Thursday, December 7, 2023

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WWE Main Event Redux (March 25th, 2016): Team Lana Grows by Two

Welcome to another Main Event Redux! This week, the storyline development was kicked into high gear, so much so that it penetrated the sacred spoiler wall.

As you’ll recall from earlier this week, after a challenge was made for an Eight-Diva Tag Team match at WrestleMania, Team Lana grew by two during Tuesday night’s tapings, adding Emma and Summer Rae to their ranks. So, we already know the twist, but how did we get here? There’s where this Redux comes in.

The setting for this surprising turn of events was a singles match pitting Naomi against Paige. Let’s check it out:

Paige comes to the ring accompanied by two of her WrestleMania teammates, Alicia Fox and Natalya. Brie Bella, unfortunately, is MIA. Naomi comes to ringside with Lana and Tamina, so the odds are even… for now.

Lana takes up her usual seat atop the announce table as the referee signals for the bell. Paige and Naomi tie up, Naomi taking control with a series of kicks. An enziguri takes Paige to the mat, allowing Naomi to run the ropes and hit her with a split leg drop. Naomi covers Paige for the pin, but Paige kicks out.

Naomi toys with Paige, following her to a corner where she chokes her with her boot. Paige starts to fight back, kicking Naomi until a right hand stuns her. Naomi hits the ropes and leaps at Paige, but is caught and tossed with a fallaway slam. Paige cover for the pin, but it’s not enough.

Naomi reverses Paige’s whip into the corner, but is vaulted onto the ring apron when she charges in. She hits Paige with a right hand and climbs to the top rope, but Paige springs toward her, hitting her up high with a knee. Paige boasts a bit before climbing back up the ropes and grabbing Naomi by the head, dropping her throat-first onto the top rope.

As Paige goes to pull Naomi towards the middle of the ring, Emma’s music hits! Paige is surprised to see Emma and Summer Rae stroll out onto the stage, but Lana certainly isn’t. Emma and Summer run down to ringside, attacking Natalya and Alicia and successfully taking them out. Meanwhile, in the ring, Paige is decked with a kick to the head by Naomi, who has taken up position on the ring apron. Naomi hits a sunset flip over the ropes and into the ring, but instead of pinning Paige, she locks in the Slay-o-mission. Paige taps out!

Naomi beats on Paige a bit more to punctuate the victory before she’s joined in the ring by her allies. Summer, Naomi, Lana, Tamina and Emma stand tall together as Paige, Alicia and Natalya exit, wondering what the hell just happened.

Of course, earlier this week, we learned “what the hell happened” was that Lana recruited Emma. Summer recruited herself, but was successfully added to the team afterwards:

That means we have a 5-on-4 situation here. Who can the Total Divas crew add to their team? Someone from Total Divas, perhaps?

Thoughts: This was a great angle – one that I wish could have played out on Raw. I’m happy to see it happen at all, though, and I like that the WWE felt it was important enough to break the spoiler barrier and acknowledge it on Tuesday. If only Main Event was still airing live on Tuesdays! The match was short and unmemorable, but it really was only there to give Emma and Summer an excuse to come out, so it served its purpose well. And hell, I’ll take any excuse to see Naomi bust out the Slay-o-mission.

The addition of Emma is definitely unexpected, since she’s a NXT regular now. It makes sense on a narrative level, though, since Emma’s whole attitude is down to the chip she has on her shoulder. She would absolutely be susceptible to Lana’s message and would totally leap at the chance to get her WrestleMania moment. I can’t think of a Diva who’s more deserving of such an opportunity – Emma’s absolutely reinvented herself in NXT, and it’s high time she’s gotten the chance to show the main roster the “new Emma.”

I love the fact that Summer’s involvement wasn’t as simple as, “She’s a heel, and the heels needed teammates, so she joined their side,” when it could very easily have been set up that way. Summer and Lana has a lot of history, and it would have done them both a disservice to ignore it completely. I buy that Lana would be reluctant to align herself with Summer, so seeing Summer having to convince Lana that they need each other was amazing. That bit of continuity may seem small, but in the Divas division, it means so much.

So, with Team Lana now consisting of five Divas, it looks like Team Total Divas needs to recruit another Diva. It seems obvious that that woman would be their castmate Eva Marie. I have no real issue with it – it would likely be a one-off and wouldn’t affect her NXT goings-on – but I hope they don’t erase her character completely in siding her with the good guys. Eva works so much better as a heel, and trying to pass her off as a face would only hurt the team. The crowd will want to boo her, so they need to lean into it, much like NXT has. Have her be the reluctant teammate that unabashedly craves the WrestleMania spotlight and is more concerned with basking in it than helping her team win. If the Total Divas team is to win at Mania, have it be by overcoming the odds – an unhelpful teammate and the numbers disadvantage that comes with it – and you’ve got yourself a WrestleMania-worthy happy ending. Sounds good to me!

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