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WWE Superstars Redux (June 30th, 2011): Styles Clashes

For the second week in a row, WWE Superstars is treating us to two Divas matches. Last week, I loved the double dose of Divas. Will this week’s slate of matches match up to that? Let’s watch:

We start off the show with Beth Phoenix vs. Gail Kim, a match many have been waiting to see. They start with a tie-up, Beth’s strength advantage allowing her to power Gail into the ropes. Gail battles back and attempts a Frankensteiner, but Beth stops her momentum, hoisting her up and tossing Gail off her shoulders. Gail goes on a burst of offense, nailing Beth in the corner and scaling the turnbuckle. She’s too slow, though, and Beth grabs her from the top turnbuckle, lifting her into a Gorilla Press slam, Gail landing flat onto the mat. Beth goes for an early pin, but Gail kicks out.

Beth lifts Gail onto her shoulder, seeking to ram her into the corner, but Gail slips out and pushes Beth into it instead. When she tries to attack again, though, Beth sends an elbow into her face. Beth climbs up the turnbuckle and Gail knocks her down to a seating position, attempting to hit a Frankensteiner off the top rope, but Beth holds on, leaving Gail to flip backwards and land on the mat on her knees. Beth tries again to hit a top-rope move, nearly leaping, but Gail is quick, dropkicking the top rope and sending Beth tumbling to the mat.

Gail hits another dropkick, low this time, and goes for the pin. Beth kicks out, and when Gail tries to stay on offense, she blocks an Irish whip, using pure strength to prevent it and sends Gail into the ropes instead. On the return Gail goes for a hurricanrana, which is blocked, but after a bit of twisting and turning she hangs on, latching on an armbar submission. Beth flails around like a tiger being tormented by a a horsefly, unable to shoo Gail away or detach her. Eventually Beth sinks to a knee, Gail willing her to submit. After a few moments, though she seems to regather strength, getting back on both feet and prying Gail loose, hitting her with a sidewalk slam. Both Divas are down.

They get to their feet at almost the same moment, but Beth gets the upper hand, hitting Gail with a serious a hard-hitting moves that almost feel like a babyface burst of offense (and is taking place at the usual spot for it). This wouldn’t be strange if Beth wasn’t playing a slightly heelish role in this match. Anyways, Beth lifts Gail up, bouncing her off the top rope for a springboard suplex. This merits a pin attempt, which Gail kicks out of at 2. She goes for another suplex, but Gail rolls it into a pin attempt. Beth kicks out. Gail stays on offense, going for another roll-up pin, but Beth blocks it into a pin of her own. Gail kicks out as well. Gail ventures to Beth’s shoulders, but is swatted off. Beth takes the moment to latch onto both of Gail’s arms and hit her with the Glam Slam. She pins Gail and gets the 3-count. Post-match Beth looks almost remorseful about hurting Gail and helps her to her feet, lifting her arm in the air in a sign of respect.

This match was very entertaining, and seemed to go by very quickly. That’s not in the sense that the match was rushed or too short, but moreso in the sense that it was very fast-paced; it was move after move in quick succession. Beth seemed to be intent on grounding and slowing down Gail, keeping up with her and not wasting much time. It tuned out to be a tactic that earned her the win. For a match that was so anticipated by fans, given that this is their first one-on-one meeting, I think they delivered a match that played to their strengths: Beth was a powerhouse, battling back from her position on one knee to force Gail to break her submission hold. Gail, meanwhile, was her usual cat-like self, flying around Beth and taking every opportunity to take down the much larger, stronger Diva.

I find it interesting that Beth played a slightly heelish role in this match, looking a bit cocky in the beginning, though she was clearly a babyface once the match was over, making sure Gail was alright. It makes sense, since the WWE doesn’t like to do straight babyface vs. babyface Diva matches. I don’t really mind it, since it helped build the dynamic, with Gail playing the resilient underdog. Alignments aside, their styles, though so very different, worked together quite well in this match, and I hope it isn’t too long before they face off again one-on-one.

Next up is another one-on-one match, this time on the SmackDown side of things. Alicia Fox is facing off against Kaitlyn. Alicia makes her entrance first, accompanied by Rosa Mendes. Kaitlyn is next, with Natalya by her side, entering to Natalya’s music. It’s kind of awkward, but I suppose they wanted to use the better known Diva’s entrance to get a bigger face reaction.

Alicia gets control from the start, kicking Kaitlyn and sending her into the ropes. Kaitlyn manages to stop in her tracks on the rebound, knocking Alicia over with a shoulder block. She goes for a quick pin attempt, but Alicia kicks out. Kaitlyn grabs on to Alicia’s left arm, keeping a constant hold on it while continuing her attack. She wrenches the arm around, continuing the punishment for some time before lifting her off her feet. Alicia takes this opportunity to gain control, knocking Kaitlyn to the mat and dishing some of her own punishment on her left arm. She leans Kaitlyn throat-first against the ropes, bending her arm back and kneeing it against the ropes to increase the pressure. Predictably the referee doesn’t approve of this, and she soon lets Kaitlyn crawl away.

She continues the assault on the left arm, twisting it and slamming Kaitlyn to the mat before locking in an armbar submission. Kaitlyn eventually gets to her feet, fighting Alicia off and sweeping her leg, sending her to the mat. She hits Alicia with a flapjack before going for another pin. Alicia kicks out. The two takes turns thwarting attempts at offense, Alicia slipping out of a bodyslam to drag Kaitlyn head-first into the corner. Dazed, Kaitlyn stumbles toward the middle of the ring, where Alicia hits her with a scissors kick. Alicia covers her for the pin and wins the match.

I enjoyed this match too, but for different reasons that the Beth/Gail bout. This match wasn’t very long either, but was pretty different in pace from that. This one focused on arm punishment, each Diva using different tactics to take out the either’s left arm. It’s a nice technical touch, and highlighted the differences between them: Kaitlyn held onto the arm tenaciously while delivering power moves, and Alicia slapped on a submission, stomped on the arm, and used the ropes illegally. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but I liked it for what it was. I think if they were given a bit more time, they could have told a better story with the battling arm attacks. Their styles, like Beth and Gail’s, definitely clash, but it’s in the way the match is constructed that they can together seamlessly. While they didn’t pull off the seamlessness of Beth and Gail, this match showed that there’s potential for that. This match served to whet my appetite for matches between these two, and though it didn’t completely deliver, it’s made me look forward to their next match, even if it’s in another tag team combination.

Another week, another WWE Superstars with two solid Divas matches! This is one trend I wouldn’t mind seeing continue, though next week’s spoilers seem to tell us that it might be another week before we’re seeing double again.

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