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SmackDown Redux (September 6th, 2016): Whose crown will it be?

We’re just days away from the crowning of the inaugural WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, and the rivalry is at its peak. This week, we’re treated to both a forum between every competitor, as well as a six woman tag. And with each woman being so close to the finish line, dirty tactics and fierce competition is written all over the penultimate performances.

Our very first sighting on SmackDown is a forum between each woman competing at Backlash this Sunday. General manager Daniel Bryan announces that the 6-pack challenge will involve eliminations, meaning that we will go from six women, to five, then to four, and all the way down to one winner.

After the match rules are discussed, Bryan then introduces the Lass Kicker Becky Lynch. Here the fan favourite tells us all about her journey and passion for the business. However, as Lynch continues her speech that the crowd are very much behind, a bitter Natalya shows up to give her two cents. The Queen of Harts says that the night of the WWE draft was the worst night of her life. She goes on to say that being placed on the same brand as Becky is like being “tortured” and she will overcome her enemy this coming Sunday.

As Natalya is about to truly rip into the Lass Kicker, a narrator in the former of Alexa Bliss pops into the ring discussing what had previously happened on “The Real Whiners of WWE”. She indirectly asks Natalya if she will “ever get over her short comings” and then asks Becky whether she will “stop moaning about the past”. She also makes sure to take a jab at Bryan by asking if he will ever become more than just a “Bella trophy husband”.

The Princess of Staten Island soon follows Bliss and reminds everyone of what she has been doing to Nikki Bella over the past two weeks. And after being referred to as “the least” of Alexa’s worries, Carmella starts to go off on one on “Polly Pocket”. Unfortunately for Carmella, Natalya interrupts and then Bliss follows suit – all leading up to the realization that Becky wants the three to disband.

Before the trio can team up on the Lass Kicker, Naomi and Nikki Bella come to the rescue. Bella’s focus quickly remains on Carmella but as the Princess of Staten Island dashes out of the ring, Natalya punches Nikki in the jaw, leading to a brawl between the two groups of women.

With each woman desperate for the once in a lifetime opportunity to become the first ever SmackDown Women’s champion, teamwork is the last thing on each competitor’s mind. So, Bryan decides to schedule a three on three tag match later on in the night.

Each woman gets her time in the spotlight, showcasing a good set of moves and furthering their feuds with one another. We see the crowd fully support the Lass Kicker whilst Nikki and Carmella remain as the most prominent rivalry in the ring.

The Princess of Staten Island tries to stay out of the ring as much as possible – particularly when Bella is the legal opponent. However, the two do meet in the ring and Nikki captures a cocky Carmella in the TKO. Unfortunately for the Total Bellas star, an inevitable brawl kick starts and Alexa leaves her defenseless due to her Insult to Injury. Carmella quickly takes charge of the opportunity and forces the longest reigning Divas champion to tap out to the Code of Silence.

Thoughts: What a week for the women! Not only do we see them open the show in a segment that highlights each of their personalities and the story, but the match is brilliant too. It really is a treat seeing the women shine in their own way without over complicating things. This week’s performances allow each woman to showcase to the WWE Universe what it is they can bring to the table through the mic and in their wrestling skills.

The initial segment of this week is what really gets the fans behind the whole storyline. Not only does each woman deliver a great performance in her own way, but the writing and narrative structure is almost everything it needs to be. If we ignore the awkward introductions of Bliss and Carmella, the segment is pretty much perfect.

Instead of the ladies giving off the same overly emotional conversations about starting a revolution and how “we did it guize!!”, they actually tell stories. They don’t focus on the past and try to egg on a bias revolution, they simply get straight to the point and push the narrative forward. I especially appreciate the fact that almost all of the women have a significant line/moment in the segment. Between Carmella’s “Polly Pocket” comment and Bliss’ “Bella trophy husband” almost everyone makes their voice heard to the WWE Universe.

Also, Natalya’s mic work was very good. Normally the Queen of Harts does a decent job on the microphone, but this week she really delivered that anger and bitterness that she needs. So well done, Neidhart!

The star of this week is by far the trash-talking chick, Carmella. Carmella is probably the one lady with the least momentum (from the fans, that is) going into this coming Sunday’s show. So, with the Princess of Staten Island showing her cowardly ways and her extensive hatred for one of the fan favourites, Nikki Bella, it really gives her that extra push with the crowd. I especially appreciate the fact that Carmella is constantly attacking Nikki’s head/neck region. With Bryan – particularly on the post-show – constantly talking about how difficult Bella’s recovery process was, Carmella’s tactics work wonders. It consistently manages to give the audience the question of whether Nikki is simply selling the moves or is truly hurt from them. Carmella may not be the most gifted in-ring performer, but her work as of late is really proving her to be a serious threat – both in and out of kayfabe.

Now, my only complaint for the week would be the use of Naomi. Though she does get a few moments to shine – particularly when she starts off the match – she does leave the ring with the least momentum. The former Funkdactyl’s performance is definitely good, but she just isn’t given enough to make herself heard as much as the others. The only reason I can imagine this being a deliberate case is if she walks out as a dark horse winner this Sunday. And if that is the case, then I salute SmackDown for booking her like this. However, if she isn’t the winner, then this is a little frustrating. Naomi is a great performer, and although she isn’t the newest toy in the box, she is definitely one of the best – and deserves to be treated as such.

All in all, this week is a great one for the women of the blue brand. The tables are set, the audience is ready, now all we need is to see the battle take place.

With the match now being elimination, it can allow the women to have more moments to shine the further we go into the show. Each woman has proven that they’re capable of holding their own, now all we need is to see them given the time and booking to do so!

What do you think of this week’s show? Who do you want to win this Sunday? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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