Alexa and Becky’s work? What were your thoughts on the tag match? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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