WrestleMania – who can stop Maria’s streak?
Last night was the Showcase of the Immortals, better known as WrestleMania – as a reported 78,363 (probably closer to 68,000 in reality) descended upon the Sun-Life Stadium in Miami to witness, amongst other things, the “Once in a Lifetime” battle between The Rock and John Cena, the “End of an Era” match between Triple H and Undertaker, and a battle between the two self-professed “Best in the World” between CM Punk and Chris Jericho. I’m pretty sure not a single person went specifically to see the Divas match featuring Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos, but it happened nonetheless. With Kharma not ready to return yet and Natalya’s depush into a flatulence gimmick, it was clear that WWE had no idea what they were doing with ‘Mania this year (with rumours even abounding fairly recently that there may be no Divas match at this year’s event at all) until the opportunity presented itself to do something with one of their favourite celebrity fans, “Extra” host Maria Menounos. Currently competing on Dancing With The Stars in the US (and paying a price for it with cracked – reported in places as broken – ribs and stress fractures in her foot), it was somewhat of a miracle Maria made it at all. With a shocking 18 second World Title match between Daniel Bryan & Sheamus already having rocked the stadium, we went into a rare case where a Divas match gets longer on PPV than a World Title match – but with the relative lack of buildup outside a single confrontation on Menounos’ TV show, would anybody care? Let’s check on what was WrestleMania X7, what was WrestleMania IX and what was WrestleMania IV.
The women were given some time to wrestle in an actual 2-on-2 tag team match with no extraneous bells and whistles, which is more than we can usually say for the Divas at ‘Mania (Lumberjill matches at 23 & 24, an anonymous Battle Royal at 25, a swift 10 woman tag at 26, and a mixed tag at 27), so that (in theory) is quite good news… and honestly, credit where credit is due for Maria gutting out this appearance not only through a couple of pretty nasty injuries, but right in the middle of her DWTS run – and not stuffing the whole thing up. She’s an avowed WWE fan, so I bet she had the time of her life. Kelly Kelly pulled out a stunning Somersault Seated Senton for a near-fall (which was last used regularly in WWE by Molly Holly as the Molly-Go-Round), and Beth Phoenix tried so hard to be the base for Kelly & Maria and keep the match at least solid. Part of the match storyline (per Michael Cole, anyway) is that Beth doesn’t feel appreciated enough. That’s probably true even in real life. Kudos to her for keeping the match together with the inexperienced Menounos and the spotty Kelly.
Nobody cared. Eve actually managed to get some “Hoeski” chants, but nobody really cared about Kelly and her celebrity buddy. And why should they? The match has had zero build on WWE programming other than a video package highlighting Eve & Beth crashing a taping of “Extra”. Also, while it’s nice that the Divas were given more time than the World Title and Intercontinental Title matches put together, it’s actually a match that didn’t need that time. Kelly’s matches always feel like a rehearsed series of spots, and for the time she was in the ring, it was more of the same. Somersault Senton aside, it was every Kelly match you’ve ever seen, and I simply can’t suspend my disbelief with her matches as it never feels like a fight (Hey, maybe Kelly would be pretty ace on DWTS next year?) – and Maria, whilst game, wasn’t really in a fit state to compete. They could’ve shaved a couple of minutes off the match and really, nobody would have minded.
Beth Phoenix’s entrance outfit looked like she had antlers. Seriously. I know they were meant to be wings, but still. Also, Maria learned the lesson not to wear white pants in the ring when you’re going to be doing a stinkface to a heavily made-up Diva. Unfortunately, Maria’s brown streak on the back of her pants wasn’t the most flattering look.
That was Maria’s third match in WWE, third victory over a team featuring Beth Phoenix, and second in a row to end with Menounos pinning Phoenix directly. Where now? Do they go with another Menounos shot and give her a Divas Title match? I somehow doubt it, unless this match ends up getting a ridiculous amount of mainstream media… so what does that do for the Divas champion? Absolutely nothing. I imagine she’ll continue to mark time until such time as Kharma is able to return – and perhaps we’ll see a couple of Phoenix vs Natalya matches in the interim, so I think if we’re looking forward, we may as well just brush this one under the carpet. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good, and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.
– Stew Allen