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SmackDown Redux (May 14th, 2015): Talking the Talk

Welcome to this week’s (admittedly short) SmackDown Redux! We have no Divas in-ring action this week – which doesn’t exactly bode well for this Sunday’s tag team match at Payback – but we do have two nice character-building Diva segments to dissect.

First, we have Naomi and Tamina Snuka, who have joined Renee Young for an interview. A promo not in pop-up video form! Praise the gourd!

Naomi attributes her change in attitude to being tired of being overlooked. She says she’s the best athlete in the division and Tamina’s a powerhouse, but the WWE Universe has given them absolutely nothing.

She says that this world doesn’t give opportunities to girls like her and Tamina, so they’re taking them instead.

Tamina tosses in her two cents, claiming that they run the division now.

Naomi then zeroes in on the Bellas, calling Nikki “fake” and “desperate for attention”, just like her fans. Brie, she says, is a quitter, much like her husband Daniel Bryan.

Capping off the segment, Naomi gives Renee a few words of advice: sometimes a good girl has to be bad to get things done.

Lana‘s also got something important to say, but it’s not exactly empowering:

Ahead of Rusev‘s I Quit match against John Cena at Payback this Sunday, Lana took to the ring to apologize for being too popular. Reading from a prepared statement, she says she betrayed her home country by indulging in western customs, AKA basking in the cheers of the WWE Universe.

She begs for the forgiveness of her family, her country and Rusev. She is then banished to the corner to watch him cut his own promo and plot her revenge.

Also on the show, Natalya accompanied Tyson Kidd to the ring for his win over Kofi Kingston and sung his praises on SmackDown Fallout:

Thoughts: Though I was disappointed to find out that there would be no Divas match on SmackDown, I really enjoyed the Naomi/Tamina interview, and it did more to further their development than any three minute match could. It told us the “why” of this storyline: they’re going after the Bellas because they’re sick of waiting for opportunities, and are going to take them by eliminating the two Divas at the top of the division. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s certainly refreshing to see Naomi cut a promo with passion. She’s the best she’s ever been here, which may be a testament to how much more interesting heels are than babyfaces, but I can definitely see and uptick in her skills too. We’re a long way away from her work in her short-lived feud with Natalya.

The buildup for the match at Payback leaves a lot to be desired, obviously. The fact that the match was booked so late and announced as an afterthought tells me all I need to know about the WWE’s priority for it. I’m just hoping that it’s used as an effective stepping stone to Eliminaton Chamber. Surely they’re saving Naomi vs. Nikki II for that. I’d much rather have it then than rush through it now. The tag match makes absolute sense at this stage. What doesn’t make sense is the complete lack of effort being put into its buildup.

But hey, rest easy, WWE. It’s not like your own developmental system is completely showing you up or anything…

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