Raw Redux (January 18th, 2010) – The “Final Four” or Friendly Competition?

With last week featuring two Divas Championship Tournament matches, one would think that the WWE were going full-speed ahead with the tourny. However, this week brought a halt to it, so to speak, because the WWE felt fit to press pause on the tournament in order to feature a tag team match with the remaining four Divas. Gail Kim and Eve Torres took on Maryse and Alicia Fox in something that shouldn’t really make sense in the context of the tournament. Watch and draw your own conclusions about whether or not it was unnecessary:

Gail and Maryse start out the match, with Gail immediately outsmarting Maryse and rolling her up into a pin. Maryse kicks out at 2 and is whipped into the corner, receiving Gail’s shoulder attack. Gail slips out of the ring and climbs the turnbuckle, hitting a sit-down dropkick and going for another pin, still getting 2. Maryse reverses an irish-whip, sending Gail into the ropes. When she gets close enough, Alicia grabs her by the hair, and Gail takes a wild swing at her, which she ducks. Maryse lands a well-placed boot that sends Gail flying out of the ring. Alicia attacks her on the outside, slamming her head against the floor before tossing her back into the ring.

Maryse brings Gail to her feet, hitting her with a forearm before planting her with a backbreaker. She goes for the pin and gets a 2-count. Maryse grabs a handful of Gail’s hair and brings her to the corner, tagging in Alicia. Maryse hits a snapmare on Gail and she and Alicia lift her up from either side, slamming her down onto her back. Gail gets to her feet and battles back at Alicia until she’s taken out with another backbreaker (it looked like she did 75% of the work too, flipping into it like she did). Alicia goes for the pin, and Gail kicks out at 2.

While Gail gathers herself Alicia preps for her scissors kick. However, Gail moves at the last moment and likely gives Alicia a mean charley horse. Gail moves to a corner into which Alicia charges, but she moves and lets her get a face full of turnbuckle. Gail springs to her own corner and tags in Eve. Eve goes on a blast of offense, whipping Alicia into a corner and charging, but getting a boot to the face. Alicia comes running out of the corner but Eve halts her with an armdrag. She hits a dropkick (which we can only assume Alicia was selling out of habit rather than impact) and another (this one making contact). She clotheslines Alicia and hits her somersault splash and goes for the pin. The referee double-checks Alicia’s shoulders (kudos, ref!), so Alicia only stays down for a 1-count.

Alicia gains control and whips Eve into the corner, but gets an elbow to the face. Eve climbs the turnbuckle and latches Alicia into an arm bar, flipping forward and landing on the mat, switching into a full arm bar. Maryse tries to come to Alicia’s aid but Gail takes her out, and Alicia soon submits. Eve and Gail celebrate their victory as Maryse tosses up her hands to show her aloofness while Alicia uses hers to support her sore shoulder.

I was pretty confused when this match came about, mostly because I was expecting a tournament semi-final match. A tag team match is fine and dandy, but it makes little sense in the course of the tournament. These women are supposed to be enemies–after all, Gail might face Eve in the finals, or Maryse might face Alicia in the finals. We know that that’s not likely to happen, but they’ve got to keep that option open, and teaming these girls up together just makes you forget that they’re supposed to be against one another. Sure, Eve and Gail can be buddy-buddy–they’re good girls, after all–but having Alicia and Maryse coexist? I don’t know.. I know this match was likely just to delay the tournament another week and make a Royal Rumble match more likely (with two semi-final matches next week), but they could have used the four girls in a more creative way that didn’t make the tournament seem like friendly competiton rather than a fierce battle for a vacated championship.

The match itself was decent, with Gail doing most of the work with Maryse. I know that that’s become Maryse’s staple–take the punishment, hit a move or two then get out of the ring–but it’s just tiring to never see Maryse really wrestle. All it does is make it look like Maryse can’t string two moves together, and I’m sure that’s not the message they want to send. Alicia and Eve worked well together, I think, aside from the botched dropkick, but I’m sure that one more will be the talk of the town for a while anyways. Eve’s cool submission looks like it could develop into a fantastic move, given that they don’t overdo it and have her bust it out every match. A cool move like that should only be busted out on special occasions in order to preserve its “wow” factor. I can only hope that Eve’s got more tricks up her sleeve so her move-set can keep from getting as predictable as some other Divas’.

It was cool to see a Divas match end on submission–it’s been a while since we’ve seen that. Hell, I’m just glad it didn’t end on a roll-up. I still can’t keep from wishing that the WWE went another route with this tournament off-week, doing something that could keep these girls in separate corners and maintain the isolating illusion that tournaments can bring. It’s supposed to be every girl for herself, isn’t it?

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  • dunk20

    I enjoyed watching it. Too bad it was short as usual.

  • sharkk

    I didn’t like this match at all. Gail Kim was the only hope in this match. :/ I felt like when Eve was tagged in, she tried to pick up the pace and it only backfired against her because all of her moves turned out sloppy. Especially that god-awful drop kick. I thought Alicia did great work, though. I cringed when she missed her leg scissors, it looked like it hurt her knee.

  • http://www.diva-dirt.com Melanie

    I enjoyed the work between Alicia and Eve and thought they had a great fast pace in the ring which you don’t usually see from two inexperienced girls [Brie/Maryse]. They came across confident & had good ring presence with each other.

    It’s a shame that a missed dropkick will be all that most take away from this though. I commend Eve for not being deterred by the fact she’d messed up and continuing the match straightaway and covering it up. That’s what a professional does and she handled it well. And to her credit, aside from that I think she looked good and I really liked her submission finisher. Not many girls use submission finishers so it’s a nice change.

    I don’t mean to say she or Alicia for that matter are perfect in the ring, they’re not. But as far as WWE goes, they are decent and can put on a good Divas match.

  • Ana_Nattie_rules

    “It was cool to see a Divas match end on submission–it’s been a while since we’ve seen that.”

    Didn’t Natalya win with a sharpshooter not to while ago? O.o

    Anyways, not mention the botches. I think the stupid part of this, is the fact that Msryse is an arrogant character, so I don’t see her being oh so happy to have to share ring time with others.

    A after match attack by one of the girls would be great, especially by Maryse. I mean, she’s a heel, but people cheer her like she’s a babyface.

  • JuicyJuiceBox

    Ana,completely agree on a post-match bit. This match was intended to build toward the upcoming matches, yet it didn’t. There should’ve been more than just a straight up match.

  • Looking Glass

    It woudl’ve been better to get more segments, outside of Maryse, running on how the final four feel about heading into the semi-finals. The match itself was out of the blue, but understandable, but as with every Diva match on Raw- cut short. Eve continues to impress, but I just see this match as the calm before the planned storm, I mean they’ve built some tension with Eve and Maryse and they’ve been running up wins for Gail, so therefore its going to be ‘shocking’ when Maryse turns the tables and defeats Eve and with Gail being defeated in the finale.

    Also in defense of Brie Bella (I must be ill or something) she wasn’t THAT bad in that match, I mean she did almost as much as Eve in this one, sure we know what Eve’s capable of, but I think in the opening round Brie outpeformed Maryse in the move-set rankings. Not that any of that matters, I guess we’ll have to wait til the RR maybe? To see Maryse win the title that we’ll never see coming.

  • Zephyr5326

    I thought the match was ok and the commentators did well putting over the tournament and the Divas, especially when Jerry Lawler said Gail tried to reverse Maryse’s backbreaker into a DDT, nice touch. :)

  • xmelissaa

    I thought it was an alright match, although Eve’s dropkick made me cringe a lot. I wouldn’t have expected Eve to get the pinfall though, but I liked her new finisher.

  • Burke211

    I’m sorry, but Eve’s phantom dropkick was hilarious. Her submission move also looked weak as hell and very awkward, apart from that it was a decent match, but all people will remember is the screw up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brettkershaw mr_socko

    I had a look at the comments when i woke up this morning and the feedback on the match from most people was really negative. having just watched the match, i was suprised, because i thought it was actually pretty good! yes there was a botched drop kick in there (as much Alicias fault as it was eves) but they recovered from it very well and it certainly didn’t ruin the match. Eve’s finisher really looked great. I think an Eve/Alicia final could be on the cards!

    The biggest downside to the match for me (besides Maryse not being more dominant/offensive) was the lack of crowd reaction. I think that is mainly down to the characters of the girls. Gail has no character, and Alicia and Maryse play a fairly similar, generic cocky heel. It’s pretty hard to get excited about that.

    but overall I say well done to the Raw divas this week because Gail was solid as always, and the other three are showing signs of steady improvement (yes even maryse!)

  • Kaledrina

    an okay match. i would’ve preferred a fatal four way, though, if not the next round of the tournament.

    as for eve and that dodgy dropkick, i think a lot of that has to do with her trying to be faster than she actually is (it looked like she was rushing almost), whereas others, like gail, are naturally that speedy. but for two rather inexperienced divas, they did well to keep going and not let the entire thing break down *glares at mickie james* ;)

    thinking about it, i wonder if the original plan was to have both the semi(?) finals on raw, but instead another segment over run and they threw this together last minute?

    i like maryse, but i think her standing about doing nothing much at all is really ruining her. she’s one of the few divas who are allowed to have a personality, and it comes across, to me, that wwe are trying their best to destroy that aspect of her.

  • Jamal

    The match would have been better built with a backstage segment, maybe with all four girls talking about how they’re going to win the tournament. Then, when the match’s over, all four eye one another with distrust, knowing that the woman standing across or next to her could be standing in the way of her title. Instead, we get the same ol’ same ol’. It’s no wonder no one cares about the Diva Title.

  • Kaledrina

    i agree with mr socko, before last night it seemed a done deal that the final was going to be maryse/gail. but after the raw action, it seems more likely they may be pushing an alicia/eve thing instead.

    as much as maryse reclaiming the belt would be great, i’d love for a swerve such as eve or alicia in the final.

  • GK1

    Why are they making Eve use submission? It was such a sucky move, pretty much a head scissors..
    Gail Kim has the Christo, she should use it more..
    I thought the match was ok.
    It seemed amature because their Music Themes lasted like 3 seconds and they didn’t get in the ring whilst they played. It was stupid, in my opinion RAW should have carried on with the tournament.


    Why do people keep saying Maryse is ”inexperienced/sloppy”? Yea she has only been training for about 3 years but I haven’t seen Maryse botch one move yet. Actually, Maryse saved Brie from looking ”Jackie Gayda-like” in that match they had a few weeks ago (don’t believe me, watch it again). I can’t recall a time where she has ever messed up really badly. If you can PLEASE correct my mistake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brettkershaw mr_socko

    GK1, with that attitude i reckon you should just give up on women’s wrestling all together and watch something else.

    i agree with iLUVMARYSE – she does not deserve the criticism she gets by some of the people on here. I think she’s more a victim of bad booking than anything else and she’s probably still not 100% fit.

    An Alicia Eve final would be genuinely exciting because neither girl has held the title before, and it would be very difficult to predict

  • RKOyou

    Maryse and Gail will definitly be in the finals and I bet all my money on that

    I was disappointed, I really wanted to see the semi-finals matches NOW and not later

    Maryse is just psoiled by WWE, thats why she doesn’t deserve to be divas champion AGAIN so soon, she’s never had to take a backseat before to anyone and I think it’s time she did

  • trishrocks

    i def can see eve getting the push and the title. her going down to fcw all last week, and debuting a new finisher just seems like perfect timing for her to win. overall good match, sucky crowd.

  • Jamal

    You wanna see why Maryse is called sloppy or a botch queen? Look at any of her Kelly Kelly matches or even the match against Cherry. Hell, in this match, she botches her backbreaker and nearly breaks Gail’s tail bone! LOL Maryse can probably be something good in a few more years. As it is, she is far too inexperienced and not ready to be the figurehead for a brand.

  • chrisP

    “Hell, in this match, she botches her backbreaker and nearly breaks Gail’s tail bone!”

    Unless Gail actually got hurt, I don’t see what the problem is. If the move looked really painful without hurting Gail for real, isn’t that a good thing?

  • Looking Glass

    Why do people keep saying Maryse is ”inexperienced/sloppy”? Yea she has only been training for about 3 years but I haven’t seen Maryse botch one move yet. Actually, Maryse saved Brie from looking ”Jackie Gayda-like” in that match they had a few weeks ago (don’t believe me, watch it again). I can’t recall a time where she has ever messed up really badly. If you can PLEASE correct my mistake.

    Maryse saved Brie? I think you’ll find Brie did most of the work in that match, all Maryse did was her usual routine of playing to the crowd and the DDT. She may not have botched, but its not that hard seeing as she only has five moves to rememeber in the first place and seeing as she does them on a loop, she must’ve mastered all five by now. I’m expecting a bit of heat now, but to be honest you’ll only defend her regardless, your name pretty much stops you having an unbias opinion. I think people need to stop getting charisma and ring skills confused. Can she mouth off? Yes. Can she wrestle? To a degree. Is she improving? No, has she actually done anything new or wowing since her return that doesn’t involve demon eyes or the hand flick?

  • http://twitter.com/rodneyclint rodneyclint

    Maryse’s matches with Kelly were not bad at all and that Brie botch she saved was painfully obvious, doesn’t really matter how much “work” Brie did (a jumping snapmare and a dropkick from what I can recall). It seems people forget that Maryse injured her knee so they are probably taking things easy on her right now, the same way McCool barely wrestles because her knee injury still bothers her. And no one is getting ring skills and charisma confused, it’s just that Maryse’s character and mannerisms can make up for her lack of in ring action most of the time. And I like how you pointed out how Maryse does her moves in a loop, what Diva doesn’t? Most of the girls have about 4 or 5 moves that they always use so I don’t see why you want to single out Maryse. People need to quit hating, Maryse may not be the best wrestler but she is pretty much the only girl on either show who isn’t a “point and smile” or a “look really mean” character. They should play up the psychotic aspect of her character more actually.

  • dunk20

    Why not just enjoy things? It’s just a butterfly title. Who cares who wins it?
    As long as I keep watching them wrestling, I don’t care who is with the title.

    I would love to see Eve win it. I already said it before but Eve and Maryse would be a great feud.
    Gail Kim is an awesome wrestler, she will get the title soon don’t worry.

    But after thinking about these match I’m actually more confident to see Eve pick up the win.

    And I give the”haters” two months to start loving her after WWE turns her into the top babyface. It’s the same old shit.

    I remember when everybody hated Michelle Mccool. Not to mention the Melina haters. Now EVERYBODY loves Melina!

  • Mikas

    chrisP wrote:
    “Unless Gail actually got hurt, I don’t see what the problem is. If the move looked really painful without hurting Gail for real, isn’t that a good thing?”

    Workethics. You aren’t supposed to hurt your opponent. If you are not capable of properly executing a potential dangerous move, you should stick to easier moves. I have to admit though, that Maryse executed that move plenty of times without messing up in the past, so this could’ve been an incident. But i do believe she needs to train more (especially stamina and strength training), since her comeback she looks kinda weak, has trouble keeping her balance and is out of breath too quickly.

  • xxChristinaxx

    IMO, the match was just awful.