Smackdown’s Diva Division
After reading several reviews (here, here, here and here) on Smackdown, I’ve been quite surprised by the lack of enthusiasm for the improvement of the Diva’s Division. I still think there is room for improvement in the ring but they’re significantly better than they were a year ago. Part of the reason they’re improving is because the WWE is being a copy cat league so that has some bearing on what is occuring in the storylines right now. TNA’s Knockout Division has been their biggest draw recently and over an extended period. Now that the WWE knows the formula can work, they’ve set to work in creating a competitive Diva’s Division on Smackdown since Raw has been home to Women’s Champion and Division since the brand split.
Victoria is being used in a mentor role even though she has the tools and looks to rule the division. Maria obviously used her time off after being shipped to Smackdown to improve her in ring skills. Maryse took enough time out of her schedule of bubble baths to take some lessons too. Michelle McCool may be devoid of personality but her in ring skills are solid. Natalya Neidhart is the best of the young talented divas in the ring but she has been given little time to put over her character. Brie Bella has just been thrown into the mix to diversify the division even more.
On this past week’s Smackdown, Maryse confronted McCool during a photoshoot backstage. I thought she played the role of stuck up French Canadian very well. She even used “Au revoir ” to conclude which helped to nail down her snobbishness. The majority of wrestling audience never likes French Canadian wrestlers so it is a well tested, but repeated gimmick. As usual, McCool couldn’t hold up her end of the bargain in the promo department. Their match up at Unforgiven should provide a good rest match for the card. Natalya has been established as the power house of the Divas so it makes sense to push another woman in the heel role and Maryse has started off on the right foot. By the way, who wouldn’t rather see that hideous Diva’s Title around Maryse’s waist? I’d at least be distracted so that I wouldn’t realize how ugly it is on the current stick figure champion.
Even though Victoria is a heel, she is occupied with the newest prospects. The WWE seems set on not allowing one of their best female workers in the whole company to occupy the top spot which mystifies me. She is great at her current role though and was even sent down to Florida Championship Wrestling to work with Natalya before her call up. Brie Bella was put in the ring with Victoria this week so that Brie could work through the nerves of her first televised match, even if it was on tape. It appeared that she still needs some more work but that is fine for a newcomer. What I did like about her appearance was the way the WWE handled her shennigans. If you don’t want a possible spoiler, don’t click the read more button.
Brie Bella was part of a tag team called the Bella Twins with Nicole Bella in Florida Championship Wrestling. The normal route would be to bring in a twin tag team that obviously switches spots to pick up wins. The WWE has decided to tweak that concept and “only” brought in Brie. I will note that only this report by Jason Powell hinted at this idea. The switch this past week was made under the ring. Jim Ross and Tazz did a good job of noting that she appeared to regain energy without mentioning a switch. The majority of fans probably aren’t aware of the tag team so it makes for a nice twist. The only thing that is confusing about this tactic is that it is normally reserved for heels and Brie was presented as a face especially with the amount of trash talking Victoria did in the ring. The vocal trash talking did help add comedy where it isn’t normally found.
The Diva’s Division is still a work in progress but they are certainly headed in the right direction. With the possible acquisition of Gail Kim in the near future, the WWE may be set to surpass TNA’s Knockout with their double dose from the Women’s Division on Raw and Diva’s Division on Smackdown. – Kevin
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