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Tribute to the Troops Redux (December 23rd, 2015): The Naughty Play Nice

Another Christmas season, another Tribute to the Troops special! Once again, we’re treated to a pretty inconsequential Divas match, all in the name of providing easy entertainment for the troops.

This year, an Eight-Diva Tag Team match is on deck, and it’s a case of “strange bedfellows” if I’ve ever seen one. Alicia Fox, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella and Charlotte team up to take on Naomi, Paige, Sasha Banks and Tamina Snuka.

How will these unlikely partners fare together? Let’s see:

Naomi and Charlotte start things off, tying up. Charlotte takes Naomi down easily, tossing her across the ring. Naomi responds with a knee to the stomach, doubling Charlotte over and taking her to the corner, where she slams her face-first into the turnbuckle. She kicks Charlotte in the midsections and attempts to whip her into the opposite corner, but it’s reversed. Naomi catches herself on the ropes, though, and captures Charlotte by the head with her boots, performing her butt shake to the face. She then kicks Charlotte away.

Charlotte kips up as Naomi celebrates and is on her quickly, laying into her with chops to the chest. The final one drops Naomi to the mat, so Charlotte runs to the ropes, tagging in Brie and hitting one last knee drop before exiting the ring. Brie props Naomi up and hits her with barrage of knees to the chest. She then runs the ropes and flattens Naomi with a low dropkick.

Naomi tags in Tamina, who charges in and lays out Brie with clothesline. She goes for the pin, but Brie kicks out. Tamina sends Brie into her corner and stomps on her a bit before tagging in Sasha. Sasha gets in a few stomps of her own before celebrating. This distracts the referee, who doesn’t see Tamina grab Brie by the hair and drop her against the middle rope. Sasha pulls Brie away from the ropes and covers her for the pin. Brie again kicks out.

Sahsa pulls Brie to her feet and promptly tags out, bringing in Paige. Paige hits Brie with a running knee in the corner and then, when Brie rolls towards the middle of the ring, hits her with another in the face. She goes for another pin, but it’s not enough. She whips Brie to her corner and tags in Naomi.

Brie finally starts to fight back, elbowing the Divas on the apron and tossing Naomi into the neighboring corner. Naomi tags in Tamina as Brie crawls toward her corner. Tamina catches her by the boot, but Brie fights her off with an enziguri and finally makes it to her corner, where she tags in Becky. She storms in, hitting Tamina with forearms and a dropkick. Tamina backs into the corner and Becky charges at her. She vaults Becky over the ropes, but Becky fends her off and climbs to the top rope. Becky hits a top rope dropkick and covers Tamina for the pin, prompting Naomi to come in and break it up.

This brings in Charlotte, who takes Naomi down with a spear. Paige plants a kick to Charlotte’s face in return, prompting a kick from Alicia, who had been stealthily tagged in by Becky. Alicia grabs Tamina and hits her with the Foxy Buster. She goes for the pin, but Tamina kicks out. Alicia pulls Tamina to her feet, only to be hit with a headbutt. Tamina tags in Sasha, who storms in, knocks Becky off the opposite corner and slips through a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker attempt from Alicia, hitting the backstabber and locking in the Bank Statement! Alicia taps out.

Thoughts: This was a unspectacular match, almost a relic of the days when the WWE had too many Divas than they knew what to do with. These days, they’re much better at utilizing them, which makes a match like this even more glaringly bad. It’s easy to look past it, though, given that this is just some throwaway match on a Christmas special. I guess I should just be happy we’re long past the days when they’d all be wrestling in “Santa’s littler helper” outfits. It was pretty different that the heels picked up the win here, though that’s about as notable as this got.

The strangest thing about this match was how outdated it felt. Charlotte’s a heel now and Paige is a babyface. Alicia and Brie’s heel/face alignment changes with every moon phase, though, so them playing babyfaces here is not quite as irksome. It’s kind of like a TNA One Night Only PPV, but even more egregious, because the difference is in weeks, not months. I suppose it’s a testament to how little care is being put into booking the Divas’ storylines at this point. Here’s hoping they’ve put foresight on their Christmas lists…

Wow, that was a downer Redux. Let me try to end it on a positive note: Merry Christmas!

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