Saturday, May 18, 2024

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WWE Bragging Rights in Review: Divas Seize the Moment, Remain More Flawless Than Brett Favre Cell Phone Pics

It’s fair to say that WWE pay-per-views are either hits or misses. The events are either successful surprises or true epic fails all around. Bragging Rights was no exception. For once, it fell into the positive category as the WWE put together a strong show on all accounts, and for us Diva fans, we were treated to something truly special. The decision to put Layla in the ring against Natalya was met with some skepticism and a few eye-rolls, but judging from their SmackDown interaction it had all the ingredients to make a yummy recipe. To say Natalya versus Layla delivered would be an understatement. They put together a gorgeous, pure wrestling match that told a story and left everyone wanting just a little more. Michelle McCool once again put on a flawless performance on the microphone and on the outside of the ring. And to add the icing to this already delicious cake, Aksana and Maryse got involved in the Bragging Rights action by fighting for their men during the Goldust/Ted DiBiase grudge match.

What a night.

The match us Diva fans waited patiently for all night kicked off in grand style. Lay-Cool made their way to the ring and they had microphones in their hands. Layla and Michelle walked out on stage where Layla promptly demanded that the sound techs in the back cut their music. Once it was quiet, Layla turned to Michelle and with a cheeky little grin, she told her BFF that Natalya was no doubt excited to have a title match in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Michelle looked confused and wanted to know why Natalya could be excited over such a thing and Layla simply pointed out that Nattie would be at home amongst all the stupid accents. Massive heat for that comment. Michelle chuckled and began to imitate the accent in question. She said the men in Minnesota like their women larger because it’s so cold. Layla agreed and said that by the looks of things, it got extremely cold in Minnesota. Cue the collective “brrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Lay-Cool got inside the ring and Michelle continued speaking. She said that the comfortable surroundings won’t help Natalya out tonight. She’s going to need more help than that because tonight, they (Lay-Cool) will beat Natalya faster than they can delete all those text messages they keep getting from Brett Favre.

Real Talk. Ewwwwwww. Stop. According to Lay-Cool, Favre is doing nothing but embarrassing himself. Both members of Lay-Cool agree that Brett can’t help himself when it comes to them because they are flawless. They started to check their reflections in their championships when Natalya’s music hit. The third generation Diva walked to the ring with a smile etched across her lovely face. The commentators went over the fact that this match was for the WWE Diva’s Championship (apparently they’ve dropped the ‘unified’ part) and Natalya played to the crowd. Both girls got ready for the match and when the bell rang, Natalya and Layla started to circle one another. They went for a lock-up but Natalya effortlessly scooped up Layla and grounded her. She tried to work over Layla’s arm, but the British-born Diva was able to reverse it into a headscissors. Natalya was able to spring out of it and land on her feet, but Layla responded with a swift kick to the back of Nattie’s thigh. Layla took hold of Natalya’s wrist and started to twist it, but Natalya flipped through it, reversed it, and got Layla up in the air. While holding Layla upside, Natalya showed off her strength by doing a few squats, an homage to her late uncle, the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. She planted Layla in the mat and went for a cover. Layla kicked out right before the two.

Natalya brought the two of them to their feet and locked her arms round Layla’s waist. Layla screamed like a banshee and started to struggle against Nattie’s grip. Layla tried to fight her way to the ropes, but Natalya ripped her from that safety net. But Layla was able to land an elbow to Natalya’s face and subsequently dropped her to the outside of the ring with a dropkick. Natalya landed hard on the outside and Layla seized the opportunity to collect her bearings. When she went to the ropes, Natalya was waiting and Layla found herself hurled from the safety of the ring to the outside. Natalya picked Layla up and tossed her back inside the ring. With the referee distracted by the screaming co-champ, Michelle tried to assert herself in the match. Nattie deflected a kick and sent Michelle back first into the guardrail. The crowd gasped at the sheer force of the impact and Michelle crumpled to the mat. Natalya went off on her blond rival and turned her attention back towards the ring.

Layla was waiting and she attempted to lift Nattie back inside by grabbing a handful of hair. The referee pulled her off and that allowed Michelle to gingerly sneak up behind Natalya and jerk her off the apron. The back of Natalya’s head bounced off the mat. With Natalya down, Layla went back to the outside and successfully tossed her opponent back inside the ring. Natalya was on her knees holding her head, and Layla followed up Michelle’s interference with a nice drop kick that sent Nattie’s face into the canvas. Layla went for the cover, but Nattie was able to power out.

Wanting to keep her offense going, Layla decided to lock Natalya in a submission move. She grabbed the arm and put Natalya in a gorgeous modified surfboard submission hold. Natalya withered in the hold for awhile, pain obvious thanks to the look on her face, and she finally started to pound her fist against Layla’s thigh in desperation. Layla let up on the hold and Natalya squirmed free, only to get on top of Layla. Layla locked her legs around Natalya’s waist and started squeezing her. Natalya tried to fight free but Layla reached up and slapped her right across the face. That proved to be a mistake for Layla, because Nattie fired with a slap of her own and brought Layla up. The co-champ found herself planted into the canvas thanks to another beautiful slam from the Calgary native but Nattie was unable to immediately follow it up. Once she finally went for it, Layla caught her and the two girls exchanged blows. Natalya finally gained the upper-hand with a nice looking clothesline that sent Layla sprawling. Natalya went for another cover, but Layla once again kicked out.

Both Divas got back to their feet and Layla struck Natalya with a kick to the gut. Layla was able to whip Natalya into the ropes, but Natalya came back with a clubbing blow to the back of Layla’s neck. She followed it up with a double underhook suplex and two clothesline each time Layla got back to her feet. The third time Layla attempted to stand, Nattie caught her with a devastating right hand. Natalya tossed Layla into t he corner right after that and charged the other girl, but Layla got her foot up just in the nick of time. Natalya staggered back but caught Layla with a dropkick. Natalya went for the pin and this time, Layla BARELY got her shoulder up. Both girls once again worked their way back to their feet and Natalya spun around to deliver her fancy trademark clothesline. Layla crashed and burned, but came alive when Natalya went to finish the match off with the Sharpshooter. Layla scratched and clawed her way to the ropes and a helpless Michelle stood on the outside unable to help her friend. Layla finally reached her destination and promptly rolled out of the ring.

She’d had enough.

Layla snatched her title from the broadcast booth and threw her hands up in disgust. She decided to walk out of the match and that decision was met with massive crowd heat. Michelle grabbed her championship and ran after Layla, asking her what was going on. Layla stuck her nose in the air. Natalya jumped from the ring and ran after them. She tossed Michelle to the side like an empty tin can and grabbed Layla by the hair. She ran Layla back into the ring and turned her attention to Michelle. Nattie berated Michelle and told her to stay out of this and Michelle promised that she didn’t do anything wrong. Nattie climbed back inside while the referee walked the Diva’s Championship out of the ring. Layla rolled to the outside but Natalya went right after her. As she was attempting to pull Layla back inside the ring, Michelle came swooping in and kicked Natalya right in the skull. Natalya fell back and Layla went for the cover.

1…

2…

…………………..3!

Layla secured the pinfall and Lay-Cool’s championship reign of terror remained intact. Michelle pulled Layla from the ring and together, the girls celebrated another successful victory. Natalya looked heart-broken inside the ring and we can only hope she gets the opportunity to fight for the title another day.

Random Observations: Ohmygod, wow. I called it during my SmackDown Redux on Friday that I felt as if Natalya and Layla could put together an epic match, and well I hate to brag, but I was totally right! What amazing chemistry between these two women. This match had a little bit of everything. It had a hilarious opening promo, great heel tactics, wonderful babyface offense, and a twist at the end that kept Natalya looking strong despite the fact she couldn’t get the job done. Where do I even want to begin?

Michelle and Layla heeled it up perfectly last night. They went for the cheap heat and they got it big-time. Michelle was great with her impersonation and Layla ripping on anyone for having an accent is just brilliant writing in my opinion.

The WWE has done the right thing with this Lay-Cool push. It pisses me off when I see people bashing them. For so long the fans have been begging for Diva promos, storylines, and matches that matter and when they finally get it, the fans bitch because they don’t like the girls who are involved. Is there any middle ground? Why can’t people see past their own personal bias and snobbery and recognize the work that is being done. Lay-Cool aren’t being pushed anymore than the Nexus, Cena, Orton, Edge, ect. are being pushed and to be quite honest, it’s flattering that the ‘E seems to have faith in at least two of the girls on their roster.

I’ll admit some of the Lay-Cool feuds have fallen flat. I didn’t care for their half-assed feud with Melina a few months ago but neither Lay-Cool nor Melina are to blame for that. The writing and build-up for that was pure crap, and it didn’t help that Melina was rushed into the storyline right as she came back from injury. The Michelle/Melina angles in the past have been nothing short of top notch, so the WWE missed the ball on that one. But they’ve made up for it with Natalya versus Lay-Cool.

Natalya has made the most of her push and she’s been basically perfect in this feud. I love how she’s been booked and personally, I don’t see why everyone was quick to write last night’s match off as horrible simply because Nattie didn’t pick up the W. That’s a huge disrespect to Natalya. Does the outcome really matter when two women like Natalya and Layla throw it all out there like they did last night? The match was perfect. It was pay-per-view quality and it stood out by itself on a night that was filled nothing BUT great matches. I think it’s a selfish injustice for people to write the match off because Natalya wasn’t given the victory. She worked her butt off last night and who cares if she didn’t win? There’s always next and yes, there will be a next time. So put that in your juice box and suck it. I guarantee that there would have been an even bigger uproar had Layla gone over Natalya cleanly last night.

This match was memorable on so many levels. Natalya doing squats while holding Layla up was just incredible. Layla getting so frustrated that she just up and walked out on the match was just vintage heel right there. Yeah, I used vintage. The hold for hold exchange at the beginning was beautiful and proved that Layla is no longer a model trying to be a wrestler. She is a true wrestler. How can you not respect the fact she’s come so far?

This match was amazing. For the first time in a long time, I was able to watch the Divas wrestle and not have to be satisfied because they put on a great Diva match. I got to sit back and watch the girls put on a strong wrestling match. And that alone makes Bragging Rights the best WWE pay-per-view of the year.

Match Rating: 5/5

A delicious match between Natalya and Layla wasn’t the only thing us Diva fans were treated too. Earlier in the day, via Twitter, WWE announced that there would be a grudge match of sorts between Goldust and Ted DiBiase. The WWE made sure everyone knew that Aksana and Maryse would be at ringside with their respected male counterpart. Watch below:

Throughout the course of the match, Maryse constantly tormented Aksana, who did her best to rally the crowd behind her future husband. At one point, Maryse got annoyed that Aksana continued to ignore her.

Towards the end of the match when both Goldust and DiBiase were down for the count, a huge cheer went up through the crowd. Maryse ran to Aksana’s side of the ring and began to attack her. Aksana was watching the match, reacting to the fact Goldust and DiBiase had a pretty violent mid-air collision, when Maryse comes flying at her from the side. Aksana fell to the ground but that wasn’t enough for Maryse. She helped Aksana up and threw her back first into the security railing. Maryse backed her against it, held her in her devious French-Canadian clutches, and began screaming in the poor girl’s face. Aksana never fought back and Maryse unleashed the mother of all bitchslaps that connected on Aksana’s cheek. Maryse attempted to through Aksana into the ring, but she didn’t quite make it. That didn’t disturb Maryse. She just did it again and this time Aksana rolled into the ring, clutching her face and crying.

The referee went to check on Aksana, and Goldust did as well. The referee got the NXT rookie out of the way and while Goldust had his back turned, DiBiase came up from behind. Goldust was clubbed in the back of the head and laid out with a modified neck breaker. I don’t know the correct way of describing it, to be fair. He won the match and as his terrible theme music started to play, Maryse went to Justin Roberts and grabbed the Million Dollar Championship. She brought it back into the ring and was going to hand it off to Ted when Aksana came at her and took her down. She began to slam Maryse’s head into the mat and once she rolled the other girl out of the ring, Aksana scooped up the championship and started to cradle it like it was her baby.

Of course, DiBiase was watching. Aksana caught his eye and immediately fixed her hair. That bright smile flashed across her face and she walked a little closer to Ted. The Southern-born millionaire stared deep into the eyes of the Lithuianian beauty and Aksana placed her hand directly on Ted’s chest. She started to feel his body while seducing him with her eyes. DiBiase looked intrigued and rather than checking on his girlfriend, who was on the outside of the ring, he started to give into Aksana’s feminine wiles. He began to smile and his hand touched Aksana’s back. She brought him in for a kiss. Right when DiBiase was about to go for it, Aksana jerked back. She frowned. DiBiase turned around. Goldust was waiting. DiBiase was flattened by Goldust’s finisher and the golden couple of NXT waltzed off into the Bragging Rights sunset with the Million Dollar Championship still firmly in their grasps.

Random Observations: How adorable are Aksana and Goldust? You can say what you want about NXT but these two are enough of a reason to watch. From their ring entrance to Aksana’s seduction of Ted “The Chick-O-Stick Colored” DiBiase, Aksana and Goldust are a duo to be reckoned with. In my oh so humble opinion, the Maryse/Aksana catfight on the outside of the ring rivaled the Tiffany/Rosa Mendes catfight from the last episode of ECW and I never thought I’d write that. Aksana got tore up on the outside of the ring. Maryse was a total beast last night. She clubbed Aksana in her sneak again and damn near broke the poor girl in half when she smashed her against the guardrail. Maryse was at her best last night and we haven’t seen that in a long, long time.

Aksana’s interaction with Ted made him the most interesting he’s been since the Legacy days and lets be real, that stable wasn’t very good. It was just pretty to look at. Whenever Ted’s on camera with Maryse, I watch her because he’s just so bland and out of his element. It pains me to write that because I’m such a fan of his, but it’s the unfortunate truth. He may be a great wrestler, but he lacks charisma and so far, not even Maryse has helped get him over. I do feel like he took a nice step though. Between the combined efforts of Maryse, Aksana, and Goldust, Ted finally showed some personality. I love the fact he was a “typical male” last night and fell victim to a busty blond with a pretty smile. His girlfriend was on the outside of the ring and the fact Maryse could have been hurt didn’t seem to faze him as Aksana presented herself to him. That was great.

And come to think of it, the pre-match promo with Ted, Maryse, and Josh Mathews wasn’t to shabby either. When Maryse jumped in to speak, Ted cut her off and politely reminded her that the question was directed at him.

The Ted/Maryse angle seems to be developing some substance now and I don’t know about you, but I would love to see them crash Aksana and Goldust’s wedding right before the couple can say “I do” with the news that Aksana has conviently been eliminated from NXT. As shockwaves reverberate throughout the arena, Ted snaps his fingers and immigration officers appear. They cart Aksana off as the show comes to an end much to the shock and horror of Goldust. Ted stands proudly in the ring having made good on his promise to get Aksana deported and suddenly you have a feud that is nothing but personal. Love it!

As if you couldn’t tell, I stand up for Bragging Rights (har har). As a Diva fan, I’m completely over the moon at what I got to watch last night. If the WWE could consistantly book like this, then they would be well on their way to gaining back all the female wrestling fans they’ve driven away with their nonsensical misogynistic views towards women. I want more Nattie. I want more Lay-Cool. I want more Maryse and Aksana. I want more Divas. I hope and pray that by some grace of God, Raw can match up to what Bragging Rights offered.

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