The Royal Rumble 2017 card has just gotten a sixth match added to the lineup. The SmackDown Live women will join Monday Night RAW’s Charlotte Flair and Bayley in representing WWE’s female roster at the Alamodome on Sunday, as WWE announced on Tuesday night a six-woman tag team match pitting babyfaces Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi against heels Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya.
By the looks of things, the six-woman tag match scheduled for Royal Rumble 2017 will combine the top women’s feuds on SmackDown Live into one match. For the past several weeks, SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch have been feuding for the title, but this feud recently re-introduced a third competitor — Mickie James — who originally competed as the masked La Luchadora, assisting Bliss in her rivalry against Lynch. Last Tuesday, La Luchadora was unmasked and revealed to be James, who then stated on the most recent SmackDown Live that she demands recognition for laying the groundwork for WWE’s so-called “women’s revolution.”
According to WrestleZone‘s recap of this Tuesday night’s SmackDown, James explained her alliance with Bliss by saying Alexa helped bring her back to WWE as the only woman who recognizes how she paved the way for today’s female talents.
Meanwhile, Natalya and Nikki Bella have been in a heated rivalry of their own, since the time Natalya revealed herself as Nikki’s Survivor Series attacker. Recent episodes of SmackDown Live have seen Nattie accusing Nikki of getting ahead in the business due to fact she is in a relationship with John Cena, with both women also involved in some brutal backstage attacks on each other.
Naomi is the sixth woman included in this new match to be added in the Royal Rumble 2017 card, and her appearance on the most recent SmackDown Live marked her return to the ring after being sidelined due to an ankle injury. Originally scheduled to face Natalya, Naomi issued an open challenge, which was responded to by a dismissive Alexa Bliss promo. She also announced her intent to fight for Bliss’ SmackDown Women’s Championship, and that, together with the fact that she’s the only other babyface on the blue brand’s roster aside from Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella, accounts for her inclusion in the six-woman tag team match.
— WWE (@WWE) January 25, 2017
Although it may look like WWE was going with the easiest solution by moving the top SmackDown Live women’s feuds forward in one match, it appears to be the soundest thing WWE Creative can do, and the best way to showcase most of the blue brand’s active female talents in one show. Only Eva Marie and Carmella aren’t currently expected to be on the Royal Rumble pay-per-view – Eva Marie is still on the inactive list, while Carmella is in a storyline with James Ellsworth, with her new “boy toy” Ellsworth helping her win matches against jobbers.
“The Smackdown Live women’s division has been a bright spot in WWE as of late and this should be another good showcase for them,” wrote Thomas Hall of WrestlingRumors.net, explaining why the new match is a good idea. “The stories are starting to come together and that means almost any combination of these women is going to be worth watching.”
With four days remaining before Royal Rumble 2017, the card also includes title matches for the Cruiserweight Championship (Rich Swann vs. Neville), WWE World Championship (AJ Styles vs. John Cena), RAW Women’s Championship (Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley), and WWE Universal Championship (Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns), plus the 30-man Royal Rumble match as the main event. Two pre-show matches are also included on Sunday night – Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax, and a RAW Tag Team title match featuring Sheamus and Cesaro defending against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
[Featured Image by WWE]