Raw Redux (August 6th, 2012): The Diva Drought Ends, Kelly Returns

You wanted Divas, and you finally got them on last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw. However, not naming names — ahem Twitter — but apparently that’s still not enough to satiate the Diva fandom. When they’re off TV, not happy; “OMG, no Divas match?!” When they return, still not happy; “That match was awful and I’d rather they weren’t on TV at all”. Perhaps it’s true, people just enjoy having something to bitch about.

Nonetheless, the action came thick and fast last night as we got plenty of segments featuring our very own little bright star, AJ (now featuring last name) Lee, wielding her General Manager power in several segments. Plus, we also saw the return of in-ring action for the women as Kelly Kelly returned from a two month hiatus (though for different reasons than Randy Orton’s recent two month hiatus) against bad girl, Eve.

Out first, making her big comeback is Kelly Kelly to nice applause from the crowd and she’s put over by the commentators too, which I think is a nice touch for her return. Kelly’s former bestie, Eve, is out next and can I just say how much I love heel Eve Torres? From her little mischievous smile and her confident strut down the ramp, Eve has really done a good job adjusting her entrance for her heel character.

As Eve ever so nonchalantly leans against the ropes, the bell rings and we’re underway. Eve and Kelly exchange some words and it looks like Eve is ready to make her exit, but as she steps through the ropes, Kelly grabs a handful of hair and brings her back to reality by slamming her against the mat. K2 with a Thesz Press (complete with patented scream — you know you’ve missed it!) followed by some forearms. In the corner, Kelly nails Eve against the middle turnbuckle and lays in some kicks before riling up the crowd for another signature move, the handspring! In her finest display of Olympian gymnastics, Kelly hits a handspring butt-bump that would make Gabby Douglas proud. With Eve slumped in the corner, Kelly tries to follow up with a stinkface but Eve is having none of it. The devious Diva simply exits the ring freeing herself from the clutches of K2’s ass-sets.

Eve again looks like she’s about ready to hightail it (who does she think she is? Madonna at a Paris concert?) but the newly-recharged Kelly is right behind her. K2 plants a hefty slap on Eve before whipping her into the barricade. Yes, indeed! A spot on the outside on Raw. We don’t see those anymore.

As Eve makes ouchy with the barrier, Kelly tries to get the action back in the ring, tossing Eve back in and climbing up to the top turnbuckle. Kelly with a nice crossbody for a two count but no three.

Eve reverses a whip attempt into the corner, but Kelly uses her agility to scale the turnbuckle and has Eve in a headscissors predicament, but Eve instead slams Kelly down to the canvas front-first in a move that is bound to take the wind out of the former champ.

Torres with kicks to Kelly followed by choking her out over the bottom rope. Eve then applies a chokehold while sitting on the top turnbuckle, but breaks the hold before the referee can reach his five count. Eve continues to apply a chokehold on K2 as they are both in a grounded position, but the crowd soon wills Kelly to fight back.

Kelly hits Eve with some forearms, breaking out of the hold, but Eve then hits her with a knee to the stomach. Eve whips Kelly into the ropes for a back-body drop, but Kelly manages to stop her momentum and hits her with a kick to the face before applying a hurricanrana into a pin for the victory.

So, Kelly is victorious in her first match back on Raw and Divas matches once again return. Of course, we have to start somewhere and this seemed like a good a place as any to start. Hopefully over the next few weeks WWE will incorporate more Divas into the show and create some semblance of a women’s division again. They have the time, they have the women — they just need the opportunity. There’s plenty of time to create a storyline around the Divas Title, to put on some decent matches and develop the Divas’ various characters. As Layla and Natalya showed on Superstars last week, the Divas can rise to the occasion.

As for the match, it obviously wasn’t a five-star classic and if anyone was miraculously expecting those when the Divas returned to Raw, you probably need to manage your expectations better. It was a decent match and it got more a little bit more time than we were used to on two hour episodes of Raw.

Things aren’t going to change overnight and it’s not going to be perfect the first week out; I would like to see the Divas get a few more minutes on a weekly basis, and as I said before, some sort of storyline. But as a start point? Well, this is probably the longest match Raw has seen Diva-wise all year.

There was plenty of AJ on this week’s Raw, but rather than recap every little thing she did, I’m just going to discuss my favorite bits!

AJ popping back into the scene with that little look on her face when Alberto Del Rio said the word “crazy” was priceless. I love how her demeanor can change at the drop of the hat, and it’s a testament to AJ’s acting that she really makes these backstage segments fun to watch.

And talk about insane chemistry. I feel like one day we’re all going to look back at the scenes between AJ and Daniel Bryan and hailing them as a gold standard for all future Diva/Superstar segments. Their chemistry and timing is brilliant. The little “Yes”/”No” off at the end of this segment was absolutely my highlight of Raw. Just fantastic!

What did you think of Raw this week? Shout it out in the comments, Twitter, Tout, Toot, Hoot, or whatever other social media network WWE has discovered this week.

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