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WWE Divas, Raw, Smackdown & NXT Results – The Road To WrestleMania Is Paved With Speed Bumps
Posted on Friday, March 24th, 2017
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WWE Divas – Raw, Smackdown & NXT Results:

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As we are only a week away from WrestleMania, the Road is getting even bumpier. And there’s also NXT Takeover on the way. Nia Jax faced the Raw Women’s Champion in a match last week that went to a DQ. She now faces Bayley once again in a No DQ match – with the stipulation that she earns a spot in the WrestleMania match if she wins! Charlotte also felt the wrath of her beleaguered associate last week, as Dana Brooke was none too happy after being fired. Charlotte and Dana go one-on-one. Smackdown features The Miz and Maryse promising to air ‘never seen before’ episodes of Total Bellas to discredit their WrestleMania opponents. Becky Lynch also takes on the Princess of Staten Island as revenge from Carmella interfering last week. On NXT, Asuka has an opponent from the indies to warm her up in preparation of her Takeover bout. Likewise Nikki Cross finds someone new to contend with…

Raw:

Charlotte vs Dana Brooke

Winner: Charlotte

Bayley vs Nia Jax [No Disqualifications]

Winner: Nia Jax

Thoughts:

Oh Raw, after delivering some good build-up last week, you had to go and undo all of it. Didn’t I say last week that they should have waited until after WrestleMania to split Charlotte and Dana? Didn’t I say that they might get swept up in the mania of the big show? And that’s exactly what happened. WWE pulled the trigger too soon, rushed the storyline and ruined any momentum they may have had. Charlotte wins clean and makes Dana look terrible. They could have salvaged having the match so soon if they had given us a dirty finish or some kind of other way to extend things. But it appears that this has gone the way of Tamina vs AJ in 2012, Melina vs Alicia Fox in 2010, Kaitlyn vs Layla in 2013 – and numerous other storylines that WWE treated as annoyances to be over and done with ASAP. Not that this seems like the kind of feud that would have produced hard-hitting matches. Dana and Charlotte have had two singles matches with each other – one on NXT and now this one. Both have been equally underwhelming. This was Dana’s big moment. She had the opportunity to take it to the former Women’s Champion like Alex Riley before her, and make us pop. Instead? Slow, lethargic punches. Boring, monotonous offence. Zero fire. She bombed. She bombed so badly. I was cringing throughout this whole spectacle. Dana has been trained to wrestle entirely as a heel. She can’t be just put into the ring at her skill level and expected to go balls-to-the-wall with Charlotte. She needs time to test things out on house shows and work out her new identity in the ring. Granted I’m not sure she’s capable of going balls-to-the-wall but she was a victim of bad booking, and unfortunately couldn’t roll with it like some of the others can. Are they planning on picking this feud back up after WrestleMania? Maybe they can salvage it then.

The match between Bayley and Nia Jax was a little better, but not exactly riveting TV. It’s a similar deal to the repeated Becky and Sasha matches we got in the build-up to last year’s show; too much of a good thing. I’m not saying that Nia and Bayley’s matches are that good, but they do have chemistry. And there were a couple of moments in this match that made me open my eyes – Nia ragdolling Bayley into the security wall for one. But now she’s in the WrestleMania match too. I can’t say I’m happy about it. I was willing to accept that Charlotte would be in the match; after all, she was the Women’s Champion and leading the division for the last year. So it made sense that she would get recognised, and put Bayley over on the grandest stage of them all before bowing out of the spotlight. But Nia? WrestleMania is supposed to be the best of the best getting to showcase what they do. XIX had uber-babyface Trish Stratus battling it out against her long time rival Victoria and her new rival Jazz. 22 likewise was the conclusion of the long Trish/Mickie storyline. 31 had rivals Paige and AJ Lee teaming up to face the top heel Bella Twins. Even last year had the three NXT call-ups of the Divas Revolution storyline meeting in the one match. But over the years, WWE has forgotten about the specialness of WrestleMania, and turned it into ‘everyone gets a turn’. While there’s nothing wrong with giving people a WrestleMania payday, that can be put in throwaway matches or backstage segments. You don’t see jobbers getting put into the title picture just because it’s Mania. Last year probably had the best idea with a 10-woman tag in addition to the title match. But Nia hasn’t really earned her spot in the title match. She hasn’t been a vital part of the division since she was called up. She’s been a spare part. But she’s in the match anyway and we’ve got yet another girl on the card.

Smackdown:

The Miz and Maryse present lost episodes of Total Bellas.

John Cena w/Nikki Bella faces Fandango w/Breezy Bella.

Becky Lynch vs Carmella

No Contest

Thoughts:

So even though we’ve got a third storyline based around attacking Nikki Bella for her relationship with John Cena, this one is doing something fun. Great idea to do the Total Bellas spoof, and I have to say that The Miz does a great Cena impression. I feel like this is what the ‘Growing Up Bella’ segments back in 2014 were trying to go for – and of course these worked better. And Breezy Bella…this stuff was golden. I hope they make it to the card at Mania doing a repeat of this as another gag. This intergender storyline didn’t get off to the best start, but I’ve been really enjoying the recent segments for it. I’m still dubious about the actual match, because in the era she was part of the WWE, Maryse was practically synonymous with having great build-ups to her feuds and then completely disappointing whenever the time came to actually wrestle. I hope that for once she actually decides to put actual effort into a match and forgo her usual strategies of slapping, hair pulling, half-assed camel clutches and the French Kiss DDT. As this is rumoured to be Nikki’s final match, or at least her stepping down, I think she deserves an opponent who’s actually going to put effort in. Maryse, it’s all down to you. You’ll be in the ring with three larger than life characters who are more than capable of bringing it. Step it up, girl!

The Becky/Carmella match was short, but it wasn’t about the ring work. It was about getting all the women out there to brawl in the ring and hit their signature moves. Not the most original segment, but it did the trick. It definitely amped up the excitement and made it feel like WrestleMania was on the way. But the real excitement I feel is yet to come. There were lines on commentary that explicitly said “We don’t know what kind of match this will be” – so that seems to hint at a stipulation. I sincerely hope that’s what’s going to happen. With Raw now cluttering their match with four girls, this one should have a stipulation to differentiate it. Granted they could just poop on everyone’s parade and turn it into a silly battle royal, but I hope it’s something big. A Ladder Match seems like the best logical solution, and it would fit the theme of everyone fighting it out for the title. The only other possibility is an Elimination match. While I would prefer a Ladder Match, that one could be fun too. I will say that I hope the event ends with Alexa Bliss retaining. While I love that everyone on Smackdown has been given plenty of time and character development, the title is in need of prestige. It was only instated a few months ago, and we’re already on our fourth champion. Give Alexa a long title reign, establishing her fighting the other women to keep it. Wrestling fans may be fickle and demand lots of title changes, but the prestige of the belt should come first. They put Alexa over as their champion, so she should build up the belt. She doesn’t have a lot of momentum behind her and they have been selling how she’s outmatched, so hopefully that’s a sign.

NXT

Asuka vs Priscilla Zuniga

Winner: Asuka

Heidi Lovelace – now known as Ruby Riot – debuts to attack Nikki Cross!

Thoughts:

Hmm another squash match. But did this one suck? Not necessarily. While it wasn’t the kind of build-up I had hoped for, I did like that Asuka used the match to send a message to Ember Moon. They did a similar trick back building towards her match with Bayley – where she beat down on Aliyah just to taunt her opponent. Asuka did a phenomenal job of beating the crap out of Priscilla, and it did put some story into her upcoming match with Ember. The main thing NXT has to do is give Ember some mic time. Everyone knows pretty much that she’ll be our next NXT Women’s Champion, so that’s kinda what they ought to do. Triple H recently went on record to say he wasn’t happy with how NXT was at the moment, so that should be a sign that the bookers need to get their act together. Create meaningful feuds and storylines. Smackdown manages to do so, and Raw can from time to time as well. And what happened to the two Aussies trying to get Ember’s finisher banned? No backstage segments or interviews to follow up on that? Much like Maryse at WrestleMania, NXT you need to step it up.

We also saw the debut of another new signee. Heidi Lovelace I’ve been familiar with from a few matches from years ago. From what I remember, she’s fine in the ring but had problems with her character. She’s got a different look anyway and I like the tattoos. The name Ruby Riot is nice, and I’m sure she’ll do good things in the rings of NXT. Her actual debut was a bit of a mess. The whole thing was booked very stupidly, as seen by the fact that one of the guys didn’t even notice her and nearly whipped a guy into her. I can’t say she debuted with a bang. But it’s good that they’ve brought someone in for Nikki Cross to work with, if she’s not going to get a follow-up of her program with Asuka. Not a great episode of NXT but there are glimmers of hope in the future.






  • conan_kun

    Why Charlotte and/or Sasha just sit backstage to watch the biggest threat Nia wins and being added in the title match hopelessly instead of at least trying to interfere on Bayley’s behalf to keep it triple threat since this is No DQ match, there’s no sign that Steph banned other woman at ringside or Bayley told Sasha don’t come out. Sasha looked pleased at Nia who has beaten the crap out of her several times has been added to their title match, that makes no sense at all. I hope for some woman like Sasha, Bayley or even Charlotte if she turns babyface later after Sasha turns heel, doing the AJ Styles ambushed Shane McMahon last week to Steph, or else it’s meaningless if Steph never get comeuppance after she keeps dressing down talents.

    They still haven’t revealed the stipulation for the SmackDown women’s title match at Mania yet. Whether if it’s One Fall, Elimination match, Battle Royal or Gauntlet match. Since they trying to make it at least 10 competitors, it may end up another mess like Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational back to WM30.

    It won’t be Nikki’s final match since she’s advertised for Smackdown live event at Europe on May.

    Now WWE and NXT is horrible in creating female babyface when Asuka is on the road to evil way, especially Raw is short of babyface, not to mention Sasha may turn heel soon, leave Bayley as only female babyface on Raw, NXT has no credible female babyface to fill up for main roster where there’s more heels than babyfaces.

    • Bobby Calloway

      Perhaps they want to keep their distance where Nia’s involved? Charlotte might want Nia in there in the hopes she can rely on her to take out Bayley and Sasha while she picks the bones. Of course the meta reason is that they’re trying to avoid overbooking everything like the mess that was TNA’S fatal 4 way at Bound For Glory 2011.

      I personally enjoyed the Vickie Guerrerro Invitational and thought it was a really fun match. All the women did a great job.

      I’m not bothered about Asuka because she has never been a straight up face. She’s always been a wild card who just wants to win. She’ll be the good guy against END or the Aussies, or the bad against Bayley or Mickie. True NXT needs to invest more time into the likes of Aliyah, Liv Morgan and Ember Moon to make them proper faces.

      • Francisco Baguer

        Nia Jax is Boring. Why they put her at Wrestlemania when she’s clearly not ready? Nia just a big a lumbering giant, with 4 moves, who gets gassed in a 10 minute match. She’s not Awesome Kong, at least Kong can climb to the top rope and do a splash despite her size. Seems like Roman, she’s only pushed because she’s the cousin of the Rock. Bayley is treated badly as champion, she loses all of her matches which isn’t good for a champion. Her reign is like Rey Mysterio’s reign in 2006. Bayley is the champion and needs to be protected, she can’t be the underdog anymore because she’s the champion and needs to win. With all these losses, I hope Bayley does finally win at Wrestlemania.

        • Bobby Calloway

          Bayley has been losing a little too much for my liking lately. there’s being an underdog and there’s just making your top girl look weak.

          • Francisco Baguer

            On the subject of Smackdown, I hope Naomi comes back to win the title at Wrestlemania in her hometown or Mickie winning. This can’t be a rehash of Mania 30 with Alexa being AJ, there has to be a new champion. Alexa doesn’t have the charisma or the connection that AJ did. The crowd is silent when she comes out. Alexa is a true definition of a vanilla midget who can’t get over with the crowd because she’s generic mean girl heel.

            • conan_kun

              No thanks for Mickie winning since she already have Wrestlemania victory against Trish more than a decade ago, she may win the title later but not at Wrestlemania, I hope Naomi or Becky wins.

              • Bobby Calloway

                Where are you getting this ‘Alexa can’t connect with the crowd’ mentality? The crowd reacts when she comes out, she gets heat in her promos and she works them in matches. She’s not getting thunderous pops -- but that’s because she’s still growing as a top heel. She only won her first belt back in December. It takes time to build up a relationship with the fans. The Four Horsewomen didn’t get instant pops. They got lukewarm reactions but won the fans over through consistently good showings and matches. Alexa needs to retain because she is the one who was put over to become the champion and the title needs prestige. It means nothing if it hops back and forth between different women every two months. WWE stop and start with people too much. It takes time.

                • conan_kun

                  You reply to wrong person

                • Francisco Baguer

                  Would you want to see other women been given the chance or see the same two people play hot potato with the belt? I’d pick the former over the latter.

                  • Bobby Calloway

                    Precisely. I wouldn’t like to see hot potato with the belt, which is why Alexa needs to retain at WrestleMania. Who she can feud with afterwards is up in the air. But there does need to be a defined hierarchy. That’s why the Four Horsewomen era of NXT worked -- Charlotte was the top heel, Sasha her number two, Bayley the top face etc. Make Alexa the champion who defends her belt against multiple women -- giving each of the Smackdown roster a chance to get their development. So that when whoever is chosen to be put over as the new champion will have plenty of choice in their opponents. But you don’t zip through the competition to give everyone their shot -- that’s why TNA’s division was such a disaster for years. Get as much mileage out of someone as possible.

                    • Francisco Baguer

                      I do know one person who can feud with her and carry the division: Naomi. Naomi never lost the the title she was forced to vacate it. If she returns at Wrestlemania, wouldn’t you want her to have big moment by winning the title she never lost in her own hometown? Wouldn’t you want to see Naomi get her revenge on Alexa? With some exceptions, Wrestlemania has always the faces getting their moments and conquering the adversary. A woman who got “you deserve it chants” and someone who is clearly more over than Alexa is. I think Naomi can establish herself as a top face.

                    • Bobby Calloway

                      In hindsight I thought it was a mistake to put Naomi over so soon -- especially just for the sake of a hometown pop that she ultimately won’t get. I would like to see a proper feud between them. Both can go in the ring and are good talkers. While Naomi should be the one to win the title back, a couple of segments where Alexa mocks Naomi for being irrelevant don’t really build up enough material for a full feud. I want them to have something big and lengthy, really building up the legitimacy of the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

                    • Francisco Baguer

                      Plus, with the way Bayley has been booked since Fast Lane, she needs to win at WrestleMania more than anyone. Charlotte had her moment last year, now its Bayley’s turn. If the idea is to have Bayley lose to Sasha, then it will do nothing but make Bayley look like a moron that no one will cheer for. Just save Bayley vs Sasha for SummerSlam, the fact that it’s gonna be in Brooklyn writes itself.



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