Ringbelles TV review (20-26 February)
Credibility (or the relative lack thereof) is often an issue with the distaff divisions of WWE & TNA, mostly because nobody in creative generally bothers to take the women seriously enough for long enough to make stars out of anybody, and this week’s TV is a pretty great comparison in how the “Big Two” are doing at making any of their women credible. We’ll start with someone who knows all about that problem, the “Killer Queen” herself, Madison Rayne – who famously won her first Knockouts Championship without ever winning a singles match in the company… taking on a surprise returning star on Impact.
This match warmed the cockles of my heart – it really did. It’s like the usual bookers took an extra long lunch one day, and while they were gone, somebody with a clue crept in and booked this segment. It’s not even a “pro Madison” thing (although I’ll happily admit that I do count myself as a supporter)… it’s a pro “wrestling making sense” thing. I feel almost stupid writing stuff as kindergarten level simple as this, but titles should mean something, and those people holding them should be perceived as credible, and at a level above those around them. There are exceptions to the rule – with Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental Title reign being a prime example of a weak champion drawing money – but it seems like wrestling bookers nowadays think that having everybody seen as being “at the same level” is somehow desirable. Here though, they took Madison (who has been booked as a joke, needing Tara and/or a loaded glove to help win her matches) and decided to give her some credibility by bringing back one of the most popular and capable former Knockouts in the form of ODB and using her to put over their current “Queen Bee” clean in a competitive match. Ergo, by the end, the lustre on both Madison and the TNA Knockouts belt is just a little shinier than usual. Fantastic stuff. Spoilers indicate that there is another former Knockout returning this week on Impact for another “open challenge”, so I look forward to the continuation of the “let’s give Madison an actual honest-to-God push for a few weeks” phase of programming.
Oh, and the Sarita vs Velvet Sky match which was teased last week is actually going to be on next week’s show – so they’re actually letting this career stip resonate for *TWO* weeks. Can it possibly live up to the hype?
Meanwhile, on the other hand of the “credible champions” scale, Raw delivered another blow to Eve’s possibility of getting over with another tag match – this time featuring herself and Gail Kim battling The Bella Twins.
The match was solid, yes, and everybody looked good doing what they were doing, but in a complete 180 from TNA’s match, the booking here completely robbed Eve of any credibility at all. The match was short, Eve came in near the end, dominated with her offence, and then was small-packaged for a three count (well, longer than that, even) after taking no punishment at all other than one defensive kick to the midsection. Unbelievable. It would have been one thing if the Bellas had pulled off Twin Magic on Gail Kim (as that’s who they’re feuding with), but here they pinned the champ – leading to what? A title match at WrestleMania? Doubtful, somehow… and besides, it’s unlikely that the Bellas/Gail feud is blown off just like that – and Eve has a second consecutive pinfall loss in tag competition (following last week’s loss to Layla on Smackdown).
Speaking of Smackdown and Layla… this week she faced Rosa Mendes in a match that *actually happened* and wasn’t a dream at all.
This match. Terrible. Short though, so we’ll be thankful for small mercies. Match means less than nothing in the grand scheme of things, as it is only a further mini chapter in the eventual breakup of Laycool, so there’s no point in even saying anything here other than… did you see the fall through the ropes? Ouch.
The last divas action this week was Smackdown’s main event when the Golden Couple of Edge & Kelly Kelly reunited to take on Drew McIntyre & Vickie Guerrero, with Guerrero’s position on Smackdown on the line should she lose.
Match was fine, but none of it was due to the ladies, who played the smallest of roles in the match, and truthfully I’d probably have ignored the match entirely if not to point out how popular Kelly was, getting the rub from the World Champion (oh how I long for the days that the WWE fans will chant “Eve” at the start of one of her matches like they did with Kelly here), and to pay tribute to the amazing Vickie Guerrero. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I believe she’s going anywhere – Kelly herself was “fired” a couple of weeks ago, and the whole “firing” stuff is now so overplayed that there isn’t even a shred of credibility in any such angle in wrestling any more – but it’s still amazing to sit back and watch how legitimately over Vickie is, how the fans absolutely love booing her, and how brilliantly she throws herself into the role. Vickie’s desperate begging at the end of the match was so utterly pitiful, it was a sight to behold. I’m personally hoping that Vickie returns to WWE before WrestleMania on the Raw brand, and we get a chance to have a Vickie Guerrero/Rock showdown. The very thought of Vickie intruding with a well-timed “EXCUSE ME…!” while The Rock is mid catchphrase has me giddy with excitement.
While we wait for that, here’s an alternate TV match of the week, coming from Japan… and Ice Ribbon in particular, as they show Edge, Drew, Vickie & Kelly the true art of the mixed tag,with the team of Makoto and Kota Ibushi teaming up against Bambi & Munenori Sawa from last May’s “Golden Ribbon” show. Enjoy.
Next week… well, there’s nothing on the books for WWE, although Eve has now lost twice in tag matches to both Layla and The Bellas, so presumably there may be something further that end. TNA has the next challenger in Madison Rayne’s open challenge series, and the epic Sarita vs Velvet Sky match we’ve been waiting for for two weeks. Be there.
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