Saturday, December 6, 2014

Debut of the Year

In a year that saw multiple Superstars and Divas make their debuts, one stood out above them all. Not Adam Rose, not Bo Dallas, not Emma, but Paige. Let's start from the beginning though. Paige, daughter of British wrestler Saraya Knight, was first seen by me at SHIMMER. She was teaming with her mom, with future fellow NXT star Becky Lynch as their manager, before moving into a feud with her mom. She was signed by the WWE and made a splash in NXT. Her "Anti-Diva" character got over and she won the Tournament to crown the first ever NXT Women's Champion. It was clear by her emotional reaction to winning, that this meant a lot to her. She would go on to be a focal point of the first NXT Special on the WWE Network, beating Emma in a damn good NXT Women's Championship match. As WrestleMania rolled around, Paige still had a stranglehold on the NXT belt, so nobody expected to see her on the main roster until she dropped it.

The night after WrestleMania, which is usually the biggest Raw of the year, the current Divas Champion came out to cut a promo. AJ Lee was in the midst of a 300+ day reign as Divas Champion and, less than 24 hours prior, head beaten 13 other divas. She called herself the "Best Diva in the World" before she was cut off by the theme of the NXT Women's Champion. Paige came out to a huge pop from the rowdy crowd in New Orleans and attempted to congratulate AJ Lee. AJ wanted no part and challenged the Anti-Diva, putting the title on the line. She was overconfident and it cost her as Paige put her down with the Paige Turner and captured the Divas Champion in a shocking moment. With the win, Paige became the youngest Champion in WWE history.

Now, as much as I love Paige, what has followed that historic night has been a bit
disappointing. Her title run as a face was just match after match with no real story and kind of fell flat. Then, she dropped the title to a returning AJ and became her "frenemy." This was odd until she turned heel from it and then I feel that she started to shine again. She would win her second Divas Championship at SummerSlam on her 22nd birthday. While she lost it again about a month later, winning two Divas Title by 22 is an impressive feat. Now, while she isn't directly involved in the title picture, she will be joining the Total Divas cast in January. Some see this as a negative but it gets her more exposure and money, so I think it's a good move. In the end, Paige has a lot of years in front of her and she could surpass the current record of three Divas Championships down the line. Her debut was impactful, shocking and a lot of fun, making it the debut of the year.

Smackdown Report 12-5-14

We open with a shot of the retired Santino Marella because he's the General Manager for the evening. His office reminds me of Commissioner Mick Foley's in a good way. Following the Raw recap, Dolph Ziggler is here for an Intercontinental Championship match! I will continue to say that Smackdown should be the Intercontinental Title showcase show. Dolph has been having some pretty long matches on TV but this was a bit shorter. I enjoyed it and feel that they can definitely do more. Harper got himself disqualified to keep the title and then went after Ziggler with a ladder but it backfired. Santino came out and announced that at the TLC...S Pay-Per-View, Harper will defend the belt against Dolph in a Ladder Match! First off, adding the S to TLC is stupid, but a Ladder match between these two has the potential to steal the show. 
The remnants of the Authority come to the ring in Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show and J&J Security. I don't understand why these guys still come out like they have power or something. Seth talks about how he doesn't have to pin John Cena at TLC, just put him through a table like he did on Raw. Big Show throws around the steel steps to prove a point while Kane talks about chairs and Ryback. Santino comes out and makes a tag team main event pitting Erick Rowan and Ryback against Seth Rollins and Big Show. I would be all for Santino as a permanent General Manager. Think of the hilarious skits.
 Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are teaming up again and according to Natayla's Twitter, they could be going by UpperCats, which is one of the greatest things of all time. I like the team but I would love to see Tyson get an Intercontinental Championship run in the future with his new character. They take on The New Day, who seem to be using a Freebird style with their matches as you never know which two you're going up against. This was quite possibly my favorite match of the night, even though it was short, as Kidd and Cesaro took on Kofi and Xavier, who won a game of odds and evens to compete. New Day wins and I'd like to hear some reasoning behind the team of Kidd and Cesaro and not just be a random pairing. As New Day are celebrating, Stardust and Goldust appear on the titantron and cut a promo on them, saying their positive message means nothing to them. Xavier grabs a microphone after they leave and all three of them talk about their unity and how darkness won't take over them. Big E speaks in his preacher voice, which actually makes sense here. I'm all about tag team feuds with promo work and no titles. This should be fresh and damn good.
Dean Ambrose was out next for his first time ever match against the United States Champion, Rusev. He cuts a promo about Bray Wyatt and how he broke the rocking chair on Raw before Rusev and Lana come to the stage. Lana says that Rusev will not be competing because of Jack Swagger attacking him on Raw. Dean says that he tuned them out after she said he wouldn't be competing and told Lana to stop shooting him flirtatious looks. TITTY MASTER! He goes to get Rusev but is attacked by Bray! Bray says "that was her chair" as he pulls out The Undertaker's old steel chair throat attack, but into the steel steps. Ambrose does the stretcher job due to this and it came off very well. I didn't like that an advertised match failed to happen but I liked the build towards TLC.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow are out to talk about Jimmy Uso's issues with him lately. He still claims that he was just trying to help Naomi grow in her career. See, earlier in the night, Naomi received flowers and thought they were from Jimmy but they were apology flowers from Miz. Jimmy came out upset and wanted to get his hands on Miz badly just like on Main Event. Miz compared Naomi to Kim Kardashian, which is probably more insult than compliment. Jey is going to defend his sister-in-law but he falls to the former WWE Champion. Not much, but I prefer the jealous boyfriend angle over Team A wrestling Team B fifteen times.
Look, if the WWE is going to just scratch the entire Bella Twins feud and make them friends for no reason again, then just let them use Nikki's music. Brie comes out to wrestle Naomi and we have to hear the god awful Brie Mode theme music. This could be considered a focal point of Total Divas vs. an afterthought on Total Divas. Nikki was at ringside and AJ Lee was on commentary. Basic stuff as Nikki goes to interfere so AJ stops her, allowing Naomi to win. NXT SEASON THREE STICKS TOGETHER! Brie puts a stupid looking pouty face as AJ leaves.
We move into the main event pitting Seth Rollins and Big Show against Erick Rowan and Ryback. This was only decent at best since Ryback and Erick Rowan aren't very good and I don't have much to say about the match itself. After Kane gets ejected, Ryback pins Seth Rollins with the ShellShock. This is where the issue lies. I don't think that Seth should be eating pins, especially to the likes of Ryback. He lost at Survivor Series, which is fine, but I'm pretty sure he's losing at TLC as well. I hope he can regain his momentum after all of this.
Not the best episode of Smackdown but not the worst. I again enjoyed the majority of the show outside of the main event. The Divas stuff was basic, but I love the idea of the New Day feuding with the Dust Brothers. The Dean Ambrose/Bray Wyatt stuff continues to be at its best on Smackdown and the Harper/Ziggler match built towards TLC well. 6.5/10.