Welcome everyone to this weeks beautiful, lovely edition of the Raw Redux. The sun is shining… the birds are chirping… well, maybe in what part of the world you guys are in. Currently for me, it’s 4:13 in the morning and my internet is kicking out every few minutes so I’m pretty much having to write this while judging off videos found on my phone. This week was such a jolly good one though, that the struggle is worth it in order to bring as much of the British(y) goodness as I can. Therefore, without any further ado, let’s just right into the swing of things as we open with a mixed tag team match pitting Fandango and Layla against Santino Marella and Emma:
…Just kidding, it’s actually Fandango and Layla opposite R-Truth and yes… either Naomi or Cameron (which I kind of found to be “ughhh”-inducing in the spoiler report when it was worded like that, but now that I actually see it on TV, I understand why and no longer feel upset thinking the fans still can’t tell them apart even after Cameron dyed her hair five colors to differentiate herself from Naomi).
Immediately following a video package looking at NXT’s work with the Special Olympics (featuring iSpy-esque guest shots of Eva Marie, Emma, Devin Taylor, JoJo, Bayley and Veronica Lane), the music of R-Truth hits and out he stomps with Naomi and Cameron by his side. They engage in a fun little version of his entrance as they strut down the ramp, before being cut off by the ballroom technique and wisdom that is Fandango and Layla. The twosome cha-cha right into the ring as the crowd explodes with some good old “Fandango”-ing. Oh dear… we’ve now got another full on makeout session in the ring until… Yessss! “Call to Me, Call to Me” cuts them right off and out storms of revenge heavy Summer Rae!
Rocking her finest zebra, Summer marches right on by the obligatory red telephone booth and storms towards them as Layla looks enraged! Death. Summer takes Fandango by the hand and dips him, proceeding to make out as if to show Layla that she does it 10x better than the former Divas/Womens Champion ever could. Rae now tosses him aside, turns to Layla, and licks her lips before jumping right on her! Summer starts beating the dance technique right on out of Layla and the crowd loves it. They roll around the ring as Fandango is forced to (try and) pull them apart, but it takes him a good 10 seconds before Layla will actually let go of Summer’s hair. Nevertheless, Summer doesn’t lose an ounce of it despite the tug-o-war, which I guess is the perk of being a Diva who has naturally lengthy locks. She laughs at Layla, smiling and rubbing her lips with her finger as Fandango has to restrain his newfound love from running back in to retaliate. Game. On.
Following the Raw Rewind of Alicia Fox‘s historic breakdown last week, we return to the arena as our Divas Champion, Paige, makes her way out to her (kind of) hometown crowd to face Alicia Fox again. The bell sounds as we kick off with Paige chants and a lock up attempt that goes wrong when Foxy straight up boots Paige in the face! Paige runs off the ropes with a kick and some headbutts which make Foxy scream out hilariously. Now Alicia is thrown across the ring as Paige screams right back and gets the crowd into the swing of things until Alicia then scurries outside and hoists Paige onto the barricade before shoving her off.
“Get out of my house!”
Alicia throws Paige back in but only gets a two count, sparking Foxy to slam Paige’s head into the canvas and garner a “Let’s Go Paige” chant. Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker only gets a near fall, which garners a smack to the face. Fox throws Paige back into the corner a few times, but Paige hits the Paige Turner! Only a two count though, as Paige is in shock at wildcard Foxy’s ability to kick out. Alicia hits another backbreaker and sends Paige in between the ropes to the corner, then proceeding to boot her square in the face as she drags her back in and scores the three! Alicia kind of looks surprised, as the crowd erupts in huge boos and she starts freaking out!~ She grabs the referee and starts jumping on him, then sliding to the outside and hopping all over around the announce table.
“I won! I won! I won! I won!”
Death. Now Alicia has the King’s Crown and stands on the barricade screaming “I am the Queeeeeeeeen!” This is seriously exactly what my vision of perfection looks like. And… oh wow, she just scurried across the whole barricade and nearly gave me a spaz attack fearing she was going to fall. Wait… sound the sirens because Alicia Fox has a fans drink in her hands. She is pouring it on herself! Good God her meltdowns are the greatest thing to happen to Raw since Christy Hemme called Carmella DeCesare a gutter slut.
We also have the State of the WWE Championship segment featuring the one and only, Stephanie McMahon:
Daniel Bryan‘s music hits and the crowd erupts, but unfortunately for them, it’s Stephanie McMahon that walks out! Wait, scratch that… she struts out doing the “YES” chant! And it’s amazing. The crowd turns on her instantly as she eloquently walks into the ring and even plugs that part one of the Braniel wedding will air on this Sunday’s episode of Total Divas. She essentially talks about the Daniel Bryan story, and “sadly” announces that she’s (in a BRITISH ACCENT) got some bad news. She is debating whether or not to strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Title and award it to The Demon Kane, which elicits huge boos. She also weighs her other option of awarding it to Bad News Barrett (Cheers), Batista (Boos), or even Triple H (Boos) himself. She does reveal though, that she won’t strip him of his title. However, she will demand that Daniel show up at Raw next week and personally relinquish his title because that’s what’s best for business. Boom.
As 3 Man Band stand in the ring wearing British gear because why not, they are interrupted by resident Ice Queen, Lana! As always, Lana struts out working the ramp as her own personal runway. She pretty much relates the UK to America and the crowd tries to drown her out, forcing her to pause in between her sentence as she brings up Vladimir Putin. Lana believes he resurrected Mother Russia as a great power house unlike other countries that have failed. Oh my God, Lana is now bringing up a photo of the White House and states that their future will be that of a Russian flag flying proudly above it. Not only that, she brings up England as well, showing photos of their buildings with Russian flags flying over and I’m officially deceased. This automatically gives me everything I needed from her tonight, as she then introduces (The Artist Formerly Known as Alexander) Rusev to finally beat up someone… well, outside his comfort zone I guess you could say. And he does just that, as Lana fancily walks into the ring and forces him to release his finisher by her command.
We head to the ring where Renee Young stands to introduce us to her guest, honorary Diva, Adam Rose! The crowd erupts and I immediately begin heading to my local… well, what stores do both the states and the UK have that I can buy them gift cards for? Because I’ll buy it, I just need to know what works. The rosebuds plop out from the back and… YES! We’re making progress everyone because the camera angles have finally evolved into what I begged for and it comes off much better than the headache inducing sideways versions from the past few weeks. Sooo much better. The rosebuds are even somewhat syncing their dancing, and I’m over the moon right now because we seem to be improving each week. Out walks our honorary Diva and the crowd goes wild for his theme song!
So far, I see one very clear candidate to move on to the semi-finals of America’s Next Top Rosebud, and I can’t even calm down because it’s literally a hippie from the 70’s carry a smartphone. To be honest, she could have been terrible and I would’ve loved her because of the costume alone.
She will officially move on to join Shanna, Blue Beauty, Goddess Becky Lynch, Silver Coat Girl and Chasity Taylor. The good news about this week though is that none of the rosebuds are doing terribly to the point I notice them as bad standouts! Adam kinda didn’t fall at the right theme cue, but I don’t even care because everything else is right and nothing hurts. I just love you cameraman for fixing what needed to be fixed, and you London crowd for embracing the greatness. The crowd is now singing along in full and Renee Young tries to begin an interview, but Adam Rose immediately takes things over and greets both she and the fans. He then asks where his cheeseburger is at because he has some sesame seeds on his bum that need to be looked at, but what I love more is that Adam has now taken control of the interview and is switching it up by putting the microphone up to Renee when she has a question to ask. Renee wants to know what it means to be a Rosebud, which Adam replies by saying it’s very important… and it’s to not be a lemon. She then tries to get another question in, but has to stop because the crowd is SINGING THE SONG. Take me now London, you’re my kind of people and I don’t want to come back to my own country. Is this how Lana feels?
Renee now tries to get his thoughts on why he’s targeting Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, but he doesn’t feel he’s targeting them at all. He just wants them to have fun and be rosebuds! From there, we get the bunny breakdancing in the ring and this is what my entire life has been building to. Suddenly, they get interrupted by Zeb and Swagger who asks “Raelynn” what she’s doing in the ring with this questionable moral having thing and his reject Woodstock rosebuds. Unfortunately for Zeb, the crowd explodes in his theme again! Zeb tells Adam that he and his posse are the problem with America, and that if he hangs around in the UK too long, he’ll be a problem there too. Fortunately though, he says Adam fits in way better with these freaks. The rosebuds and crowd don’t care though, as they embrace him and his theme! Colter’s still mad that Adam embarrassed him and he wants to fight Adam! Before we can get started though, Jack Swagger ambushes Adam and the whole Rosebud cowers in fear. Concerned bunny is officially my favorite, but his concern doesn’t last long as Adam leaps onto Jack and kicks him out of the ring as Renee Young parties with the Rosebuds, the crowd, me, and the world!
Alicia Fox’s (Victory) Meltdown – “I am the Queeeeeeeeeeeen!” I love this so much. The match itself may not have been my favorite, but the celebration meltdown completely made up for that. I can’t believe after the years and years of wanting Alicia to get pushed… she finally is! And not only that, but she’s killing it every week and the crowd is eating it up. Her running across the whole barricade (while wearing a crown, mind you) had me fearing her life for a second, but she worked it and spilling someone’s drink on herself was pretty much the icing on the cake. She’s so random and it makes every week seem unexpected even if we’re getting the same exact match. That’s probably the biggest thing I love about her freak outs is that no matter how many times we see Paige vs. Alicia, each one is actually memorable in their own way now. Can we really differentiate all the Santino/Emma vs. Fandango/Layla or Fandango/Summer’s we’ve seen? Probably not. But I can honestly look at every Fox/Paige match and find something different about it to the point I could probably remember what order it goes in through the chain of them. That’s honestly when you know you’ve really got something special going on with this and I’m so excited that it looks like WWE won’t be dropping it or that it wasn’t just a one week thing. Run with it guys! Just please mix up the matches a little bit… but we’ll get more into that later.
Summer Rae Returns – I loved this! Summer Rae looked like a badass storming down the ramp, dipping Fandango then tossing him aside and pouncing right on Layla. And not only that, but Layla looked just as badass when she latched onto Summer’s hair and had to be dragged right off by Fandango in order to let go. The fans were so into it and I like how it kind of left the door open for both to remain heel because my biggest fear in this is Summer Rae turning face in a time where we desperately need heel Divas. I just feel like this feud could work even better if they keep Summer as kind of a tweener for the time being. She can sort of be like someone who doesn’t really interract with the fans, but rather just beats Layla down for going after her now ex. Then when it’s over, she can be incorporated into Divas matches as a technical heel, but still get a mixed reaction sort of like AJ Lee.
And I know the Naomi/Cameron/R-Truth thing might get a lot of people saying they deserve better, but to be honest I’m kind of not into that argument anymore. Not every Diva can be in the spotlight all the time, and as long as WWE can find side roles for the others to do when it’s not their chance, I don’t think that saying really comes into play. We saw what happened when WWE put the same Diva in the spotlight for over a year in that people got bored of it fast. Therefore, I’m way more into the idea of a push going to someone different every few months while the others get used in different roles in order to keep their faces out there. I actually did like their entrance together, and I think once they work out the kinks such as Truth taking the microphone from their mouths too quickly and perfecting the dance routine because I’m sure this match was probably thrown together last minute, it could be really fun. Say what you want, but R-Truth is over far more than Brodus Clay or even, as much as it pains me to admit, Xavier Woods. Keeping Naomi and Cameron with him is only going to help them out with crowd reaction in my opinion… plus, we could’ve easily had another Fandango/Layla vs. Santino/Emma match teased so let’s count our blessings.
Stephanie McMahon – Stephanie was on fire tonight! Between the British accent, the playing with the crowd, the entrance… she did everything she does best in tonights episode. There is no way I am at all happy about Daniel Bryan having to have neck surgery and I would never defend it as being a good thing whatsoever, but I think one silver lining if there has to be any found in all of this is that it paints a much better layer to his story arc than those horror skits with Kane were doing, and I think it might actually help his career in the long run that those had to get dropped because of his needing neck surgery. The fans were way into him tonight, and seeing him have to fight against all the odds to keep from surrendering his title makes for much more believable and much better TV than seeing him try to escape the arena from The Demon Kane as Brie Bella screams in the background. I don’t know the severity of his injuries, but I’m intrigued to see if he does show up next week and just how they go about this story because I don’t think he’s going to be able to come back any time soon with it being his neck as the body part injured so we’ll have to wait and see.
Lana – I pretty much judge Lana segments as either being good or somewhat good depending on if she does something different in them. Tonight definitely puts her in the top notch section because I absolutely loved the new photo graphics they whipped up to give her Putin material a little extra oomph since it’s been going on for a few weeks. Her character direction is perfect as always, and I’m going to actually not say anything about Rusev tonight because the act does what it needs to do. He’s a monster and she’s the mouthpiece. It works, and I’m fine with it going on for a ways but I definitely think she’s going to be such a star when she breaks out away from him.
Renee, Rose & The Rosebuds – Praise all that is right! This is everything I ever wanted them to do with Adam Rose. His segment felt like it had a legitimate purpose, it was given time, the crowd ate it up… and those camera angles finally got switched from the nauseating side shots to a front view like I pleaded! I also really loved how he basically turned it into an interview with Renee Young by grabbing the microphone and putting it up to let her speak whenever she had the question ready. It was so different and just a little touch I really enjoyed overall. We’re getting there you guys… we’re getting there. I know it probably won’t carry over into next week when they return to the United States, but eh, it is what it is. I love how much the crowd was invested into the group and his theme song, plus anytime we get to hear Zeb Colter call Renee “Raelynn”, you can’t go wrong, can you?
The Somewhat Good:
Paige vs. Alicia Fox – I’ll be honest and say this wasn’t personally my favorite match of theirs together. I felt like it started off great, but after the outside spot when Foxy rolled Paige back in, it kind of stalled for me from then until the finish. However, I don’t necessarily hate that because if they’re leading to something at Payback then I’m kind of glad it wasn’t their best as I want all of their top material to be saved for that stage. I’ve always felt that part of the reason Kaitlyn and AJ’s feud kind of fell (to me) match wise as it went on last year was because they had arguably the years best Divas bout on the main roster right out the gate and thus it became hard in coming close to topping it as it went on. Given how many times Alicia Fox and Paige have wrestled each other, I definitely want to see them build up instead of peaking too soon.
To be honest though, it is getting sort of redundant to see Alicia and Paige face every single week on free TV if you want people to buy a pay per view for them. I think I would’ve rather seen tonights match be a regular or six Diva tag. Throw in Paige, Brie and Nikki opposite Alicia, Tamina and Aksana or something and have Fox pin Paige, then you could’ve also had maybe even just an App segment where Natalya feels hurt that she wasn’t chosen and The Bellas were. I’m not going to punish anyone for not following up on the Natalya stuff this week though, considering we’ve got three actual, legitimate Divas feuds going right now on the main roster which is more than I could ever ask for. I’m definitely curious to see more of it though so I hope we get something on SmackDown. Overall, this match wasn’t bad at all. It just felt sort of like they were going through the motions a little, but I loved the boots Foxy used and the fact she actually won! Plus that crowd of course.
I mean in what world have we entered where in the span of 10 hours, Rosa Mendes joins the cast of Total Divas as Alicia Fox beats the Divas Champion on Raw? A world I’m here for.
The Not-So Good:
Tonight’s Raw was so much fun for the Divas as a whole, and I’m loving the fact we’re getting to see all of these women doing separate roles that get them on TV. Just because you aren’t in the title feud doesn’t mean you don’t serve a purpose elsewhere and it’s so refreshing to see WWE finally embracing this after so many years of it feeling like you either had to be a contender, a champion, or nothing. Top it off with a hot crowd for every segment we recapped tonight and you’ve got the makings for one of my favorite Raw’s, at least for the Divas. We seem to be on a hot streak for 2014 that feels somewhat different from past years, to me at least, and I never want it to stop.
See you again next week unless my Internet decides to hate me again and become incurable!~