RAW 04/30/18: Banks feels the Riott, Bliss heads for the hills

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With all the hype of the women-less ‘Greatest Royal Rumble’, many of us would be forgiven for forgetting that this is meant to be the go-home big RAW before Backlash and the new ‘co-branded PPVs’ (which I think is a terrible idea). Before I digress, let’s take a look at what went down on RAW!

First up, we had a really good match between Sasha Banks and leader of the Riott Squad, Ruby Riott. Ahead of the match, Charly Caruso asks if Banks has spoken to Bayley to attempt to even the numbers, but she states that her old bestie has been ignoring her. However, Banks isn’t phased and claims that the RAW women’s division still runs on ‘Boss Time’.

In a nice back and forth match, we finally get to see Ruby Riott properly show what she can do. Bayley is seen watching the match via a monitor backstage, but Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan are ringside. Riott hits a sweet senton from the second rope for a nearfall. Banks rivals it with an attempt at the Bank Statement, but it gets broken up by Liv Morgan. Banks hits a brutal meteora on Riott into the ringpost, then floors Morgan with the same move. Banks climbs up the top rope and kicks away Sarah Logan, but that buys enough time for Riott to hit the Riott kick and knock her off the top rope and get the pinfall victory!

Next up, we had another amazing ‘Moment of Bliss’ with Alexa Bliss. This week, once again pulling the victim card, she recalls a story of Nia Jax mocking her height when they visited Disneyland together. Obviously, Bliss makes another dig at Jax’ weight and finishes her piece by stating that she’ll gain back her RAW Women’s Championship and not let the bully win. Brilliant stuff!

Finally, we had Natalya taking on Mickie James. Crazy to think that the last time these two had a singles match was in 2009! Mickie James is accompanied by Alexa Bliss (who is still wearing a baggy tshirt) and Natalya is accompanied by Ronda Rousey. Interestingly, they shout out former Divas Champion, Eve Torres as the person who brought Nattie and Rousey together.

Another solid match between these two veterans. A lot more mat based, with Natalya’s mat work going against Mickie’s more aggressive heel style that brings me back to her TNA days. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Alexa gets onto the apron. The distraction allows Mickie to boot Natalya in the knee, but now Bliss has got Rousey’s attention. Rousey starts chasing her around the ring, which distracts Mickie, allowing Natalya to roll her up and get the pinfall!

Alexa seems to have made the escape, but as she stands on the apron, RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax makes her way out. Alexa hops the barricade, but Jax makes her way into the ring. After a brief stare, she stands between Natalya and Rousey, raising both of their arms in victory!

Thoughts: Well first off, hats off to Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks for that match. It wasn’t blow away standards, but you can see the potential there and Riott has proved that she can run with the ball if given to her. You’ve read my rants about The Riott Squad, but this is how we make progress. Much like how Absolution were getting wins over Banks and Bayley, this is a good rub for the Riott Squad – especially to establish Riott as a leader.

My problem with this whole angle at the moment, is that there is no real pay-off. Banks VS Bayley has been a slowburner, but almost way too slow. Now we’ve got the Riott Squad facing them week in and week out, but without brand exclusive PPVs, I just can’t see how any of this will be useful? Backlash would have been perfect for someone to make a change, but instead it looks like we’ll have to wait another month… but again will there even be a spot on the card for them?

Onto the ‘Moment of Bliss’, oh I really do enjoy these. Again, the fat comments are there, but it’s just a subtle more advanced way of enhancing Alexa’s character instead of just standing there calling Nia fat every week. I just hope these don’t end once this feud is over, would love for Alexa to keep playing the victim! My only fear is that this match is going to go down a squash again. I don’t know if Alexa is ready to wrestle yet, but she’s been out the ring for a hot minute now.

Finally, we do have to acknowledge that crowd reaction for Rousey. She’s hot right now, people want to see her attack, she’s a hot commodity and there’s something there. Now, I know I nagged about last week’s end to the tag match, but it’s again something that we should watch out for. The chances for WWE to hop on that popularity and shove her to the moon and squash every woman is so high… oh and speaking of moons, told you it would be a matter of time until Ember Moon got lost in the shuffle…

Are you looking forward to Backlash? Do you think Alexa Bliss is going to be ready to wrestle? Did you enjoy the Riott VS Banks match as much as I did? You know what to do in them comments!