Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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Raw Redux (January 6th, 2014): All Aksana Everything

Hello, Diva fans! I’m filling in for Cryssi today, so I’m afraid we’ll be having a less exciting Redux this week. You’ll live..

In a bit of a twist, for the second week in a row, there was no Divas Champion AJ Lee to be found. Instead, we’re seeing the continuation of a feud that started on last week’s Raw, with Brie and Nikki Bella taking on Aksana and Alicia Fox:

The match start with Nikki and Alicia, who tie up in the middle of the ring. Nikki tosses Alicia to the mat twice in a row, capturing her in an arm submission before Alicia uses her legs to take control, locking Nikki in a neck scissors. Nikki kips out and avoids another attack from Alicia, driving her face into her knee.

She then hits Alicia with a leaping snapmare, sending her across the ring and positioning her perfectly for a monkey flip. Alicia heads out of the ring, but Nikki drags her back in, earning herself a trip to the outside when Alicia shoves her through the ropes.

Nikki looks to be favoring her surgically repaired leg, but manages to slap the hell out of Alicia when she tries to drag her into the ring. She enters the ring under her own power, but Alicia immediately targets her bad leg, sweeping it out from under her. She slams the leg to the mat before going for a pin attempt. Nikki kicks out.

Alicia carries Nikki to her corner, wrapping her bad leg around the second rope and tagging in Aksana. Aksana continues the assault on Nikki’s leg as the crowd beings to chant “Let’s go Nikki!”, keeping control for quite a while. Nikki finally fights off Aksana, giving Brie the hot tag.

Brie comes in on fire, beating down Aksana until she is halted by a kick to the stomach. Aksana drops Nikki off the apron and plays possum while Brie climbs the top rope. Brie goes for a missile dropkick, but Aksana moves out of the way, letting Brie hit the mat. She immediately goes for the pin, and it’s enough to earn her and Alicia the victory!

Thoughts: Well, I didn’t expect that to happen! Aksana has long been one of the “forgotten Divas” in the division, jobbing to the babyfaces or playing second (or third, or fourth) fiddle to AJ. It’s surprising – and a bit refreshing – to see the focus switch to her. Mind you, I don’t really get why it’s happening, but still..

This match was a nice reminder of how a Tag Team match plays out when it’s the heel who’s going over, as the heels come across as a lot more intelligent. I’m so used to Aksana taking 500 dropkicks and clotheslines and using rest holds that I’m surprised to see her use a bit of heelish ring psychology, taking out Brie’s partner and tricking her into going for a high risk move. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual “put over the babyfaces” Tag Team matches we’ve seen countless times.

But, while all of this is going on, I can’t help but wonder where the hell AJ is? I know last week she was at another WWE live event during Raw, but the only thing I can think of holding her off TV is her tweet yesterday about losing a tooth. But surely, there are ways to build a Divas Title match for the Royal Rumble without getting in the ring..

I guess I’m concerned about this because the Rumble is just over two weeks away, and we have no clear title feud going on. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be opposed to a non-title match, but it’s all a little puzzling. Though, it wouldn’t be the first time we witnessed a last minute pre-PPV feud.

Maybe we should finally bring to life one of the old Diva fan dream matches and have an all-Diva Rumble match for a Divas Title shot at WrestleMania? I know, keep dreaming..

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