WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Long Live the Glow, For Everyone But Bliss At Least (February, 21st 2017)

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nicole-972

A Massive Action Packed and Emotionally Stirring episode of Smackdown took place this week. But why could that be? Well, the continuous back and forth action between Nikki Bella and Natalya in their Falls Count Anywhere Clash to define the true winner of this feud is one factor, or maybe it was the disastrously heartbreaking moment no one hoped for for a certain Smackdown Women’s Champ..

Smackdown opens with Daniel Bryan oddly calling the brands women’s champion Naomi to the ring. Last week, it was wondered whether Naomi would go on to achieve her dream of taking the women’s title to WrestleMania or whether her injury would subdue her, and we are about to get that answer. Once in the ring, a smiley Naomi is already surrounded by the Chants of Support for her, continued on from the Elimination Chamber where her title win took place. Bryan mentions how Naomi has worked hard, clawing her way to try and take her opportunity while other women have come in to take her place quickly. Bryan cant mention enough how proud he is for ascending to the top of his women’s division, and thats why its about to hurt him what hes going to do. He reminds everyone how he ascended to the top himself with championship in hand before vacating due to injury, seemingly hinting the same for Naomi. Bryan and Shane have looked over her medical record, and while the fans burst out into no chants in the hope Naomi doesn’t relinquish, Bryan states they have come to a decision that Naomi wont be cleared in time to defend her championship as she will have surpassed the 30 day limit that somehow doesn’t exist for current IC Champion Dean Ambrose or Brock Lesnar…

Naomi is already saddened as Bryan breaks out the news, as difficult as it is, that she has to relinquish the championship. It takes a while for Naomi to find the words before shes made to abdicate, but finally speaks towards her supportive audience. She first thanks Bryan for his kind words to her, as he knows whats running through her mind, having been in that particular position. It hurts her how quick a week can change things, because a week ago she was crying over how she finally ascended as Smackdown Women’s Champion, now shes filled again with sadness and frustration. She describes the feeling she had at Elimination Chamber, where she had climbed to the top of the mountain at last by overcoming Alexa Bliss, Now Naomi is freefalling, she has no control and she feels bad for the fans who have rode out on the journey to the top with her, completely feeling like she has let them down. Naomi notes to Bryan that once she has passed over the title, shes taking Mania away with it, her dream of competing there with a title in hand. The Crowd bursts into unexpected uproar and Naomi bursts into tears as she passes her title into the hands of Bryan, officially vacating it. Bryan is kind to his fellow talent however, urging them to show respect and applause to Naomi for her work, before embracing the tearful former champion. Before she can officially leave, she promises that no matter whose borrowing her title, everyone “will feel the glow”.

Naomi is heading up the ramp, tears still expectedly present when someone comes out to sour the moment further, Alexa Bliss. She gives the former champ a quick stare-down before proceeding to address Bryan. She gets immense heat as she calls Naomi’s abdication amazing and perfection, and furthermore, wishes to address what shes been wanting, the Women’s Title that is now vacant, and should go to her. Alexa suggests that since she didn’t get the rematch she believes she deserved, that the title should be returned to her. Bryan finds his next decision difficult, noting how Alexa is indeed the former champion, but its only difficult for Alexa, because shes got to face Becky Lynch in order to take back her title. Speaking of Lynch, out she comes for the singles match to crown the fourth overall Smackdown Women’s Champion…

Lynch is in the ring, toe to toe with Alexa when we return from a commercial break and the bell is rung to signal the start of the women’s title match. The opening lock up eventually turns into a shoving match between Bliss and Lynch, one that Bliss tries to end with a kick to the midsection that Lynch smartly blocks before going for the first pin attempt of the match that the former champion escapes at one. Alexa takes Becky down as quick, mirroring her earlier effort with a pin attempt also that ends at the count of one. Another roll up by Becky results in a near fall, the first of the match. Becky then goes for a kick, blocked by a wickedly smiling Bliss, before that smile is knocked off courtesy of a near KO’ing Inziguiri, near KO-ing as it doesn’t pin Bliss as she kicks out of the Lasskickers next pin attempt at two.

Alexa is on the attack next with a knee after blocking a suplex attempt. Alexa clubs Lynch in the back with an elbow, taken down by a running elbow from Becky moments later. Becky utilizes the ropes, taking advantage of Alexa’s attempt to use her athleticism to dodge to trip Alexa near mid air and send her to the mat. Becky rises out of Alexa’s Jackknife cover, backsliding Alexa into another pin attempt that closes at two. A Series of counters is turned in Becky’s favor, as she sends Alexa about the ring with a fair few arm drags, going right into targeting the left shoulder of Alexa once having her on the mat. Alexa makes it to her feet, missing a forearm smash to Becky, who remains clenched to her, at least until Alexa uses the ropes as support to break Becky away from her. Becky blocks a charging Alexa, going for her next offense that Alexa reverses into a standing STO. Alexa hurls forearms and covers once again, another pin attempt that Becky breaks away from as she keeps fighting in her chance to also regain the womens title.

Alexa drags Lynch to the second rope, choking her against it using her knee as she carries on the momentum. Alexa doesn’t complete that assault however without double knees to the back of Lynch’s neck before proceeding to shake the ropes to knock away the Lasskicker. Alexa darts into one more pin attempt, resulting again in a near fall on the also former champion. Alexa resorts to the temporary stretch hold after, met with some fists from Becky in retaliation, only temporary as Alexa takes her knee into the midsection of Becky again. Becky comes back with an arm wringer into an exploder suplex, and the big comeback move is sadly only enough for her to get a near fall in her follow up pin attempt. Having taken much, Alexa rolls out to the ringside floor to regroup, to the chagrin of Becky as we go to a commercial break.

When we return, Alexa is back in the ring and Becky is all fired up, charging right towards Alexa and connecting with a flying firearm in the corner, traditionally followed by the springboard sidekick and a back kick for extra damage. Becks connects with exploder suplex number two, but like the past efforts, its not enough and again Alexa kicks out at two. Becky goes for an assault in another corner, floating out to the apron via Alexa’s shenanigans. Becky knocks away Alexa with a forearm before helping herself up the turnbuckles, connecting with a dropkick that results again in a near fall. Alexa is clambering over to the apron but Becky is in hot pursuit, seizing her fellow NXT Alumni by the legs that soon send her away. Alexa tries to scramble from the ring again but Becky is quick to return her focus, clenching Alexa again. Alexa has raised the ring apron in turn, which the ref focuses on putting away, allowing Alexa to sneakily rake the eyes of the fellow former champion. With that done, she rolls up Becky and pins her, regaining the Smackdown Women’s Championship and becoming the first 2x Smackdown Women’s Champion. Mickie even joins in the celebration on the ramp before trying to cheap-shot a frustrated Becky to no avail. Despite the near blow, Alexa’s new title reign remains intact.

Moving forward now, and as many will recall, last week another physical showdown between Nikki and Natalya in the backstage area caused Smackdowns GM Daniel Bryan to snap, making a Falls Count Anywhere Match between the two to hopefully end their heated rivalry. Well, after a backstage interview, the Fearless Bella courageously steps into the ring to face the Queen of Harts, looking to prove her naysayer and fellow former Divas Champion wrong once and for all. No Boiling rivalry should begin with a lock up, as Nikki proves, spearing Nattie to the mat the moment the bell is rung and unloading on her fierce rival. When Natalya tries to escape her grasp, Nikki gives chase, out then into the ring. Nikki makes it back to the ring, driving Natalya’s face into her knee with much viciousness, going for the pin quickly and getting a near fall on the Queen of Harts.

As Natalya regroups in the ring, Nikki slips outside with some cruel intentions, examining under the ring for a weapon of some form, pulling out a table, legal in a match of such a stipulation. However, she only gets to drag it midway out when Natalya’s focus returns, with the Queen of Harts executing a baseball slide dropkick to the foe to delay her possible intentions, or to put it to good use herself. Nattie asks if the supporting WWE Universe want tables, and when they respond with the expected answer, she pulls the heel trolling move as she puts the table back under the ring. Shes then rolled up on the floor by Nikki, which results in a two count and another near fall. Natalya snatches Nikki by her hair, but before she can do much else, Nikki has snuck a kendo stick into her hand, smacking the rival with it. Nikki takes advantage of the hard shots with another pin attempt on Natalya against the floor, ending again with a near fall result.

Nikki isn’t done delivering damage to the opponent there, running Nattie back first into the barricade. After another pin attempt fails to take Natalya out, Nikki takes their currently heated match into the crowd as she lobs Natalya over the barricade, into the sight of the attending members of the WWE Universe. Nikki follows Natalya into the crowd, met with forearms to the face from the heel, who runs her head first into a table. Natalya then throws Nikki in between the hockey board, throwing another forearm at her as she tries to regain composure. Natalya sets herself atop the hockey board, teasing a suplex that Nikki throws off as she kicks Natalya down to the floor. Nikki then waits for Natalya to get back to her feet before executing an inziguiri. Nikki goes for the first pin attempt in the crowd, and despite the insane effort so far, Natalya is still battling, kicking out at two. Despite the shock and disdain, Nikki remains focused, taking the rival back to ringside, though before she can do anything, shes shoved back first into the barricade. If that wasn’t enough, Nikki’s shoulder meets the ring post, courtesy of the continuation of a vicious Nattie’s assault. That same shoulder also ends up meeting the steel steps as Nattie’s momentum carries on further, and after the failed attempt to pin, its now Nattie who has the kendo stick seized. However, she quickly has other intentions, stripping part of the commentary table. Before Nattie can execute her next assault, Nikki unleashes a rampage of forearms, throwing Natalya to the ring, though her stay is fairly temporary as she shoulder tackles Nikki between the ropes, slipping under the bottom rope to attempt a powerbomb that ends up falling flat. After a short exchange, Nikki overturns momentum, sending Nattie into the table with the Alabama Slam. Nikki tries to pin atop the table but the brutality hasn’t subdued Nattie just yet as the Queen of Harts again kicks out at two.

We return from a commercial break to see Natalya has tried to take momentum, looking to seize Nikki in the sharpshooter but ultimately falling flat as Nikki utilizes the ropes. While there’s no rope breaks, that doesn’t bother Natalya as her next plan is in mind, seizing Nikki and leading her toward the backstage area despite an onslaught taken along the way. Natalya utilizes the equipment by the backstage area, even pinning Nikki on it, but like Nattie, Nikki fights on, kicking out at two. Nattie shoves Nikki through the curtains, throwing forearms at her as she follows her further through the backstage area, even managing to shove her into Maryse again, who just happens to be waddling by in the particular area. Natalya seizes Nikki again, with no care for a fallen Maryse also, planning the next attack thats clearly diverted as Nattie gets her face smashed against a mirror. As painful sounding as it is, even that doesn’t take out Nattie, as Nikki’s next attempt to pin ends again in a near fall.

Nikki takes Natalya back into the view of the WWE Universe, leading her to the stage, where she spears her. After some forearms to Natalya against the floor, Nikki tries once more to try pin her opposition, but its no use and another near fall just awaits. Nikki is leading Nattie down the ramp next when shes met with some forearms from the fellow competitor, who takes her and her shoulders flat down to the ramp in a sharpshooter set up. Nikki reverses much desperately into the STF, applied with much aggression, but its broken by an unexpected interference, courtesy of a lead pipe wielded by Maryse, who appears to be sick of the antics of Nikki Bella in past weeks. Of course there’s no Disqualification but even Miz is shook by Maryses actions, attempting to drag her to the back to allow the action to continue. Of course Natalya would capitalize on Maryse’s outrage to pin Nikki, winning the match and closing the feud as the victor.

(Naomi, Daniel Bryan and Alexa Bliss Segment)

(Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss; Smackdown Women’s Championship Match feat Mickie James)

(Natalya vs Nikki Bella; Falls Count Anywhere Match feat Maryse)

(Nikki Bella on Smackdown Fallout)

Thoughts On:
Naomi Abdication: As a fan i have never been so emotional over a women’s related storyline or particular segment since Paige’s main roster debut like i have with Naomi. The way this segment was carried out went beyond kayfabe in my opinion, it was solid acting on the part of Daniel Bryan with a sense of realism that is delivered every week he is on Talking Smack, not only because Smackdown gives him that right, but because of how he relates personally to Naomi’s situation, ascending to the top of the pinnacle despite the naysayers then having the shortcomings arrive via unexpected injury. I Like both Alexa and Naomi equally but the Naomi segment was hard to watch because of the feeling it was beyond kayfabe, because as a fan we’ve seen Naomi have so many shortcomings in her main roster career, losing out on a Divas Title run, having chances taken by the newly promoted to finally getting the top and being truly represented at WrestleMania to only have it taken away from her not by the acts of whoever backstage but by a legitimate injury that one can only hope is less than two months. Naomi has created a mass connection with the WWE Universe that topped to new heights at Elimination Chamber with a surprise title win that could never be seen from the unexpected on RAW, and hopefully, instead of her being relegated upon return in favor of whoevers being promoted, the shocking and upsetting move makes Naomi an even bigger babyface, and a hopefully built story of redemption becomes the icing on the cake so to speak. Please Creative, stop screwing her, you know exactly what to do when she comes back. If you can hold off for Finn Balor, then why not Naomi? The 30 Day Clause should not have even had a mention here, even if it was accidental or even if not, especially when many champions have gone out of their way to surpass it on numerous occasions, Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Nikki Bella and Sable being examples. While the thought of Naomi surrendering because of Injury surpasses that factor, the 30 Day Clause should not have been even mentioned or used in this angle entirely.

Alexa/Becky: While i would have preferred a surprise opponent for Alexa considering her matches with Becky are nearly becoming overdone, the booking made sense here due to Becky’s run ending at the hands of Alexa and because Becky needed redemption after the many times she has had shortcomings in her chances to regain the title. If Naomi isn’t back in time for Mania, i expect Becky in the title picture with the possible inclusion of Mickie James, and maybe even Carmella with James Ellsworth as the possible shock assist. That being if RAWs power doesn’t try and relegate these women on the card at all to the point where its a tag match or no booking at all. But with Naomi out for the foreseeable future, the Women’s Title picture isnt really clear for the major Pay Per View at the minute, as Becky has two foes to deal with now. Either Tamina is back soon considering her SD Live event return, or Bryan pulls some sort of swerve in the booking by forcing Mickie to compete against Alexa in a multi woman match at WrestleMania, allowing the cracks to come out on the grandest stage.

Nikki/Natalya: Easily the best match women’s wise of the night and the best in the rivalry, with the stipulation being utilized effectively. The intensity delivered from start to finish and the fact that its a Falls Count Anywhere Match featuring women who wouldn’t have received this if they were on that particular brand (RAW) because one or both would be in a side angle with lackluster booking at best (look at Rosa’s comeback as the protege of Natalya for example) made me feel like it was better than Sasha vs Charlotte in their Falls Count Anywhere encounter. I Can see the powerbomb was never executed in order to protect Nikki’s neck, i thought the inziguiri would be a surprise moonsault at first and the Mirror spot with Natalya sounded lethal to the point of sympathy. The Stipulation worked perfectly when it comes to utilizing outside interferences, and while the only negative is how Nikki and Maryse have encountered each other, through Maryse legitimately walking in the backstage area despite the camera showing that she knows there’s a match going on in that particular part of the backstage area (when i would have had Maryse confront the two and say they shouldn’t be fighting in the back because its insane and an unsafe environment, leading to Nikki lobbing her into Maryse and into a wall) im really hyped to see Maryse back in a ring at last and the fact shes feuding with someone she has legit heat with makes me excited for the segments that are to come, on top of the fact that Maryse and Miz are going to wrestle together. Sadly we know how thats ending at WrestleMania but the feud should be a joy overall.

– Catherine

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