Beth Phoenix once again looks to regain the WWE Divas Championship from reigning titleholder Layla.
• Since their last match at Over The Limit, there hasn’t been much interaction between the two, though they have wrestled at pretty much every Raw house show. Phoenix earned another shot at the title by pinning Layla with the Glam Slam in a mixed tag team match on last Monday’s Raw.
• The only other build-up was on SmackDown on Friday, when Phoenix destroyed Alicia Fox in quick time with Layla watching at ringside while doing commentary.
• The match kicked off with a little comedy, with Layla ripping Phoenix’s headband off, putting it on herself then mocking Beth’s poses, as well as doing some bodybuilding stances and gurning a lot. It was a throwback to her heel days in Lay-Cool.
• After trying to get hold of the champion, Phoenix finally got the advantage by knocking Layla off the ropes while she was going for a springboard move, sending her crashing to to the floor. She followed up by throwing the titleholder into the ringside barriers.
• Back in the ring, Beth tried to stretch Layla out with a double arm chicken wing on the mat as well as an over-the-knee backbreaker submission, but the Divas Champion refused to quit, and fought out using some knees from the leg sporting that big knee brace. She even managed to avoid the Glam Slam by posting her feet into the corner and pushing back to take Beth down.
• A flurry by Layla was halted when she was caught and powerslammed by Phoenix, but she countered a gorilla press with a DDT, much like last month. One Lay-Out neckbreaker later, and Layla has retained the belt.
• Seriously, it was like someone just decided that Layla and Beth should repeat last month’s match, alter a couple of spots and present it to us again.
• At seven minutes, it was the same length as last month – and while it didn’t drag as much, it still never became exciting.
• I keep saying this, but Layla’s music has GOT to go. When she came out, it was stone silence, and you could have cut the apathy with a knife. Nobody in the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ cared for this match.
• The result may do more to cement Layla’s Divas Title reign, but it takes even more shine over any prospective Beth Phoenix v Kharma series, and that’s really all WWE has as far as a marketable women’s match is concerned.
• However, I’ve been underwhelmed with Layla’s return. Granted, some of it isn’t her fault – she was brought back too early for a match which she wasn’t really supposed to be part of, just so fans who expected Kharma to take on Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules would have been swerved. She was thrown into a situation that she had nothing to do with, and now WWE is trying to make things work, harming the future drawing power of Beth v Kharma as a result.
• On the flip side, Layla’s done herself no favours either. As a babyface, she’s as dynamic as sponge cake with no flavour. She’s not infectiously likeable as a face, and it’s hard to find enough of a reason to support her. She did raise a smile when she was extracting the urine out of Beth, but once se was back to being plain babyface Layla, I lost interest again. Phoenix isn’t much of a heel at the moment either, which doesn’t help.
• Back in April, I pointed out that I hoped that Layla’s title win would breathe some life into the division – but if anything, it’s done the opposite.
• All in all, the Divas Title picture is more skippable than ever. With this programme between Layla and Beth ostensibly being over, as the challenger has lost twice, you have to wonder what’s next. If it’s not Kharma v Layla, I dread to think what we have in store.
– Lee Burton