Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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SmackDown Redux (January 9th, 2015): Alicia and Naomi Perform Friday Night’s Swan Song

Welcome to this week’s SmackDown Redux! I’m filling in for Steven for the next few weeks, so I’ll be ushering us into the new Thursday night era of SmackDown… or would that be the return to the Thursday night era? Either way, this episode is the final Friday night edition of the show. On deck for the Friday swan song is a match between Alicia Fox and Naomi. Naomi wants revenge for Alicia’s backstage attack and Mixed Tag Team match win on Raw, but can she swing it against the foxy one? Let’s see:

As Naomi heads to the ring (and Alicia mocks her relentlessly), she appears in a picture-in-picture promo. She says that Alicia’s attack on her on Raw exposed her for the “psychotic, shady person” that she is. She also promises to go “U…SO” crazy on her tonight. The Pop-Up Video quality of the promos may be a little cheesy, but I like them. It gives Divas more mic time than they’d usually get and helps to add context to a match, so I’m all for it.

As soon as the bell rings, Naomi’s off, dropkicking Alicia and tossing her by her hair. She then slams her head against the mat, catfight-style, before getting shoved off. Alicia gets to her feet, but can’t get in any offense, Naomi backing her into a corner and hitting her with a series of forearms.

Naomi whips Alicia into the opposite corner and sandwiches her against it. She snapmares Alicia and kicks her square in the back, pulling her to her feet and attempting to whip her off the ropes. Alicia reverses, but Naomi ducks her ensuing attack, running the ropes and thwarting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker attempt by landing square on Alicia and going for the pin. Alicia kicks out.

Finally, Alicia halts Naomi’s offense, kneeing her in the midsection as soon as she gets to a vertical base. Naomi soon battles back, though, sending Alicia flying with a monkey flip. She hits a hurricanrana and comes charging when Alicia backs herself into a corner.

Alicia dodges the attack, though, hoisting herself up onto the top rope. She hits a sunset flip, rolling Naomi into a pin. That’s not enough to seal the deal, though, so she places her feet onto the second rope for leverage. The referee, possibly in dire need of an eye exam, doesn’t see this and counts the pin, handing Alicia an ill-gotten victory.

Naomi is pissed, and Alicia is gleefully mocking her, once again getting the better of her new foe. All hail #HeelAlicia!

Thoughts: Wow. That match just barely passed the one minute mark. What the hell? Were there some important Papa John’s commercials SyFy had to air? Did Naomi or Alicia have somewhere to be?

Of course, this really isn’t anything new for SmackDown, but I can’t help but compare this unfavorably to the 12 minute match on Main Event. If Main Event is a haven for lengthier Divas matches, SmackDown is the opposite: often, the matches don’t break the four minute mark. Sure, they can help further a story, but it’s frustrating to see a match end just as it seems like the Divas are getting somewhere.

Sure, this helped extend the new Alicia/Naomi feud with Alicia’s shady pin, but would it have killed the WWE to give them more than a minute to work with? I’m intrigued by this feud (and thanking my lucky stars that Alicia is a full hell again), so I hope it gets a Main Event or Superstars match soon. Of course, that would be in addition to something on Raw. I just want to see them wrestle for longer than a quick piss break.

Can the Thursday move result in a revamp of SmackDown, please? My formal request is for less Raw recaps (because no one who is actually watching SmackDown is skipping Raw) and more Divas action. NXT, with its one hour, manages to do more with the Divas. TNA, with its two hours, puts SmackDown to shame in that department. Even with Raw, Main Event and Superstars offering ring time for the main roster Divas, I don’t think asking for more from SmackDown is being greedy. Unrealistic, maybe, but not greedy. If WWE wants SmackDown to be more than the throw away show, they have to make it worthwhile.

A one minute match, in my opinion, is not worthwhile. The Divas deserve better.

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