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SmackDown Redux (December 18th, 2012): Best Friends For Never

As I sit to write this, it’s a tremendous Wednesday morning. We’re less than a week away from Christmas, the birds are chirping, and I’m down to my last few dollars which means presents have seemingly been bought. Being loyal readers, I decided to buy each of you a little something special… so in my best Oprah voice. Ahem: You get a ring! You get a ring! You get a ring! Everyone enjoy your brand new Divas Championship ring, and I expect you all to wear it with pride, or propose to someone with it.

Okay now that the gift giving is complete, let’s jump into SmackDown. Tonight was a special “live” edition, and the match provided was Eve taking on Kaitlyn with her prestigious championship on the line. Top that off with a brawl backstage between Kaitlyn and AJ, as well as three more AJ-centric segments and an appearance by Cameron and Naomi… and wait a second, I feel like I’m nearly repeating myself from the Raw Redux. But hey, that must mean good things since there was a lot to talk about on Monday’s three hour extravaganza.

Skip to 2:45.

The Miz, who just can’t seem to get enough of these MizTV segments taking place as of late, opens SmackDown by introducing his guests at this time: Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E. Langston… okay talk about a sentence I never in my life thought I’d write. Dolph’s music hits, and out walks the power couple and their bodyguard. She leans in for a smooch, as the two head down the ramp with their arms around each others waists. Well… more so AJ’s around his waist and his around her neck. After a recap of the actions from Raw last night in which Big E. Langston made his thunderous debut, we head back to present day which involves AJ twiddling her fingers through her hair.

Miz asks the devil in the denim jean shorts why. That’s it, just why. I choose to allude it means why did she do what she did at TLC. Or why did she summon Big E aside from being a caring and nurturing friend and bringing him up to TV after years of being in FCW/NXT. AJ takes the microphone and tells Miz that if he wants the answer, he can invite John Cena out to find out why he toyed with AJ’s heart. She says if we knew the true answer behind that, everything she’s done since TLC would make more sense. AJ sacrificed her job to keep John Cena’s name out of the gutter, but following a Slammy award winning kiss, she realized that he never cared for her in the same way she did him… which seems to be the story with all of her men as of late.

AJ has come to the conclusion that John Cena only cares about himself. Suddenly, an “AJ’s Crazy” chant breaks out, as she starts yelling at them to stop! She reveals that as much as she wanted to shout their love to the world, he wanted her to be his dirty little plaything that he refused to acknowledge in public. AJ thought John Cena would be better than Daniel Bryan or CM Punk (note: no mention of Kane… hope for a reunion lives!), but he ended being nothing superior. John Cena broke AJ’s heart, and so she helped Dolph Ziggler break John Cena! The Miz tries to stir them away from each other, which prompts Big E. Langston to get up in his face. The Miz asks who this figure is, which AJ introduces as a friend of hers who sticks up on her behalf when people use the C word to describe her. No, I don’t mean that one.

Dolph now takes the center stage and tells Miz that AJ isn’t… oh wait, the kind and considerate Money in the Bank briefcase holder gives his woman a heads up to cover her ears as he uses the word “crazy” in a sentence. He calls her passionate, which was a lesson he learned by her actions at the end of Raw. That, and the fact that she gave him the hottest kiss in the history of Monday Night Raw. Ziggler congratulates Cena on his Slammy, siting that he doesn’t need it because he has both the briefcase… and Cena’s girlfriend. The Miz hopes Dolph can satisfy all of AJ’s personalities, and after some insults, Dolph instructs Big E to bulldoze the former WWE champion over and lay him out with his finisher!

“Show… Off”

And with that, she skips around both men as they stand over a downed Miz, and her music hits to close the segment!

Kaitlyn is shown walking backstage, and it’s revealed she will face Eve Torres next for the Divas championship! Out of nowhere pops AJ, trying to wish her luck. Kaitlyn, however, tries her best to ignore the crazed Diva. Miss Lee wants to know the purpose of Kaitlyn’s lack of any response, to which the blonde and black haired Diva reveals how tired she is of one minute being friends, the next being on opposite sides of ethics. She says AJ’s actions make it really hard to be friends, and that seems to be the breaking point as AJ breaks down in tears. Kaitlyn starts to feel bad and comfort her, but AJ’s tears now seem to stop in a split second as she scowls angrily at the Houston native.

Kaitlyn realizes what AJ’s up to and shrugs it off. She has a title match to prepare for, before telling Lee that she needs help. Kaitlyn starts to walk away, leaving a scorned AJ to question Kaitlyn on why she’d choose a title match over her best friend. Kaitlyn denies doing that, correcting it as her choosing a title match over a lunatic! Oh sweet mother of Paula Deen, that was probably not a good idea. As predicted, Kaitlyn starts to head to the ring once again, but AJ smacks her upside the two toned hair with a water bottle and lives out my fantasy when I’m at college and the professor I dislike walks up to me, by throwing Kaitlyn into a 7-Up designed vending machine! Kaitlyn spears AJ into a table and the two roll around the floor until four referees, who were for some reason not about to head to the ring, run up to hold the two apart. AJ screams profusely, as her head of hair shakes around, yet somehow still lands without a strand out of place.

Skip to 5:55.

Ding, ding, ding!

By the sound of Eve’s theme song comes forth a match of championship proportions, as Torres elegantly walks her way down the ramp with her title in hand. Once she’s in the ring, Eve instructs a photographer to come take her picture yet again, which is something I love to see her doing with the title because it helps her reign stand out from the typical bad girl one we’re used to. Spin the bottle! I think Kaitlyn has a new titantron, but before I can fully notice, my eyes go to Kaitlyn limping down the ramp with now wet hair. The referee holds the title up, as Eve attacks Kaitlyn from the start and goes crazy on her after Kaitlyn’s win over her last night.

Eve tosses Kaitlyn around and scores with a kick, before taking Kaitlyn down for a two count. Our champion steps on Kaitlyn’s face, then hitting a running senton to attain a nearfall. Eve transitions into a choke on the ropes, proceeding to kick Kaitlyn outside the ring and slam her face into the ring apron. Torres then slides her back inside and applies a submission hold. Kaitlyn eventually breaks out of it, but Eve drills her with a faceplant and hooks the leg for just a two count. Torres reverts back to the armlock submission as JBL tells Michael Cole and Josh Matthews off for ignoring the match to focus on their dumb ass WWE app voting that has been drilled into my skull after last nights show. Kaitlyn finally escapes the submission with an armdrag, as she rolls Eve up pretty quickly a few times for a pair of two counts. Eve tries to send Kaitlyn into the corner, but the challenger scores with a sunset flip off the top rope! One… Two… No! Kaitlyn barely misses the win. The Houston native nails a bodyslam, following it up with a shoulder tackle for a two count. Eve tries for a clothesline, but Kaitlyn hits the reverse DDT!

Another two count, as Kaitlyn can’t believe what she has just witnessed. Since the DDT failed, and hopefully teaches Kaitlyn to never use it as a finisher again like I’ve been pleading, she goes for the gutbuster that put Eve away on Raw! Unfortunately for her, Eve grabs onto the ropes to prevent it. She lands on the ring apron, sparking Kaitlyn to dropkick her off and then nail a Thesz Press to the outside! Kaitlyn then proceeds to slam Eve into the announce table and roll her back inside, but as she goes to the top rope, Eve crawls onto the referee’s leg for dear life. She refuses to let go, and once the referee falls over, he calls for a disqualification and Eve retains her title! Kaitlyn looks furious, meanwhile Eve screams for her title like a new mother screaming for her recently born child and holds it up to her chest as she survives another day.

Skip to 1:38.

Backstage, AJ is complaining to Dolph Ziggler about Kaitlyn attacking her for no reason whatsoever. Dolph feels Kaitlyn is just jealous that AJ’s with a future World champion, but as the two try to kiss, The Big Show for some ungodly reason walks into the scene. Big E tries to move forward and protect the power couple, but AJ informs him that won’t be necessary. The Big Show says if Dolph wants to use the contract on him tonight, he’ll knock him so far into the future that his contract will be expired. Unfortunately for our power couple, they look saddened as if that was going to be their plan or something.

Check out Cameron and Naomi as they manage Brodus Clay for his match against Brad Maddox, and then proceed to scream in terror as The Shield takes down the Funkasaurus because of the injustice he has caused in keeping them away from in ring competition:

And also, for the purposes of this redux, skip to 12:22 in the following video below:

As John Cena takes out Dolph Ziggler with the Attitude Adjustment, he then gets up and turns right around into an ambush by Big E Langston! Big E drops John Cena with his finisher and stands tall much like on Raw, as AJ slides inside and skips around Cena’s downed carcass. This time though, AJ welcomes Dolph Ziggler over like a lost baby lamb needing its mother, and in an attempt to completely destroy the simile I just used regarding a lamb and its mother, the two engage in a steamy smooch. Once they come up for air, AJ smiles psychotically as her music hits yet again and she skips around the scene of her guys dominant over her ex!

So. Insanely. Awesome!

Thoughts: Maaaan I don’t know if it was just me, but this episode of SmackDown kicked major butt. Even though I would’ve liked to see an on screen explanation as to why AJ and Dolph are now all over each other when he looked confused last night, I like that he revealed at least that it was only by her actions at the end of Raw that he now believes her craziness is simply passion. AJ just shined as a heel… that’s honestly all I can say without going into too much excitement that would likely annoy you all! I didn’t ever want her to turn to be honest, because it seemed like we finally had a Diva the crowds would get behind just as much as a main superstar, but now that I got to see how she could handle it, to say I’m on board is an understatement. She was hilarious in this sort of heel Lita type role, where they insult her lack of stability instead of how they would insult Lita as being a… well, you remember.

I know there are complaints that AJ has been spotlighted too much, but for the past however many years since Trish and Lita left, there’s hardly seemed to be a Diva that got much of any spotlight at all, and I can’t think of any that had their spotlight last nearly a full year. I guess I see it more as a cup half full than half empty situation because I love seeing a female character pretty much become the focal point of an entire show. One thing I noticed that stuck out to me was when both the opening and closing segments ended, it was her music that played as opposed to Dolph’s which was pretty awesome. It’s no secret how much of a fan I’ve been of AJ since FCW, but I don’t think anyone could’ve ever saw the way her career has skyrocketed over the past year, and whether you like her or don’t, to see a Diva get thrust into such a high profile role that hasn’t been scrapped or cut short within a month is pretty great.

Moving her with Dolph works a billion trillion times better than having her be with John Cena. The group remind me a lot of Christian, Trish, and Tyson Tomko only a bit more high profile on the card since Trish, Tomko, and Christian were more of a midcard group, and then Christian got injured shortly thereafter I believe and it pretty much disbanded quickly. Even though I personally feel Dolph is good enough to be on his own, the trio did so much to make me excited about them that I’m glad they’re together. The line where he told her to put her hands up to her ears as he said the word “crazy” was priceless, and I can’t wait to see how much these three get to shine together in the future. P.S. now that I see Big E isn’t playing the romantic role with AJ, as Dolph is instead, I retract my statement about wishing it had been Corey Graves in last night’s Raw Redux. Although I still want Corey to debut!

Moving over towards the Kaitlyn/Eve/AJ stuff, I’ll first start out with the awesomeness of that backstage brawl. Segments like this and the one Eve, Layla, and Kaitlyn had a few months ago on Raw are what I miss having in the division. People really underestimate how much a knock down dragout brawl backstage can do for a feud, and Kaitlyn/AJ has seemingly been building up for a long time albeit not happening every week. The fact that every few months or so, we seem to get a backstage segment involving them leads me to think there’s a big feud brewing. And tonight’s was probably the most I’ve felt it coming since they even started having them back when AJ went slap-happy on Kaitlyn. I don’t want to jinx it because God only knows how I’ve got no hope of a properly built womens feud being on WrestleMania, but if Kaitlyn and AJ get to do it, I would be beyond ecstatic for the both of them. Of course, knowing us we’ll get something like Honey Boo Boo and Santino vs. Vickie Guerrero and Tensai, if we’re even that lucky.

The match Kaitlyn and Eve had was so good, and felt really different to me than most Diva matches. Aside from it getting more time, they had Kaitlyn getting near fall after near fall and Eve just barely surviving. Plus there was a lot of outside work, which I always root for. Speaking more on all of that, I loved the near falls towards the end with Kaitlyn trying to get everything done she could think of in order to win the title. It made a huge difference in showing just how important winning it is to her as opposed to their match on Raw that was over within a minute (albeit still a good match, just in comparison to this one not as great due to the time restriction). This one demonstrated that she knows all of Eve’s tricks now (or thought she did), and just went for finisher after finisher and roll up after roll up towards the end to make any attempt at taking the belt.

Also, the ending was pure perfection for me. It may have aggravated some that a match actually getting time didn’t get a clean ending, but to me this did so much more for their feud than simply having Kaitlyn pin Eve again or Eve pin Kaitlyn. This flat out pissed Kaitlyn off, and now it builds the tension/anger that she has come probably the closest to taking the belt off Eve than in any of their past matches, but her opportunity was taken away due to a technicality beyond her control. Plus, I’m not going to lie, I would love to see them now get a No-DQ stipulation for what I assume will be the Royal Rumble.

Last night I said how I wanted their impending match to be portrayed as a rookie against a veteran type role unless they went with some way to build the anger up inside Kaitlyn to the point she just wants to beat Eve senseless because she kind of resolved the TLC slap of doom anger with her victory on Raw. This adds fuel to the fire of a furious challenger because she was mere moments away from winning the belt when Eve had to cheaply use the referee to hold onto it. They portrayed Kaitlyn as a threat to the title, and Eve, even if she won’t admit it, is now thinking “Oh crap… this could’ve actually been my last night as champion.”

Everything about it worked, from the really nice amount of time they got, to the backstage segment involving Kaitlyn beforehand, to Eve pulling out one last trick from her playbook that Kaitlyn wouldn’t see coming to keep her title. I still want more than just a bunch of random matches, but I know towards the final few weeks of the year, WWE doesn’t normally tend to focus on the feuds as much so I highly doubt we’ll get anything instrumental at least until 2013 rolls around.

To change gears for a second, I just want to address something I’ve seen around a little bit. I completely get that the division is far from perfect, but if you compare all of the segments we’re getting primarily every week as opposed to this time last year when it was Alicia, Kelly, or Eve beating Natalya or Beth in a one to two minute match each week and that being it, we’ve gotten a huge improvement over the past twelve months. I’ve said it before, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, thus I don’t expect the division to be either. But things like giving the women matches with time per tonight (granted I know that’s a work in progress, but it’s at least some weeks as opposed to almost none before), or segments backstage that actually feature them getting to speak, I’m truly excited to see if the momentum keeps building for them. As I mentioned last night, I’d like 2013 to try and encompass more women into roles like AJ Lee had this year, and I would definitely like her to be used in the division as a catalyst to help the other women get more crowd response. If she’s heel, then the crowd will love seeing any babyface kick her butt around the ring, and likewise if she’s face they will hate a heel doing it.

If it were me, I’d keep Eve, Kaitlyn, and AJ as focal points heading into 2013. I’d also transition Naomi and Cameron into the Divas matches, and put some of the other women in side feuds or side managerial roles to keep them on screen. Rosa and Natalya both manage right now, so build their side feud up to have more than a comedic purpose. Decide what disposition Alicia Fox is going to be and if it’s face debut someone like Xavier Woods from NXT with her as they both have insanely fun personalities that could resonate on screen. Use Tamina as the badass heel, kind of like the role Jazz had, and call up Paige for sure to further help the division out. I’d also like to see some combination of Emma, Audrey Marie, Summer Rae, or Sasha Banks called up before the end of 2013, but sporadically so it doesn’t get overcrowded too quickly. Layla and Aksana can be the extra people needed for tag matches and such if they’re going to be more background Divas like it seems as of late, and that works to fill out the sides and get them screen time/action as well.

Wow my thoughts ended up being the size of an actual redux… sorry guys! But I like to talk I guess if it hasn’t been obvious. Anyways, leave a comment with your thoughts on SmackDown. Did you like the ending to the match? Or the pull apart brawl? Thoughts on AJ/Dolph? Do you want me to shut up?

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