Ringbelles TV Review (30 January – 5 February)
Big news for TV wrestling this week, as females actually get to headline one of WWE’s two top branded shows, battling over the World Heavyweight Title (albeit in mixed tag action), the Knockouts go for knockouts, and someone, somewhere thinks that Tamina vs Melina would be a good match…
TV match of the week is an easy one, with the Smackdown main event of Edge & Kelly Kelly vs Dolph Ziggler & Laycool (in a handicap mixed tag match with Edge’s World Title on the line) taking top honours, thanks in large part to the performance of one Kelly Kelly…
The introduction of Kelly as Smackdown’s apparent moral compass at the PPV was out of the blue, and this short term alignment with Edge also seemed like a bit of a left turn considering she has been involved in a storyline with Drew McIntyre of late – and the idea of putting what is meant to be one of the two most prestigious titles in WWE up for grabs in a match where Dolph Ziggler could win the World Title from Edge when (for example) Layla pinned Kelly Kelly is a booking nightmare straight from the fevered brain of TNA’s head writer Vince Russo. Regardless of that, there’s no doubt that this was a highly enjoyable match. This was the biggest match of Kelly’s career, and she pulled everything off (dare I say it) flawlessly. She even took a horrific bump into the dasher board at the hands of Michelle (who for a moment channelled her inner “Cheerleader Melissa”). The match was no doubt very tightly booked, but the ladies involved all did a wonderful job of taking the viewers on a very enjoyable ride. I was initially also quite shocked that they even had Kelly cleanly pin Layla to retain Edge his title, though if they’re coming back with more Edge/Ziggler matches, it obviously makes sense not to involve them in the finish here.
Meanwhile, over in the often bizarre world of TNA, it seems that the blood feud between Mickie James & Sarita can only be settled by these two knockouts having a taped fist “knockouts only” match. What blood feud, you ask? Good question, dear reader – if it were any other promotion I’d question the logic of putting a feud-ending stipulation out there on PPV between two knockouts who don’t really have much of a feud going on at all. But hey, it’s TNA… who make a career out of nonsensical matches.
Call me pleasantly surprised with this one. As much as I didn’t see the need to do a taped fist match, both Sarita and Mickie worked the match well, and actually used the stipulation and worked it into the match, with spots and comebacks, and even the finish all playing into the fact that the women had taped fists. The thing is, it just all felt a little flat and uninteresting, which I can only explain because the match was so out of the blue. Knowing TNA, this taped fist knockout match will likely lead to a straight singles match down the line. Oh, TNA.
TNA aren’t the only promotion capable of nonsensical booking, as WWE’s other output this week didn’t quite match up to the Smackdown brand’s main event. Raw featured the first appearance of new Divas Champion Eve Torres, in tag team action alongside the woman whose title she took (Natalya) against the ubiquitous Laycool.
I’ll go into editorial mode here and take the chance to say that I’m happy that Eve’s the champion. I think the fact that she won it with no build in a random four way with a disputed finish sucks, but Eve is someone who I think has a lot of potential, and I’d prefer to see her used than not, lest she stagnate and regress (a la Alicia Fox). I also think that it’s dumb that WWE job her out the following night in fairly ignominious circumstances. However, if the company can’t be bothered booking their WWE Champion (Miz) as anything special, it’s probably beyond the realms of possibility that they’d even give half a crap about their Divas champion. The highlights of the match were the interactions between Layla & Natalya, with Layla utterly terrified of the third generation Hart. Layla actually put me in mind of fellow Brit Jetta, when she was forced to face off against Cheerleader Melissa in 2009. It’ll never happen, but it’s not the first time I’ve thought about how fun a Jetta/Layla tag team would be. Layla may not weigh much, but kudos to Natalya for the deadlift too. Very impressive… as was Layla’s Diamond-Dust finisher (which she’s calling the Facelift, apparently). Where do we go from here for Eve? More defences against Laycool? Presumably. Perhaps an Eve/Kelly vs Laycool battle (presuming Kelly gets “unfired” on Smackdown). When does Kong debut? And where is Beth Phoenix, exactly??
No sign of Beth on Superstars either, but we do find the A-Lister Melina, apparently slumming it on the C-show… against the very green Tamina. Who’s idea was this?!
Melina’s heel mannerisms are good, from the curled lip sneer on her entrance to the mocking, stalling and stomping, but there are a couple of areas she needs to address. First off is the entrance – the splits entrance still gets a pop, and she really should cut that out if she’s going to be a truly effective heel. In fact, she should tease it, then refuse to do it. A simple, but effective thing like that ensures she gets the right kind of reaction, because if you’re a heel and you’re getting cheered, well, you’re doing it wrong. As far as the match went… well, initial reports suggested they got seven minutes, whereas there’s only five minutes presented here (which still included some terribly awkward moments), so this is the best they could salvage with the benefit of post production. Tamina’s still very inexperienced in the ring, and Melina might not have been the most reliable diva to put her with for her first singles match on TV. The thing was, there was absolutely no flow or progression to the match… it was simply “OK, I’ll do some moves, then you do some, then I’ll do some” and repeat. No psychology, nothing at all to make me want to care. Compare this to either the Smackdown tag or the Impact taped fist match, where there was a clear story told. So no… this was no good at all. Nothing to see here.
For the alternate TV match of the week this week, I’m stepping back in time a few years – but the match finds its way into the list as this upload in particular has only been put on YouTube within the last week or so. It involves one of the competitors we’ve already seen this week (Sarita) in her old guise as Dark Angel, taking on her biggest lucha libre rival Amapola in a mascara contra cabellera (mask vs hair) match at Arena Mexico in 2006 for CMLL. Dark Angel & Amapola had been a ruda (heel) tag team before this point, before Dark Angel turned tecnica (babyface) and the two embarked on an epic feud. This match is actually a historic one, as it was the first apuesta (bet) womens match in Arena Mexico history, as each wagered a very important thing (mask or hair) on the outcome of the match.
As far as next week is concerned, TNA Impact has another multi-woman match for us, as Madison Rayne, Tara, Sarita & Rosita (the newly signed Davina Fly, making her debut) takes on Mickie James, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky & Winter, as they continue to lay the groundwork for Mickie James’ next challenge for Madison Rayne at the PPV. WWE is still pretty up in the air. We could conceivably get a title match with Eve defending against Layla based on last week’s result.
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