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RAW Redux (Jan 2, 2017): New Year Hugs for all!

Happy New Year 2017 everyone! Last week we saw the waves of the RAW women’s division change tide with new feuds being set. So, going into the new year – what new things would we see? After we finally… eventually… thankfully… saw the end of Sasha Banks and Charlotte’s feud that dominated 2016, how did WWE bring in the new year?!

Following up on last week’s revelation that Charlotte managed to get Bayley’s pinfall over her “expunged”, our resident Hugger decided to take things up with the person who arranged it – Stephanie McMahon! The usually overlooked Bayley questions why Stephanie allowed Dana Brooke to be the special guest referee during the rematch last week.

Unfortunately, Stephanie isn’t in a good mood. She admits that Charlotte’s legal team gave her no other choice… but then reveals that she never wanted Bayley to come to RAW. She says that she’s not got what it takes to be a store, not like Charlotte who has pedigree and has become the “Queen of Pay-Per-View”. However, Bayley stands up for herself and admits that while she’s not born into the business, she’s happy to be “just Bayley” and nothing will stop her from achieving her dreams.

Stephanie seemingly has a change of heart after hearing Bayley’s speech. She grants her a chance to compete in a Number 1 Contender’s match… against RAW’s resident powerhouse monster, Nia Jax. RAW Women’s Champion, Charlotte, makes her way to the commentary table for this match to determine her opponent at the Royal Rumble.

In a very quick and rushed match, Nia pretty much dominates in usual fashion: running hip thrusts and hair tosses. After hitting two elbow drops and a leg drop, Nia brings the flattened Bayley to the corner and climbs to the second turnbuckle. As she prepares to hit another move, Sasha Banks’ music hits!

Sporting a knee brace, Sasha’s has a cocky smile on her face which distracts Nia. Bayley spots the window of opportunity to use an Avalanche Bayley-to-belly to get the 1.. 2.. 3! Bayley is now the #1 Contender for the RAW Women’s Championship!

Sasha helps up Bayley and maintains her confident smirk at Nia, who is fuming in the ring! Meanwhile, Bayley signals to Charlotte that she’s ready for the title… the title that Charlotte lifts above her head as she reminds everyone on commentary that she’s still the ‘Queen of PPVs and that won’t change at Royal Rumble’.

Elsewhere on the show, we saw Noam Dar once again playing mind games with Cedric Alexander and his girlfriend Alicia Fox. Backstage, Noam initially apologises for his actions… but Cedric tells him to apologise to Alicia. However, the cheeky Scot gives a sarcastic reply, calling her “sweet cheeks” and blowing her a kiss before he runs off!

Seems like not all is paradise between Alicia and Cedric though! During the end of Cedric’s match against Drew Gulak, Tony Nese jumps onto the ring apron to distract the referee. Coming to aid her man, Alicia pulls Tony off the apron and onto the floor! However, similarly to what happened on 205, the distraction at ringside disrupts Cedric, who gets rolled up and loses the match! As Nese and Gulak celebrate, Cedric is clearly annoyed…

We also catch up with Lana backstage, with her man Rusev and their associate Jinder Mahal. After they had beaten Big Cass in a handicap match, Lana spells it out that up next Cass will be ‘C-R-U-S-H-E-D… cruuuuussshhheddd’… not quite the same ring to it!

Oh yeah and this waste of time is still happening… Emma… hurry up already please.

Thoughts: Not the most riveting RAW, but there are two big things that are my talking points this week.

First up, Stephanie going full bully on Bayley is definitely a great move. I just felt that would have been so much more exciting if that took place in the middle of the ring. Stephanie is the perfect person to really help push Bayley as that underdog… Daniel Bryan ring a bell anyone? I mean, obviously we don’t want a whole repeat of that angle, with Charlotte playing Seth Rollins and Bayley playing Daniel Bryan, but you can already see how well that will work for everyone involved.

Sure we did see it with Brie and Nikki too, but now that we know Stephanie isn’t a Bayley fan, maybe this is the edge that this Bayley VS Charlotte feud needs. I’m pretty sure we can see this feud leading to WrestleMania, so what better way to really take the women seriously by getting the McMahons involved!

Secondly, Nia Jax… I’m over her. So bored of the same offence, she’s not really done anything as a monster and they’ve already ruined her credibility with these losses. Thing is, you can’t really blame her. There’s no other heel on the roster for Sasha and Bayley to work with – they’ve run Alicia and Dana to the ground, Paige and Summer are injured and Emma is still milling about in a photoshoot somewhere. So that means that have to use Nia, who should still be this protected monster… but we’ve seen her defeated twice in the space of a week.

The RAW division is trying to freshen things up, but it’s not fresh if it’s predictable.

Would you want to see Stephanie involved in the Women’s Title feud? When do you think Cedric will dump Foxy? Are you over Nia too? You know what to do!

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