RAW 06/25/18: Friendships Imploded

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Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s Raw Redux. First off, I want to say a gigantic sorry to everyone that this week’s Raw is getting out so late. The usual writer for Raw, Alex, fell ill this past week. On a side note, I hope he feels better soon and has a speedy recovery. Additionally, we’ve had kind of low coverage for the site this week. Going forward, I hope shows don’t get out this late, because we know you guys like these reviews to be posted as soon as possible. That being said, I’m pumped to step in and cover Raw this week. Let’s jump into the show!

Last week, Ronda Rousey got herself suspended for 30 days as a result of her assault on Alexa Bliss, Kurt Angle and officials. We also got confirmation that Nia Jax will be implementing her rematch clause against Bliss at Extreme Rules. And we saw Bayley and Sasha’s friendship disintegrate even further following a loss to Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. On this week’s episode, we heard Alexa’s response to recent events surrounding the Raw Women’s Championship. On top of that, we saw Bayley reach an unexpected and violent breaking point.

A little while after Kurt Angle was shown talking to Sasha Banks, Kurt approached Bayley and the returning Alicia Fox backstage. After requesting to speak to Bayley alone, Angle informed Bayley that she would be teaming with Sasha Banks and Ember Moon against The Riott Squad. Although Bayley protested the decision, Angle told Bayley that her and Banks were too valuable to Raw, which meant that her and Banks should be getting along.

A little later on in the evening, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James came down to the ring. Mickie and Bliss both ran down Ronda Rousey for being a maniac. After some boasting, Bliss then turned her attention towards Nia. Bliss said that although Nia considers herself to be the hero of her own story, Bliss was the true hero of their dissolved friendship. Bliss would continue to talk until Natalya came out. Natalya stated that it was just 23 days until her friend and training partner came back to deal with Bliss. Alexa would respond by mocking Natalya’s math skills as well as how much Natalya posts on social media. Alexa would then “dismiss” Natalya, only for Natalya to inform Bliss that they had an upcoming match together. Natalya then stated that she didn’t come alone, which brought out Nia Jax.

As we came back from a commercial break, Alexa Bliss and Natalya were in the middle of their match. Bliss would take control of the contest by using a body scissors as well as targeting one of Natalya’s legs. However, Natalya would bounce back using some of her signature offense. The end of the match saw Mickie attempt to trip Natalya as she was running the ropes. Although Mickie’s tactics distracted Natalya, Nia Jax would respond by tripping up Alexa as she ran the ropes. Distracted by Nia’s interference, Alexa fell victim to a sharpshooter and tapped out, giving Natalya a non-title victory over Five Feet of Fury.

Prior to their match, the Riott Squad interrupted a photo shoot with Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh. Initially, Ruby offered to take some photos of Jinder. That wouldn’t last long though, as Ruby threw the camera to the ground. Jinder however practiced his new found patience, which led the Riott Squad to being a little freaked out.

Elsewhere in the program, Ember Moon, Sasha Banks, and Bayley battled the Riott Squad. Similar to past weeks, Bayley and Banks showed signs of tension throughout the match. This allowed the Riott Squad to target in on Ember Moon and dominate her for the majority of the match. Eventually, Banks would tag in and go to town on the Riott Squad. But despite Banks’ momentum, Ruby was able roll up Sasha and pin her, earning the Riott Squad another victory.

Immediately following the match, Bayley pounced Sasha Banks, much to the surprise of Banks. Bayley refused to let up, as she violently threw Sasha into the turnbuckles. Bayley would then pull Banks out of the ring harshly, and throw her into the steel steps twice. Bayley then got in Sasha’s face and frustratingly yelled at Banks about how Banks thinks that she’s better than her. Bayley also remarked that her attack was a result of everything Sasha has done to her over the years. Bayley went backstage as Sasha attempted to recover at ringside.

As a result of Bayley’s actions, Angle requested a meeting with Bayley. When those two did meet, Bayley attempted to explain herself. But Angle would hear none of it. Instead, he told Bayley that she was being forced to attend counseling next week. Bayley attempted to put up a protest. However, Angle stated emphatically that Bayley could either go to counseling or get fired.

In the Raw exclusive video above, Angle checked in on Banks’ condition. Kurt then informed Sasha that she also would have to go to counseling next week. Much like Bayley, Banks scoffed at the idea of going to counseling. However, also similar to his conversation with Bayley, Kurt told Sasha she could either go to counseling or be fired.

Thoughts: At first, I was confused as to why the writers decided to do the suspension angle with Ronda Rousey. But now it does make sense to me. By having a storyline excuse to have Ronda off of television, it allows the writers to finish up the feud between Bliss and Jax. And it also gives Ronda a possibility to work on some of her in ring skills before her next match up.

To me, Nia has suffered the most from her programs with Rousey and now Alexa Bliss. She hasn’t been given the opportunity to keep a long term character. At Backlash, she was sticking up for individuals who were bullied. Then about a month later, she was wrestling Ronda in an attempt to make her look like a rookie. Now she’s back to seemingly being a smiling babyface. That sort of inconsistency really hurts a character’s development. And unfortunately, as a result of the past two months or so, I think the legitimacy of Nia’s character has indeed suffered.

The match between Natalya and Alexa was fine for what it was. There wasn’t anything memorable per se. But the match also wasn’t bad. It also does trip me out a bit that Mickie is back at Alexa’s side after about a month of not accompanying her to ringside or anything. But I do love seeing Mickie on television. I wish she had a more prominent role within the division. Hopefully though that can come sooner rather than later.

Speaking of the in ring action, the six women tag also kind of fell into the same category for me. In no way was the match bad. Ruby and Ember are so damn smooth in the ring. I sincerely hope both of those women are granted title reigns during their time on the main roster. Because I feel like they deliver in the ring. Also, Liv impressed me with her flying hurricarana. I think she and Logan both have been improving well since their debut on the main roster.

What stands out to me the most from this Raw was that loud pop Bayley got for attacking Banks. I honestly can’t tell if that was what WWE was going for by having Bayley attack Banks. I kind of hope it was, because I would so much rather see Banks work as a heel than Bayley. But just hearing that reaction was nuts. That’s one of the more organic crowd reactions towards a women’s segment in recent memory that I personally remember. We’ve never seen a side of Bayley like what she displayed in this segment. And Bayley brought out her aggressive side really well.

On paper, counseling segments between Bayley and Sasha doesn’t excite me. But I understand that it’s all part of the bigger story, which is Bayley and Sasha having a one on one match. In my perfect world, Bayley and Banks would have an inconclusive match at Extreme Rules, which would then lead to a big match at Summerslam. I was really hoping WWE would have Bayley and Banks go at it at Wrestlemania in a singles match. But they decided to stick both women in the Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal. By doing that, I think WWE missed the boat. But hopefully they correct that wrong and give these two women (and the fans) a payoff with a marquee match up.

What did you think of Natalya’s victory? Did you enjoy the six women tag match? How do you see Bayley and Sasha’s storyline progressing? Let us know in the comments below!