Thursday, September 16, 2021

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WWE Superstars Redux (February 19th, 2016): Return of the Fox


For the first time since November, the Divas are wrestling on Superstars! While the match that’s on the card – Alicia Fox vs. Natalya – is one we saw on last week’s Main Event, something tells me these women are going to bring something new to the table. Well, maybe not so much “new” as it is “revived.” Let’s watch:

Alicia starts things off by through her feather boa-like thing at Natalya, who taunts her with it a bit before tossing it away and circling for a tie-up. After a little bit of antsiness from Alicia, they tie up, Natalya taking control by locking in a hammerlock. She takes Alicia to the mat with a side headlock, but Alicia quickly turns the tables with a headscissors submission. Natalya kips out of it.

Alicia and Natalya circle again, tying up once more. This time, Alicia takes control, twisting Natalya’s arm and covertly biting her hand. Natalya flips to regain momentum, eventually rolling Alicia up into a pin attempt. Alicia kicks out and yells, frustrated.

They circle once more, but instead of tying up, Natalya takes Alicia to the mat, sweeping her legs out from under her and going for the Sharpshooter. Alicia gets to the ropes quickly, breaking the hold. Alicia regroups, yelling at a fan, “You don’t know how it feels!” She backs into a corner, and when Natalya goes to follow, she stops her by calling for a time out. She moves to a neighboring corner, buys herself a few more seconds, and then extends a hand to Natalya. After a moment of consideration, Natalya takes her hand, slamming it to the mat and stomping on it.

Alicia goes after her in retribution, but Natalya catches her in a waistlock, hitting her with a slingshot drop off the ropes and then nailing her with a basement dropkick to the chest. Alicia exits the ring, screaming. Natalya goes to follow, but Alicia slips into the ring. When Natalya does the same, she slips out again. Natalya looks to put a stop to the shenanigans be grabbing Alicia’s hair, but she merely gets her face slammed into the ring apron. Alicia enters the ring and goes for the pin, but Natalya kicks out.

Alicia hits Natalya with a Northern Lights suplex, bridging it into another unsuccessful pin. Natalya crawls to a corner, where Alicia chokes her with a boot. Alicia banters with the crowd some more, yelling about the cost of her manicure ($35, for the record). She pulls Natalya to her feet and hits another bridging Northern Lights suplex, but it’s still not enough for the three count. She immediately locks in a headlock. Natalya slowly fires up, fighting her way free, but Alicia halts her momentum quickly, slamming her to the mat. She runs the ropes and goes for a somersault attack, but Natalya rolls away, and she hits nothing but mat.

Natalya regroups quickly and locks in the Sharpshooter. Alicia has no choice but to tap out.

Thoughts: This was everything I wanted their Main Event match to be last week – exciting, unique and fully embracing Alicia’s “crazy” side. Alicia is just so damn good at playing the crowd and livening up a match with her little quirks. She’s not just a generic “crazy”, with screams and viciousness; she’s paranoid, angry and goofy all at once. Not everyone could pull that off. With the way she plays it, it becomes less of a vilification of mentally ill people and more of an over-the-top caricature.

As non-PC as this character is at its core (as was every “crazy” character), I can’t help but love it. It makes Alicia stand out in a way she never has, carving out a niche for her in an increasingly competitive division full of dynamic women. While it might relegate her to a comedy role, it’s better than the generic Alicia who did little more than lose matches. And besides, we saw the things she was able to do with this character last time, being the ultimate wild card in matches like the one where Nikki Bella was forced to team with her. You know she’s going to snap, but you don’t know when or how. In a division where every Diva is more or less predictable and logical, this Alicia is a breath of fresh air.

With Alicia focusing on her character work here, Natalya more than held up her end of the bargain by playing along, being the straight man but still somehow keeping things light, thwarting Alicia’s attempt to fool her with a handshake and making it clear that she wasn’t going to be out-foxed. The ring work wasn’t as important, but the chemistry between these women helped them tell the story in a way that felt natural.

All in all, this was far from the Main Event rehash I has feared it would be. It took the possibilities that match presented and turned them up to 10. We’ve got a Natalya that looks refreshed, but is as commanding as ever, and the return of an Alicia that is wholly unique. I don’t know about you, but that makes this a big “win” in my book.

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