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SmackDown Redux (September 17th, 2015): No Cause for Bellabration

Time flies, doesn’t it? We’re again at a “go home” SmackDown, just days away from Night of Champions. Even though she’s got a big Divas Title defense against Charlotte to worry about, Nikki Bella is choosing instead to focus on the milestone she passed earlier this week. It’s Bellabration time!!!

Before we can Bellabrate, though, there’s a tag match that needs watching. Becky Lynch and Paige take on Naomi and Sasha Banks. Will Paige get any closer to cracking? Let’s see:

Becky and Naomi start things off, Becky responding to Naomi’s opening shove with some uppercuts, a hip toss and some punches to the head. Naomi crawls away and grabs for the ropes, but Becky pulls her away and knocks her down with a dropkick. Naomi tags in Sasha, who also gets taken down, Becky hitting two arm drags and locking in a quick armbar.

Sasha quickly gets to her feet, but is sent into the ropes by Becky, who then rolls her up for a pin attempt. Sasha kicks out, but Becky immediately takes her down for another pin, prompting another kickout.

Becky twists Sasha’s arm and attempts to send her into the corner. It’s reversed, though, and when Becky catches herself on the ropes, Sasha kicks her and slams her to the mat by her hair. She stomps on Becky as we head to a commercial.

When we return, Naomi’s in the ring, stomping on Becky while she’s caught in a tree-of-woe. She tags in Sasha, who gets in a few stomps of her own. When Becky hits the mat, Sasha tags Naomi back in. Naomi sends Becky back into the corner, driving her shoulder into her midsection and getting in a few more hits before tagging in Sasha again.

Naomi pulls Becky up by her legs, setting her up for a double knee drop entrance by Sasha. Sasha goes for the pin, Becky kicking out at two. Becky heads towards the ropes, but Sasha snapmares her back towards the middle of the ring, stretching her arm in a submission. She toys with Becky a bit and tags in Naomi, returning the favor for her partner by propping up Becky for a leapfrog attack. Naomi covers Becky for the pin, but only earns a near fall.

Naomi props up Becky for a submission, hyperextending her shoulder. Becky fights to her feet, knocking Naomi away. She dives for Paige’s outstretched hand, but Naomi catches her, blocking a sunset flip attempt and stomping her in the midsection. Naomi flaunts a bit and tags in Sash. The two hit tandem kicks, nailing Becky’s chest and back in unison.

Sasha tries for a pin, but Becky kicks out. She then opts for an abdominal stretch. She doesn’t hold it for long, though, as Becky soon finds the strength to toss her away. Sasha tries to halt her momentum right there, sending Becky into the ropes, but Becky catches herself, kicking Sasha away and hitting Naomi. Sasha again make a bid for control, tossing Becky into her corner. Her charging attack is dodged, though, and Becky dives for the opposite corner, where Paige awaits.

Sasha tags in Naomi and the two make a quick dash towards the crawling Becky, pulling her away from her corner. Becky manages to fight them off, though, and finally tags in Paige. Paige nails Sasha with a boot to the face and tosses Naomi into the corner, kneeing her in the face repeatedly. She sends Naomi back towards the middle of the ring and levels her with a kick and a knee to the chest.

Paige pulls Naomi to her feet, but is distracted by Sasha, who has popped up on the ring apron. Becky disposes of Sasha, but it’s too late: Naomi pulls Paige into a small package pin and gets the three count, winning the match for Team B.A.D.!

Later on, it was Bellabration time. Nikki’s celebration took place in a series of segments, in classic SmackDown style. What could possibly go wrong?

First, Brie and Alicia tell Nikki about their plans for the night, Brie securing a DJ and velvet ropes while Alicia got a whole shitload of champagne. Brie Mode activated! They’ve invited a ton of people too.

Later, Brie and Alicia come to realize that the guest list might be shorter than expected. Nikki is livid, sending Brie and Alicia off to “fix it”. Team PCB then show up, sporting party hats that so don’t go with the decor. Charlotte says this moment is only the tip of the embarrassment iceberg for Nikki, because she’s going to take her Divas Title at Night of Champions. At least then she’ll have plenty of champagne with which to drown her sorrows!

PCB depart, leaving Nikki to fume. Adam Rose takes that moment to pop up and tell Nikki how much her party sucks. She throws her cake at him, only to find out that Brie and Alicia were in cake-throwing range. They return to Nikki’s side covered in icing. Nikki storms off.

Later, Summer Rae confronts Dolph Ziggler about the gift he slipped to her on Raw:

She reveals that they were earrings and seems flattered by the unexpected gesture. He says it was a peace offering. Sometimes a rose is a rose…but then again, sometimes it’s more. Don’t fall for it, Summer! Don’t you recognize a page when it’s so obviously ripped out of your own playbook?

Thoughts: I enjoyed the the Bellabration segments, as cheesy as they were. They served as a fun, helpful reminder that Team Bella are heels. I mean, I haven’t forgotten that, but the booking in the Diva Revolution has been kind of lax about their alignment, trying to wedge them between PCB and B.A.D. when they should’ve been the uber heels all along. The Bellabration embraced that fully, allowing Nikki to go all Super Sweet 16 on us. If they only booked her like this the whole time, her “Road to 300” could have been a heat magnet.

As for the tag match: I appreciate that Naomi got the pin here, even if it was a distraction win. Sasha’s gotten so many wins lately that Naomi’s kind of faded into the background for Team B.A.D.. It would’ve been even better if she actually hit a finisher here, aided by the distraction. A Rear View could’ve been simple to set up. Alas, Paige still needs to look like a title contender amidst all of these losses, so I guess a sneaky pin helps her keep some of her mojo.

The match itself was kind of unremarkable, save for the cool double team moves by Naomi and Sasha. I hope, even when the team stuff is in the past, Team B.A.D. remains allies. They gel so well.

PCB are fun in their own way, but they’re obviously not built for the long haul. Their part in the Bellabration was entertaining, though, as it allowed Paige and Becky to embrace their quirkiness while Charlotte embraced her confidence. She seems a little too confident, though, right? I mean, they’re clearly setting up Paige to crack and turn heel, which should be bad news for Charlotte if it happens at Night of Champions. At least it’ll get us out of this team merry-go-round.

Where would that lead us, though? In last week’s SmackDown Redux, I proposed two feuds: Nikki vs. Sasha and Charlotte vs. Paige. Sasha more than deserves her shot at the title, since she’s been picking up wins left and right, and Charlotte vs. Paige could be a really intense, personal feud. My one qualm with Sasha gunning for the title would be the old Diva concern: heel/face alignments. I’m afraid Nikki would fall back into the quasi-babyface role against Sasha, which would be annoying. Still, I think these two combos are our best bet at this point.

But let’s wait until Night of Champions is over before worrying about that. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and all that.

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