Thursday, September 23, 2021

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WWE Main Event Redux (November 27th, 2015): Eyes on the Prize


Welcome to another WWE Main Event Redux! This week’s show featured a Divas division rarity: storyline advancement on a “C show”.

Divas Champion Charlotte took on Brie Bella in a match whose outcome cemented the Divas Title feud heading into next month’s TLC Pay-Per-View. Even if you avoided spoilers, I’m pretty sure the identity of the woman targeting Charlotte won’t surprise you.

Let’s get into it!

Charlotte heads to the ring solo, while Brie has her trusty teammate Alicia Fox by her side. Off the bell, they tie up, Brie taking control and backing Charlotte into the ropes. She backs off, allowing them to circle and tie up again. This time, Brie takes control with a side headlock. Charlotte rolls her up into a pin, but she kicks out, resuming the hold. Charlotte tries to push Brie off using momentum from the ropes, but Brie slides to a knee, doggedly holding on.

Brie gets to her feet and Charlotte lifts her up, rolling forward and freeing herself. She grabs Brie by the boot, dragging her away from the ropes and attempting to lock in an early Figure Eight. Brie slips free quickly and the two circle one another. Charlotte again takes one of Brie’s boots for a Figure Eight attempt, but Brie squirms to the edge of the ring, grabbing the bottom rope. Charlotte lets go, allowing her to get to her feet.

Brie goes for a kick, but Charlotte catches her boot, knocking her off her feet with a shoulder takedown. Charlotte hits a knee drop, doing the Flair strut before going for a pin. Brie kicks out. Charlotte locks in a headlock, but it’s not long before Brie gets to her feet and slams Charlotte to the mat.

Brie and Charlotte circle once more, Brie striking first and nailing Charlotte with a kick. She slams Charlotte’s face into the turnbuckle and kicks her until she’s knocked into a seated position. She then pulls Charlotte to her feet and tries to slam her into to the corner again, but Charlotte turns the tables, sending Brie’s face into the turnbuckle instead. She kicks Brie in the midsection, taking her off her feet. She grabs Brie’s boot and tries to pull her out of the corner, but Brie hangs on to the top rope, allowing her to stay put.

When Charlotte comes toward her again, Brie halts her with both boots. Charlotte catches them, though, tossing them over the middle rope and then dropping Brie to the mat with a neckbreaker. She covers Brie, but only earns a near fall. Brie slips out of the ring for a breather, Alicia offering some moral support as we head to a commercial.

When we return, Brie’s back in the ring and in the driver’s seat, choking Charlotte in the corner. She sends Charlotte into the opposite corner, but her charging attack is dodged, Charlotte snapmaring her to the mat. She locks in a headscissors and flips Brie around the ring. Brie stumbles to a corner, only to be nailed in the midsection with Charlotte’s shoulder. She fends off Charlotte with a back elbow and sends her head-first into the corner when she charges, buying herself some breathing room.

Brie stomps on Charlotte in the corner and then leans her against the bottom rope, wrenching her left shoulder around it. She then hits a kick and a dropkick to the shoulder, taking Charlotte to the mat for an armbar. Charlotte frantically tries to get free, but it’s not until Brie tries to whip her into the corner that Charlotte takes control, sending Brie into the corner instead. Charlotte charges at Brie, but Brie dodges the attack, leaving Charlotte to flip over the rope and land on the ring apron. Charlotte drives a shoulder into Brie’s midsection, but Brie battles back, grabbing her bad arm and dropping it against the top rope.

Brie drags Charlotte into the ring for a pin attempt, but it’s not good. Brie continues her assault on the arm, but Charlotte manages to get in a sneak roll-up. Brie kicks out and immediately knocks Charlotte down with a clothesline. She goes for a pin of her own, but the champ kicks out. Brie locks in a hammerlock on Charlotte’s bad arm.

Charlotte frees herself by tossing Brie over her shoulder, but Brie strikes quickly, kicking her bad arm. Brie goes on a kick spree, nailing numerous kicks to the chest before Charlotte grabs her boot and drops her to the mat. She attempts to lock in the Figure Eight, but Brie rolls her into a pin attempt. Charlotte kicks out. Brie hits a clothesline and locks in another hammerlock.

Charlotte gets to her feet and fights free, hitting Brie with a series of chops. Brie fights back and hits Charlotte with a clothesline just as Charlotte goes for one of her own. Both Divas hit the mat. They struggle to their feet, Charlotte hitting a neckbreaker and Brie answering with a series of forearms. Brie heads to the second rope for a missile dropkick, nailing Charlotte with it. She goes for the pin, but Charlotte kicks out.

Brie pulls Charlotte to her feet, but is whipped into the ropes, Charlotte taking her down with a kick to the face. Charlotte hits a spear, but before she can capitalize on it, Paige‘s music hits, and the former Divas Champion struts to the ring. This distracts Charlotte, allowing Brie to sneak up behind her and roll her up for the pin and the win!

Paige mocks Charlotte for taking her eye off the ball and the Divas have a staredown as Main Event comes to an end.

Thoughts: This was definitely over-booked, compared to your typical Main Event Divas match. It actually felt like something that belonged on SmackDown, since storyline advancement isn’t exactly this show’s forte. It’s kind of cool in its novelty, but I can’t help but wonder why this was relegated to Main Event while Paige’s match made SmackDown, instead of vice-versa. I’m all for the “C shows” being elevated by appearances by champs, but it feels weird to have this happen on a show most WWE fans will never see.

That’s not to say that it did all that much to add interest to Charlotte or Paige’s feud. It pretty much just told us that Paige isn’t finished with Charlotte. She’s probably angling for yet another title shot by pissing off Charlotte so much that she’ll grant her another shot just for a chance to get her hands on her. Granted, this guess is meeting the WWE more than halfway, so maybe it’s not that nuanced. I’m willing to bet that this was probably booked as a half-assed way to extend their feud, and half-assed it was. Hopefully, Paige will have found a more interesting way to keep herself on Charlotte’s radar come Raw.

As for the match itself: I really liked its setup, with Brie and Charlotte playing it straight with the repeated tie-ups and square-offs. It made Brie look like a much more cerebral wrestler than her usual matches allow. She and Charlotte worked really well together here, Brie’s penchant for kicks and Charlotte’s Figure Eight attempts creating an instant in-match conflict that kept the action quick and interesting. Brie doesn’t get enough credit for being such a capable wrestler, so it was nice to see her get a win over the champ, even if it was far from clean.

One negative thing that really stood out to me was Charlotte’s reaction to Paige costing her the match. She seemed a bit annoyed at first, but soon looked triumphant, smiling and lifting her title high. It wasn’t exactly a defiant look, so it looked out of place, like she was no-selling Paige’s mental attack. That’s definitely a route the booking could take, but I very much doubt that that’s what’s happening here.

Either the editing was choppy, or Charlotte’s characterization is practically nonexistent. She has no edge, no fire. She doesn’t need to let Paige under her skin, but she does need to inject some excitement into her character. She desperately needs to become more than a “golden girl”, because, as fans’ reactions to her title reign prove, that won’t cut it. In real life, a resilient, talented hero is interesting. In wrestling, that person is boring. Characters need frayed edges and flaws to jump off the screen. Perfection, it turns out, can be a major weakness.

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