Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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WWE Superstars Redux (July 14th, 2011): Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Insult

On this site WWE Superstars has gained a reputation as the show that gives us the opportunity to see Divas matches that we probably wouldn’t see otherwise, were we limited to Raw and Smackdown. This week we’ve got another unique bout, with Beth Phoenix going one-on-one with Maryse for the first time:

Maryse gets the match off to a sudden (and startling) start when she tosses her coat at Beth. Beth responds to this with a spinebuster and a series of offense ending in a clothesline and a pin attempt, which Maryse kicks out of. She whips Maryse into the ropes and looks to lift and slam her to the mat on the return, but Maryse slips out, taking Beth out by the back of her knee. She hits her with another kick for good measure and attempts a pin. Beth kicks out easily.

Maryse follows Beth as she crawls to the corner, toying with her, pulling her hair and slamming her face-first into the turnbuckle twice. She pulls Beth back to the middle of the ring and rebuffs her attempt at offense with a swift knee to the head. She goes for another pin attempt, and when Beth kicks out she starts pounding her head into the mat, hair flying everywhere. Looking to add a bit of humiliation to the attack, Maryse slips off Beth’s headband and tries it on, mocking Beth’s signature pose. She sticks with the look as she climbs on Beth’s back and latches on a chinlock. Beth gradually gains strength, standing up and lifting Maryse into the air perched on her shoulders. Maryse chips away at this, though, punching her in the top of the head and bringing her back to her knees.

Maryse removes the headband, slaps Beth and, deciding to renew the humiliation, makes a show of putting back on the headband. This preoccupation costs her, though, and Beth spears her in the corner, hitting her with a relentless series of body punches. She hits a springboard suplex and goes for the pin, getting a 2-count. Beth pulls Maryse to her feet, picking the lost headband off the mat and punches her in the head with it. She then tosses it aside, which makes sense because unless that headband’s loaded with a pair of brass knuckles it isn’t going to get the job done. She whips Maryse into the ropes, but Maryse ducks her attack, spinning around and kicking Beth in the back. She attempts a pin, but Beth kicks out.

Maryse lifts Beth up in a front facelock, relishing her control until out of nowhere, Beth whips out of the hold and grabs Maryse by the arm. Apparently dreading what Beth has up her sleeve, Maryse seeks refuge in the ropes, rushing over and hooking an arm around it. She takes advantage of the split-second pause to elbow Beth in the face. Maryse spins around, seeking to get back on the offense, but Beth is quicker, hooking both of her arms and hitting her with the Glam Slam. Beth gets the pin and the win, celebrating in a rather satisfying way: placing the headband back on her head and triumphantly posing over Maryse’s prone body.

Beth and Maryse are two very different wrestlers: Maryse is very loose and relaxed, while Beth is a controlled powerhouse. It was interesting to see Maryse using her arrogance and lack of respect to insult Beth, showing a lot of confidence in finding time to put on her headband and mock her instead of staying on the attack. It was a pretty unique dynamic, and they played it well, taking full advantage of their first encounter to show off Maryse’s flippant attitude and Beth’s resilient nature. I really enjoyed the match: they took it slow and managed to make Maryse look pretty strong against the strongest Diva while proving that Beth can, at any moment, whip out that super strength to earn a quick victory.

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