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RAW Redux (October 31st, 2016): As strong as the Weak Link

After Hell in a Cell, a lot of us (including me) were pretty much left feeling slightly annoyed and confused at the result. With so much focus on two women, the rest of the division has sort of been put on the backburner. Survivor Series is around the corner and now it’s time to pick the teams as the Red takes on the Blue. Lets see how this started on RAW this week!

Out to address the crowd and making another grand entrance on her throne is ‘The Queen’ and NEW RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte! We all know Charlotte’s usual game as she gloats about her success and I guess the proof is in the facts – she’s now 13-0 with PPV Championship matches.

Charlotte first addresses her Challenger, Sasha Banks, who she claims is watching from a hospital bed. She admits that she pushed her to her limits, but Sasha is just like every other woman in the WWE “playing second place”.

Next, Charlotte reveals that she will be Captain of the RAW Women’s Team heading into Survivor Series. She warns the SmackDown Live Team Captain, Nikki Bella, “I put you on the shelf for a year, you get in my way and I will put you on the shelf FOREVER”. She also calls out SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and fellow blue roster ladies Alexa Bliss and Carmella.

However, Charlotte says that there’s potential for Mick Foley to put a ‘weak link’ on her team… that person being The Huggable One, Bayley. The Captain calls out her ‘weak link’ and a serious Bayley comes down to the ring, without the whacky waving inflatable tube men! The ever-friendly Bayley actually starts to praise Charlotte and Sasha Banks for their Hell in a Cell match and being able to make an NXT dream a reality. Although, Charlotte glosses over her praise and states, “while you’re dreaming all of this, I’m achieving all of this”.

Looks like the pleasantries are over as Bayley tells Charlotte that her success has made her into “The Biggest Jerk” and she never wants to be a Champion like her. Clearly aggravated, the Queen says, “when I look at you, I don’t know if I see a competitor or a glorified fan wearing a Halloween costume”. So, the Captain makes the decision for Bayley to prove that she’s not the weakest link on the team, so she’ll be facing off against one of their teammates…

Clearly Bayley comes to the conclusion that it will probably be Charlotte’s protege, Dana Brooke, who she already knocked off last night and she laughs it off… only for Charlotte to reveal that her opponent for tonight will actually be Nia Jax.

After the break, Charlotte and Dana Brooke join the commentary table as these former NXT foes go head to head. Charlotte mentions on commentary her negative reaction to Bayley is because she’s trying to ‘smarten her up’ and show that this is RAW and the big leagues now, saying “she’s great but she needs to be better”.

Meanwhile in the ring, Nia hits a neat shoulder breaker on Bayley and starts to hone in on causing as much damage as she can to her. Despite everything Bayley tried to do, Nia is quick to counter it or just completely outpower Bayley from hitting any offence. Nia locks Baylay in a Bear Hug, that Bayley counters into guillotine headlock much like in NXT London… but it’s nothing as Nia lifts her into suplex that Bayley wriggles out of. Finally, Bayley can hit some offence and manages to get Nia to the floor with a bulldog and gets her in the corner to go for her signature running elbow.

As she does her signature swirl, Nia Jax runs at her like a freight train and literally flattens Bayley. She drags Bayley’s body to the centre of the ring, goes for her signature Leg Drop but stops herself and instead goes to the second buckle. The plucky Bayley is able to get up in time and attempts to go for a Bayley-to-belly from the second rope, but it’s to no avail and she gets headbutted and dumped out the ring. Nia then squashes Bayley by the ring barricade, a la Foxy, tosses her in the ring and hits a Samoan Drop for the win.

Charlotte mocks how Bayley gave her “her heart and soul” and praises the work of her fellow team partner. The team slots are being filled in and it’s time for the Road to Survivor Series!

Oh yeah, another weird Emma makeover promo aired… just so out of place and we’re wondering where it’s going to fit in but hey WWE! Don’t keep us waiting for too long!

Thoughts: After the resounding “wtf” we all felt after Hell In a Cell, this was probably the best way to go. This Survivor Series traditional elimination tag match was my first dream match as soon as they announced the draft. Having the attention off the title for a while is probably best for the RAW women right now. They need to start building up these other women on the roster and this is that pivotal chance.

Charlotte calling out the SmackDown women got me excited! Charlotte VS Nikki Bella felt like so long ago and it’s crazy to see how much things have changed over the years. I can’t wait to see more of this interbrand beef continue between the women! Blue team it’s your turn…

With Charlotte, Nia Jax and Bayley confirmed for the RAW team and probably Dana Brooke in that mix, I guess all eyes are on that last spot. It’s honestly such a shame that Paige isn’t around because seeing her in the mix would have been great as the original anti-Diva – would have been fun to see her interact with this new Charlotte. Or it would be nice to see Alicia Fox have to ‘prove herself’ to get into the team… but safe bet (and IMO most interesting) would be to have Sasha take that last slot. The dynamic of Sasha and Charlotte doing a Cesaro/Sheamus would be a nice one-off. Sure it would be nice to see Alicia Fox or Summer Rae, but what’s the point if they’re just doing to be a filler for a quick fall. I’d much rather see the SD ladies get that ‘rub’ from Sasha’s popularity.

As for the new direction for Bayley? I’m all for it. Charlotte has become the most dominant woman in the WWE, she’s building the legacy and that day she gets toppled is going to be one to remember. Having their program start now will make for a real underdog story to begin, but to not have the title involved from the start. If she went in guns blazing and going for the title, we literally would have seen Charlotte VS Sasha… but with Bayley. They just need to be delicate without squashing Bayley too much over the next few months by trying to keep Charlotte’s record.

Finally, I know I seem to do this every week, but I think we all need to commend how this is the first time we haven’t had a crappy t&a halloween themed match. Sure they were fun, but it’s just another sign of change for the women in the WWE. I remember when Halloween would be a shambles 2 minute battle royal or a weird costume contest with a gazillion girls that the crowd didn’t even know about or care about. I’ll be eating my words if there’s a Halloween Women’s match on SmackDown Live, but the fact that they didn’t do it on RAW is already a sign. Looks like those fancy dress battle royals are a thing of the past…

So who do you think will be the 5th member of the RAW team? Are you happy Sasha is out the picture for a while or should it have been Charlotte? Is it too early to start Bayley vs Charlotte? You know where the comments section is!

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