On this week’s WWE Main Event, we were set to build towards Sunday’s seven-on-seven Elimination Tag Team match with Divas Champion AJ Lee taking on Naomi.
Unfortunately for AJ (wink wink), she was unable to compete, so Tamina Snuka took her place:
At ringside in Lumberjill fashion are all of the Survivor Series competitors. Brie Bella, Cameron, Eva Marie, JoJo, Natalya and Nikki Bella are on one side, while AJ, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae are on the other.
They start with a tie-up, Tamina shoving Naomi to the mat. They tie up again, and Tamina again gets the best of it, kneeing Naomi in the stomach and whipping her hard into the corner. Naomi blocks another attack from Tamina with a kick and sunset flips over the ropes into a roll up. Tamina kicks out.
Tamina manhandles Naomi a bit more, slamming her to the mat repeatedly. Naomi fights back, but is stopped in her tracks by a clothesline. Tamina goes for a pin attempt, but Naomi kicks out. She soon gains control of the match, latching a front face lock on Tamina. The more powerful Diva eventually gets on her feet and barrels Naomi into the corner, whipping her into the opposite corner. Naomi stops short, slipping behind Tamina and hitting her with a dropkick. Another pin attempt, another near fall.
Naomi locks in another front face lock, but before Tamina can work out of it again, Naomi slams her to the mat and tries for another pin. Tamina kicks out with authority and soon takes control, clotheslining Naomi over the ropes and to the outside. This brings to opposing sides face-to-face, and they jaw jack outside the ring. AJ, meanwhile, is watching all of this from a safe distance. We cut to commercial as the confrontation breaks up and Naomi and Tamina reenter the ring.
Back from commercial, we see that Tamina has once again taken control, performing a chin lock on Naomi. The babyface Diva powers out, getting Tamina in a corner and choking her with her boot. Tamina gets out of it in a pretty creative way, getting Naomi’s foot caught on the top rope and sweeping her other leg out from under her. Naomi grabs her hamstring and Tamina notices, continuing the attack on that leg. Tamina taunts the Total Divas cast as Naomi hobbles around, eventually going for an unsuccessful pin attempt.
Tamina keeps the momentum, keeping Naomi down and locking in another chin lock. Naomi tries to fight out of it, but a jab to the hamstring stops her. We see a quick choke against the ropes and another unsuccessful pin attempt by Tamina. She continues to dominate until a monkey flip sends her across the ring. Tamina stops the momentum in its tracks, toying with Naomi a bit more until an enziguri and a leg drop put Naomi in the driver’s seat. She goes for a pin, but gets a two-count.
Tamina fights off more offense from Naomi, whipping her towards the ropes. Naomi slides out of the ring instead, fighting off Tamina on the ring apron as the two groups of Divas collide on the outside, starting a straight-up brawl. Tamina knocks Naomi off the apron and into the sea of Divas. While all of this is going on, Josh Mathews notes that the “injured” AJ is chilling on the announce table.
Meanwhile, Naomi tosses Tamina back into the ring, climbing the turnbuckle the hitting a cross body. She doesn’t keep Tamina down, though, and gets to her feet in time to be hit with a boot to the face. Tamina pins Naomi and scores the win. As the “true Divas” celebrate, Nikki and Cameron collect Naomi from the ring.
Thoughts: Wow, a Divas match that clocks in at over ten minutes? When’s the last time we saw that? I think this match and its brawl on the outside did more to sell the Survivor Series match than any game of musical chairs could, but I guess that goes without saying.
Yes, the pace was much slower than we’re used to with Naomi matches, and given the time allotted there was a lot of pacing around the ring and rest holds. It wasn’t all that exciting, but it really sold Naomi as a major competitor, able to hang with Tamina for so long. The fact that she was chosen to represent Total Divas made her look really good, because as much as I hate Lumberjill matches, they always make the competitors look important. Seeing the rest of the Divas roster on the outside of the ring as two Divas battle it out makes the ones who are competing look like they’re a cut above the rest, worthy of representing each side’s interests.
Massive Diva brawls rarely don’t look ridiculous, as it’s not like they can pull a Trish Stratus/Victoria fight and start choking each other and hitting with closed fists. It’s got to look like chaos, and unfortunately if you look too closely at that chaos, it’s a lot of girls smacking each other’s hands away. It’s not pretty, but I’m not sure there’s any other way to do it and keep all the action on screen.
The added touch of AJ letting the chaos unfold without her sold her as the manipulative, no-allies-except-Tamina Diva we’ve come to know. She’s content to trigger the tension (Pipebombshell promo) and simply watch as it explodes. It’s entertaining, but it makes you wonder when her fellow “true Divas” will finally notice that and kick her ass instead. This Sunday, perhaps?