RAW 04/23/18: Jax scores a strike, Rousey makes the save

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The Superstar Shake-Up last week changed up RAW and after seeing the developments on SmackDown… I’ll be honest and say that I think RAW drew the short straw. So to prove me wrong, the WWE decided to follow last week’s format with the men and put the women in a 5-on-5 tag match in this week’s main event! Sweet! Well, let’s have a look at how it went down.

Ahead of the tag match, Renee Young caught up with RAW’s latest acquisitions Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan: The Riott Squad. She brings up their attack on Sasha Banks and Bayley, questioning their motives. Now for the first time, I could understand Sarah Logan and she basically says that they want the division to be scared. Riott compares her Squad to tear gas, claiming that they are messy and unpleasant, leaving their victims in tears and in pain… girl come back at tell me that when you all haven’t been defeated several times.

Now onto my highlight of the night, Alexa Bliss’ PSA “A Moment of Bliss”. She warns the WWE Universe about bullies, taking the victim role, giving a perfect ‘charity donation’ speech where she recounts a story of Nia Jax stealing a homeless person’s burrito. She warns the women that they shouldn’t be ‘silent accomplices’ to Nia’s bullying. She ends by revealing that she’ll be getting her title rematch against Nia Jax at Backlash for the RAW Women’s Championship.

Just before the match, the face team of RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax, Ember Moon, Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley have a little prep talk. Moon states that she’s not scared by the Riott Squad and Jax threatens Bliss saying that mocking her is bad for her health. As the team head off, besties turned frenemies Bayley and Sasha Banks are left behind, but Bayley walks off before she can say anything.

Onto the big match, which seemed to go down like a nice exhibition match for all of the women. The Riott Squad play the numbers game to take over Sasha Banks, who plays her classic role of the damsel in distress. Ember Moon gets a tag in to showcase her signature impressive flurry of offence including a nice suicide dive (psst… Sasha, that’s how you do it) and that leads us to the commercial break.

When we come back from the break, Banks is once again being worked over by Logan, but Mickie James tags herself into the match as the Riott Squad seemed to be keeping themselves in the match. Eventually Natalya finds herself in the match and it’s great to see these ladies working together 8 years later. Natalya gets the upperhand and locks in her Sharpshooter, but Logan goes right for the chop block that looks like it could have popped out Natalya’s whole lower leg. As she limps to the corner, James gets super heel on us and boots her right in the injured leg and medics tend to Natalya on the outside.

Bayley and Ruby Riott continue in the ring, but soon Nia Jax gets tagged in. She makes easy work of Riott with a press slam and leg drop, but the entire heel team break up the pin. The match breaks down with all of the women brawling to the outside, but The Champ has other plans… Jax literally bowls through everyone with a crossbody/splash type thing from the apron!

There’s one women she didn’t catch, the villainous Mickie James who heads back into the ring… and once again lays out Natalya with a baseball dropkick and she continues the beatdown. Before she can continue, ‘Bad Reputation’ hits the speakers and Ronda Rousey comes out to help her mate. Once again, Mickie goes for a baseball dropkick but this pisses off Rousey. She jumps into the ring and attacks Mickie with the armbar after a sick judo takedown. She wrenches Mickie’s arm, causing the disqualification finish and goes to help her friend Natalya back up the ramp.

The commentators sign off and yeah… I guess that’s the end of RAW… no ring announcement, no cutaways to the other women.. Right.

Thoughts: Well, as I said at the top of this article, the roster suffered from this year’s Shake Up. I’m not dismissing the talent, but everything and everyone is just a bit all over the place, which was really felt in this week’s ‘big tag match’.

Let me start on a positive note though, I friggin’ loved the ‘Moment of Bliss’ PSA. Yes it was corny, but the music, the delivery, the script – the closest thing I could compare it to would be Trish’s ‘Kiss of Death’ promo for Lita, it was perfect. I know I wasn’t a fan of the fat-shaming angle, but this twist with Bliss claiming she’s the victim is a creative way to keep her character strong. Let’s just say that it was a lot better than those awful Nikki Bella promos where she spoke about Brie stealing her boyfriend. However, I can’t be the only one who noticed Bliss stayed out the ring and wore her baggy t-shirt merch over her usual attire. *sips tea*

Now onto the less positive things… The Riott Squad. I just can’t take them seriously as a threat. We’ve seen them lose to everyone on SmackDown, they looked weak at Royal Rumble and they tried to look strong at WrestleMania, but it didn’t click. There is potential there, but these girls just aren’t clicking. I really do like Ruby Riott, but you can’t even tell that she’s the leader. You need them ambushing the likes of Ember and Bayley backstage, you need them 3 on 1 surrounding Nia Jax, you need them actually causing riots. At the moment, I’m not seeing anything exciting… except Liv trying to stand out by making her tongue blue…

Then we have the end to last night’s action… what the hell was that. God bless @thatsroode on Instagram for making this, because it’s exactly what came to mind when I watched it:

gn

A post shared by Adrian (@thatsroode) on

Was fun to see her go for a move like that, but then what followed was just weird. I was all here for Mickie James to go superheel and own Natalya like that, but Rousey made her look like her bitch in about 2.5 seconds. I feel a group of us say this every week, Rousey made lightwork of Sonya Deville whose whole schtick is the MMA chick. Then we have Mickie James this week, a 6 time Women’s Champion who was made a light meal out of. Sure the takedown looked slick AF, but damn they could have at least let her kick her a bit.

What was then more weird was how they walked up and the rest of the women’s division were forgotten about. Did Jax get her hands on Bliss? Is there friction between Alexa/Mickie and the Riott Squad? What about Sasha and Bayley? They literally just forgot about everyone else and I guess that could be seen as a foreboding sign of what’s to come from the RAW women’s division… everyone squashed and all attention on Ronda Rousey.

Now, I get it, she’s a big deal, female Lesnar, blah blah blah, but the fact is that she’s still not a strong wrestler. It’s not worth squashing an entire division for and I kinda feel sorry for all of them since they’ll be putting her over, Ember, Bayley, Sasha until dun dun dun… Charlotte Flair. *rolls eyes* You lot hated on Asuka’s streak because it made predictable booking, but at least her NXT opponents were made to look equal and get the upperhand. Let’s also add the fact that Asuka can wrestle her ass off. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith in Rousey and she impressed me at WrestleMania, but this booking won’t be healthy for everyone else.

What did you think of last night’s RAW? Did you like the booking of the big tag match? Did you enjoy Alexa’s PSA as much as I did? What did you think of Rousey owning Mickie? Write in that comment section and I’ll be reading!