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By Melanie Adler on 7/20/2008 1:17 PM

Divas and the City

Issue 5, Bash Bound

Welcome to Divas and the City, the column which analyses the latest Diva/Knockout news and action – from a female perspective, I might add. I am your columnist, Melanie "I Wish My Life Was Like Carrie Bradshaw" Adler, your resident Diva expert. A new issue of "Divas and the City" can be found right here at PWInsider Xtra every weekend, so spare aside some time from your busy weekend schedule, won't ya?

Previously on Divas and the City...

Well actually, we have been on 'hiatus' for two weeks and for this, I must apologise. It has been a crazy couple of weeks but I hope you haven't missed me too much! In the time since the column has been away, there's been a lot that has happened on television: the landscape of Raw and SmackDown have changed, with new Divas on both brands. This impact has most been felt on Monday nights, with Maria yet to debut on Friday's show. Also the big news of Ashley Massaro being officially released from the WWE, even under the unfortunate circumstances of her daughter being ill – I thought there was something cathartic in reading WWE wish Ashley well in her future endeavours.

This week: Bash Bound

Tonight, the Great American Bash will hold the biggest Divas match it has ever had on it's card when Michelle McCool and Natalya face off to become the first ever Divas Champion. And in my honest opinion, we are in a unique position because for the first time in history with the Divas – this really could go either way. Both of these Divas have become so valuable to SmackDown that WWE would be wise to put the title on either of these girls and it will truly be a must-watch moment to see just who gets the rub at the Bash and is given that opportunity to go down in the history books.

Michelle McCool is a star on the rise, over the past year we have seen Michelle transform from "just another pretty face" to the top babyface Diva on SmackDown, only matching WWE's confidence in this Diva is her own improvements. Michelle is a true student of the sport and has grown and developed over the past year – it is very unfair on Michelle to say she is simply getting this push because of who she's dating. It is incredibly unfair to say that Michelle it's a foregone conclusion that Michelle will be the first ever Divas Champion because she is the Undertaker's girl, because Michelle has more than stepped up to the plate in the past year and has showed so much confidence and so much development in the ring that she if she does win the title at the Bash, she has done enough on her own merit to deserve it. This past year, McCool has put on matches of a standard that no one would expect from a Diva Search contestant, in my humblest opinion – this girl is far better in the ring than Candice Michelle who won so much praise in 2007 for her own improvements. The All-American Girl's matches with Layla, Victoria and tag team matches against Natalya have truly shown what a great in-ring competitor she is – I look at Michelle over the course of the year, from those early matches with Victoria this time last year to now, and I see a girl who is so much more confident in the ring and has so much more ring presence. Michelle has perfected her arsenal with her Brazilian heel hook and the "Wings of Love" - two moves that are worthy of the "finisher" status; perhaps among the Divas, finishing moves aren't as buzzed about but I certainly appreciate these girls who make the effort to have those moves that stand out from the rest. I mean, Mickie James winning the Women's Championship from Beth Phoenix using a roll-up says it all really – here we have WWE's top Diva and she has no real finisher. If you had asked me one year ago if I thought Michelle was a good wrestler, I would have told you no. It's no secret that this time last year, I was not a fan of Michelle at all – but Michelle has won me over. I respect her work ethic and the hard work she's put into the women's division on SmackDown; one year ago I would have told you there was no chance in hell of Michelle being a top Diva, being a title contender and yet here we are – and I truly, humbly feel that Michelle is a worthy adversary for her far more experienced opponent.

And that opponent is Natalya, a Diva who had me from "hello." From the moment Natalya burst on the SmackDown scene, I immediately saw a fantastic wrestler and a fun character. The third generation Diva is a fine wrestler who has made strides in her first few months on SmackDown. Natalya has accomplished a lot in her first few months and has had far more opportunities than most Divas – in her first month in the WWE, she appeared twice on Raw and picked up a pay per view pay day. WWE has booked Natalya so strongly and truly protected her character over the past few months and that is something WWE rarely does for a Diva, Natalya's rise to prominence has come in such a short space of time – just three months after her debut, she has skyrocketed to the top of the Divas card and will be facing Michelle at the Bash. I, for one, am not complaining because regardless of how long Natalya has been with WWE – it is nice to see the company rewarding and pushing a Diva who can actually wrestle and is not just a bikini model. Natalya really has become the MVP of SmackDown's women's division, just looking at her match with Cherry on SmackDown this past week – Vickie Guerrero's (albeit kayfabe) selection of Natalya to take Cherry to task, proves the presence the Queen of Harts has had. Despite my initial enamour with Natalya, she truly turned my head and made me go "wow" in her match with Kelly Kelly on the May 9th edition of SmackDown. In this match, Natalya showed the world that not only is she a far superior Diva – but her wrestling skills could definitely challenge some of the Superstars too.

So who will be the first Divas Champion? As I stated in the opening, this really could go either way and WWE has one hell of a choice to make – both of these Divas have proven themselves and are both worthy of the Divas Championship.

Television Thoughts

  • After a few lacklustre weeks, the women's division on Raw finally caught up with the rest of the show in being a great watch. The Katie Lea-Mickie James match was a lot better than Night of Champions and the interaction with Kofi Kingston and Paul Burchill only served to elevate the Divas. I like seeing the Divas get involved with the Superstars' storylines, it makes them seem important rather than just filling a Diva quota.

  • Beth Phoenix vs Santino, the huge pop Beth got when her music hit is just a moment that will be remembered forever... okay well maybe not that long. But I love where this is going, hopefully they develop a feud between these two until Beth is ready to come back to the women's division – probably when Candice returns.

  • SmackDown's philosophy of wrestling in dresses this week, left a lot to be desired. Though I felt the end segment with Alicia Fox and Edge getting caught out was a lot of fun and I can't wait to see her become a more prominent part of SmackDown.

That's all for this week's issue, I hope you tune into the Great American Bash tonight because I have a feeling the Divas may just steal the show! Good luck to Michelle and Natalya! Check back next week for our Bash fallout, until then you can get your Diva fix at Diva Dirt (! Thanks for reading!