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SmackDown Redux (September 19th, 2014): Don’t Count Nikki Out

Hello everyone, and welcome to Night of Champions edition of the SmackDown Redux. Just days before the Triple Threat Divas Championship match this Sunday, all three participants make their presence known on the blue brand. Diva Champion Paige takes on one of the #1 contenders, Nikki Bella, in singles action, while the other #1 contender AJ Lee chimes in on commentary. Can the champion build some more momentum going into her title defense, or will the Bad Bella Twin prove her worth as a contender? Check out the match below:

We kick off the segment with AJ already on commentary, observing her future opponents. Paige is out next, met by a death stare by the former champion, AJ. Nikki comes out next and is met by boos from the “live” audience. The offical signals for the bell and out Divas match is underway!

Paige tauntingly shoves Nikki Bella to start the match, and Nikki retaliates by pushing the champ to the mat. A furious Paige tackles Nikki and a brief tussle ensues, ending with Paige gaining the advantage. Paige smashes Nikki’s head into the turnbuckle, but charging straight into an elbow to the face, followed by springboard kick by Nikki for a near fall. Paige scrambles to the ropes, looking to gather herself, but Nikki grabs a handful of hair. Paige wraps herself around the ropes, forcing Nikki to break the hold, but gets nailed with a stiff kick, sending her flying out of the ring.

Nikki jumps out of the ring and throws the champ back inside, sparing a moment to shoot a dirty look at AJ and ends up gettin kicked to the floor herself, much to the delight of AJ. With the advantage in hand once again, Paige throws Nikki into the ring and locks in a chokehold submission, looking to wear her opponent down. Nikki fights her way to a vertical base, but Paige pummels her with a barrage of clubbing blows to the back. Nikki gets her second wind and throws a few strikes of her own, but gets grounded once again by a kick to the gut from Paige.

Paige whips Nikki across the ring, but Nikki reverses the tide of the match with a flurry of offense, ending with a jawbreaker over the knee for another nearfall. Looking to end the match, Nikki sets up for the Rack Attack, but Paige reverses, hits a nasty kick to the throat, and lands the Paige Turner to pick up the win.

Post-match, AJ grabs the title and enters the ring to “congratulate” Paige. The BFFs fight over the belt for a moment, before it is snatched away by Nikki Bella, who uses it to lay out Paige and AJ, ending the segment.

Thoughts: Great match from Nikki and Paige tonight. I feel like I say this pretty often, but it bears repeating: Nikki Bella (Brie, as well) has come leaps and bounds in the ring, and this match was an excellent example of that. I think Nikki came across as a viable contender for the title, which is not something I would have said in the not-so-distant past.

I agree with the fact that Nikki has been somewhat of an afterthought in the title picture, taking a backseat to Paige and AJ, but the post-match segment did a good job of making her seem like a threat to the champion, despite having lost moments before. While I don’t think she’ll win the title this Sunday (More in my Night of Champions prediction), I do think Nikki is building herself a good reputation as a singles competitor, which isn’t something I would have predicted after the dissolution of The Bella Twins. All in all, a great preview to the Triple Threat at Night of Champions.

Well, that’s all for this week, guys. Until next time… “Yeah, pull that weave out!”

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