Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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SmackDown Redux (April 28th, 2016): Charlotte and Natalya Enter The Ambrose Asylum

Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s SmackDown Redux. I’ve been super excited to recap this segment having seen the spoilers earlier in the week. The WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and her Payback challenger Natalya are guests on Dean Ambrose‘s newest talk-show segment, the Ambrose Asylum! Unlike Raw’s spoken segments in recent years (Charlotte on Miz TV and Eva Marie slapping Jerry Lawler, anyone?), SmackDown has a better track record – just look at AJ and Kaitlyn‘s contract signing or Mickie James, Laycool, Maria and Beth Phoenix‘s infamous ‘Piggie James Leaving Party’. Will this segment follow in the footsteps of those?

Before we can get to some tongue wagging related to the title picture, we’ve got to take a trip to the opening segment of the show, where The Miz and the Sexiest of the Sexy, Maryse interrupted Roman Reigns. This led to Miz getting his ass handed to him by Roman. Obvs.

Next up, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Unless you’re not Nattie or Lotty fans. Dean Ambrose and his hilariously low-budget set get things underway, and he first introduces the Hart Dungeon graduate, Natalya.

Natalya says that she loves the feel of the place. What with the plant pot, it reminds her of the dentist’s office. LOL! That is the kind of thing Natalya would say on Total Divas. More of this for her character please. A recap of Raw is shown, and Natalya says that things will be different this Sunday with Bret Hart in her corner! Cue Woolotte and Ric Flair. Dean bopping to Charlotte’s theme was hilarious as well.

Charlotte says that knowing what Bret has been through recently, she finds Nattie parading Bret around disturbing. The subtle shade from Charlotte – I was loving her palm tree impression here. Nattie says that it is rich for Charlotte to mention family members and bringing them around considering Ric is with her 24/7. Charlotte says that her situation is different because he is her coach. And she bigs up his accomplishments as well obviously. Tal hits back, calling Ric an lying, screaming, creepy old man! Do you need a bandage for that wound Ric? Nattie says that if Ric wants to pull any tricks on Sunday, Bret will be on hand to stop him.

Ric then gets on the mic, woos a little and rambles on about WC-dubyuh! Nattie tells him to settle his tea kettle, and she tells Charlotte that it is time the WWE Universe they got a champion they deserve.

Thoughts: A fantastic segment here! Charlotte and Natalya aren’t really known for their A+ promo cutting, but I thought both were great here. Charlotte is coming into her own with this self-entitled coward character. I also loved her shady line about Bret’s recent health troubles. Saying that Nattie was exploiting him for relevancy after the tough time he has had recently was a major low blow, and was an example of a really personal comment that I love to see injected.

Natalya did well as the confident, prudish veteran who is all about respect and morality too. On paper, Natalya’s character shouldn’t work as a Face (as a Heel, she could go on and on about nothing getting any respect, other people showing no class, etc) but something about her works for me. Maybe it was that very small injection of her Total Divas personality with her comedy comment about the way the set looked?

Nattie is easy to get behind, potentially because she has been so underutilized in the division, so we’re just happy to see her used at all. Her bigging up Bret made me reach for the sick bucket a little, but unlike Charlotte, Natalya isn’t all about her family as a Face. She talks about others things too. She isn’t a coward, and it’s not a bad thing that she is aware of how good she is. She’s confident but not cocky. Highlight for me were Tal telling Ric that he was an old creep. Serve that tea Nattie!

How cool was it to see the girls get to mix it up with a main eventer in Dean Ambrose too? Nice job, WWE.

I’m torn in regards to Payback. My heart says Natalya will win, given that Charlotte has had two reigns successively now, but my head thinks that WWE are just replaying the NXT story from two years ago. Thankfully, this program is way less predictable than the NXT one. What with Ric and Charlotte being ultra heels at this point, I can see Bret getting involved, pulling Ric from the apron or retrieving the title just as Ric will pass it to Charlotte to use as an illegal object – something along those lines.

If I’m not going to sit on the fence, I’m predicting a Natalya win here. Then their rematch can be an Ultimate Submission match? I’d be living for that. On the other side of the coin to living, Ric telling Nattie to go kill herself was obviously edited out of the broadcast. Let’s hope he doesn’t spit that out on live TV come Sunday!

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