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SmackDown Redux (January 24th, 2017): The reinvention of Mickie James

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After last week’s shocker of a main event, the SmackDown Live women’s division was shaken to new heights. So, with the question of “why?!” on everyone’s minds, let’s take a look at the answer to that, and more…

Towards the beginning of the show, Mickie James heads out to discuss her actions from last week with Renee Young.

James tells Young that she decided to return as she wanted to put a stop to the “self righteous” women’s evolution. And with Lynch being one of the poster girls of the evolution, Mickie felt that she was the best target. James also explains that she sided with Alexa Bliss as the Women’s champion is the only one that recognizes her talent. She also explains that Bliss is the only woman that is putting to a stop to the revolution, but before she can go any further, an angry Becky Lynch storms out. The two brawl in the ring and it seems as though Lynch has the better of her opponent. However, once James climbs over the barricade, Bliss runs out of nowhere to knock Becky down. The pair get the Lass Kicker back inside the ring and deliver a beatdown of the defenseless woman. Before they leave, James tells her that she needs to learn the lesson of always being one step ahead… which she insists Bliss already attempted to teach her.

On Talking Smack, James is seen discussing her actions yet again. She emphasizes how sick she is of the revolution, and how she’s here to redeem the “real” version. The former Women’s champion tells Renee and Shane McMahon that for years she has sacrificed a lot to put on great matches, and it’s an insult that WWE is acting as though only the newer members of the division are valid competitors. She states how although she was happy for the women at first, but saw it as rubbing salt in the wound when she felt that her legacy was being forgotten. She continues to anchor her earlier message, and makes it clear that she’s back to keep her name in everyone’s mouth.

A scene between Carmella and James Ellsworth is shown and it appears to be of their shopping trip from last week! ‘Mella doesn’t seem to be too fond of Ellsworth’s fashion sense, but after a ton of different outfits, she finds one that’s perfect for him… And it seems he looks a lot like her…

Earlier on in the day, Nikki Bella is interviewed by Dasha Fuentes as she is asked about Natalya’s recent comments. Nikki makes sure that we understand that her success isn’t through her boyfriend John Cena, but before we can elaborate, the Queen of Black Harts interrupts. Natalya is disgusted and aims to intimidate Bella. And though the Fearless One goes for the attack, Neidhart dodges and throws her ‘Total Divas’ co-star into the truck nearby, leaving her vulnerable on the floor.

Later on in the night a match between Natalya and a returning Naomi is scheduled. However, Natalya doesn’t show up as she is being brutally attacked by Nikki backstage. But instead of allowing the no contest to take place and going to the back, Naomi ends up calling out any woman brave enough to face her. And it seems like it’s her lucky day as Women’s champion Alexa Bliss pops up! Unfortunately for Naomi however, she’s only here to remind her of her “obscurity”. Bliss tells her that she’s become irrelevant after not appearing on television for a while, but Naomi insists that she will put her in her place if they were to fight one on one. Bliss refuses to fight, but it seems as though a title feud is on the horizon…

Towards the end of the show, a match announcement is shown. This Sunday we shall see the team of Nikki Bella, Naomi and Becky Lynch taking on Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya during Royal Rumble!

Thoughts: SmackDown is owned by the women. The women of the blue brand consistently deliver and prove exactly why they are the ones to watch. Between the title picture and the side feuds, it’s pretty difficult to walk away from an episode of SmackDown feeling empty handed. And this week is no different!

The Mickie James storyline could have easily become sour this week. I was expecting James to go after Lynch because she was the simple route. With the Lass Kicker being such an underdog that has built a somewhat losing streak, this was pretty easy to follow. But the blue brand went another way, and I love it.

James coming back as a bitter veteran is a guarantee – especially as a heel. But the way the show has approached it is brilliant. For a while now the revolution has ignored the women of the past – particularly the era in which James was prominent. So with that taken into account, who can blame the woman for lashing out? And who better to go after than Becky Lynch herself? One of the most highlighted women of the revolution, and very closely linked to someone that is on top. Bliss has said multiple times how she is “tired” of hearing about the “Four Horsewomen”, so it only makes sense for somebody else that shares those views to align with them. Continuity!

The great storytelling doesn’t stop there however as even Naomi and Bliss’ past is catching up to them. Back when Lynch was champ and out for an injury, Naomi and Alexa had a mini feud to keep the division going for a bit. Since then, neither really overcame the other as their relevant matches (not including the one on Main Event) ended up with an even outcome.

So could this be Naomi’s time to shine?

During her return she emphasizes how she’s tired of being pushed aside for something else. What, with the redo of the match cancellation just echoing that even further, this really could be the start of Naomi getting real fan support. And it could work! The crowd adores her. She may not be the girl of the roster, but she easily can be. If SmackDown were to keep anchoring this unfair treatment of her whilst simultaneously allowing the woman to prove how good she is, come ‘Mania she really could shine… Who knows?

The Nikki and Natalya storyline is going great. Though nothing strikingly different happens this week, it’s wonderful to witness. The ladies definitely hate each other, and it’s clear that SmackDown doesn’t want to waste their blow-out feud on a Rumble match where the crowd are too excited for the main event to care. Instead these women are going to be put in front of a SmackDown crowd at Elimination Chamber. Here the people that are there for the blue roster will get involved, and they will allow these ladies to prove that they are some of the best the company has to offer.

On top of all of this going on, somebody that we need to keep an eye on is Carmella. As the only woman not appearing in this Sunday’s match, we have every reason to believe that she has a trick up her sleeve. The Princess of Staten Island is currently delivering hilarious segments alongside Ellsworth, and with her previous build being any indication, this can easily be a great way to push her as the brand’s humorous heel. Kind of like Kevin Owens but in a less aggressive way.

This Sunday will be interesting for the ladies of SmackDown. Though it is most likely the crowd calmer, an interesting story could still develop. With James added to the mix we’ll be able to see some great combinations in the ring. Mickie vs Nikki? Mickie vs Naomi? Mickie vs Becky? SIGN ME UP!

The stories will really shine through come Elimination Chamber and Wrestlemania. So this Sunday will merely be a sneak peak at what’s to come…

What did you think of this episode? Are you excited for Sunday? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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