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Bobby Between The Ropes: A Look Back At Divas On PPV – 2007
Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
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2007:

2007

The year 2007 began without any kind of true star in the women’s division. Trish and Lita had been *the* Divas for the last four-five years. Now all of a sudden, the division was mostly eye candy girls with a few wrestlers thrown in. Mickie James would remain that one girl who effortlessly connected with crowds. But WWE would see fit to push some new Divas to the spotlight, with varying results of success. Anyway 2007 would be the last year before the switch to the PG rating. So it was an end to T&A dominating the scene at least. Also as the company’s roster got smaller, we would see the end of the brand-exclusive PPVs. After WrestleMania, all PPVs would once again be interpromotional.

New Year’s Revolution – Mickie James* vs Victoria:

With Trish and Lita gone, Mickie feuded with her only legitimate competition. Victoria had spent most of 2006 on the backburner, mostly putting over other girls and competing on Sunday Night Heat. Towards the end of 2006 however, it seemed the bitch was back. She began carrying a checklist down to the ring – and each time she defeated a Diva, she would tick their name off the list. Before this match took place, Victoria approached Melina backstage. She offered her a deal: help her beat Mickie James tonight and Melina gets the first shot at Victoria herself. Despite the rather brutal nature of the build-up, the match is more of a wrasslin affair. I’m not complaining because the wrestling between them is quite good. Victoria eventually reminds us why she is the original bad girl. She dominates and woman-handles the champ, though perhaps not with the same fire she had against Trish. But someone who does have good fire is Mickie; she is very animated and really sells the story of this match. She had clearly settled into the top face role nicely. Melina makes her appearance and prevents Mickie from doing her DDT. But she’s chased away by Candice Michelle and Maria. Meanwhile Mickie is able to reverse a power slam into a tornado DDT for the win. This was really Victoria’s last serious push and probably her last match of any note at all. For the next two years, she would remain as a jobber to the new girls. Her psycho characteristics would morph into more of a comedy goofball. It’s a shame that she never got a big push again – because she definitely showed she was worthy of it.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Mickie James. Match Rating: 7/10

No Way Out:

No Way Out once again did not feature any Diva matches but instead a lengthy segment. A Diva talent show was hosted by The Miz. First up were Extreme Expose – the dance trio of Layla, Brooke and Kelly Kelly. Next out was Jillian Hall; at this point in time, Jillian had turned back heel and had developed the gimmick of a horrible singer. The gimmick was not created to mock Brooke Hogan – as was commonly thought at the time – but sprung from something Jillian had done on the fly at a house show. Anyway The Miz wasn’t kind to her and called her “the chick version of William Hung”. Jillian ran down all the other contestants – which prompted a massive catfight. Amusingly Ariel was among those she insulted, yet she was on the heel side. Anyway Ashley Massaro interrupted everyone to unveil her Playboy cover – and then removed her top to reveal some strategically placed bunnies. That was pretty much the only ‘talent’ involved in this segment.

WrestleMania 23 – Melina* vs Ashley Massaro [Lumberjill Match]:

So things had changed a lot in the division since the girls last made it to PPV. Melina of all people shocked the world and won the Women’s Championship. She was furious at how little attention she was getting in comparison to Ashley’s Playboy cover. As such Ashley got to challenge for the title at the biggie. Years later, the two revealed that the match almost didn’t happen. They and the rest of the Lumberjills were waiting in gorilla position for most of the night, unsure if they’d be even going out. Then before the main event they were told ‘yeah, we can squeeze you guys in’. With that in mind, remember also that Ashley had broken her foot the week before. Melina does her darn hardest with this match – as it was her only Mania as Women’s Champion. The most notable spot is a Giant Swing from the champ. Ashley tries her hardest too – and she actually looks a wee bit more solid here than she usually did. But that’s still not enough to salvage what’s obviously a very rushed affair. It’s a passable Raw match if I’m being generous – and not at all satisfying for the grandest stage of them all. Melina reverses a roll-up and bridges after the referee has counted to three. The Lumberjills then brawl in the ring to give Ashley some form of retribution. Ashley was reportedly in tears backstage afterwards, as she knew it was an awful match too. It was also the final Women’s Championship defence at Mania.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Melina. Match Rating: 3/10

Backlash – Melina* vs Mickie James:

With Ashley Massaro and her Playboy push over and done with, Melina resumed her feud with the previous champion. Mickie and Melina had previously competed in the first ever Falls Count Anywhere Divas match. This was their first title match to make it to PPV and it is very fondly remembered. It was Jerry Lawler of all people who said “I have a feeling we’re going to see a great *wrestling* match”. And indeed he was right. Melina at this point in time was not as well-known for her work on the indies. As a former beauty queen and role as a sex-appeal valet, many assumed she was simply another Diva Search girl. Plus she had won the title around a time when fans were clamouring for Victoria to get a push. And let’s not even get into the amount of heat she had to shake off for her disastrous WrestleMania match. So Melina’s main purpose in this match is to wrestle – and wrestle very well. The match is nice, slow-paced, and very technical. Neither Melina nor Mickie were renowned for their grappling abilities – but they really get to show off in this match. It’s one of those matches that has a very mellow feel to it but you just love watching it unfold. The highlight of it sees both Mickie and Melina dropped into the splits in front of each other. Eventually Melina rakes the eyes and hits an inverted DDT to keep her title. Lawler again wailed “is it over?” and made it clear that it was the wrestling he was enjoying – and not just the pretty ladies. A fine, fine match.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Melina. Match Rating: 7/10

One Night Stand – Melina vs Candice Michelle [Pudding Match]:

After she had knocked off Mickie and Ashley, Melina turned her attention to last year’s Playboy cover girl. This feud actually began a few weeks prior to WrestleMania via the blogs on WWE.com – where Candice accused Melina of stealing one of her moves. Melina then attacked Candice for her Diva Search background, and Candice posted a response that WWE refused to publish. Candice at the time was putting in notable work in the ring to improve. But at the same time she was still a former Diva Search contestant. So this match was sort of a compromise – as Melina had said she could beat Candice in any kind of bout. Sadly for her, Candice holds her head under the pudding until she taps out.

Winner: Candice Michelle. Match Rating: N/A

Vengeance: Night of Champions – Melina* vs Candice Michelle:

WWE’s first PPV to adopt the ‘Night of Champions’ gimmick saw Melina and Candice go at it in an actual wrestling match. At this point, Candice owned several wins over Melina in tag matches, non-title matches and of course the pudding match. Likewise critics were giving her lots of praise for her in-ring improvement. Something to note about Candice is that – while she might not look like much in the ring now – she was around in a time when fans were convinced that WWE just wanted girls in bikinis shaking their asses. The idea of a Diva Search contestant actually wanting to wrestle? Shocking for the fans to comprehend. Of course a year later, many other former Diva Search girls had started to put work in also. So Candice’s progress might seem like old hat now – but that’s just something to bear in mind. The match itself isn’t half bad. Candice is far from polished, but it’s put together very well and she pulls off some nice moves. It’s definitely miles ahead of Ashley’s effort at WrestleMania. She’s able to duck a clothesline and hit Melina with a spinning wheel kick – and gets the win! Becoming the first Diva Search contestant to hold the Women’s Championship, she promptly bursts into tears. She can barely make it up the entrance ramp. I started out as a Candice naysayer but even I felt all fuzzy at seeing such sincere emotion pouring out of her.

Winner and NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Candice Michelle. Match Rating: 5/10

Great American Bash – Candice Michelle* vs Melina:

And following WWE’s normal logic, Candice was now defending the title against Melina in the latter’s rematch. It was obvious that Candice would retain the title here, so the match has a different story from their previous one. Candice there was presented as the underdog. Here she gets to control much more. There’s a lot more wrestling and grappling; Melina clearly having hopes of recreating her match from Backlash. Since Candice isn’t Mickie, your mileage may vary on how well that comes across. What’s very surprising is how hard the announcers try to sell this match to us. Throughout it they talk about Candice’s efforts to improve and work hard, Melina’s reasons for disliking her and the psychology behind everything. Clearly they wanted to treat this match as serious business – and it’s a touch that really works. Candice debuts the Candy Wrapper to retain, in what is one of her better matches. Right after she gets the win, it cuts to a guy with a sign that reads ‘Hard Work Pays Off Candice’. I wholeheartedly agree.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Candice Michelle. Match Rating: 7/10

SummerSlam – #1 Contenders’ Battle Royal:

For the first time since 2001, there is Divas’ action at a SummerSlam. With Candice and Melina’s feud officially over, it was time to crown a new challenger for her. And the biggest party of the summer was surely the way to do it. This is an interpromotional match – featuring Divas from Raw, Smackdown and ECW getting an opportunity. The complete list of participants are Mickie James, Melina, Victoria, Beth Phoenix, Torrie Wilson, Jillian Hall, Michelle McCool, Maria, Kristal Marshall, Kelly Kelly, Layla & Brooke Adams. Candice is at ringside to scout her possible opponents. It’s actually a while before anyone gets thrown out – until Brooke is the first elimination. Jillian shoulderblocks Maria off the apron to eliminate her. Layla doesn’t last too long either. Kristal eliminates Victoria to a massive chorus of boos. Kristal herself is then eliminated by a Mickie-Michelle double team and Kelly Kelly follows suit. Jillian nearly eliminates Mickie, but Torrie Wilson steps in and dumps Jillian out. Melina then eliminates Mickie. Torrie and Michelle eliminate Melina – to a standing ovation – but are then left alone with the Glamazon. Beth makes short work of both of them to win the match.

Winner and #1 contender: Beth Phoenix. Match Rating: 4/10

Unforgiven – Candice Michelle* vs Beth Phoenix:

So now that WWE had crowned a new challenger, they began a little bit of a storyline. Beth Phoenix came into WWE as the Glamazon. She was presented as something different to the slim willowy types that made up WWE’s roster. She was a combination of the Chyna or Jazz powerhouse, as well as the glamorous Divas like Trish. WWE immediately started presenting Beth as some kind of monstrous brute that left destruction in her wake. Essentially WWE were recycling their classic ‘Beast vs Beauty’ feud – most notably Trish vs Jazz. Only this time the Jazz was a rather glamorous lady in her own right, and the Trish was a lot daintier. But as the match goes on, it’s clear that this is a formula that works. This is probably Candice’s best match; she plays the underdog role to perfection here. They really do a good job of presenting Beth as this big monster heel too – as this was her first proper chance to sell herself to the WWE Universe. In true underdog fashion, Candice narrowly sneaks out the win with a crucifix pin. Again just a very good match, with a nice story behind it and two women the crowd seemed mildly interested in.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Candice Michelle. Match Rating: 7/10

No Mercy – Candice Michelle* vs Beth Phoenix:

Candice may have escaped from Unforgiven with her title – but she couldn’t keep evading the Glamazon forever. Beth gained some non-title victories over Candice and earned herself a rematch. Sadly though, lightning didn’t strike twice. This rematch doesn’t have nearly as much chemistry between the two as the first one did. It’s honestly a little all over the place. Things never really get going and it’s mostly just a progression of moves from the women. Candice didn’t look good here – botching a couple of moves and throwing some very weak kicks and forearms. Beth was also notably more subdued than we’d expect from her. At this point in time, Beth was very much like Paige when she was called up. She had played a completely different character in developmental and was almost immediately given a huge push – before she’d had a chance to properly develop an identity or confidence in the new role. There were glimmers of hope throughout the match but it never really went anywhere. Beth pulls out the win rather lamely with a Fisherman Buster. It was probably a mistake to put Beth over so early in her run; she clearly hadn’t developed the Glamazon persona enough. And it would be a while before she’d really hit her stride.

Winner and NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Beth Phoenix. Match Rating: 4/10

Cyber Sunday:

This PPV was once again a breather episode for the Divas. We saw them return to the traditional format of voting for girls in sexy costumes. But this time they eliminated all wrestling from the equation, and made it a Halloween costume contest – with the fans voting on the winner. Melina is dressed as a Vegas showgirl (yay), Kelly Kelly as a ‘gangsta’ (nay), Jillian Hall as Britney Spears (serious yay), Brooke Adams as Jane of the Jungle (yay), Michelle McCool as Eve from the Bible (nay), Layla as a cop (yay), Torrie Wilson as a Washington Redskins football player (yay), Victoria as a sumo wrestler (yay), Maria as a cat (nay) and Mickie James as Pocahontas (yay). As expected, Mickie James bagged 21% of the votes and won the contest.

Survivor Series – Beth Phoenix, Victoria, Layla, Jillian Hall & Melina vs Mickie James, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly & Maria:

So Beth and Candice’s feud kept on going. Fans and critics were responding really well to it. WWE even saw fit to reward the girls with a 2/3 Falls Match on Raw. Unfortunately Candice got seriously injured and fractured her clavicle – putting her out of action for months. As such, WWE had to build a new challenger for Beth Phoenix. But a Big 4 PPV was coming up and WWE clearly wanted to continue the theme of ‘quantity over quality’ at those events (a Lumberjill match at WrestleMania, a battle royal at SummerSlam). A tri-branded Divas tag match pitted a team assembled by Mickie James against Beth’s team of mean jellybeans. The highlight of the segment is Melina botching her entrance and bursting out laughing – despite being a heel at the time. You might notice the large imbalance between the faces and heels; the heel team is made up primarily of the wrestling Divas (with Layla being the only model type there) and the faces have only one wrestler in Mickie James, two improving model types in Michelle and Torrie – and two more models in Maria and Kelly. This match is mostly about getting each partner tagged in and having a spot or two with everyone. Sometimes the action is good (Michelle vs Victoria) and sometimes it isn’t (Melina vs Maria). Anyway Mickie James picks up the win for her team with the Long Kiss Goodnight on Melina.

Winners: Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Torrie Wilson, Maria & Kelly Kelly. Match Rating: 4/10

Armageddon – Beth Phoenix* vs Mickie James:

Well what with Mickie picking up such a big win at the Survivor Series, it meant she was now the top face again. So she got her first crack at the Glamazon to close 2007. Before the match began, there’s an appearance from the ‘Jazzy Jezebel’ Jillian Hall. She’s there to plug her new album – an EP called A Jingle With Jillian. It featured Jillian covering four traditional Christmas songs completely in character. Spoiler: it ended up outselling Brooke Hogan’s album. Anyway this is a little different from Beth’s bouts with Candice in two ways: a) Mickie is much more solid in the ring, so her offence looks much tighter, and b) she’s more built than Candice, so she’s able to take the fight to Beth a little more. From a technical standpoint, the wrestling is fine. Some spots are very nice. However it’s still clear that the Glamazon is just a prototype. We all know Beth as this fearsome powerhouse – but she was still using trial and error with her persona. Even with a good worker like Mickie in there, they don’t really click. Mickie and Beth have never clicked. This is one of those matches that’s in between – not terrible but not amazing either. Beth retains of course thanks to her Fisherman Buster.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Beth Phoenix. Match Rating: 6/10

So 2007 was a bit of a mixed bag for the Divas; the division was clearly a shell of its former self without Trish and Lita. There did seem to be a certain “watch these girls jiggle” element for a good few of the matches – and lord knows what a pudding match was doing on PPV. But at the same time, it’s not as if WWE wasn’t pushing their women. Divas like Melina, Mickie James and Candice Michelle really came into their own in 2007. WWE did put effort into feuds and storylines, even with their on/off booking. And they had girls that were ever improving – like Michelle McCool, Jillian Hall and Beth Phoenix. The Diva Search girls were slowly evolving into wrestlers before our eyes as well. With more and more women coming into the company, we started to see a lot more Diva matches taking place – on Smackdown as well. 2008 would see this increase even further.






  • BAMFactor #THOTLeader

    Bobby you should really come over here and post your work here too! We have a great community and your work will be finally recognized on a better scale! Of course you will be posting on LW too because it’s your hobbie, but copy and paste is a great tool! ;)

    • Bobby Calloway

      Over where?

      • BAMFactor #THOTLeader

        h ttp s: //disqus. com/home/channels/ talkingdivas/ remove spaces



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