Sunday, June 23, 2024

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WWE No Way Out in Review: AJ Toys with Emotions, While Layla Toys with Headbands

Hello there everyone, and welcome to your official recap center for all things Diva related during WWE’s resurrected pay per view, No Way Out! Diva wise, it was a pretty interesting night as we had Layla looking to defend her Divas Title against Beth Phoenix, as well as many appearances by our resident crazy chick, AJ! Who did she side with in the WWE Championship match, you ask? Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s find out…

The royal music of our coveted Glamazon hits, as Lilian Garcia introduces Beth Phoenix to the ring. Miss Phoenix gracefully walks down the ramp, before ascending to the top rope and flipping into the ring as our sight is blocked by the Spanish announce team. Out next comes our reigning Divas Champion, Layla, who kisses a small fan and looks all business tonight. They finally seem to care that the Divas Champion was on the Maxim Hot 100 now that Kelly Kelly‘s out of the picture for the time being, but Beth Phoenix seems none too impressed with the feat. The referee holds the belt up as the bell sounds and Beth tells Layla that the belt is HERS!

They exchange waistlocks a little, before Beth forces Layla off of her and hits a kick to the stomach. Phoenix with a running forearm to the face, as she then orders Layla to get out of her ring since she can’t even lace Phoenix’s boots! Beth continues to talk smack to the crowd and her opponent, but Layla connects with a kick to the stomach just as Jerry Lawler begins to discuss the film, Mean Girls… and somehow I’m not surprised by this. Layla leaps off the bottom rope, but Beth catches her in a powerslam position! Layla escapes out the back and hits a dropkick to the knee, before taking Beth’s headband and humorously posing with it!

Layla taunts the challenger to Jerry Lawler’s amusement, but Beth chases her around the ring! The two run back inside, where Layla connects with a facebuster. She goes for a baseball slide dropkick, but Beth tries to cower and block it. Eventually this catches up to the Glamazon, as Layla hits the move and covers for a near fall. The champion keeps the advantage going her way as she pulls Beth into the corner and hits a few boots to the face. She charges for the Glamazon, but Beth hoists her up over the top rope and she lands on the ring apron. Layla with a kick, but as she ascends to the ropes, Phoenix knocks her to the outside.

Beth begins to taunt Layla as she slams her into the barricade and then back inside the ring. She hooks the leg, but only for a two count as Phoenix then reverts to a chicken-wing submission. Layla fights out, but Beth shoves her back and begins choking her on the second rope. Phoenix goes for her running move (that I never know how to describe properly), as Layla moves out of the way and scores with a roll up… only for two though.

Beth quickly goes on the attack with a backbreaker then stretching the champion out over her knee until Layla is able to fight out. Beth signals for the Glam Slam, but Layla eventually fight out into a pinning combination for just a two. Layla with a bridging roll up for another near fall, as she then hits a few kicks and her lucha style crossbody! Beth hoists Layla up onto her shoulder and hits a huge powerslam… as Layla kicks out! This doesn’t seem to set well with our Glamazon, who slowly lifts Layla up for a military press that Layla reverses into a sick DDT! Layla goes for the cover, but Beth kicks out! The champion can’t believe that Beth kicked out, and as she tries to lift Beth up, Phoenix shoves her into the corner. Beth attempts a clothesline, but Layla ducks and quickly scores with the Lay-Out to attain the victory and retain her title!

Thoughts: The match was pretty fun for me. I enjoyed the comedy bits because it was something different, and Layla was finally allowed to show the personality that helped LayCool flourish, while I thought the wrestling was pretty solid between them. Layla’s kicks all looked painful, as did the great DDT, and Beth was able to keep her in control during her parts without the match slowing down to a painful speed like some tend to do when the heel takes the advantage. One thing I want to mention though, while I like Beth Phoenix, don’t get me wrong, and I think she has done wonders for pay per view match quality every month since SummerSlam last year, she’s legitimately the only heel they seem to ever use so it gets kind of stagnant just seeing the same matches. The weekly shows are pretty much her asserting her dominance in short bouts, only to lose at the pay per views when the title is on the line. Hopefully with a second defeat, they will try to use someone else. There’s really only two options in either Natalya or Maxine (since the other heels either aren’t wrestling or are M.I.A.), so I have no clue. It’s obvious I would love either to be given a push against Layla, but the division as a whole just seems like such an afterthought as of late. Tonight’s Raw should be pretty telling in where they plan on taking it, if anywhere at all, so let us see what unfolds there.

Match Rating: 3.5/5

Backstage, we head to the interview area where Matt Striker stands alongside WWE Champion, CM Punk. He sums up his match and questions his relationship with AJ. Punk doesn’t believe it is a relationship, even though he does dig crazy chicks. He claims this match isn’t about AJ though, rather the WWE Title. He hypes up his opponents, and runs down the odds being against him… until he is cut off by the smiling, perky AJ! She just wanted to wish him good luck with a kiss, as he shrugs it off and claims that lucks for losers. Matt shoves the microphone in AJ’s face soon after, but she gives him her finest “What the hell are you doing…” face and he leaves her be.

We spy Daniel Bryan warming up for the triple threat, when out of nowhere he is approached by the wonderful AJ, much like CM Punk was earlier. She tells him that she understands they’ve been through a lot, but he cuts her off! He tries to send her away, but she begs him to listen to her that she’s not trying to distract him. AJ lets him know that even after all they’ve been through, there’s still a part of her that isn’t over him. She doesn’t expect him to do anything about it, but she felt he should know… as she then leans in and kisses her ex before heading off and leaving him to continue preparing!

We later spy the woman of the night, AJ, walking backstage once again until she stumbles upon Kane! AJ walks up to him and stumbles a little trying to get out what she wants to say. Eventually, she just wishes him good luck with a brief kiss, but he pulls her back in and they make out all over the screen! When Beauty and the Beast come up for air, “YES” chants fill the arena, as Kane heads off and leaves AJ a little confused in her own right.

We are in the midst of the triple threat match between CM Punk, Kane, and Daniel Bryan. Kane looks to put the champion away with the Tombstone Piledriver, but Punk escapes and ends up shoving Kane right into AJ as she hops up onto the ring apron! Kane seems shocked at what just transpired, with his attention being fully on AJ’s condition. CM Punk then scores with a kick to the side of the head and drills Kane with the Go to Sleep for the victory! Following several replays, Kane lifts AJ up like a damsel in distress and carries her off to the back… but as he heads up the ramp, she can be seen in no pain at all and giving CM Punk an evil smirk! She faked the entire thing and helped Punk retain his title! Long live crazy AJ!

Thoughts: When I first saw the ending to this match I was kind of disappointed that AJ only ran out to pull off her best Lilian Garcia impression and be knocked off the apron by a rebounding Superstar. Where she completely flipped my opinion, though, was that smile. Sheer perfection! I love that the storyline is continuing because in a time where so little is holding my attention, this is the main focus of what is. It’s without a doubt the best thing going in wrestling for me, so anything to prolong it, works. I do want it to end with AJ and Daniel reuniting as a top tier heel couple with it being revealed that she was playing both Kane and Punk all along to get inside their heads and shift their focus elsewhere so Daniel could win, but WWE likes to swerve us so I really don’t see that happening as much as I’d like it to. Honestly, I’m to the point where absolutely anything they do is gold for me, and I’m so happy that AJ has been given such a huge opportunity. She’s been pretty much my favorite Diva for the past few years (alongside Naomigod and Maxine), so to see a female in wrestling, much less one that I’m a huge fan of, get spotlighted like this is pretty dang awesome.

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