Friday, May 17, 2024

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Queen of The Ring Kicks Off For The Blue Brand, Three Women Advance In First Round

Friday Night SmackDown made its first stop tonight since Backlash in Lyon, France to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for a new week of action. Much has happened recently: Bayley keeps her Women’s Championship for a little while longer after defeating both Tiffany Stratton and Naomi, and The Kabuki Warriors were dethroned as Women’s Tag Team Champions by Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill. Last month’s draft has also given us some new women, and with that, new opportunities like the Queen of the Ring tournament. Just as with Monday Night Raw earlier this week, it is now the turn of Team Blue’s female fighters to face off in the first round.

Naomi would make her way out for the first match of the round against Nia Jax. The Irresistible Force made sure to assert her dominance at the start, throwing Naomi around like a rag doll and running into her at the turnbuckles. The Girl with the Glow was able to pick up some momentum and even hit a suicide dive on Jax before the first break.

Back from commercial, the two exchanged some beatings with one another before Nia was able to regain control by sending Naomi out into ringside. With Nia confident she would win by count out, Naomi found her footing once again and nearly pinned Jax via split-legged moonsault. Another pin attempt via a powerbomb reversal also failed. The victor would ultimately be Jax, via a Banzai Drop to Naomi. Could she be on her way to earning a “hole” new accomplishment in her career by winning Queen of the Ring?

The current WWE Women’s Champion Bayley has an interview with Kayla Braxton where she is asked about who her favorite to win the Queen of the Ring tournament is. Her response is interrupted by Chelsea Green, who mentions her tag team partner Piper Niven is going to kick Jade Cargill out of the tournament. Niven had a brief stare down with Bayley, looking up and down at the champion and her title.

Jade vs Piper was up next. Both initially no-sold each other’s offense, but Niven quickly started to one up Cargill as Chelsea watched on. Cargill eventually reversed course and got a lick back on Niven. After a first attempt at Jaded didn’t work, her second time around proved successful and led to a victory for the new Women’s Tag Team Champion. 

Her other half, Bianca Belair, would come out immediately after for the third and final televised match in SmackDown’s first round against the Poison Pixie, Candice LeRae

The former NXT competitors fought in a brief match that was primarily dominated by the EST of WWE. Belair would get hit in the knee by Indi Hartwell, interfering from the outside, and despite LeRae’s best efforts to take advantage of her somewhat weakened state, Belair was able to pull off a KOD for the win.

Lastly, Blair Davenport was featured in a vignette introducing her arrival to SmackDown. As clips from her run in NXT were shown, Davenport said that throughout her wrestling career, she has been labeled as narcissistic, egotistical, or sadistic. Refuting these claims, she says that you have send a message in order to succeed. Her way of sending a message is looking for the fragile, delicate parts of her opponents and breaking them, showing the world that their heroes are simply pathetic. Her promo is capped off by stating that anyone can be respected, appreciated, and celebrated, but Blair Davenport will be feared.

This week’s episode also established Alicia Taylor as the show’s new ring announcer. Formerly the main voice of NXT for the past several years, Taylor handled wrestler introductions throughout the night, and will no doubt make her mark on the blue brand in similar fashion to her Raw counterpart Samantha Irvin.

Next week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown will feature the second round of SmackDown’s Queen of the Ring tournament. Nia Jax will take on Jade Cargill and Bianca Belair will face off with the winner of the untelevised tournament match between Michin and Tiffany Stratton; that match will be taking place at a house show this weekend.

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