Well everyone, we are now one month away from WWE’s second biggest PPV event of the year: Summer Slam! Before we head back to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY, we made a stop at the SmackDown Live PPV Battleground from Philadelphia, PA where we saw a Five Way Elimination Match to crown a new #1 Contender to Naomi’s SmackDown Women’s Championship. Vying for position are Naomi’s former Team BAD partner Tamina, former challenger Lana, former Divas Champion Natalya, the final Divas Champion and 4-time Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, and inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. The stage is set and it’s time to get into the action!
Before our competitors make their way to the ring, we do see the champion Naomi grace us with her entrance before doing some color commentary to see who her next challenger will be in 4 weeks. Shortly after, all 5 competitors make their way to the ring and our match is underway. The early action is fast paced with every woman trying to get the upper hand. We would see Becky and Natalya taken to the outside by Lana, where the new alliance of Tamina and Lana would try to take out Charlotte in a 2 on 1 scenario. Charlotte being cocky as ever welcomes the challenge, though she would start to fall victim to the numbers game. Let it be known that no one still knows anything about the relationship Tamina and Lana have. Naomi even chimes in saying she isn’t sure who’s playing who to further herself in the division. She is vocal about beating Lana 3 times for the title and her relationship with Tamina, emphasizing her strength and intimidating presence.
Charlotte does start to fight back, but immediately falls victim again to another 2 on 1 attack by Tamina and Lana. Shortly after, Becky Lynch emerges from ringside to aide her friend, and 1 half of the Four Horsewomen take out Tamina and Lana with stereo suplexes before having a standoff reminiscent of this past Tuesday. We see an exchange between the two former champions with Becky bridging out of a Charlotte cover and coming back with two deep arm drags. Charlotte would elbow Becky’s Firearm attempt and come back with a neckbreaker. It isn’t too much longer before Natalya reappears stepping over Charlotte to deliver a low dropkick and re-enter the frey. Natalya goes for covers on both women to no success.
Becky fights out of a possible German Suplex from Natalya and starts fighting back. Becky would then deliver Bexploder suplexes to both Natalya and Lana before falling to a Tamina super kick and Samoan drop. Charlotte would take out Tamina with a flying forearm, and Natalya comes back and delivers a Nattie by Nature clothesline to take out Charlotte. Natalya then gets Charlotte into a Sharpshooter in the center of the ring, which gets broken up by Lana with a facebuster to Natalya. Lana then covers Charlotte only to get a 2 count. Becky comes back in and gets Lana into a Dis-arm-her to be broken up by Tamina. Tamina again takes Becky down with a super kick/Samoan Drop combo. Tamina would also take out Charlotte with a spear outside of the ring.
Lana trying to take advantage stacks Becky up but gets rolled back into the Dis-arm-her, but again is saved by Tamina! Tamina tries taking Becky up for a third Samoan Drop to only fall victim to the Dis-arm-her and be the first woman eliminated. Oddly enough, Lana did not attempt to save Tamina. She would however get caught in a Dis-arm-her one more time almost immediately after and tap out to be eliminated next. In comes Natalya with a schoolgirl on Becky using the shorts for leverage to take out the Irish Lass Kicker and we are down to 2 competitors after 3 extremely fast eliminations!
Charlotte rolls back in and comes back hard with a big boot to Natalya, but only gets a nearfall! Charlotte then goes to attempt the Figure Four Leg Lock into a possible Figure Eight, though gets caught in a Natalya cross-armbreaker. Charlotte wisely keeps her hands clasped and tries getting Natalya on her back but gets a shoulder up. Charlotte overpowers Natalya to hit a big sit-out powerbomb but can’t put the Queen of Harts away! Charlotte then climbs up top for a moonsault to land right on Natalya’s knees. Natalya would then schoolgirl Charlotte into the bottom turnbuckle and that secures Natalya a SmackDown Women’s Championship match at Summer Slam! Naomi would then come into the ring and extend a hand out of respect to Natalya to get the cold shoulder, setting up our SmackDown women’s program for the second biggest PPV of the year.
While the match itself wasn’t that bad after rewatching it, it fell victim like many other multi-woman matches we’ve seen on WWE television: it felt like a cluster when all 5 women were in it. Also, why were there people breaking up pin attempts and submissions in an elimination match?! That makes no sense for the stipulation. Sure, Tamina was booked as Lana’s insurance policy, but Lana breaking up the Sharpshooter made as much sense as Talking Smack getting the axe on Tuesdays.
Naomi on commentary wasn’t bad, but she didn’t really speak as much as I thought she could have. Her asides made sense in the story the match told, but it did seem like an after-thought to the match. Back to the action, it’s interesting that Lana didn’t help Tamina out when she was in trouble. Will this be addressed on SmackDown tomorrow? Also, Charlotte has lost clean for the past 3-4 weeks. Ever since her face turn going into Backlash, she seems to have lost all momentum she had when she was brought over from Raw.
Hopefully in these next few weeks, we see a reinvigorated focus on the storylines of the SmackDown women’s division. While it is nice seeing the women have match time on TV, it would be nice to see it all come together for the bigger picture. How will Carmella play a factor with the Women’s Title match at Summer Slam? Will she cash in? Will she tease it sooner? What will the other competitors be doing since they probably will be missing out on Summer Slam to both division’s title matches? All those questions should be answers by the time we arrive in Brooklyn in August. What would you guys have hoped for heading into Summer Slam? Let us know in the comments down below!
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