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SmackDown Redux (October 11th, 2016): Time to make your mark

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No Mercy has come and gone and the gloves are still very much off for the women of the blue brand. With some bitter losses and a championship bout in the air, the ladies of SmackDown had a lot to go through on this week’s episode – so let’s take a look at what happened.

On the SmackDown Live pre-show, WWE Hall of Famer Lita interviewed the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s championship, Alexa Bliss. Bliss thanks Lita for saying how she is “killing it” and quickly goes on to say how sick she is of hearing about the Four Horsewomen. She insists that she respects them for their hard work, but as she beat Becky Lynch on her debut, she should also receive credit.

Alexa then states that Naomi may have beaten her, but she signed a contract for a one-on-one title match, not a triple threat. And though she is very willing to beat Naomi, she is willing to do so after she takes the title from Becky, that is. And before leaving, Alexa tells Lita that the two should do another interview again, but only when she is the champion, of course.

Later on in the night, SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan take to the screen to make an announcement. The pair address the Authority over at RAW for a proposal for the upcoming cross-brand pay-per-view Survivor Series. The two state that they want to have three traditional five-on-five tag matches at the event. The pair initially announce a five on five match between SmackDown and RAW’s best men, and another one for the tag teams. And following that, Bryan and McMahon propose a five on five battle between SmackDown Live’s five best women, competing against RAW’s five best women in a five on five traditional elimination match.

Our first and only women’s match of the night takes place shortly after the announcement. And here we witness a proud Carmella enter the ring to face off against a hungry Naomi. And as Carmella comes out, we’re left wondering why she is so happy – even after her loss a couple of nights ago. Well, before the match takes place, a backstage clip gives us the answer we need.

During the clip, Renee Young interviews Nikki Bella about her victory at No Mercy and her series Total Bellas. Nikki emphasises how hectic the show gets and goes on to boast about how “fearlessly” she’s been living her life since her win on Sunday. After the interview comes to a close however, Carmella pops up out of nowhere to attack her yet again. But before being forced to leave by referees, Carmella told Nikki that one day, her entire career will fall just like she just did.

We’re then taken back to ringside as Naomi makes her way to the ring. However, just as she’s about to finish her entrance, Carmella – out of nowhere – attacks her, landing Naomi straight to the ground. The match then goes underway after the commercial break and Carmella is leading the charge. The Princess of Staten Island gets some good moves in, but Naomi also holds her own.

Towards the end of the match, an angry Nikki Bella storms out to the ring to get her hands on Carmella for the earlier attack. But before she can enter the ring a group of referees stop her. However, as Carmella’s focus is on Nikki, Naomi quickly rolls her up for the win. After the match, Nikki chases after Carmella but the Princess of Staten Island jumps over the barricade and makes her escape.

Alexa Bliss is then shown watching the match and states how she can take on both Naomi and Becky Lynch at once. Daniel Bryan then intervenes and says that she will be facing Naomi next week on SmackDown Live.

On Talking Smack, Nikki joins Renee Young and Daniel Bryan to discuss Survivor Series and Carmella. When Bryan asks Nikki on her thoughts on RAW and SmackDown’s women’s divisions, Bella says that both are equally as talented. She states that the ladies of RAW get more opportunities to shine, but if given the same chances, the SmackDown women could do just as good – if not, better.

Nikki also says that Carmella is a black cloud constantly raining on her parade, and much like Daniel Bryan, believes that to settle the feud the pair should compete in a No Disqualification bout.

Thoughts: SmackDown’s women’s division has taken a bit of a dive in quality over the past few weeks. However this week it looks like we’re headed in the right direction. I’m extremely glad that Nikki and Carmella’s feud isn’t ending as the two definitely have a lot to offer. With their great match from No Mercy proving that they can really get down in the ring together, the blue brand would be foolish to end things there.

Carmella and Nikki are telling a story not based on a title – and this is something that I’m always appreciative of. And I’m not appreciative of it purely because there’s no championship involved (because that happens all the time), but I’m a fan because it’s believable. Bella and ‘Mella consistently showcase enough bad blood that we can believe that they hate each other. It doesn’t feel like two ladies being randomly paired together to fight for no reason. They actually have something to fight over, and their emotions are consistent and are growing deeper and deeper.

Now I’m not saying that this feud is turning into the next Randy Orton vs John Cena, but what it is doing is putting both girls on the map. Nikki is overcoming years of heel heat so that she can become the ultimate babyface, whereas Carmella is just starting out and trying to make a name for herself in a world where women’s wrestling is being watched by more and more people. With Nikki’s popularity and eye-catching persona combined with Carmella’s evil ways, fans are made to sympathise with the veteran and seethe at the newbie. This whole story is putting both girls on the map, and it’s going great.

Moving on to Naomi and Alexa.

So, Alexa and Naomi had a pretty bad night on Sunday. With what was probably the worst match of the show, both girls had a lot to prove tonight. And whilst Alexa was only able to do so through talking, Naomi had to do so in the ring.

Naomi’s match with Carmella was great. Whilst it wasn’t a mat classic, she played her role well and put on a good show. Both women anchored their roles well, and Naomi definitely came across as a stronger competitor – even if the win wasn’t the hardest to accomplish.

However, Naomi has proven that No Mercy was a one-off. It was clearly a last minute match and she definitely has performed way better, and here she proved exactly why she is worthy of being in the title picture.

Though I doubt either Alexa or Naomi will take the title within the next month or so, I really appreciate how SmackDown are handling Becky’s injury. There’s only so much a person can do and by allowing Becky to heal, we’re seeing other talent rise. Naomi is stepping up to the plate and Alexa will (hopefully) prove that she can carry a big feud.

The pressure is definitely on for these two and I really hope that they can prove how capable they are.

How do you find this episode of SmackDown? How would you book the five on five match? Are you excited for Mella vs Bella Part 2? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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