Monday, May 20, 2024

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All Eyes On The Prize For The Women; Bayley vs Naomi Comes To A Halt

Friday Night SmackDown aired this week from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Our first sighting of women came in the form of B-Fab, who made her way out with The Street Profits for a fatal four-way tag team match; despite little involvement, luck was on her side as her team won the match and became the No. 1 contenders to the newly-rechristened WWE Tag Team Champions, A-Town Down Under (Austin Theory and Grayson Waller).

Zelina Vega and Elektra Lopez respectively accompanied Carlito and Santos Escobar to their one-on-one match. Of course, as in previous weeks, the two valets continued to go after each other as Zelina stopped a distraction from Elektra via a hurricanrana attempt, but that would get Zelina thrown into the barricade. The distraction ended up working as Santos won his match over Carlito.

Immediately following the match, commentary threw us over to Kayla Braxton who was up in the nosebleed section of the arena with Damage CTRL. When trying to ask IYO SKY why the group wanted to watch the Women’s Championship match between Bayley and Naomi, Dakota Kai quickly began to snipe and reminded Braxton that IYO will get her title back when she’s ready. They can’t stand both the champ and the challenger and want to see them tear each other apart for now. Kai still considers Damage CTRL the most dominant force in the women’s division, citing the Women’s Tag Team Championship reign of The Kabuki Warriors, but her remarks are cut off by the music of Jade Cargill. Turns out, Cargill and Bianca Belair also have nosebleed seats. 

Naomi and Bayley made their entrances for the main event, and commentary emphasized early in the match the level of respect and history that the two have had for one another dating back to Bayley’s beginning on the main roster; Naomi having been someone who looked out for her all those years ago in 2016. Both champion and challenger were on equal footing throughout the contest, but as it was starting to get more heated came Tiffany Stratton from seemingly out of nowhere. 

The Buff Barbie attacked Bayley and Naomi outside the ring, causing a disqualification, followed by a moonsault on them inside the ring. Stratton stood tall on the top turnbuckle as the show went off the air, leaving the WWE Universe without a successful title defense and creating questions about her potential motives.

Next week on SmackDown will be the first night of this year’s WWE Draft; it will air live next Friday from Cincinnati, Ohio. Who will go to Monday Night Raw? Who will stay on Friday nights? We don’t know yet for sure, but the women’s division on both shows will never be the same.

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