A pretty big week in store for our women in all companies really. First of all, let me just say that it's very good news that there's actually been a Divas match announced for WrestleMania but I'll get to that in a moment. Unless I'm mistaken, most of the Divas were featured on TV this week and many of them in a wrestling capacity. Similarly we saw quite a few Knockouts being featured on the one episode too which is very impressive. Should be a good one.
There wasn't really any specific segment to split each entry into so I'm just going to review all of the sightings here. First the mixed tag that never was. I marked out for the team of Aksana and Santino and these two should definitely team together more frequently. For a moment I thought Johnny had changed it to Mark Henry & David Otunga vs Santino & Aksana but of course this is PG so we wouldn't be able to get anything out of that. Aksana is being featured pretty heavily in this storyline and I'd like for her to make it to WrestleMania standing at ringside or maybe (wishful thinking) make it a mixed tag and have her on Team Teddy. I'd love for her to eventually become a proper part of the women's division but for now she's doing fine where she is. As for the backstage segment, it looks like Beth got poured into that outfit and forgot to say "when". She acted really weird in this segment, a little too LayCool-ish for my tastes but I'll excuse it. I knew it would be a tag match for Mania, I just didn't assume Maria Menunous would be on the face side. I'm going to focus on the positives for this match - first of all, three of the women in this match can wrestle and have all been featured prominently over the past year so of course they deserve a spot at Mania. I would prefer Eve vs Kelly or Beth vs Natalya sure but WrestleMania is always a hindrance for the girls so we'll likely get those matches further down the line anyway. Perhaps Eve/Kelly could make it to the Extreme Rules card? Second of all, we're actually getting a proper match at WrestleMania. No Lumberjills, no battle royal, no clusterfuck. Third of all, Maria has shown some flair with the couple of times she's been in the ring. Naturally she'll train especially hard for this match and hey, Ashley Massaro and Maria Kanellis were able to bring their A-game at WrestleMania 24 so why not her? Fourth of all, Maria is a "celebrity" meaning her presence will get WWE some exposure and by extension the Divas. Which also means, the match is likely going to get a decent amount of time. Last year's Snooki segment got 10 minutes which is very respectable. If they don't clog up time giving every girl an entrance then they should have more than enough time to wrestle. Celebrity involvement has always been a part of WrestleMania and last year's match was a lot better than any of us would have hoped.
NXT - Maxine & Johnny Curtis vs Kaitlyn & Derrick Bateman:
Once again not a particularly good match but made up for it with the entertaining backstage segments. I like that the writers are allowing Kaitlyn to be fun and goofy because that's what she's best at. I'm so glad they never went ahead with that ill thought out heel turn and kept her as her normal spunky self. The in-ring action was fine but too short for a start. I'm guessing these four are going to feud for quite a bit longer so we can expect more matches, which means this short one doesn't give too much away. 5/10
Ring Ka King - Angelina Love Debuts:
Yes, yes, yes! It was great seeing Angelina as a face again because I feel that is where she truly shines. She can be a great bad girl but to me she's a little too likeable to be a believable heel, and in the ring when she's not using dirty tactics all the time, she can show off all her technical skills. That being said, her promo wasn't the best but it's nice that they've already set up the next feud for her. I can't remember if she and Melissa have really properly wrestled each other so the next few weeks should give us plenty of in-ring goodness.
Impact - Velvet Sky vs Madison Rayne:
Whenever I see these two names together, I think of their awful PPV match back in 2010 but here they've both grown as workers and characters - especially Velvet. This match was fine enough and I enjoyed it. Madison could have been a bit smoother with her offence though because she mostly just used rest holds and it's better to throw some actual moves interspersed in there as opposed to just resorting to a chin lock to fill the time. Velvet's comeback was pretty nice and so was the finish. Nothing necessarily wrong with the match and it was satisfactory enough to me. I'm clutching at straws but could the end be hinting at a possible interjection of Velvet into this feud. Perhaps after the title match is over and done with (hopefully Gail wins) then Velvet can be brought in. Keep it triple threat or make it singles, I don't really care. 6.5/10
Gail Kim vs Mickie James:
Very impressive to have two matches on the show, as well as having two matches that both get a good amount of time. It seems they've dropped the Mickie heel turn angle which I don't know how I feel about. However, I feel they tied up that loose end by having Mickie help Velvet fend off Angelina and Sarita a couple of weeks ago, so they can pick up that storyline again if they want to. I actually loved this match and enjoyed it a lot more than either of their PPV matches as well as their main event one. In those matches Gail was still adjusting to wrestling as a heel and here we saw her really do well as the heel in the match. I especially loved that counter to Mickie's hurricanrana. The match psychology was great, with Gail thinking outside the box in terms of ways to target Mickie's leg and I loved everything else about it too. Very nice touch that they're keeping both women in this match as heels which gives me a bit more relief that this will be a one-off thing and another Knockout will be brought in soon. As an aside I loved the ODB backstage segment as well. 8/10
Superstars - Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix:
And it's a rematch from their series of PPV matches all across last year. People complaining that Kelly beat Beth too many times, are you happy now? Beth has a higher win record over Kelly than the other way around. Anyway not as fiery or show stopping as their PPV matches but still pretty good in its own way. I'm happy Kelly is at least making an effort to keep some variation in her moves, now only if she could work on her forearms then she'd be a lot more pleasing to watch. Or she could just...you know...NOT use strikes at all. Anyway the match followed a tried and tested formula and was pretty basic but the last few minutes added a lot more. I liked that they used the fake-out Glam Slam ending again because it's so rarely used and genuinely adds excitement. Decent enough showing from the two of them and hopefully we'll see more good stuff come WrestleMania. 7/10
Xplosion - Mickie James & Velvet Sky vs Sarita & Rosita:
Okay, this match actually happened two weeks ago but I was lucky enough to see it and was so impressed I had to slot it in somewhere. I could have done without the promos at the start considering the entire segment got 12 minutes, which would have made for an epic match but the match we saw was very fun. I always love seeing Mickie and Velvet team together because they always show some great chemistry as a tag team. I think they actually could pair these two and have them properly enter the Knockouts tag team division. Then we'd have four pairs fighting over the belts which would be impressive. I also want to draw attention to the fact that when Velvet was feuding with Sarita a while back, she wasn't so hot in the ring and Sarita had to slow herself down and dumb her style down a bit to work with her. Here however Velvet and Sarita gelled together just fine and there was no mismatch. It's just a testament to how good a worker she has evolved into and of course why all four of these women should have more matches like this in the actual division. This one had Velvet as the face in peril for a change and Mickie as the one who got the hot tag though I do prefer the roles the other way around. The double finishers spot was a great way to end it. I'd honestly say this was a PPV quality match. 8.5/10
FCW - Sofia Cortez vs Audrey Marie:
Ah, I can finally erase that spectacle of a triple threat match from my memory now. I've been dying for Sofia Cortez to get a singles match on TV and I'm happy she finally has. I loved pretty much everything about this match as it had good psychology with Sofia working on Audrey's arm. She used some fairly innovative offence during the heat as opposed to resorting to the usual arm wringers and rope choking (*cough* Bellas) and I liked that Eat Defeat type move she tweaked to target the arm instead. Audrey is really coming into her own as a performer. Put her against some as experienced as Sofia and indeed against Naomi as well and she can show off some of the skills she's learned. Right now I see Audrey Marie as being more like Mickie in that she'd need a good opponent to bring out the best in her but being very hit and miss when it comes to working with girls less experienced than she is. Her offence looked quite good and she's now able to hit each move seamlessly without feeling like she's moving too slow. She's on the right track anyway. My only complaint is that it was over too soon. I feel these two could have done with a couple more minutes on. 7.5/10
Smackdown - AJ vs Nikki Bella:
So nice that they're giving ring time to the Bella who's the better wrestler, and this must be the longest Smackdown Divas match in nearly 6 months. Relieved to see AJ return to the ring because she has been missed from it. I guess the fact that they had the World Champion at ringside prompted the bookers to give this a decent amount of time. That being said, Daniel Bryan's presence at ringside did take a lot of attention away from the match. I don't know if that was the intention but I didn't like it. Nikki and AJ worked together well enough, minus that awful crossbody from the top rope and I'm enjoying the progression of this storyline between AJ and Daniel Bryan. Hopefully it leads to AJ getting her own WrestleMania moment, whether she either turns heel a la Trish or turns on him a la...um Trish as well. Wow, Trish did everything didn't she? 6/10