Last night’s Fatal 4-Way PPV left open a lot of possibilities. The mission of tonight’s Raw was to pick that up and run with it. But unfortunately (if we’re sticking to the running metaphors), they pretty much stumbled just out of the gate. They just didn’t keep the excitement going. What did they actually do? Well, good thing you asked..
The first thing we learned about the post-F4W Raw landscape is that Maryse is now managing Ted Dibiase, effectively replaced Virgil. Watch their adventures below:
They seem to have good chemistry, and while it may be seen as a demotion for Maryse to go from being in the thick of a Divas Championship feud to merely managing, it’s good to see that the WWE is still thinking of things for her to do. She wasn’t going to be at the forefront forever, so it’s great to know that she won’t just be sitting on the sidelines twiddling her thumbs until her number gets called again. Plus, this can help put to use what many fans deem to be her greatest asset–her personality. We’ll see if it goes anywhere interesting, but for now, it’s got potential.
Later, Natalya and the Harts were interviewed by Josh Matthews. She speaks a bit on the NXT rookies’ attack on Bret Hart, saying that they should be in jail, not rewarded with contracts. Natalya also mentions that, in a moment, she will be making her Raw singles match debut. Cue flailing:
skip to 2:18 for Natalya’s interview
She is, of course, wrestling Tamina. I’m afraid that they’re pulling the trigger on this too soon, but better this than nothing, right? I just hope they can keep the fire burning with some outside the ring action rather than putting it all out there so quickly. Watch the match below:
Tamina gets the first blow in, kicking Natalya in the midsection. She powers her into the corner and pummels her by smashing her face into the turnbuckle, kicking her, and finally choking her with her boot. She pulls Natalya to her feet and full-on headbutts her, something you certainly don’t see every day in Divas matches. Natalya battles back after Tamina whips her into the corner, moving just in time to divert an attack. Natalya then bounces off the ropes, hitting a hard clothesline on the return. She hits a scoop slam and runs for the ropes, but stops in her tracks when she sees the Usos ready to grab her when she gets within reach.
Distracted by this, Natalya doesn’t see Tamina come from behind before she knocks her down. Tamina hoists her up, prepping for a Samoan drop, but Natalya slowly but surely fights out of it, switching her position so that she can roll Tamina up into a pin. But instead of holding the pin, she pulls up Tamina’s legs, prepping for the Sharpshooter.
At that moment, of course, the NXT rookies decide to interrupt this match, and Natalya and Tamina head for the hills. They had interrupt THIS match, a fresh, interesting one-on-one Divas match, out of all the others in the show. Figures. Hey, at least it leaves us wanting more out of Nattie and Tamina. And, I guess that gives the NXT fellows the heat they’ve been trying to get, but it’s probably limited to those of us on Diva Dirt who actually care about Divas like Natalya and Tamina. For the little time they had, I think they did quite well, and Tamina showed off some powerful moves, such as a brutal headbutt. For all of her supposed greenness, she’s covering it pretty well by simply being intimidating and powerful in the ring instead of worrying about the more detailed stuff. Natalya’s clothesline was timed perfectly and looked devastating, and I would have loved to see her lock in the Sharpshooter on Tamina, but hey, I guess we’ll see it eventually. Hopefully the next time they meet the match won’t be interrupted just when it’s getting good.
But that’s not all! We crowned a new Divas Champion last night, remember? Tonight, new champ Alicia Fox is facing the woman she practically stole the title from–Eve Torres. The bad news is that it’s a mixed tag match. The EXTRA bad news is that their tag partners are from the jobber pool: Primo and Khali. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it isn’t a total loss:
It looks like Khali and Primo are starting things off, but Primo chickens out and tags in Alicia, which also brings in Eve. Alicia shoves Eve twice, looking exceptionally cocky. She goes for a third time, but Eve catches her arm and locks her into a side headlock, flipping her to the mat and holding onto the move. She transitions back to her feet before flipping Alicia back to the mat again, the hold still locked in place. Alicia eventually gets to her feet and powers Eve into the ropes, but Eve regains control and chokes her against the ropes.
Alicia goes for a kick, but Eve catches her boot, shoving her into the ropes and allowing her to bounce right back into a clothesline. She goes for a pin, but Alicia kicks out at 2. Alicia reverses an Irish whip into the ropes, but Eve vaults over Alicia’s crouched back, hitting a dropkick when she turns around. Eve goes on the attack again, but Alicia trips her up with a drop toe hold, landing her throat-first on the bottom rope. Alicia tries for a pin, but gets a 2-count. She slams Eve face-first onto the mat and kicks her in the same spot while prancing around the ring.
Eve tries to battle back, but Alicia stops this with a leaping knee to the face. Oh lord, that could have gone wrong so easily, but she hit it pretty damn effectively. It probably helps that she’s practically 7 feet tall. After a loud “woohoo!” she goes for another pin, but Eve kicks out at 2. She lifts Eve up and powers her into the corner. Eve regains control with a double boot to the chest and an enziguri. With Alicia prone, she climbs the ropes and hits a beautiful moonsault, going for what should be the match-ending pin, but Primo comes in and distracts the referee while Alicia rolls out of the ring. She heads for the ramp, leaving her partner behind as Khali eventually does him in and gets the win for his team. For the record, I don’t blame Alicia a bit for bailing on her lame partner. She probably should have done it sooner.
Predictably, the match suffered from the shitty mixed tag stipulation, but Eve and Alicia did decently together. They wrestled for practically the entire match, around 4 1/2 minutes of it, and that;s nothing to sneeze at these days. Still, this does nothing to build any momentum for their potential feud. In fact, with the generic set-up of this match (random pairings with the babyface and heel jobbers of the week) and virtually no fire in it following the PPV, it practically sucks the life out of it. This is something the writers would turn to in a few weeks’ time when they’re fresh out of ideas. When this is the first thing they pull out, their idea to get this feud over, it just acts as a bad omen for the whole thing. I’m kind of disappointed that this is where we seem to be going, with Eve chasing Alicia for the title. I really, really wish they would make it Gail/Alicia instead, but I guess that’s the thing of dreams, because it really would be too good to be true.
Instead, Alicia will face one of the more generically-written Divas on the roster right now, and it sucks. Eve has a lot in her, a lot of fire and athleticism, but the way she’s written and acts is just plain boring. This night showcased that, as she just smiled and played around with Khali instead of being pissed that Alicia stole her title the night before. If I were her, I’d be looking for revenge, certainly not let her prance off up the ramp in the middle of the match. It just sets up Eve to be a Diva that any woman could play, and that doesn’t make her relatable–it makes her dull. I really hope they can come up with something more interesting in the coming weeks, because I think Alicia as champ has a lot of potential. Pairing her with a ceiling light counter isn’t meeting it, not by a long shot.