Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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SmackDown Redux (August 6th, 2015): Two for the Price of One

Welcome to another SmackDown Redux! Hey, we’ve actually got a match this week! Scratch that – we have two matches this week! To start, we have Charlotte and Naomi squaring off one-on-one. Somehow, this evolves into a tag match, but I won’t spoil that for you. Just go along for the ride, people.

Pre-match, Charlotte got the Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks treatment, receiving a special video package:

Match time!

With everyone in the two factions (except Tough Enough hostage Paige) at ringside, Charlotte and Naomi start with a tie-up, Naomi dropping and flipping Charlotte with a modified monkey flip. Charlotte doesn’t let go of the hold, though, and gets to her feet to do the same to Naomi. The tie-up is maintained, but Charlotte pins Naomi down by her shoulders. The referee counts the pin, but Naomi gets a shoulder up.

Naomi gets to her feet and switches to a waistlock, which Charlotte quickly reverses. Naomi then switches to a side headlock, taking Charlotte to the ropes, springing off of them and taking her down with a sunset flip. Charlotte rolls through before a pin attempt can be made. Naomi gets to her feet and swings wildly at Charlotte, who ducks and takes Naomi down for a bridging pin. Naomi kicks out.

Charlotte sends Naomi into the corner, but is caught by Naomi’s boots and pulled into a stink face. She kicks Charlotte away and distracts herself with some gloating, allowing Charlotte to get to her feet and surprise her with a vicious chop to the chest. Naomi retorts with a slap to the face. This sets off Charlotte even more, and she knocks Naomi off her feet for a figure four attempt. She tries to bridge it into a figure eight, but Sasha storms into the ring, stomping on Charlotte to break the hold and DQ Naomi.

Becky enters the fray and works with Charlotte to dispose of Sasha and Tamina. Meanwhile, the referee has a huddle with Eden, who announces that the match has been restarted as a tag team bout: Becky and Charlotte vs. Naomi and Sasha. With that, we head to a commercial!

When we return, the bell sounds for the second match, Charlotte and Sasha starting things off. Sasha shies away from a direct confrontation with Charlotte, tangling up in the ropes and giving herself an opportunity at a cheap shot on Charlotte. Her follow-up Irish whip is reversed, though, Charlotte taking her down with a Lou Thesz press. Charlotte delivers some right hands to Sasha’s head before pulling her to her feet and taking her to Becky, who tags herself in.

Becky and Charlotte take down Sasha with a double hip toss and follow it up with tandem elbow drops. Becky assumes control with an armbar on Sasha, who frantically sprints to her corner, taking Becky with her. Naomi tags in and gives Becky a taste of her own medicine, zeroing in on her left arm. Becky quickly turns the tides, though, taking hold of Naomi’s left arm and ducking her swinging attack. She grabs Naomi in a waistlock and drives her straight into the ropes. After some resistance from Naomi, Becky manages to roll her into a pin attempt. Naomi kicks out easily. Becky follows this up with two more pin attempts, Naomi kicking out of each.

Becky springs to her feet and dropkicks Naomi, landing three consecutive leg drops as Charlotte tags herself in. Charlotte hits Naomi with a knee drop and “WOOOOO”s right in Sasha face for effect. She covers Naomi, who kicks out a two. Charlotte captures Naomi in a headscissors, flipping her across the ring numerous times before letting go and kipping up. Naomi stumbles to her corner and tags in Sasha, who immediately finds herself being pinned by Charlotte. She kicks out and reverses Charlotte’s whip into the corner. Charlotte catches herself, though, flipping and landing on the ring apron.

Charlotte manages to fight off Naomi’s attempt to yank her off the apron, but doesn’t see Tamina coming, and gets flattened with a kick. She falls to the outside. Sasha follows, grabbing Charrlotte and tossing her back in the ring for a pin attempt. Charlotte kicks out. Sasha tags in Naomi, and the two take down Charlotte with tandem back elbows. Naomi goes for the pin, but Charlotte kicks out. Naomi sends some vicious right hands to Charlotte’s skull and snapmares her into a seated position, kicking her square in the back. She level Charlotte with a low clothesline and follows it up with another pin attempt that comes up short.

Naomi locks in a sleeper hold on Charlotte, who slowly but surely fights out. She doesn’t get far, though, as Naomi immediately knocks her down with an enziguri. Another pin attempt by Naomi, another kickout by Charlotte. Naomi tags in Sasha and the two team up on Charlotte again, slamming her to the mat by her hair. Sasha goes for the pin, but Charlotte kicks out at two. Sasha sends Charlotte into the corner, and though she gets tossed over the ropes and out onto the ring apron, she gets the last laugh, grabbing Charlotte by the hair and dragging her to the mat. She reenters the ring and goes for another pin, earning another near fall.

Sasha takes a swing and a miss at Becky before returning her attention to Charlotte, hitting her with a backstabber and bending her backwards into a painful submission. Charlotte manages to power out, tossing Sasha away and propelling her over her head when she comes back for another attack. Sasha tags in Naomi just as Charlotte makes it to her corner to tag in Becky.

Becky comes in on fire, hitting Naomi with a flurry of offense. She kicks Naomi square in the chest and tosses her across the ring with a suplex before going for the pin. Naomi kicks out just as Sasha arrives to break up the pin. Charlotte enters the ring to dispose of Sasha, and Tamina returns the favor, grabbing Charlotte’s boot and dragging her out of the ring.

As all of this is going on, Naomi jacks Becky’s jaw with her boots, covering her for the pin. Becky kicks out. Naomi slams Becky and hits a leg drop, hooking her leg for another pin attempt. Becky again kicks out. Naomi locks in a modified crossface submission, and though Becky quickly gets to her feet, Naomi maintains control, knocking Becky off her feet and locking in another submission. As Becky sits in agony, we head to another commercial break. Two breaks in one Divas segment? Whaaaa?

When we return, Sasha’s in the ring and Becky’s taken control, having rolled her into a pin attempt. Sasha kicks out grabs hold of Becky’s hair, slamming her face into the mat. She tags in Naomi, who thwarts Becky’s attempts to get to her corner. She hits a drop toe hold and mocks Becky before dragging her back towards the center of the ring, hitting her with a split leg drop and hooking her leg for the pin. Becky kicks out. Naomi sends her into the corner with a bulldog to the turnbuckle, Sasha taking the opportunity to tag herself in.

Sasha drives two knees into Becky’s face and follows it up with another pin. Becky kicks out, but then finds herself locked in another submission. After some agonizing moment, Becky manages to get free, springing to her corner and tagging in Charlotte. Charrlote comes charging in, taking out Sasha with the combined efforts of some chops, a neckbreaker and a spear. She covers Sasha, but Naomi is quick to enter the ring and break up the pin.

For some reason, Naomi takes over as the legal participant, even though she doesn’t tag in. She pulls Charlotte into a small package pin, but Charlotte kicks out. Naomi dominates Charlotte a bit more before she’s surprised with a small package pin. She manages to reverse the package, pinning Charlotte for the win!

Team B.A.D. celebrates their illegal victory, Naomi enjoying a bit of revenge over the Submission Sorority.

They talked about the win post-show, expounding on their overwhelming dominance:

But that’s not all! We got a bit of progression in the Lana/Summer Rae feud.

Lana made a run-in during Rusev‘s match with Roman Reigns, attacking Summer and delivering one hell of a bitch slap. She then leaves, departing as quickly as she arrived. Well, that’s an efficient way to continue a story!

Lana explained her actions post-show, saying that she couldn’t take Summer’s insults anymore:

She says she’s standing up for herself now. Do not mistake her kindness for weakness.

Thoughts: This match (or matches, really) was a nice switch-up – I don’t think we’ve seen the “match restart” thing done with the Divas in a while. It breaks up the seemingly never-ending string of singles and tag matches, even though it’s pretty much both in one. At least it emphasizes that actions have consequences. What’s that, a dash of realism in the Divas division?

This match felt extraordinarily long, and while that’s an accomplishment for Divas matches on SmackDown, it didn’t exactly hold my attention. It didn’t have that NXT feel, where a long match feels like a journey you go on with the Divas. This felt more like a stretched Raw tag match – the heart just wasn’t there in the booking. Granted, the booking of a standard main roster Divas tag match just doesn’t lend itself to excitement, since 9 times out of 10, the action is slow as hell until the hot tag is made and the finish occurs. In between, you have a lot of submissions and endless pin attempts. That doesn’t mean the Diva Revolution shouldn’t flip the script, though; that’s what this it’s for, right?

I made a similar complaint about the Diva Revolution matches in the NXT Redux: they’re plentiful and much longer than normal, but they lack an overarching story and sense of importance. While the WWE’s definitely investing in the Divas by giving them more TV time, that’s only half the battle. Without a story to latch on to (both within the scope of a match and overall), recapping these matches feels like more of a slog than it should.

The finish was strange, seemingly the result of a brain fart by Naomi. It’s not the end of the world, since it kind of plays into Team B.A.D.’s penchant for bending the rules, but I think the referee should have stepped in to correct Naomi. It would’ve looked more organic than him just letting her get an illegal win. Hey, at least nothing important was on the line. It’s just a shame that, from a (probably unprecedented) 20+ minute Divas SmackDown segment, this is the thing a lot of people will remember.

All of that bitching aside, I am really impressed that the Divas were given so much time on the show. I mean, the WWE carved out the entire middle of SmackDown for them! And the Divas Champion wasn’t even involved! That’s something, for sure. The Divas made good use of the time they were given, too: ending botch aside, they performed really well. The dull booking is what let me down. And really, for the Divas, that is a tale as old as time.

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