This week, Main Event continued its role as the host of Diva storylines currently bubbling under the surface. These stories may pay off at WrestleMania, and they may not, but the fact that they’re being developed at all is a win in my book.
On this week’s show, the Divas division’s resident odd couple Paige and Natalya took on the reinvigorated Naomi and Tamina. A dysfunctional team vs. a well-oiled machine? This one will be interesting to watch…
Prior to the match, we met up with Paige and Natalya backstage, where they spoke to Renee Young:
Renee asks Paige and Natalya if they can stay on the same page tonight, given their rocky relationship. Paige admits that they’ve been through a lot, but she’s already had respect for Natalya. She says there’s no shame in taking one night to team with a “crazy cat lady.”
Natalya sarcastically thanks Paige for her compliments and says Paige takes the “crazy” cake, calling her the Miley Cyrus of the Divas division. However, given that WrestleMania is mere weeks away, it’s time to make a statement.
Naomi and Tamina then arrive, Naomi admitting that she agrees with Natalya: it’s time to make a statement. She says Naomina wants their WrestleMania moment, because it’s long overdue, and they’ll step over Paige and Natalya if they have to.
Paige challenges them to back up their words in the ring… tonight.
Come match time, Natalya and Tamina start things off. They tie up, and Tamina shoves Natalya away. They tie up again, Natalya taking control with a waistlock, which Tamina quickly powers out of. Tamina takes Natalya’s arm and goes to work on it. Natalya flips to free herself, only to be slammed to the mat by her hair.
Tamina sends Natalya into the corner, but Natalya dodges her ensuing attack, rolling her up for a pin attempt. Tamina kicks out, but Natalya maintains control by locking on a front facelock. She tags in Paige, and the two hit a double suplex. Paige goes for the pin, but Tamina kicks out.
Paige blasts Tamina with a knee to the face, but when she pulls her to her feet, Tamina drives her into the opposite corner and tags in Naomi, who promptly catches her in the bootylicious. Paige doesn’t get the customary kick across the ring, though, as she drops Naomi and knees her roughly in the midsection.
Paige backs up and hits Naomi with a high knee in the corner. Naomi fends off a second knee and charges at Paige, but is caught and tossed with a fallaway slam. Naomi rolls out of the ring for a breather. Tamina heads over to check on Naomi and gets hit with a senton from Paige. We head to a commercial with both Naomi and Tamina down.
When we return, Tamina is tagging herself in as Naomi slips out of the ring. Paige follows Naomi, not seeing the tag. Naomi finds refuge on the announce table, leaving Paige to turn right into a superkick from Tamina. Naomi and Tamina taunt Paige for a bit before Tamina returns her to the ring. Tamina follows, getting in a hit on Natalya before taking Paige by the hair and putting her in her corner. She tags in Naomi.
Naomi sends Paige to the mat and locks in a headlock. After a few moments, Paige gets to her feet and starts to fight off Naomi. Naomi shoves her into the ropes and takes her out with a dropkick. She goes for the pin, but Paige kicks out.
Naomi toys with Paige, preventing her from making the tag and then choking her against the ropes. She takes Paige back to her corner and tags in Tamina. Naomi chokes Paige with her boot before whipping her right into a clothesline from Tamina.
Tamina pulls Paige to her feet and mocks her, hitting her with a headbutt. She isolates Paige in her corner again, and though Paige starts to fight off both Tamina and Naomi, her desperate attempt to tag in Natalya is thwarted. Tamina catches her and carries her back to her corner, slamming her into the turnbuckle. She tags in Naomi, who plants Paige with a corner bulldog.
Naomi chokes Paige a bit before latching on a front facelock. Paige quickly shows signs of life, but a dropkick from Naomi sends her into the ropes. Naomi then charges at Paige, only to be tossed through the ropes. She crashes to the outside, giving Paige the opening she needs to tag in Natalya. She almost gets there, but Naomi narrowly stops her, laughing maniacally at Paige’s sore luck.
Naomi doubles Paige over and goes for a sunset flip, but Paige blocks it, pulling Naomi up by her hair and then knocking her off her feet with a headbutt. She tags in Natalya, who hits Naomi with two clotheslines, knocks Tamina off the apron and then plants Naomi with her slingshot atomic drop. She runs the ropes, stepping over Naomi’s back, and flattens her with a dropkick to the chest.
Natalya slams Naomi to the mat and tries to lock in the Sharpshoot, but Tamina attacks her from behind, breaking it up and sending her into the corner. Tamina fends off Paige’s attack, tossing her to the outside, only to be taken out with a discus clothesline from Natalya.
Natalya gets to her feet and looks for Paige, who is still prone on the floor. This distracts her enough that she doesn’t telegraph Naomi’s Rear View attack, which flattens her. Naomi pins Natalya for the three count and the win.
Thoughts: Main Event is looking more and more like the place to be for Divas! Well, at least the Divas not in the title picture. It was a pleasant surprise to not only see a set-up angle for this match, but to have it playing into the WrestleMania long game as well. That’s some forward thinking that, in time, could result in the kind of change the Diva Revolution promised. It’s not flashy, but it’s changing the status quo, and that means everything.
Natalya and Paige make a really intriguing team, especially when they get chances to flesh it out like in that pre-match interview. They’re both “good guys”, but every woman will tell you that that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to be friends. Allowing them to have a complicated relationship gives them both so much more depth. They’re babyfaces with flaws, which is a rarity in itself. I’d love to see them play with this a bit more heading into WrestleMania, Paige and Natalya struggling to get ahead together like a dysfunctional rowing team: if they learn to paddle together, they’ll get somewhere. If they don’t, they’ll stay in the same place.
The flip side to that is Naomi and Tamina, a duo whose bond is only growing stronger. The loss of Sasha hasn’t hurt them at all – in fact, they’re probably stronger without her. They get to stand in the spotlight themselves, which was tough when they were paired with a superstar like Sasha. They compliment each other, Naomi doing the flashy stuff and Tamina being brutal. Both have developed killer attitudes too: Naomi’s added an entertaining layer to her matches with her interjections and celebrations, and Tamina has finally been given the opportunity to show some personality. It’s great to see her get vocal too, mocking her opponents and feeding off of Naomi’s energy. I’m sure she’ll find her niche there too, which I estimate is somewhere between Naomi’s outlandishness and her own old, stoic ways. I think the role of a typical bully would fit her well: quick with the put-downs and humiliations but not showy with it.
The match itself wasn’t groundbreaking, sure, but it opens things up for quite the intriguing angle for a possible multi-Diva tag match. If Brie Bella and Lana are going to be folded into this, I suppose Natalya and Paige’s issues with Naomi and Tamina could get tangled into that pretty easily. It’s so exciting to see separate stories being cultivated – Brie vs. Lana, Paige and Natalya’s odd couple status, the chip on Naomina’s shoulders – and that’s just what we’ve seen so far. There’s still the possibility that Summer Rae and Alicia Fox could be included, and I’m sure Alicia’s “crazy” streak would make her an exciting addition to the ragtag babyface team. Summer’s issues with Lana would make her a similarly dysfunctional choice. It just goes to show the kind of interesting scenarios that are available when the right seeds are planted. If all goes well, WrestleMania should bring forth a pretty nice harvest.