Night Of Champions: Layla's title reign ends how it started – with a bait-and-switch

WWE Divas Champion Layla was set to defend the title against number one contender Kaitlyn, but a spanner was thrown in the works after the pay-per-view went on the air…

The Background
• Kaitlyn became the number one contender by winning a battle royale on the August 20 episode of Raw, last eliminating Eve Torres.
• Torres started to be really friendly to both champion and challenger in the build up to their title match, being ultra-supportive and overly-happy to gain their trust, but both were suspicious of her intentions.
• Kaitlyn scored the biggest win of career by pinning Beth Phoenix clean with a reverse DDT on last week’s SmackDown.
• However, after Night Of Champions went on the air, we were shown shots of Kaitlyn on the ground having suffered an attack to her ankle, forcing her out of her title challenge.
• Torres went to SmackDown GM Booker T to ask for her to be the replacement in the match, which Booker agreed to. After all, it’s Night Of Champions, and all belts HAVE to be defended – so Layla was left to face a brand new opponent with less than an hour’s notice…

The Match
• The titleholder started out showing off her technical skill and countering Torres’ attempts to get the advantage. However, a low dropkick which stunned Eve saw Layla show sympathy, and that was the opening that the challenger needed.
• After delivering a cheap shot, Torres threw her opponent out of the ring, attacked the ribs on the floor and continued the assault in the ring, showing off that under the happy and supportive veil, she was still a heel.
• Eve’s attempts to wear the champion down couldn’t earn her the submission, and gave Layla the chance to fight back with a DDT and some clotheslines. However, she missed her springboard crossbody, which gave Torres the chance to hit a swinging neckbreaker for the pinfall and win the Divas title for a record-breaking third time.

• It’s another Divas title change by WWE when the replacement takes the belt because of an injury to the scheduled opponent. If you recall, it’s the exact same way that Layla won the strap back in April at Extreme Rules, when Phoenix could not challenge Nikki Bella – except that this time, Layla was the victim of the change, and not the beneficiary.
• WWE finally got the match that it originally wanted. According to reports, Kaitlyn was not meant to win the battle royale, and the shot was always meant to go to Eve. So they managed to write her out and put Torres in. Fine, but why wait until people had bought the show to do it – could this have not happened on free TV instead so that there wasn’t the bait-and-switch?
• As for the match, it was one of the better Divas matches – and probably the best in Layla’s reign – because everything was kept simple. Part of that was down to the ground attack by Torres, who utilised her jiu-jitsu experience with things like triangle body scissors and triangle chokes – something that Stew suggested for Eve in an article last year.
• Layla was colossally stupid in the match by showing compassion to Eve after the dropkick. All this time, she has been skeptical of Eve’s sincerity and wondering what her true agenda is, then gets sucked in at the first opportunity. No wonder people don’t want to cheer babyfaces – they show huge flashes of stupidity.
• Also, thank the heavens that Layla’s reign is over. It’s done nothing for the belt and she has been as fun as your average day in Guantanamo Bay.
• With Eve as champ, we may see Layla have a run at the belt, which should be more interesting than her holding it, and we also need clarification on who attacked Kaitlyn, though it’s pretty clear who the number one suspect is – the woman who ended up benefiting and taking the belt, perhaps?

– Lee Burton


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