Last week’s fun sprint of a match between Madison Rayne and ODB certainly entertained me, and having read the spoilers from TNA’s Fayetteville tapings, I was rather looking forward to this week’s edition of Impact too – but it seems like the next stop on Madison’s “brush with greatness” tour won’t be until next week (the second half of the Fayetteville tapings), so instead, Impact gives us the payoff to the Velvet Sky vs Sarita feud that has been simmering for… well, it seems like months.



Two minutes. That was it. This was a feud that ran intermittently for weeks and weeks, with backstage attacks and strap matches, and they pay off the whole “Velvet can’t beat Sarita” story in the most anticlimactic way possible – in two minutes with a DDT out of nowhere. I’ll give massive credit to TNA for looking as major league as they’ve looked in a long, long time thanks to the big crowd in North Carolina, but overall, the match was just about there. For a seven year pro, Velvet still struggles to make it look like a fight, and why anybody thinks that a match like this (where Velvet’s career was on the line and she stomped down to the ring full of apparent fiery intensity) needed amateur lucha armdrag spots is beyond me. Keep watching the video for a big post match angle with Jersey Shore’s Angelina Pivarnick. They made sure to heavily imply that J-Woww was going to be on the show next week for a potential “six way”. Clue: she’s not.

So if that was the default match of the week, we’re in for a scary ride when we check out what WWE have been up to these past seven days. Let’s pay a visit to Friday Night Smackdown for a bewildering tag match.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we know WWE creative don’t seem to particularly care for the Divas one way or the other, I’d be asking who actually green-lighted this match. One side has Beth Phoenix teaming with Rosa Mendes (and despite Rosa’s brief run as a Glamazon in Training two years ago, the gulf in talent between these two is vast), taking on Laycool (who are handicapped by Michelle’s foot injury). Add to that the fact that last week’s match between Layla and Rosa was an absolute disaster, and you’ve got the makings of an epic fail. What we ended up with had me simply shaking my head in disbelief. Firstly, while the sensible part of me assumes that she’s medically safe to wrestle, the other side of my brain is screaming “why is Michelle wrestling whilst injured??” I can only hope it’s a case of WWE and Michelle taking her real life injury and continuing to wear the big medical boot in order to get some Bob Orton-esque heel heat. Secondly, I’m really not liking the apparent de-push of Beth Phoenix. She’s not even a regular on the show these days, and then here she is getting pinned following a single kick to the head by Michelle. Okay, the boot is “loaded”, but you’re telling me that it’s more important to protect Rosa than Beth? I suppose what makes me sadder still is the fact that with Beth clearly not being pushed as anything special at the minute, it makes the anticipation of an Amazing Kong vs Beth Phoenix match all the less likely to be anything other than a disappointment.

Finally, it’s time to backtrack to Raw, for a Battle Royale to determine the #1 contender for Eve Torres’ Divas Title. Impact gave us two minutes of action… Smackdown the same… so surely a Battle Royale will last longer than two minutes. Right? Right??

Wrong.

The finish was creative and it continues the build in the Eve vs Bella Twins feud by guaranteeing a title shot for one or the other Bella, so I can’t actually fault that – though the rapid fire eliminations did nothing for anybody else on the roster, and I could have done without the Champion being laid literally unconscious from a few stomps and kicks. Apart from that, there’s nothing else to report here.

So, far from a vintage week of TV wrestling… so my alternate TV match of the week has a lot riding on it… and to be honest, if you’ve read through and watched all the video footage above, you really owe it to yourself to check out some actual legitimately great female wrestling, courtesy of the now defunct NEO promotion in Japan. It’s particularly apt timing, as it features three of the five regular Japanese girls who participate in SHIMMER, so I’ll have the distinct pleasure for being ringside for that in just a few weeks. Here, Ayumi Kurihara (star of the Ringbelles banner above, by the way) teams with Yoshiko Tamura to defend the NEO Tag Titles against the team of 3SHiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata in a match from May 2010. With the SHIMMER tag division getting a big spotlight on these next tapings and 3S being one of those featured teams, there’s no better time to acquaint yourself with tag team wrestling done right.

NEXT WEEK: Impact delivers the next Madison Rayne “open challenge”, and a six woman tag team match with The Beautiful People & Winter vs Sarita, Cookie & Angelina Pivarnick. Smackdown will almost certainly have more of the slow-burn Laycool angle, and Raw… maybe Eve vs one of the Bellas? Can hardly wait…

– Stew

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