Night Of Champions: AJ Lee dodges the Total Divas juggernaut to retain the Divas title

NOC13 WWE AJ LeeWWE Divas Champion AJ Lee puts the title on the line at Night Of Champions against three members of the Total Divas cast – Natalya, Naomi & Brie Bella in a fatal four way match.

The Background
• AJ Lee kicked the ant hill on the August 26 Raw with a promo on the Total Divas cast, calling them “interchangeable” and “cheap”.
• From there, a bigger wedge was driven between the Total Divas cast and the rest of the Diva roster when Aksana, Layla and Alicia Fox took the side of AJ to attack the stars of the E! show.
• On last week’s SmackDown, the Total Divas tried to get at AJ with a meansure of success, but the Divas Champion’s new buddies rescued her.
• However, just before the start of this title defence, Aksana and Fox decided that they were done helping the thankless and self-absorbed AJ, and Layla also backed out of being by her friend’s side for the match.

The Match
• The three challengers went after AJ at the very start, taking turns to throw the titleholder into the barricades – though Brie went after her fellow Total Divas back inside the ring.
• Naomi responded with a dropkick to Bella, and followed it up with a headscissors before the pair clashed heads, allowing AJ to go for a sneaky pin attempt on Natalya, which only garnered a two-count.
• In the biggest highspot of the match, Naomi went for a crossbody on Natalya – but she missed and hit hard on the mat. Natalya also bumped, so it may have been a botched crossbody or a neat evasion.
• At this point, AJ starts to take control by throwing opponents out of the ring but is cutoff outside the ring. Back inside, Natalya locks in a double Sharpshooter to Naomi and Brie, but it’s broken up by an AJ kick to the back of her head.
• From there, AJ locks the Black Widow onto Natalya for the clean tap-out to retain her title.

NOC13 WWE NatalyaThoughts
• Well, who would have predicted that? In last week’s Roundup and in the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast, we were pretty confident that the title was going to change hands. Alas, it was not to be, and the Total Divas season extension may not get the happy ending you would have expected.
• It’s almost as if AJ was booked as the babyface in this match. She overcame the odds put up against her, and got the clean-as-a-sheet victory. She was in an disadvantageous situation, and found a way to get the victory against three women who ganged up on her. Weird.
• As for the match, it was uneventful. Lots of action – which is understandable as there was no need to rest with four women carrying the load – and there were no awkward pauses. I’d love to know if that Naomi crossbody bump was intentional though – if it was, two thumbs up, and if it wasn’t, Natalya misjudged Naomi’s flight, which is pretty bad form. I’m leaning towards the latter, as Natalya’s in-ring work has dropped off as of late.
• There were a lot of roll-ups in this match as wrestlers tried to go for the pin. Probably too many, as a decent proportion of Divas matches in the past have ended with some sort of roll-up pin – but I liked the idea of them going for the win whenever the opportunity presented itself.
• There was a moment where the commentators went nuts following Natalya slamming Brie onto Naomi. They were asking why the referee wasn’t counting, but it makes sense. All four shoulders were down, so the ref can’t count the fall. Should he get to three, are they both eliminated? Impossible, as it’s not an elimination match. Do you declare them both the winners? That’s hardly a fair conclusion. I don’t blame him for not counting.
• However, Jerry Lawler managed another howler all on his own. He described Natalya’s highspot as the “first ever double Sharpshooter” – however, she has done the move twice before at TLC in December 2010 and the following month at Royal Rumble 2011. In fact, at the Rumble Lawler also said he’d never seen the move executed, even though he has seen it less than four weeks before.
• As for where we go for here, who knows? AJ has defeated her three closest challengers in one go, and did it without any help from anyone. There should be no complaints about her victory from any of the other Divas, so I guess we’re back to square one as to who will step up next to go for the title.

– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE

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