Saturday, May 18, 2024

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WWE Payback in Review: Kaitlyn Cracks and AJ Picks up the Pieces

Talk about being a multi-tasker. I’m kicking off this Payback Review with the preshow up on my computer, and Spain versus Uruguay on my television. As if I didn’t dislike Shakira enough for being flawless perfection, her baby daddy is like right up there with the male equivilant of flawless perfection. Then again, the majority of Spain’s national team is perfect – Ramos, Fabregas, baby daddy Pique, Juan Mata, Casillas…

You get the point, and I’m actually pretty pleased that this Redux tonight is going to be full of substance and I don’t have to fill in wretched gaps with fluff-brain rambles and what I may or may not have pinned on Pinterest today.

AJ Lee and Kaitlyn is arguably the most anticipated Diva encounter of this current era. We’ve been with these two women since the very beginning – from FCW to NXT to SmackDown to the Chickbusters. We watched the Summer of AJ unfold on television last year with tears in our eyes because a Diva was getting a serious push. We watched as the Chickbusters grew apart, had confrontations, and ultimately broke up. We watched Kaitlyn feud with Eve, and on her third try finally capture her first ever Diva’s Championship. And now, we’re watching these amazing Divas finally step in the ring against one another for the Diva’s Championship in the city of Chicago, Illinois.

If Raw and SmackDown are any indication of how this match will go, it will be a turbulant emotional roller coaster of a ride. I personally don’t expect these two to do much wrestling. I expect them to just brawl and end up with some type of no-contest. I highly doubt that this feud is over. I think tonight is just the beginning of something completely special for two Divas that really aren’t your stereotypical beauty queens. AJ and Kaitlyn fans have been waiting ages for this. Diva fans in general have been waiting even longer for two women to come around and fill the gaps Trish Stratus and Lita left. But what might be even more important, is wrestlings fans are waiting for this match. I really hope we don’t have to wait a long time for this to get started.

Shockingly enough, we didn’t have to wait long. Right after a solid opener that saw a new IC Champ crowned in Curtis Axel, Kaitlyn made her way out to the ring. While Kaitlyn walks to the ring, recap videos from Raw and SmackDown play. She’s clearly not in the best frame of mind, and she’s definitely not smiling. AJ is out next and she looks absolutely adorable in black and hot pink. I wonder how many people are going to Hot Topic’s website right now looking for those shorts? Her pop is huge, and like we predicted, she’s got Big E. Langston in tow. Both women look ready for this match and it’s not a shock that it starts off with a staredown and slap to the face. Kaitlyn takes control early on, takes the action to the outside, and throws AJ into the announce table. That draws a nice reaction from the crowd. The action goes back and forth from the outside to the inside, and when Kaitlyn takes back outside of the ring, AJ is able to get away from her rival. The feisty Geek goddess scrambles back into the ring and levels Kaitlyn with a sick kick. When Kaitlyn ends up back in the ring, AJ for the first of a few covers. Kaitlyn kicks out after the two count.

At this point, AJ slows the tempo of the match down to a point where she can really dominate her more physical opponent. Kaitlyn’s selling is spot on, and AJ looks incredible during this offensive part of the match. Just wanted to give him a mention, but Big E. Langston is looking on during all of this in his singlet. Why he wears that when he doesn’t wrestle is beyond me. I think he’s just trying to make us all jealous with his majestic chest. What do you guys think? Another thing I’d like to note, is the crowd. They’re eating this up and it’s brilliant. Chicago is probably one of the best places this match could have happened. I LOVE this crowd, and it’s nice to see that they’re not very deflated from the Blackhawks’ unsettling loss. I know I was, but anyway. aJ goes for another cover, but once again our champ shows her savvy. She kicks out.

The frustration on AJ’s face is pretty evident. She seems baffled that she’s been unable to put Kaitlyn away up until this point. AJ decides to go for a sleeper hold submission but jumping on Kaitlyn’s back and wrapping her arms around her ex-BFF’s neck. Kaitlyn is eventually brought to the mat, but she ends up fighting her way back up. Kaitlyn’s strength is pretty incredible to be honest. She forces AJ into the turnbuckle, which breaks up the hold, but AJ is crafty. She gets to the top rope and kicks Kaitlyn in the back of the head. That leads to another cover, which leads to another kick out.

I love this match.

Kaitlyn gets back to her feet and has an opportunity for her first cover of the match. AJ is able to kick out, so Kaitlyn keeps working her over. At one point, AJ tries to escape from the ring by grabbing onto the apron. Kaitlyn pulls her back, ripping AJ’s belt off in the process. It doesn’t surprise anyone that the belt ends up coming into play. AJ seizes the opportunity to wrap the belt around her hand and knock Kaitlyn out with the buckle while the referee turns his back to try and fix the ring apron. AJ gets rid of the belt, decides to play opposum so nothing looks suspicious, and when the referee turns back around she crawls over to Kaitlyn. I literally held my breath at this point because I thought the match was over. But sure enough, Kaitlyn manages to kick out! Not only do I love this match, but it’s downright incredible.

It comes to the point where Kaitlyn is finally able to get off a spear. AND this is after she fought her way out of the Black Widow Submission. It looks like she literally breaks AJ in half with it. It’s plain as day that Kaitlyn has this thing won, but instead of covering the woman who’s made her life Hell as of late, she decides to taunt AJ’s fallen form. Kaitlyn cradles AJ’s head in her hands and decides to blow her a kiss before finally going for a cover. Obviously AJ is going to kick out, and she does. Kaitlyn just wasted waaaaaaaaay to much time there. It ends up being Kaitlyn’s downfall as well because AJ does managed to lock in her finisher for the second time, and unfortunately for Kaitlyn she’s not lucky enough to worm out of it this time. AJ’s isn’t going to let go for anything this time and eventually Kaitlyn has no choice. She reluctantly taps out, giving AJ the victory and her very first Diva’s Championship.

AJ celebrates her win with Big E. while reality sinks in for Kaitlyn. Long after AJ has made her way backstage, the now ex-champ is crying over her fate. The crowd begins to chant “you tapped out” as Kaitlyn makes her way slowly up the ramp and towards the backstage area. When she’s almost at the ramp, she stops again with tears streaming down her face. Eventually, Layla comes out and helps the devestated Texan up to her feet and backstage. Alicia Fox and Natalya are waiting to provide some comfort as well, but Kaitlyn wants nothing to do with it. She just wants to be by herself. She leaves the three girls and walks off. And that’s basically how that ended last night.

First of all, what can I saw that will really do this match justice? I fully expected a brawl, but what we got instead was the best Diva match in recent memory. Everything about this match just clicked, from the start to the finish. I want to sit here and type 3000 words gushing about how brilliant it was, but I really don’t think it’s necessary. What happened inside that ring kind of speaks for itself, and at the end of the night, AJ saw her childhood dream come true. I couldn’t be more happy for her. She literally puts her heart and soul into everything she does for the WWE and if you don’t appreciate her back story and how much wrestling means to her, then you literally don’t have a soul. As a fan of hers and of wrestling in general, this was an amazing moment for her and I’m so proud of her.

Kaitlyn has come such a long way and I think her star just shines brighter now. She took that loss so, so hard and I can’t wait to see what happens next. With the way they lingered on her, you all know that this is far from over. Kaitlyn’s not going to handle this loss very well, and I can’t wait to see things explode between these two women again. It blows my mind that some Diva fans still weren’t satisified with this match. They thought it started off boring and slow. How was that slap and table spot boring? How was that slow? Since they went with an actual match, instead of a brawl, it made perfect sense for AJ to slow things down a bit. She’s not going to make the match physical, because Kaitlyn would win every single time. Hell, Kaitlyn did have it won. They booked this match perfectly. Both girls came out looking great, and the possibilities now are endless. I hope, hope, hope they build a solid program towards Summerslam. They definitely deserve that stage.

Payback gets a solid “A” from me. I have nothing negative to say. It doesn’t even bother me that the spot calling was a bit on the obvious side. They more than made up for it in terms of action, character, and the way the story was left open. I can’t wait for Raw. I hope it’s a happy Redux much like this one is. Until then… Cryssi out!

Match Rating: 5/5

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