Diva Digest No. 15
The past week in women's wrestling has been an eventful one, at least on the WWE side of things.
With WrestleMania only two weeks away, four Divas cashed their tickets to the big show while two others put aside their once-strong friendship and did battle in two matches.
Over on Impact Wrestling, it was Open Fight Night and new Knockout Taryn Terrell knew exactly who she wanted to get her hands on.
On the news front, 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Trish Stratus revealed who she wants to induct her, while a top WWE Superstar praised Naomi's performance on Wednesday night's Main Event.
All of this plus this week's Diva Digest power rankings. Which Diva or Knockout tops this week's list. Could Terrell repeat at No. 1 or would another woman, or women, boot her from the top spot?
Find out inside!
Trish Stratus Reveals Who She Wants to Induct Her into the HOF
Earlier this week, Hall of Fame inductee-to-be Trish Stratus spoke about the honor. In an interview with Ministry of Slam Radio, the seven-time Women's champion discussed who she would like to see induct her into the Hall:
Funnily enough, before I done this interview, I put a poll on my website, asking who would my fans like to see induct me into the Hall of Fame. Lita won with a landslide, I would say, I can’t disagree with that sentiment.
From the moment it was announced that Trish would be inducted into this year's Hall of Fame, fans have expressed great interest in Lita potentially being the one to induct her.
The two legendary Divas had one of the greatest rivalries of the 2000s, regardless of gender. They entered World Wrestling Entertainment around the same time, and almost from the very moment they stepped foot on television, they were at each other's throats.
A six-person tag team match at Fully Loaded 2000, featuring Trish teaming with Test and Albert to face Lita and the Hardy Boyz, was their first major exposure in a match against one another. Over the course of their six-year stints with the company, they would be both friends and enemies.
Their greatest match with one another came on the December 6, 2004 episode of Raw, when they were featured in the main event slot. Lita would win the Women's Championship from Trish that night, but it would not be long before the blond bombshell from Toronto would regain her title.
There are other options, outside of Lita, to induct Trish.
Fit Finlay was instrumental in training the Divas for ring action in the early half of the 2000s and truly helped Stratus become the performer she eventually became
Stephanie McMahon and Trish had a tremendous rivalry from late 2000 until the spring of 2001, providing entertaining moments that are still talked about to this day.
As instrumental as Finlay and McMahon may have been in Trish's career, they will never be immediately associated with her as Lita is. The two of them will be forever linked, and for that reason, Lita should do the honors for Trish on April 6.
And in a year, or two, Trish should do the same for her redheaded rival.
8-Person Tag Match Added to WrestleMania Card
Earlier this week, WWE's official website announced that, at WrestleMania XXIX, The Funkadactyls and the Bella Twins will be on separate sides of an eight-person tag match.
On April 7, inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Naomi and Cameron will team with Brodus Clay and Tensai to meet Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Brie and Nikki Bella in a match that has been building since the twin sisters made their return to WWE television a few weeks back.
It is a tremendous opportunity for the four women involved. Brie and Nikki have been a part of the show before, both in and out of the ring, but for Naomi and Cameron, this is their first WrestleMania match.
Despite not having a traditional Divas Championship or 10-woman tag match booked for the show, the company has managed to find spots for its women on the card, and it deserves a little credit for that.
Top Star Praises Naomi's Performance on Main Event
Speaking of Funkadactyls, Naomi received praise from one of WWE's top stars this past week, following the television tapings for WWE's Main Event (a show I was actually in attendance for).
Dolph Ziggler tweeted about the former NXT competitor's performance against the Bella Twins in tag team action:
Naomi has long been one of the most athletically gifted Divas and has only recently received the spotlight to be able to show the world what she is capable of. The fact that a performer as great as Dolph Ziggler recognizes Naomi's talent and lets his feelings be known via social media means that what she is capable of between the ropes has not gone unnoticed by the locker room.
Tara Added to the Alumni Section of WWE.com
Former WWE Women's champion and TNA Knockouts champion Tara, known better to WWE fans as Victoria, has been added to World Wrestling Entertainment's alumni section on their official website.
It should be no surprise that the company would add a contracted TNA talent to its website. In recent weeks, it has added the likes of the Dudley Boyz, Kurt Angle and even TNA Heavyweight champion Jeff Hardy.
It is nice to see Victoria return to the WWE website. During her time with the company, she won the Women's Championship twice and competed in memorable matches against the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita. At WrestleMania XX, in Madison Square Garden, she defeated Molly Holly to retain her Women's title and was able to shave Molly's head in one of the most memorable moments of the show.
Always evolving, Victoria entered the company playing the role of one of The Godfather's hos, then became a psychotic villain. She would play both babyface and heel during her time in WWE, and in her final year with the promotion, she was used primarily to help get lesser-experienced women over. She never complained and did as she was asked, proving to be a company woman.
Now with TNA Wrestling, she is a five-time Knockouts champion and has held the Knockouts tag titles once.
Week in Review: AJ Defeats Divas Champion Kaitlyn on Raw
On Monday's Raw, one of the more anticipated Divas matches took place with little hype or fanfare.
Divas champion Kaitlyn took on AJ Lee in a non-title match that, months ago, many thought was a WrestleMania-worthy match. Earlier in the evening, Kaitlyn was discussing her former friend with WWE Tag Team champions Kane and Daniel Bryan. She made the mistake of referring to AJ as "crazy," and the former Raw GM, who was overhearing the whole thing, attacked Kaitlyn, slamming her head-first into a water fountain.
The match between the two was short and to the point, with the Divas fighting outside the ring. Kaitlyn charged at AJ, who moved out of the way, and the champion crashed into the guard wall that surrounds the time keeper. Unable to answer the official's 10 count, Kaitlyn lost the match via count-out.
With WrestleMania so close, many fans questioned whether this indicates that AJ will challenge Kaitlyn for the Divas title at the "Showcase of the Immortals." With a stacked card of 10 announced matches, it appears unlikely that will be the case.
As seen on SmackDown, however, the Divas more than fit in among the men involved in the WrestleMania Tag Team Championship match.
Week in Review: When Funkadactyls Attack!
In tag team action during Monday's Raw, Brodus Clay and Tensai were slated to do battle with Team Rhodes Scholars in the latest chapter of their rivalry. Accompanying Clay and Tensai to the ring, as usual, were Cameron and Naomi. With Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow were the Bella Twins.
While the male Superstars did battle inside the ring, the four women outside of the ring followed suit. The Funkadactyls and the Bellas pounced on one another, engaging in what Joey Styles would dub a "CATFIGHT!"
Rhodes and Sandow would win their match and escape with the Bellas while Tons of Funk, Naomi and Cameron could only watch in disappointment.
Two days later, the Funkadactyls and the Bella Twins would have the opportunity to end their differences in tag team action.
Week in Review: Divas Tag Team Action in the "Main Event"
Two days after a catfight erupted between the two teams on Raw, the Funkadactyls and Bella Twins looked to settle the score on Ion Network's WWE Main Event.
The Bellas took control of the match early, isolating the lesser-experienced Cameron from her tag partner. When the former Tough Enough competitor made the hot tag, however, Naomi exploded into the ring with lightning-quick offense the popped the crowd and caught both Brie and Nikki completely off guard.
Cody Rhodes hopped up on the apron in an attempt to distract Naomi but ended up paying for it in the form of a hard slap across the face. Nikki would sneak in a roll-up on Naomi and steal the win for her team.
Later in the week, it was announced that Naomi and Cameron would team with Brodus Clay and Tensai to meet Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins at WrestleMania XXIX. While very little was settled this past Sunday, the four women will look to end their issues once and for all on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.
Week in Review: Natalya Puts Away Aksana on Superstars
On this week's Superstars, Natalya and Aksana did battle in Divas action.
The sexy Lithuanian was looking to score a big win over a former Divas champion while Natalya continued to prove why she is among the most misused performers in the sport. Aksana took control of the match early, using the ring apron to trip up Natalya. She targeted the ribs and back of the third-generation Diva, driving the wind from her and weakening her substantially.
Natalya's comeback, and the ending of the match, came from out of nowhere when Aksana missed a knee drop and Natalya immediately applied the Sharpshooter for the tap-out win.
The match has little impact on anything going on elsewhere on the show, but it does give the Divas not being used on television something to do. More times than not, those on Superstars have more time to have a competent match than those on the main programs.
While Aksana has potential, she was simply not the Diva for Natalya to get a really good match out of. Like most Divas matches over the last two years, this one was just simply "there."
Week in Review: Taryn Bites Off More Than She Can Chew
It was Open Fight Night on Impact Wrestling this week and the newest member of the Knockouts roster was looking to get a little revenge on the woman who had caused her so many headaches in recent months.
Terrell, sporting new wrestling gear that was, quite frankly, hard to take your eyes off of, made her way to the ring and called out Gail Kim for a match. The former Knockouts champion made her way to the ring and revealed that she, herself, was calling out Tara to join her in the ring.
The veterans joined forces in attacking Taryn, beating her down until current Knockouts champion Velvet Sky hit the ring to make the save. The babyfaces were left standing tall while the heels retreated up the entrance ramp.
The segment will likely set up a tag team match on next week's Impact Wrestling (please refrain from posting spoilers in the comment section for readers who do not wish to have this week's show ruined).
The story involving Taryn and Gail remains the best on either WWE or TNA programming in which women are the central figures. It is unfolding at a proper pace and is making a star out of Taryn, when many wondered, not all that long ago, why TNA hired her in the first place.
Week in Review: Kaitlyn Returns the Favor on Smackdown
On Raw, AJ defeated Kaitlyn via count-out. On Friday night's SmackDown, Kaitlyn paid her former friend back.
In a mixed tag match that saw Kaitlyn partner with Daniel Bryan to take on Dolph Ziggler and AJ, the Divas champion caught AJ with a thunderous spear in the midst of chaos and picked up the win for her team.
The match was too quick to mean anything, and that may very well be a blessing in disguise for both Kaitlyn and AJ.
There is obviously money to be made from the matchup, and their matches thus far, while disappointing, have been so short that they are unlikely to be remembered by most. That means that, when the company finally does allow them to have a proper feud and gives them time to have a truly competitive match, fans should still be excited about it.
As for what they may be doing at WrestleMania, do not be surprised if they are added to the tag title match in some sort of "winner takes all" bout, not unlike the one from SummerSlam 2008 that saw Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix take on Intercontinental champion Kofi Kingston and Women's champion Mickie James.
Wrestlemania Rewind: Victoria Beats Molly Holly, Shaves Her Head
Prior to WrestleMania XX, Victoria not only made a successful babyface turn, she also defeated Molly Holly to capture the Women's title. Molly was desperate to get her title back, and it was decided that she could have her rematch at WrestleMania XX and, if she lost, she would have her head shaved.
Emanating from storied Madison Square Garden in New York City, WrestleMania XX featured a number of memorable moments, such as Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit's now-lost embrace as to close out the show, John Cena winning his first championship, The Rock and Mick Foley uniting for the final time and the return of The Deadman.
Right up there with them is the visual of Victoria shaving Molly's head following a successful title defense. Always a trooper, Molly sold the head shaving as if it was the worst thing ever, and the fans ate it up. Two of the most talented in-ring performers on the Divas roster at the time, Victoria and Molly were involved in a truly memorable moment at one of the biggest shows in company history.
They more than deserved it.
Diva Digest Fave Five
Okay, so the "Elite Five" name kind of sucked. So I took a page from Booker T's book and switched the name to "Fave Five."
This week featured more action from the WWE Divas than normal, while the TNA Knockouts continued a storyline that has built over time and remains the best story among women in wrestling's two top companies. AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, the Funkadactyls, the Bella Twins, Gail Kim, Taryn Terrell, Velvet Sky and Tara all appeared on programming and made an impact in some way.
Who will appear in this week's rankings? Who will claim the top spot? Without further ado, here are your Diva Digest Fave Five for this week.
5. Gail Kim
The former Knockouts champion appeared to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, called out by Terrell on Open Fight Now and left with no other option but to face the woman she had berated and abused for so long.
The savvy veteran out-smarted Taryn, however, and called out Tara. The two villainous Knockouts double-teamed Taryn until Velvet Sky came to her aid.
Gail showed Terrell that it will be far more difficult to get what she wants than slipping on tights, lacing boots and calling someone out. She proved to be intelligent and devious and the type of opponent Taryn may very well want to avoid this early in her Knockouts career.
The Divas champion was assaulted on Raw and lost a non-title match to AJ via count-out. Rather than letting it affect her as it easily could have, she picked herself up, dusted herself off and teamed with Daniel Bryan in a victory over AJ and Dolph Ziggler four days later on SmackDown.
With WrestleMania right around the corner, and no announced title match on the schedule, could the NXT Season 3 winner find herself involved in the WWE Tag Team Championship match, perhaps in the corner of the champions as they do battle with Ziggler and Big E Langston?
3. AJ Lee
The former Raw GM snapped at the mere suggestion that she was crazy, slamming Kaitlyn's head into a water fountain before being restrained by Team Hell No. Moments later, she went to the ring and picked up a count-out win over Kaitlyn.
AJ appeared to be rolling heading into SmackDown, but her momentum was halted when she ate a spear on SmackDown and was pinned by Kaitlyn, losing the match for her and boyfriend Dolph Ziggler. Appearing in the corner of Ziggler and Big E Langston at WrestleMania as they challenge tag champions Daniel Bryan and Kane, do not be surprised to see the once innocent-turned-crazy Diva involved in some form or fashion.
2. The Funkadactyls
Naomi and Cameron continued to have problems with Brie and Nikki Bella this week and, to their dismay, ended up on with the short end of the stick more often than the long end. They watched Brodus and Tensai lose to Rhodes and Sandow on Monday night, then turned around and had a victory stolen out from underneath them two days later on Main Event.
Naomi continues to prove her worth inside the ring and, to her credit, Cameron was not bad in her performance Wednesday night, either.
The best news for the dancing duo is that they will compete in their first WrestleMania match in exactly one week when they team with Tons of Funk to face Rhodes Scholars and the Bellas in eight-person tag team action.
1. The Bella Twins
Brie and Nikki Bella continued their role since returning to WWE, accompanying Team Rhodes Scholars to the ring for their match against Brodus Clay and Tensai on Raw. They fought with Naomi and Cameron on the outside while Rhodes and Sandow picked up the win on the inside. Two days later, they stole their own win, defeating the Funkadactyls on Main Event.
Brie and Nikki have been tremendously witchy, to keep things PG, since returning and have brought some much-needed attitude back to a Divas division that has been devoid of it since Eve Torres left earlier in the year.
In next week's Diva Digest, we prepare for WrestleMania by keeping you updated on all of the latest, breaking news involving the WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts, as well as recapping the week in review.
In a special edition of the Diva Digest Fave Five, we take a look back at the history of women at WrestleMania and count down the event's top five most influential women.
We will also take a look at one last WrestleMania Rewind before Sunday's event before previewing and predicting the matches involving Divas at the big show.
Until then, enjoy the final stretch on the Road to WrestleMania and, for all who celebrate it, have a very Happy Easter.
The name may have changed, but Diva Digest will continue to thrive based on reader interaction. Have a comment or suggestion? Leave it in the comment section below. Don't have a Bleacher Report account? No problem. Tweet your comments or suggestion to me @ErikBeaston. I read every single comment and suggestion and do my best to continue to improve this article.