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SmackDown Redux (October 18th, 2013): Vengeance is Sweet

Hey all, it’s Erin, filling in for Steven this week. Covering SmackDown will be a treat for me, as I’m used to covering hula hoop and tug-of-war contests for OVW. Yep. Anyways, let’s get started!

We kick off the show with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero, who assures the Administration (who are menacingly watching from home) that Big Show will not be getting into the building and that she will be running a tight ship:

Of course, that plans goes to hell when Big Show easily makes his way through the crowd and into the ring. After a confrontation with Vickie and Brad Maddox, Show knocks out Maddox, saying that he’s a man with nothing to lose:

No more tears, then? Boo.

The Divas action saw a rematch of sorts from Battleground, with AJ Lee taking on Brie Bella. I say “of sorts” because the title is not on the line. Think of it as a chance for Brie to release some of the frustration pent up from her crappy Monday night:

Nikki‘s allowed at ringside for the match, because apparently Stephanie McMahon prefers to get her fix of masochism on Monday nights. AJ, of course, has Tamina Snuka by her side.

Brie has her shoulder taped, which might as well be a target for AJ and her Black Widow submission. Surely, if she can lock it in, it’s all over, right?

Brie’s raring to go, and AJ isn’t into that. She slips out of the ring twice to avoid Brie, steering her opponent towards Tamina the second time. Tamina stands in between Brie and AJ, blocking Brie’s way as AJ jumps around, mocking her. Why won’t Nikki sneak up behind AJ and yank her by the hair or something?

AJ lets down her guard when Brie moves to climb back in the ring, and it’s all the opportunity Brie needs. She clocks AJ in the head and knocks her to the ground. She tosses AJ back into the ring and hits her with a Lou Thesz press, pounding her head against the mat.

AJ heads for the hills again, but Brie grabs her before she can get away. AJ hotshots Brie against the ropes and escapes. With Brie favoring her shoulder again, AJ smells blood in the water and reenters the ring, beginning to work on the arm.

She locks Brie in an armbar, but with some support from the crowd, Brie gets to her feet and fights AJ off, running the ropes but meeting with AJ’s boot on the return. AJ grabs Brie’s arm again and slams her face-first to the mat, taking the moment after to skip around the ring and bow before slamming Brie to the mat once again. She goes for the pin, but Brie kicks out easily.

Brie heads to the ropes so she can get to her feet, but AJ stops her there, wrapping her bad arm around the middle rope and tweaking the shoulder. After the ref makes her break the hold, she brings it to the middle of the ring, wrenching Brie’s arm behind her back.

Brie gets to her feet and drops back down, jaw jacking AJ and freeing herself. She hits AJ with a series of clotheslines and climbs to the turnbuckle to hit her with a missile dropkick. She connects and goes for the pin, but AJ kicks out.

With AJ prone against the ropes, she runs and drives her knee into her face not once, but twice. At the same time, Tamina tries to go after Nikki, trying to replicate the distraction that earned AJ the win at Battleground. Nikki dodges it, though, sending Tamina into the steel steps.

Seeing Brie distracted by this, AJ goes for the roll-up, but Brie rolls out of it, immediately getting to her feet and hitting AJ with the Bella Buster. It’s enough for the three, and Brie beats the champ! Brie gives AJ the loser sign as she celebrates. A little bit of a heel touch…why not?

The Bellas celebrate as Tamina gathers up a dazed AJ and, like the faithful heavy she is, carries her to the back without looking back.

Thoughts: It’s interesting to see them demonstrate that, had things gone down a tad bit differently at Battleground, Brie could be Divas Champion right now. They set up the ending to mirror the one that saw Brie distracted by Tamina hounding her sister, but with only a few modifications (Nikki avoiding the attack, Brie rolling out of the pin), Brie was able to get the win cleanly.

I like that they don’t AJ look invincible, especially since she isn’t the kind of champion who needs it. They’ve established a while ago that AJ isn’t the strongest Diva, but she uses her wiles to get (and keep) the upper hand. That way, it makes sense that she can lose a match to Brie when her plans fall apart.

A clean win for Brie doesn’t rob a future Divas Championship match of its suspense, because next time, AJ could orchestrate any sort of scenario to tip the scales in her favor. With these two, it’s never really down to who is the better competitor: it’s if AJ is able to outfox Brie. They could wrestle each other every week, and it could end in a number of different ways. In my eyes, that’s the mark of a really intriguing feud. I just hope they keep it up!

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