Saturday, September 24, 2022

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WWE Superstars Redux (March 29th, 2013): Aksana Has Nothing to Fear but Natalya and Shovels

Welcome ladies and gents to this week’s… well, pretty much completely foreign edition of the Superstars Redux. We’ve got a sure to be pink clad Canadian taking on a sure to be black clad Lithuanian, and to be honest, I’m just going to consider this like our own little version of the Olympics to see which country will leave with a gold medal. If that little intro didn’t give you enough insight, tonight’s action pits our trusty anvilette, Natalya up against the sultry, seductive Aksana. Being that this is on one of the WWE’s smaller shows, we could be in for a treat when it comes to the time allotted, but I won’t jump to any conclusions because it seems like every time I do, I end up being somehow wrong. In that case, maybe I should say I want them to get three seconds? Who knows. What I do know though, is that if I continue on all I’m going to do is confuse myself so let’s jump right into the action.

The saxophone starts playing, which can only mean one woman is about to potentially crawl, but likely strut onto our screen. Ah yes, the one and only Aksana is here and she’s ready… to give someone a hug? She extends her arms out as she walks to the ring which is the impression I get, but perhaps it’s a new taunt to tease the crowd that they can’t touch her what with being trapped behind the barricade and all. Following a quaint finger wag, the revved up theme of Natalya hits which brings the men, women, and children to their feet. As she steps into the ring, the bell sounds and we kick things off with some jockeying for position. Finally, it seems that Aksana is able to gain the upper hand with some kicks, but she’s quickly taken down with an arm drag transitioned into a wrist lock.

Aksana manages to counter into a wrist lock of her own, but Natalya flips out… until the back of her head gets introduced to the canvas courtesy of the always friendly, Aksana. Our Lithuanian taunts Nattie a bit, simply tossing her by the hair into the ropes. Natalya manages to stop whatever Aksana had in mind, then dropping her with a bodyslam and signaling for the Sharpshooter. Aksana tries to counter, but I can’t tell if she’s trying to crawl towards the ropes or burst Natalya’s eardrum with her shrieks of terror. Whichever she was going for worked though, as she breaks the out and painfully drops Nattie on the ring apron. A failed pin attempt sparks Aksana to hit a few elbows and lock in a backbreaker submission. Oh my God… someone (I think Natalya) lets out this shrill scream and pretty much collapses my own eardrum, thus I’ve had to take a small break before continuing.

Hello again, and now we’re back in the submission as Aksana tells everyone to shut up. Natalya starts to break through the grip, but the fiesty foreigner goes after the hair and then boots Nattie face first to the canvas. She screams at the referee, steps over Natalya, and taunts the crowd. Nice! She starts kicking Natalya in the stomach and then sends her into the corner, before slowly crawling over and slapping Nattie across the face. This fires Natalya up who shows Aksana what a true wrestling slap can be, then sending her into the corner. This burst of momentum doesn’t last long, as Aksana boots her in the face and scores a nifty clothesline to regain the control. She goes for a kneedrop, but Natalya dodges out of the way and locks in the sharpshooter for the win! Canada scores the gold, which leaves me worried that the Lithuanian government may punish Aksana in the form of being beat with shovels for her loss. Let us all hope for the best…

Thoughts: I have to say I enjoyed this a lot more than I predicted. Now I used to be a really big supporter of Aksana, but lately I just haven’t felt the same way I did for her during her time as Divas champ in FCW. However, she really impressed me tonight… and not just with her ring work. Some Divas don’t really tend to play up to the crowd (on TV at least), which I feel like hurts them in the long run. Aksana was all over that tonight, and gave it everything she had. She got them involved, constantly taunted them, and even actually went at them while Natalya was in pain on the mat. I know that she probably got to do this due to the match being on Superstars where there are less restrictions than a main TV show and more time given, but it was really really refreshing to see.

Also refreshing for me was that the match didn’t end how most do. What I mean by that is that with most of the Divas matches, it seems to be the face starts out on fire, then the heel takes control and dominates, then the face makes their comeback and wins. This had Aksana fully in control for pretty much the entire time right up until the very last moment that got Natalya the victory. I know some people may not like that the finish came from out of nowhere, but I loved it. I was expecting/waiting for Nattie to make a comeback with some clotheslines and more of her awesome variety of moves, and she did something different that I didn’t expect.

The action in between was good, but those are the two points that really stuck out with me and made this match stand out from your usual Superstars bouts. They really capitalized on the time they were given and didn’t feel like they were going through the motions at all. Between this & NXT, Natalya has been on fire this week and both she and her respected opponents for the two shows are really showing what the division could be like with the right time and build up. I’m just glad we’re getting it somewhere, even if it’s on a smaller scale because this match did a lot in showing me what Aksana can do which isn’t something I tend to usually get on Raw or SmackDown. Job well done to both!

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