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Raw Redux Does WWE Superstars (Jan. 7th, 2010): Getting Out of the Gate

This past Monday saw the start of an 8-Diva tournament for the Divas Championship, with Maryse advancing into the second round. The tourny continued tonight on WWE Superstars, pitting Gail Kim against Jillian. Who will get one step closer to holding that butterly belt? Watch and see:

Jillian comes down to the ring, headset on. She says how excited she is about this tournament and that she has a good feeling about her chances to go all the way. This reminds her of that Black Eyed Peas song that’s overplayed on the radio to the point that it has surpassed the category of music and and has transformed into an acute form of torture–that song being “I’ve Got a Feeling”. She, of course, butchers it, and Gail’s entrance music eventually puts a stop to it. Kim makes her way to the ring and the match is on.

They start with a tie-up, Gail taking advantage and wrenching Jillian’s arm. Jillian escapes this by rolling forward and sweeping Gail’s legs. She goes for a pin, but Kim doesn’t even let the referee get a 1-count down. Jillian picks her up and holds her in a side headlock. Gail forces Jillian back into the ropes and shoves herself free, making her run the ropes.

On the return, Jillian shoulder-blocks Gail, but Gail grabs her feet before she can go anywhere, making her fall flat on her face. Gail bridges into a pin, but barely gets 2. Kim delivers a few blows to her face and goes for an irish whip that Jillian reverses. Gail ends up in the corner, but skirts through the ropes when Jillian charges toward her. Jillian blocks a punch and lands one of her own, then going for a shoulder blow to Gail’s midsection, but Kim hoists herself up, landing in a seated position on Jillian’s back. She heads to the top rope, hitting a lateral press on Jillian and going for the pin, getting a 2-count.

Jillian gets to her feet, only to be taken down again with a frankensteiner. She tries to regroup in the corner, dodging an attack by Gail and sending her flying through the ropes. Gail manages to hang on, though, and Jillian grabs her by the hair, knocking her head against the steel post and allowing her to fall to the outside.

Jillian spears Gail against the ring apron and tosses her into the ring, attempting an unorthodox pin that Kim kicks out of. She picks Gail up and slams her back down with a sidewalk slam, going for another pin that results in another kick-out. An irish whip into the corner sends Gail into the turnbuckle and down to the mat, as she’s unable to stay on her feet.

Jillian grabs her by the hair, pulling her head back and counting along with the referee’s protests before breaking the illegal hold. She then locks Gail into a seated half nelson, but Gail quickly powers out, delivering a few shot to the stomach before backing Jillian into the corner and freeing herself. Kim makes a catlike jump to the turnbuckle, attempting a flying dropkick that’s halted by a kick by Jillian.

Jillian looks to capitalize on this, going for the pin, but the referee calls for a rope break in a move you usually only see in the video games. (Like, your wrestler pins someone too close to the ropes and their foot accidentally slips under the rope. Dammit!!) Jillian, clearly not intending to break her own pin, argues with the ref while Gail scoots away to gather herself. Michael Cole shows Sherlock Holmes-like powers of observation by guessing that Gail’s arm had hit the ropes, even though she would have had to be Inspector Gadget for that to be physically possible. GO GO GADGET ARM!!

Gail find refuge in the ropes, and Jillian tries to separate from them, but no dice. She tries again to drag her by the feet, this time actually lifting her, but Kim uses her ninja-like prowess to counter it into a small package-like pin. The referee counts to 3 as Jillian, mid-pin, screams in disbelief at being duped. It’s touches like that that sell such a sudden pin as being effective–and inescapable enough–to defeat her. Gail wins and advances in the tournament!

The match first half of this match was interesting enough. I loved a lot of the moves by Gail, and Jillian’s “go for the pin every second” strategy seems like something a heel would do when they realllly want to win the match. The second half, however, was super slow-paced, which doesn’t benefit either girl, especially Gail. I understand that Jillian’s strategy was grounding Gail, but it made for a pretty dull match in itself. There just wasn’t wasn’t anything engaging about it (aside from maybe a few moves from Gail that we’ve seen in most of her matches), and lacked a certain fire that you should feel in a match where so much nags in the balance. Sadly, it didn’t do much to add excitement (or a feeling of importance) to this tournament. It certainly didn’t feel like an important match to me.

It’s still not clear whether Gail and Maryse will duke it out or if they’ll face the other two quarter-finalists, but I hope it’s put together with a bit more spark than this because right now, it just feels like a simple succession of “meh” Divas matches. Is it too much to ask for a little excitement?

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