Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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WWE Main Event Redux (February 26th, 2016): Naomi and Paige Turn Up the Heat


This week on WWE Main Event, we were treated to a match more reminiscent of the bouts that earned this show its reputation for longer, better Divas matches. Naomi took on Paige, and the two put on a performance that will excite you, then bum you out when you realize that few will actually witness it.

Okay, that’s a little melodramatic. Just make sure you’re one of the few and watch it now:

Off the bell, the Divas tie up, and after a few moments of tussling, they break up. They tie up again, and this time Naomi shoves Paige away and socks her on the back. Paige chases Naomi out of the ring. Naomi walks outside a bit, teasing rentry a few times before finally climbing on the ring apron. Then, Paige strikes, dropkicking her to the floor. She follows Naomi out of the ring and tosses her back in, slamming her to the mat and going for an early pin. Naomi kicks out.

Paige pulls Naomi to her feet and takes her to the mat again for another unsuccessful pin attempt. She sends Naomi into the corner, but is caught by her boots and is trapped in the Bootylicious before being kicked across the ring. Naomi goes for a follow-up clothesline, but Paige ducks it, knocking Naomi to the mat with a knee instead. She goes for the pin, but Naomi kicks out.

Paige snapmares Naomi to the mat, kicks her in the back and pin her again. Naomi again kicks out. Paige takes Naomi to the ring apron, draping her over the ropes for a barrage of knees to the chest. She then dumps Naomi to the outside, where she takes out both her and Tamina with a somersault splash. With that, we head to a commercial break.

When we return, Naomi’s back in control, laying into Paige as she’s seated atop the turnbuckle. She climbs up there with her, but her suplex attempt is blocked. Paige headbutts Naomi and preps for a flying attack, but Tamina distracts her, allowing Naomi to hit her with an enziguri that sends her tumbling all the way to the outside. When Paige eventually makes it back onto the ring apron, Naomi kicks her in the head, dragging her back into the ring and covering her for the pin. Paige kicks out.

Naomi stays on Paige, delivering explosive right hands to the side of her head. She chokes her with her boot and hits a few kicks before tossing her out of the ring. Naomi celebrates as Paige tries to regroup, Tamina steering clear of her with the referee’s eyes trained on them. Paige gets to the ring apron, fending off Naomi’s attack by driving a shoulder into her midsection. Paige reenters the ring and hits her with headbutts, running the ropes and adjusting Naomi before trying again, only to be taken out with a leg lariat. Naomi pins Paige, but it’s not enough.

Naomi locks in a headlock, but it doesn’t last long, as Paige quickly gets to her feet and fights Naomi off. Naomi responds with a series of kicks that halt Paige in her tracks, but when she runs the ropes and goes for a crossbody, Paige catches her, tossing her with a fallaway slam. Both Divas are down!

When both get to their feet, Paige strikes first, taking out Naomi with kicks of her own. Naomi backs into a corner, where Paige hits her with a running knee. Paige tosses her across the ring and flattens her with another running knee, going for the pin. Naomi kicks out. Paige tries to lock in the PTO, but Naomi grabs for the ropes, thwarting her. She kicks Paige and hits her with a handstand headscissors driver, covering her for the pin. Paige kicks out.

Naomi gets to her feet and argues with the referee, allowing Paige to sneak in a roll-up pin attempt. Naomi kicks out and is on Paige immediately, grabbing her by the hair and going for her corner bulldog. Paige shoves her away, though, sending her crashing into the corner. Paige grabs hold of Naomi and hits her with the RamPaige, going for the pin. Tamina appears then, grabbing Naomi’s boot and pulling her free of the pin. Paige exits the ring and takes out Tamina for a bit of revenge before reentering the ring. She pays for the distraction, though, as she’s leveled by the Rear View! Naomi covers her for the pin, but Paige manages to kick out.

Naomi is frustrated, pulling Paige to her feet. Paige vaults Naomi over her and drops to her knees to pin Naomi’s shoulders to the mat. Naomi kicks out and immediately locks in the Slay-o-mission! Paige taps out!

Thoughts: Wow, what a match! This was unexpectedly long, but still not filled with the rest holds and lulls that a longer main roster Diva match usually has. Paige and Naomi really brought it, putting on a match that almost resembled a Pay-Per-View contest, the false finishes and nearly constant action making it feel like something really hung in the balance.

Naomi, if it wasn’t obvious, is really coming into her own as a singles competitor. Breaking up Team B.A.D. wasn’t the momentum killer I feared it would be – not yet, anyhow – and instead has given her the opportunity to wrestle singles matches as the main focus, showing intensity and oozing personality. Combining her agility with a more roughneck style is definitely unique, and serves to set her apart even more. It’s kind of funny to see her grin ear-to-ear while roughly dragging a Diva around by her hair, but it works.

Seeing Naomi get the win here was great; she has long deserved to get consistent victories, and even though this was only on Main Event, I think it still helps to raise her profile as a singles competitor. After all, Paige is no slouch. She may have lost to Summer Rae two weeks ago, but she’s hardly a jobber. Until she starts getting squashed, a win over this two-time Divas Champion really means something, and I’m glad to see the WWE utilizing it to bolster another Diva’s credentials while keeping Paige looking strong in a highly competitive match.

Really, this was a match I would’ve loved to see on Raw. Both Divas looked great, and a surprise win for Naomi is something I wish a larger audience could have witnessed. But hey, maybe this match’s success will lead to something more – at the very least, we could see a rematch on Raw or SmackDown. Hell, they could just replay it. This match deserves more than to be lost to the annals of time and the WWE’s Hulu library.

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