Friday, June 18, 2021

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Raw Redux (November 11th, 2013): Nikki Can’t Stop the Superfly

Hey there, Redux readers. I’m filling in for Cryssi this week, who is camping out for WrestleMania 30 tickets. I’m just kidding, of course. She’s actually off vacationing with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. More plausible, right?

Anyways, let’s get into the action, which featured Nikki Bella (with Brie) taking on Tamina Snuka (with AJ Lee):

Right off the bat, Tamina takes control, tossing Nikki across the ring. Nikki dodges another attack and performs an Eva Marie Roll-Up™ – a roll-up performed on Tamina – but Tamina kicks out. Tamina battles back, but suffers a boot to the face and another roll-up. She kicks out again.

Nikki keeps Tamina reeling with a drop toe hold and a low dropkick. Tamina decides to take a breather, leaving the ring. After she fumes a bit, she reenters the ring guns-a-blazing with a clothesline attempt, which Nikki ducks. Nikki comes back with a monkey flip attempt, but gets batted off like a fly. Tamina hits one of her lesser known signature moves (taking off her vest and throwing it at her opponent) and goes for the pin. Nikki kicks out.

Tamina scoop slams Nikki and locks her in an abdominal stretch. Brie gets the crowd fired up, trying to motivate Nikki to hang on. Tamina relinquishes the move soon after and Nikki kicks her in the face. Nikki heads for the ropes to get to her feet, but Tamina’s on her, threading her around the second rope and stretching her out.

She breaks the hold and hits Nikki with a pump handle slam, going for another pin that Nikki kicks out of. Tamina catches her in a sleeper for a bit, then lifts her up into a backbreaker rack, impressively holding Nikki on her shoulder. Now this is a move that sells Tamina as a powerhouse. Sleeper holds? Not so much.

Tamina stumbles near a turnbuckle, and Nikki finds her footing, pushing off it and flipping out of the hold, fending off another attack from Tamina with a back body drop. Nikki continues the momentum with a headscissors, two clotheslines and a monkey flip. She hits Tamina with a quick bulldog and tries for a pin, but Tamina kicks out.

Nikki’s roll is stopped with a kick to the stomach, Tamina shoving her throat-first against the second rope. As Tamina distracts the ref, AJ hotshots Nikki against the rope, sending her right into a big boot from Tamina. As Tamina goes for the pin, AJ fends off an attack from Brie, tossing her into the ring apron. This allows Tamina to hit the Superfly Splash and get the win.

As AJ celebrates the win in her customary way – skipping – Brie comes out of nowhere to dropkick her in the face. She hits another dropkick on Tamina, sending her to the outside. Brie assumes the protective sister position and AJ and Tamina head to the back.

We also got a glimpse of Natalya and Summer Rae when they were at ringside for Tyson Kidd and Fandango‘s match. This time, the dancing duo got the last laugh:

Thoughts: One of the reasons I don’t like the overseas Raws is it inevitably feels like storylines are in stasis for the week. I guess it doesn’t help that AJ’s defending her title against Natalya on Wednesday. It just feels like the Divas Title feud is all over the place. Do they want to continue the AJ/Bellas feud, or was this just a placeholder?

As for the match, I liked it well enough. In this role, Tamina just isn’t an exciting wrestler, but they did a good job of making Nikki look resourceful, keeping on Tamina and going for every quick pin attempt she could. It’s weird, though, that Tamina needed assistance to win. I know she’s a dastardly heel, but if she’s as tough as we are lead to believe, surely she could cleanly defeat a Diva fresh off an injury?

I guess I’m not enthusiastic about this because I want to know the direction the division’s heading in, and it’s hard to latch onto a story when it’s not consistent. This taped Raw and last week’s rub for the Total Divas cast just muddles everything up. Is Brie supposed to be feuding with AJ? What about Eva Marie’s “big big big big” win? Where does Natalya fit in all of this? Why didn’t she and AJ cross paths to hype the title match? I hope things are cleared up after Main Event. I just want a clear direction!

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