Monday, September 20, 2021

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RAW 08/06/18: Rousey catches the Fox

Since debuting at Royal Rumble, the “Baddest Woman on the Planet” Ronda Rousey has been a significant point of focus for the WWE’s women’s division. With many wondering if she’d be a full-time performer or get that special part-time treatment, the WWE called our bluff by announcing that she’d be taking part in her first match on RAW. With all eyes on her, would she be able to continue keeping up the good work.

Before the big match, we’re treated to a rematch with Riott Squad members Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan taking on the newly monikered and freshly re-bonded Hug’n’Boss Connection of Sasha Banks and Bayley.

I mean, I can’t say I was too invested in this since we have seen it a million times since the Riott Squad came to RAW. Sure Logan and Morgan gained more offence than usual, with Bayley acting as the ‘damsel-in-distress’, helping the crowd gear up for when Sasha Banks got the hot tag. After a very sweet combo with Bayley hitting a Frankensteiner on Logan, followed by a Meteora by Banks, the face duo look like they’ve got the win until the pin is broken by Morgan. Bayley tries to take out Morgan, diving off the apron, but a hooded figure pulls Morgan to safety. The figure reveals herself to be Ruby Riott!

Morgan takes out Bayley with a step up enzuigiri. Banks goes to check on the action outside the ring, but gives an opportunity for Logan to roll her up for the victory. As the Riott Squad celebrate with their returning leader, Banks tends to her best friend Bayley.

The happily reunited Riott Squad celebrate, making it clear that Sasha Banks and Bayley are their targets.

Finally, it’s time for the main event! And to note, the first singles women’s match in the Main Event slot that wasn’t for a Championship… and Queen Alicia Fox was involved!

Throughout the show, we are shown glimpses of Ronda Rousey backstage with her friend Natalya, giving advice and psyching her up. We’re also shown promos of Rousey’s rivalry with RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and another promo hyping up the usually overlooked success of Rousey’s opponent Alicia Fox.

Despite Fox being in the limelight, she comes out to Bliss’ entrance music. Charly Caruso interviews both women in the ring, but Foxy isn’t afraid and Bliss sings her praise for Fox, a ‘trailblazer’ for the division. She even thanks her for her contributions to the women’s evolution, representing the all the women in the locker room… except Ronda Rousey. After enough hyping, Bliss looks like she’s got Fox prepped and ready to take on Rousey.

Rousey is all business, darting straight to the ring alongside Natalya. After some traditional ring introductions by Jojo, Rousey heads straight for Fox… but she doesn’t seem phased. It’s not until Bliss throws Natalya into the ringpost and trips Rousey up, that the match kicks into gear and Fox iis able to start on the offensive. Not for long, Rousey starts throwing her strikes and signature arm tosses to flip over Foxy.

Bliss tries to cause another distraction, but Rousey catches Fox one more time and tosses her over. With Bliss in sight, Rousey goes for Foxy’s arm and goes for the armbar. Fox taps out straight away, giving Rousey her first win on RAW. Post match, Charly Caruso gets into the ring once again to interview our winner, but before she can get started Bliss tries to attack her. Rousey goes for one more flip, which makes Bliss high-tail it out the ring. Rousey warns her that the title is her’s, sending a clear warning to our Champion as RAW closes out.

Despite all of this, Alexa Bliss is still very confident. She tells us that she’s not afraid of Rousey and still feels she’s an “overhyped rookie”.

Thoughts: So let me start with our tag division action, since we all see it’s very obvious that WWE will be introducing tag titles soon. They’re running out of “firsts” so it’s only a matter of time. However, they have got a lot of work to do. Essentially, no one cares about the Riott Squad and the WWE treating us like we’re idiots by making Banks/Bayley besties again after months of tension just makes us less likely to invest in them. I can’t say SmackDown fares better, they can’t decide if Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville should be a team, while the IIconics have jobbed to everyone since their debut… and will most likely job to any combination of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Naomi and Asuka.

How many more times can we watch this combination of Sasha/Bayley VS Sarah/Liv?! My problem is that this is doing absolutely nothing for the Riott Squad. They haven’t really got characters, so their matches are flat and the crowd has no reason to react. Even if they win their matches, it’s all used to propel the development of Sasha and Bayley. All we know is that Sarah Logan is a former viking and Liv Morgan has a blue tongue because she had a Jolly Rancher and she wanted people to notice her (IMO the most annoying woman on the roster, even beating out Lana). Sure, we have Ruby Riott back which is lovely… but again she’s another person lost on a super stacked roster. Anyone seen Nia Jax or Ember Moon lately?

Anyway, onto the main event and sure it was nice to see Alicia Fox get that main event slot… but exactly like we predicted, it seemed like a high profile way to squash her. ‘The chick who argued with Rousey’s husband getting wooped by Rousey in her first RAW match’ was what I got from it. From the super sarcastic feeling promo, to the vignette highlighting Alicia’s only Championship win… from 8 years ago felt like absolute shade. Bleh, better than nothing, but I can’t say i enjoyed this because felt an obvious backstage agenda.

As for Rousey, sure she’s super over and isn’t horrible in the ring… but I’m gonna need her to learn how to sell. Sure I know she’s the tough woman, but damn boo… stay down or at least pretend your back hurts a bit. I’m never the biggest fan of no-selling unless it’s believable, but they need to open up a little weakness just for believability. If they don’t do it now, then she’s only going to run through the division with her very basic skill.

I predict that she’s going to be walking out with the Championship by Summerslam and that worries me. It has been a while since we have had a show-stopping women’s match. That glitz of Rousey is going to get really old really fast.

Did you enjoy Alicia’s first main event match? Did you care that Ruby Riott returned? What do you think of Rousey’s wrestling? Sound off in the comments below!

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