What a week it's been. WWE had their Extreme Rules PPV on Sunday and that show has always been something worth watching, the matches there often topping their WrestleMania predecessors. It's certainly been one of the more Diva-friendly PPVs in recent years, providing us with memorable moments galore. Not to mention the internet has been buzzing with a certain set of departures. Elsewhere TNA have a PPV of their own to build towards with a new and fresh match-up on the horizon. Should be a good one.
Extreme Rules - Nikki Bella* vs Layla (Divas' Championship):
I was expecting there to be some kind of trick with Beth supposedly being injured. I know there's people saying it's a work but it definitely seems to be somewhat legit with how she's been absent from TV since the PPV, even from backstage segments. Let's start with the backstage segment, I felt that this sets things up for Beth to return as a face to TV whenever they plant to do so. She's never really been pushed for the title that soon after one reign so it may be a while before she's seen again. I'm guessing she could even find herself on Smackdown after the draft to keep her away from it for a while. Perhaps they will have her feud with Natalya who's seemingly remaining heel, just without the title.
Now onto the match, I'm happy it was Layla instead of Kharma. I've said before that whenever Kharma returns, she'll have it easy. The fans will flock to her and it'll be memorable in its own right. Whatever she does, it'll be big. Layla on the other hand was someone who needed her return to be done right and I think in a way it was handled really well. True there was a quick "we want Kharma" chant but a lot of people also ignored that there was also a "welcome back" chant and a "let's go Layla" chant. Layla is very popular in her own right and this title win is a good thing. We all knew she'd be going after it eventually so why not cut out all the filler and start her off right where she left. She now has a few new Divas to feud with and I can't wait to see what they'll do with her. The match was pretty good as well, especially for one put together last minute. Layla looked so different in the ring from the last time we saw her and she now has a lovely fast paced almost luchador style of wrestling. And yet she makes it stand out from Kelly's waif-fu style and AJ's flippy/submission balance. I think if they plan to have Layla feud with Kharma then she has the right moveset to pull it off. After all, Layla is a former champion and dominated the division in 2010 so in kayfabe shouldn't she be able to hold her own against Kharma? As for the match itself, I loved it even if it was short. Nikki looked fine out there, she couldn't do much but she sold Layla's moves very well. Layla is a Diva who knows how to make a short match fun and exciting and that's what she did. My favourite move was probably her springboard crossbody as well as her pin that I will call the "Lay-Up" from now on. Only gripe is that we didn't see the Face Lift as well. 6.5/10
Raw - Layla* vs Nikki Bella vs Brie Bella (Divas' Championship):
Talk about Mood Whiplash. Thanks for the memories, Bellas. I guess people were expecting Kharma to show up on Raw and demolish them, which would have been a much better send-off, but nope we got this. I guess the only silver lining is that Layla got a successful title defence, so hopefully next week she can get a proper storyline or feud going on. Honestly though Eve's glasses were the highlight of the whole night. Anyone else see the resemblance between Eve and Brooke Tessmacher? Her promo was a bit bad but everyone has an off night. At least they're finding plenty of stuff for her to do. 1/10
No matches but some pretty good segments. Starting off, I had no idea JTG was even still employed but I guess I'm happy Alicia Fox is getting a storyline of her own at last. This is also the first time she's actually been paired with a black superstar in her career, unless you count her flirting with Booker T. Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman were fun as always but Maxine and Johnny Curtis had me rolling around in stitches. I would love to meet whoever writes these NXT plots and campaign to have s/he promoted to writing for Raw and Smackdown. Hopefully more matches next week.
Impact - Velvet Sky & Brooke Tessmacher vs Gail Kim & Madison Rayne:
Predictable but a much better show than last week. It seems Velvet hasn't entirely been forgotten about which I am overjoyed about. Now with Brooke vs Gail set for Sacrifice it could mean that we graduate into a triple threat with Velvet involved. That would be a good direction to go in and it would be a lot more fresh than going back to Gail/Velvet. If Gail retains at Sacrifice then she should drop to Velvet in a triple threat match. It honestly wouldn't matter who got pinned but they could use it as an excuse to turn Brooke heel and make her feud with Velvet. Of course that would break up TNT but TNA do seem to flip flop on their tag teams these days anyway. And once Velvet has retained against Brooke they can also explore Brooke/Tara as a separate mini-feud to go along with whatever Velvet has to offer. The match was really fun and Velvet was looking great early on. It's funny how she and Gail have worked better in tag team competition than they have in singles matches. I'm actually in love with heel Gail right now and she continues to exude more personality than she's known for. She's always said she feels she's a natural heel and I'm inclined to agree with her now. Brooke was booked a lot better in this match than she was last week and the end was creative. I like the idea of robbing finishers because the likes of Stone Cold and The Rock used to do it all the time but you never really saw the women doing it. Good showing from the Knockouts this week. 7/10
FCW - Raquel Diaz* vs Audrey Marie (Divas' Championship):
Good lord, another title match between these two? Oh well, I've read spoilers for the next few episodes and they do offer up something new and fresh. That being said, I didn't like this match as much as I did the past two they had months ago. This one felt awkward and the exchanges were sloppy. In places it seemed like neither of them had any idea where they were in the ring and Raquel was stumbling around in a few places as well. The match did get a bit better as it went on but honestly the damage had been done from the iffy opening so I could really get into it. Raquel did keep me happy with her personality throughout the whole thing and she's slowly becoming as great a heel as both her parents. It was interesting to see her going for a Piledriver and Audrey's counter was nice but the end was bad. It looked awkward and improvised which is not a good thing. Hopefully more of Paige, Sofia Cortez and Caylee Turner in the weeks to come. 5/10
Smackdown - Layla vs Natalya:
I had hoped that Layla and Natalya would feud with each other but I guess there goes that idea. I had also hoped that WWE would see fit to give Layla more time to wrestle. I believe last week's match was longer than this one. However both Layla and Natalya are students of the art of telling a short story. Their chemistry was always amazing and now we get to see them wrestle with the face/heel roles reversed. The dynamic works just as well here and I'd love to see them properly feud again because I feel that given enough time and effort they could make an arena full of people stand up and applaud after a match. Layla's popularity was evident as she got a huge pop at the sound of her music and the crowd remained relatively interested while the match was going on. It's also nice that Layla wins her matches with more than just roll-ups. In other news AJ slapped Kaitlyn again but this time did not look remorseful for it. Is AJ turning heel? I wouldn't mind seeing that since we do have too many faces at the moment and AJ has been known to work well as a heel, judging from her FCW stuff. The idea of a Layla/AJ feud makes me excited too. The crowd cares about both women so it could be a nice two month programme. As an aside, perhaps we'll get a grudge match between AJ and Kaitlyn at Over The Limit. The PPV is in two weeks and this would be a much better match to have than a Divas' title match thrown together with only two weeks of build-up. Also we saw more of Aksana who seems to be turning heel as well, thus evening out the dynamic. I don't think Aksana is ready for a title push just yet but as always I'd like to see her take on a more regular wrestling role. I'm guessing they could take this pairing with Antonio over to NXT and feud with Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman or else JTG and Alicia Fox. Or they could give Antonio a partner and make them feud with the Tag Team Champions. The possibilities are endless right now. 7/10