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SmackDown Redux (September 24th, 2015): Sorry, Not Sorry

On Monday, the Diva Revolution was saved from itself by a timely heel turn. Paige, in a fit of jealousy, broke off from Team PCB, ranting about Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Natalya and the division at large, all in all providing the spark and direction that this storyline desperately needed.

This week on SmackDown, we saw a bit of follow-up to that moment, the Divas exercising their trash talking muscles in an in-ring promo. What explanation would Paige give for her behavior on Raw? Let’s watch:

The new Divas Champion heads to the ring, her steadfast friend Becky by her side. She greets the crowd with a hearty “WOOOO!” and says her title win at Night of Champions was a dream scenario: she overcame the odds. She wants to thank the WWE Universe for supporting the Diva Revolution, because the future has never been brighter.

Suddenly, she’s interrupted by the screech that announces the arrival of Paige. She too has a microphone, which she uses to confess that she’s never been a team player. She says she’s trying to be sincere, so she’ll join them in the ring. She says she should never has dumped on Charlotte on Raw, and tells Becky that her being irrelevant won’t stop her from possibly becoming Divas Champion one day. She claims that she’s not upset that Charlotte is champion, but is just a little disappointed that she’s not the one with the belt. She says she’s worried that Charlotte isn’t strong enough to be Divas Champion.

Paige says she deserves a little bit of recognition, since she started the Diva Revolution. Becky interjects, and Paige tells her to shut up. The argument is about to bubble over when they’re interrupted by a screech of a different kind: the guitar that signals the arrival of Natalya.

Natalya heads to the ring, microphone in hand. She hugs Charlotte and Becky, drawing the disapproval of Paige, who calls her a “crazy cat lady.” Natalya, calm as can be, says she couldn’t be more proud of this new generation of Divas. She says this is the best the division has ever been. She confesses she hasn’t been this excited to come to work since Paige debuted and won the Divas Title. She recalls being one of the first people to congratulate Paige. She says she’s one of Paige’s best friends, so she can’t stand seeing her behave like this. She thinks Paige is better than that.

Paige agrees that she’s better than that. In fact, she’s better than Natalya. She accuses Natalya of letting the Revolution pass her by, claiming that she’s only getting involved in a desperate attempt to be relevant again. Paige calls Natalya’s behavior pathetic and slaps her across the face.

Paige makes her exit as Becky, Charlotte and Natalya look on, not believing what they’re seeing.

Later on, Summer Rae made an appearance alongside Rusev during his match:

There’s nothing of note here, really. Where’s the trombone when you need it?

Thoughts: Wow, things have certainly changed since I went on my rant Monday morning, didn’t it?

I’m so glad to see the Diva Revolution finally getting an actual storyline. I expected Paige to turn heel, but not in a way that would expand the story, much less bring in Natalya. Sure, “I started the Diva Revolution!” isn’t the most creative of conflicts, but it’s really interesting to see the different personalities that come out of the woodwork when resentment is in the air. Anyone with a grievance likely has some reason for being bitter, so these kinds of storylines often have a bit more nuance than the usual heel/face conflict.

And yay for more Natalya!!! She fills a much-needed role here: the perspective of someone on the outside looking in. She has a stake in the Diva Revolution, sure, but she has no allegiances. That way, she can speak for the audience – at the end of the day, we just want the division to get its due. And – thank GOD – she breaks us out of the cycle of team vs. team vs. team encounters. Unless, of course, she turns PCB into NCB or CNB or whatever. I doubt that’ll happen, though.

I liked this segment itself, though it was very obviously trimmed down and pretty much repeated much of what happened on Raw. Still, it helped us peek inside the mind of Paige a bit more and gave Natalya a reason to leap into the fray, so it served its purpose well. I’ve never been crazy about Paige’s mic work, but it definitely works better when she’s a heel. I’d much rather see her mock her fellow Divas heelishly than go on another “freaks and geeks” tirade.

My worries about the Diva Revolution weren’t removed completely by Paige’s turn, but the story definitely has a lot more depth now. If this eventually spins off into multiple feuds that are well sustained and lead to independent storylines, as I hope, the Diva Revolution will have served at least part of its purpose: expanding the division. The big (and ever-growing) Divas roster must not go to waste, and only by splintering off from the main conflict can they all stay relevant. That’s what I hope the legacy of the Diva Revolution will be: as the spark that set off the explosion that triggered countless reactions, all building up the division into something more than side product. Now that would be revolutionary.

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