It was an exciting night at SmackDown’s Elimination Chamber this Sunday, with NONE of my predictions coming true!
See mine and the Blogmania team’s predictions for Elimination Chamber at http://www.blogmania.co.uk/641-2/
and now, on with the review….
Becky Lynch vs Mickie James
The first of our THREE women’s matches was Becky Lynch vs Mickie James.
These two put on a decent match, and I have no doubt they can step it up when the time comes. But as this was their first one-on-one encounter there was no real reason to.
Mickie and Becky went shot-for-shot, with neither holding the advantage for too long. Mickie spent a good portion of the match working over Becky’s arm, showing not only her skill as a veteran and tactician, but her ability to play mind games like no other. Let me elaborate: working Becky’s arm not only works to slow her down but takes away her greatest weapon; her arm. Becky uses her arms in almost every aspect of her offense; suplexes, grapples, hard strikes and, of course, the Dis-arm-her. Mickie sought to neutralise Becky and, for the most part, it worked. Becky managed to throw a couple of suplexes after the damage was done, but I bought that they didn’t have their full impact thanks to Mickie’s work. The insanity that is the Mickie James character is done to perfection. Targeting arms is Becky’s thing, by doing this Mickie attempted to out-do Becky and play her at her own game. It’s these details that excite me for this feud and Mickie James herself.
Ultimately, the match came to a screeching halt with an roll-up by Becky. Which, in my opinion, is bad booking and not the ending we deserve to a match like this.
A babyface win was not warranted or needed here. Alignments aside, Becky has nothing to prove; she’s the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion, one of the much-touted four horsewomen and an insanely talented performer.
Mickie, on the other hand, has been back in WWE a few short months and hasn’t netted a single televised victory. Mickie needed this to re-validate herself and move the story along. The result of this match worries me that Mickie James is back as glorified enhancement talent, à la RVD in 2013.
Nikki Bella vs Natalya
Our second offering of women’s wrestling saw Nikki Bella take on Natalya.
The match started steady, with both women showing they could hang in the ring.
Both ladies peppered the match with various submission holds, both locking in their signature holds in the thick of it.
The match had some vicious-looking exchanges between the two; including hard kicks, solid strikes and multiple meetings with the barricade.
Nattie played the heel here, yelling at the crowd, doing the “You Can’t See Me” taunt to Nikki, to the crowd and even Mamma Bella at ringside.
This served to make the feud more personal and shows Natalya knows what she’s doing in every aspect of the business.
The match ended in a count-out, which was a little cheap, but furthered the feud nonetheless.
The girls then brawled after the match, ending when Nikki speared Nattie up the ramp and the referee got involved.
Post-match interview with Renee Young, Natalya blindsides Nikki and starts pummeling away at the Fearless One. After a humourous spot with Maryse getting covered in powder as the make-up table, Nikki launches herself at Nattie, coming out on top before referees separate the two.
This one is far from over.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs Naomi
Our final women’s match of the evening was our Women’s Championship match.
The match was an impressive showing from Naomi, nailing smooth kicks to the champ, each one hitting its mark. Naomi has also improved her balance and technique, as evident here. In the past, Naomi’s move-set has worked against her, with her reliance on high-flying offense and not much else dragging down an otherwise solid match. But since her comeback, Naomi has seemed more focused, reliable and solid in the ring. Her moves have hit their mark, her springboards have been nothing short of wow-worthy and she has blossomed as a character.
Another thing to note is the combination here. The Five Feet of Fury is exactly that, five feet. The petite Champion isn’t able to take Naomi’s flashy move-set as easily as women with the stature of Charlotte or Nia Jax , and this was thankfully taken into consideration by the women and the agent for this match. Naomi attempted some high-flying offense, but Alexa was there with the counter ready, selling Naomi as not being watered-down and Alexa as a credible and savvy worker.
Speaking of Alexa, she has her heel gig down. Tying up Naomi’s hair in the ropes and using the ropes for leverage in a unique dirty pin serves her and her character well, and I’m eager to see more of this from her.
In the end, Naomi picked up the win after a sequence in which both competitors traded moonsault attempts.
The night also saw Carmella make appearances in the sky box with beau James Ellsworth. Carmella was interviewed after each women’s match, eventually telling interviewer Dasha Fuentes to do one.
It amazes me how SmackDown are able to encapsulate the majority of their women into a single show, at a Pay Per View nonetheless. SmackDown’s women have multiple storylines, are featured prominently and have depth to their characters and their motivations. Whereas on RAW, if your name isn’t Sasha Banks or Charlotte Flair, you have next to no chance of being featured. Although RAW are learning, and using their top two women to put over the likes of Bayley and Nia Jax, they still have a long way to go to match SmackDown’s women’s division.
What did you think of the show? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments below.