The Elimination Chamber was an amazing platform for the ladies on SmackDown. A record three matches and a surprise win for Naomi. We know that the ladies on the red brand have a lot to follow up with, so what better than the RAW Women’s Championship being decided in tonight’s Main Event!
First up on RAW, we had another treat for us… the long-awaited debut of Emmalina! Or shall I say return of Emma? Well if I’m honest, it wasn’t a treat at all. In a really awkward segment that lasted about 2 minutes, Emma’lina’ made her way to the ring in a glittery gold dress that was giving me Queen Mariah vibes. She takes to the mic to say that after 17 long weeks, Emmalina is here… only to then say, ‘and now you’ll the makeover from Emmalina to Emma’. The commentary seem confused, the crowd are confused and please scroll down to the Thoughts section because I have a lot to say!
So, onto the hype for tonight’s MAAAIIIN EVEEENTTT! Pre-RAW, Sasha Banks and Number 1 Contender Bayley are seen pulling up to the arena together. It looks like the Super-face besties have each other’s backs tonight.
Bayley catches up with Charly Caruso backstage, who asks her if she’s excited for her main event title match. She mentions that she’s nervous and she’s in a lucky spot, mentioning historic main event matches with Trish Stratus, Lita and Stephanie McMahon. She says that she believes in herself and since she’s in Las Vegas, she’s gonna hit the jackpot and achieve her dream!
Backstage, the RAW Women’s Champion, Charlotte is seen walking to the ring for the big match. However, she encounters her long-time rival Sasha Banks! We’re no strangers to these two hitting verbal blows and tonight was much of the same: Charlotte going on about injuring Sasha Banks, gloating about her PPV record and overall saying that she’s going to win.
Making her way to the ring first, for her first ever RAW Main Event is Bayley! The crowd are red hot for her as she dons her ‘Just Bayley’ ring jacket (so I guess that phrase is now a thing?). Charlotte is out next to defend her title, as cocky and confident as ever.
The initial stages of the match see the two appearing quite equal. Bayley is taller than Sasha Banks, so she seems more evenly matched against the Champion. The match starts off with a lot more technical skill: submissions, rollups, out psyching each other until Bayley slaps Charlotte across her face! She’s not here to play today!
When we come back from the break, the two are still evenly matched. After these last couple of encounters, it’s clear to see that they’ve learned from each others’ playbooks. However, the tide starts to change when Charlotte reverses a reverse lock, to roll up Bayley into the bottom turnbuckle – who goes neck first. Ouch!
Bayley’s neck soon becomes Charlotte’s focus – and we know that Charlotte loves to pick at an injured body part. Neck holds, chin locks, kicking her neck into the barricade and even hitting a moonsault from the barrier onto Bayley! Charlotte is aiming for the win, but can only get the 2 count – and now it’s frustration time.
A mid-air collision gives an opening for the challenger to get the upperhand. Bayley goes through her signature moves, finishing with a spinning European Uppercut to try and get the win… but it’s not enough! Bayley goes for an Elbow Drop from the top rope to pay homage to her idol the Macho Man Randy Savage, but again she only gets the two count! One more time, Bayley gets to the top rope and nails a hurricanrana on Charlotte! One… two…. NO! Charlotte kicks out!
Bayley’s arms outspread and we know IT’S HUGGING TIME! As Bayley hones in on the fallen Charlotte, ready to finish her off, Dana Brooke runs down to the ring! She’s booted off the apron, allowing Charlotte to get the roll up, but Bayley overpowers out and cinches in the Figure Four! The crowd are on their feet as Charlotte writhes in pain, but out of view by the referee, Dana manages to rake Bayley’s eyes and break the hold.
Charlotte capitalises on the interference to lock in the Figure 8! It looks like match is over as Dana taunts Bayley, but she gets taken out from behind by a crutch by Sasha Banks! While the referee checks on Bayley, Sasha smashes her crutch right into Charlotte’s sternum to break the submission! Bayley has no idea, but hit’s the Bayley-to-belly to become the NEW RAW Women’s Championship! The Boss’n’Hug Connection lives on as the ultimate underdog achieves her dream!
The two hug in the ring, while Bayley runs out into the crowd to celebrate. The show closes out with Bayley raising the title above her head as our new Champion! An emotional Bayley talks to fallout backstage, speaking about accomplishing her dreams to main event and win the title.
Also appearing on tonight’s RAW was Alicia Fox, accompanying her new boo, Noam Dar, who lost to the Number 1 Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship, Gentleman Jack Gallagher and Lana was at ringside to see her man Rusev take an L from Sami Zayn.
And also making a surprise visit is the former WWE Divas Champion, Kelly Kelly! She hints that she’d love to do one more run and reveals that she’ll be at Wrestlemania Axxess! Well K2, we have Mickie James and Maryse back – there’s room for more!
Thoughts: I’m a mix of emotions here. One hand, I’m super pissed at what they did with Emma and I do think Bayley’s win was premature – however, I’m so happy that they’ve stuck with Evil Emma and genuinely happy to see Bayley get the title and accomplish her dreams.
Let me start with the cons. Emmalina was a fail from the get-go. It was an outdated gimmick, they premiered it way too early, they clearly didn’t plan for it and seemed to just throw this segment out there because they couldn’t have another failed promo package gimmick… Curt Hawkins anyone? The RAW division has been DYING of new competition and they held back Emma on this premise of this ‘Emmalina’ gimmick, that they completely backed out on. We’ll see if next week they go down this ‘I had to be Emmalina for you to notice me’, but if we’re honest no one really cared after like the 11th week.
Also, I really didn’t expect Bayley to win… especially since we know this means that Charlotte will be winning it back at Fastlane. Let’s also address that this whole ‘childhood dream’ stuff is EXACTLY what we saw with Sasha Banks like 6 months ago. There’s so much potential in this feud and that was an amazing match, but the title did not need to be switched so soon. What is it that the RAW Writers seem to find appealing about Charlotte losing every main event and winning at PPVs? It’s just very bad hot potato title booking.
However, let me celebrate how good that match was! Bayley and Charlotte arguably are one of the weaker combinations between the Four Horsewomen, but after seeing Banks/Charlotte so long, this felt very refreshed. Bayley’s offence is so tight and she’s very solid on that ring, mix that up with Charlotte’s character and her precision and it’s a strong combination. I do feel that this title win just didn’t have that ‘umph’ that we all felt when Bayley won the title in NXT… so I feel there’s a missed WrestleMania moment that we could have had there. We shall see where this goes…
Are you happy that Bayley won the title? Who will be a better Champ – Naomi or Bayley? And what are your thoughts on the complete Emmalina fail? Comment away guys and have a Happy Valentines Day!