WWE Smackdown, February 7 2014:
AJ Lee vs Nikki Bella
This week on Raw, Naomi continued to rise up the ranks in the division. She got a win over Alicia Fox and Aksana – also sustaining some nasty damage to the eye. She may have been pulled from current live events but she hasn’t stopped reminding fans that she wants that Divas’ title. Likewise the reigning champion AJ Lee wants to remind fans why she has the title in the first place. And so she will be facing Nikki Bella in singles competition. As expected, both Tamina Snuka and Brie Bella will be at ringside.
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Both women are already in the ring and AJ grabs a headlock to start off with. Nikki lifts her up and throws her off. AJ attempts a sunset flip but Nikki blocks it, lifts her up again and throws her into the corner. Nikki follows that with a scoop slam and whips AJ into the corner. The champ moves out of the way of a running splash and jumps on Nikki’s back. The sleeper hold is locked in and Nikki is brought down to her knees. Nikki backs AJ into a corner but the Divas’ Champion kicks her away. AJ goes for a neckbreaker but Nikki blocks it and turns it into a knee facebuster. Nikki comes back with a clothesline, dropkick and STO. She then delivers a back body drop (that AJ sells horribly). Nikki then goes for The Rack Attack – but Tamina has gotten up on the apron. Brie gets up too and starts grappling with her. Nikki goes to help but accidentally knocks her sister off the apron. AJ takes advantage of the distracted Nikki to kick the ropes at her and then lock the Black Widow on. Nikki taps and gives AJ another victory.
Winner: AJ Lee via Black Widow submission
This was a really short match for the Divas. It clocked at just about 2 ½ minutes. But as our girls always do, they made the most out of a short space of time. I wasn’t a big fan of Nikki’s choice of opening offence. I get that she wanted to demonstrate her strength – but she came across as very heelish. She can play the aggressive and fiery face decently enough but she just has to keep close watch on what she does – so that she doesn’t come across too mean or petty. Those spots would normally be used if AJ was the face. Her comeback moves were much better. They did a couple of nice little spots in there to counter each other’s regular moves and they were done crisply enough. Though as I said in the play-by-play, AJ sold that back body drop horribly. However the ending was clever. I like that AJ is finding new ways to get into the Black Widow, as opposed to the usual tilt-a-whirl method. Although it is a complicated submission hold, she seems to have come up with loads of different ways to set it up. And that makes her look more unpredictable and crafty. Now it seems that, even if Naomi has been taken temporarily out of the ring, her feud with AJ is still happening. The announcers referenced Naomi’s winning streak in the commentary – and WWE.com has been referencing their feud too. So methinks it will still happen, since Naomi has been pushed a little too much to be abruptly dropped from the title picture – especially with no pay off yet. WWE could use this injury as a way to prolong the feud if Naomi won’t be ring ready by Elimination Chamber. There are plenty of directions they can go with it, but we’ll have to wait for Raw to see which one they use.
We also saw another vignette for Alexander Rusev. This time Lana was given a speaking role in it. I haven’t been paying that much attention to her on NXT but I do like her character and she plays it well. I look forward to seeing what she and Rusev will do on our TV screens.