The Summer usually means endless BBQs, dodgy tan lines and never having enough swimwear, but for the wrestling world, it means Summerslam! Last week, the women took the main event slot with Ronda Rousey making her RAW in-ring debut by defeating our veteran Alicia Fox. With the RAW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, with a huge target on her back, we were all interested in how Rousey would heat up the scene on the way to Summerslam.
First off, we started with another historic WWE first, as Renee Young sat in for Jonathan Coachman to become the first ever woman to join the announce team for a full episode of RAW. We had seen her do this previously in NXT, so it was great to see Young show us that the WWE can have a female voice!
At the start of the show, Ronda Rousey comes down to the ring and looks to be in a slightly somber mood. Last week, it was announced that her friend Natalya would be taking on Alexa Bliss on tonight’s episode of RAW. However, after the unfortunate announcement of death Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, father of Natalya, Rousey honours the WWE Legend and sends her love to the Hart Family.
Straight to business, Rousey wants to help to defend Natalya in her absence. She announces that Ember Moon will step in to take on her rival Bliss tonight.
Alexa Bliss makes her way out with Alicia Fox, who this week has her arm bandaged up and has a headpiece on made of leaves… ermmm…. Foxy, it’s a no from me. Bliss is straight in there with the trash talk and drawing amazing heat, saying how Rousey is just an “overrated, overhyped rookie”. She reveals that she has asked RAW Constable Baron Corbin for personal security, so four gentlemen make their way alongside Fox and Bliss to the ring.
Unfortunately for the security, after Bliss tries to hide behind them, she eventually takes them all out one by one with swift judo throws and a sweet roundhouse kick. Fox takes an arm drag herself as the match begins.
After quite a strong back and forth showing, yes Bliss actually wrestled and sold some moves, we had a nice lengthy match between the two. It’s a sweet combination to see Moon’s hard-hitting offence, going against Bliss’ catty and sneaky tactics. Eventually, Bliss starts to get the upper hand… with a lot of rest holds. When she starts to develop the comeback, she tries to put away Bliss with a tornado suplex. Fox jumps on the apron but gets yanked off by Rousey, who gets some retribution from a couple weeks back by throwing Foxy into the barricade. Only for Bliss to catch Rousey from behind and throw her into the barricade!
Bliss gets back into the ring and looks to put away Moon with her DDT, but Moon counters it into a GTS and heads to the top rope. She hits the Eclipse on the Champion! 1.. 2.. No! The pin is broken up by Alicia Fox. The match ends in a disqualification, with Fox taking out Moon with a Big Boot. Rousey comes to Moon’s aid, taking out Foxy with 3 more arm drags to her injured arm. Rousey stands strong in the ring, as Fox and Bliss slowly back up the ramp. Clear message sent!
Nice to see Riott back in action and she works well with Banks (I mean who doesn’t?). Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan accompany Riott, while Bayley has Banks’ side. Banks starts the match strong, but the tables are turned when she gets her wrist struck against the ring steps. Riott targets the injured wrist for the majority of the match. Eventually, Banks takes Logan out with a suicide dive, Bayley takes out Morgan with a clothesline, but the distractions outside the ring allow Riott to roll up Banks for the win. Sound familiar? More on my thoughts below!
Thoughts: First off, we have to send our condolences to the Hart Family and Natalya for the loss of Jim Neidhart. For all Total Divas viewers and readers here, we all know that Nattie loved her Dad and their relationship was one that we loved to tune in and see. It’s an unfortunate loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
Following that news, you would see the genuine frogs in Ronda’s and Alexa’s throats. Sure you could see Alexa really working the crowd, but you could still see that she was slightly putting on a very strong front. With the plans being changed quite quickly, seeing those two, Ember and Alicia get into game mode and continue to deliver a strong performance definitely gained my respect.
I wasn’t expecting a stellar match, but Alexa and Ember do compliment each other quite nicely. They’ve had a couple showings since Ember’s debut on RAW and Alexa definitely keeps up with the unique offence. Safe to say, it has been a while, but it was nice to see Ember get a chance to step into the picture, despite the tragic circumstances. If Natalya is to take a break, allowing Ember to fill in isn’t bad at all, plus it leaves the door open for a tremendous return for Natalya.
Also, let’s just take a second to address Alicia’s headgear. Now while I do love the Foxy one, this just didn’t work. Sure, we had the over the top Survivor Series RAW Captain hat, but at least that had a theme. This just looked like she was dragged through a bush and I screamed when it takes off when she took the first arm drag. Foxy, I don’t know who said that would work but as I said in the main article, it’s a no from me.
The tag action… I’m still really not engaged. Yes, Ruby and Sasha are another fun combination together, but I have absolutely no investment in them. The Riott Squad have no purpose or character, while Sasha and Bayley have been completely sapped of their personalities too. Seeing all 5 of these women together just really highlights how poorly developed their characters are and how the women’s division is nowhere near ready for Women’s Tag Titles.
Finally, I wanted to celebrate Renee Young’s achievement! Female commentators in sports are still something developing, heck there was a TV debate on UK TV about female football (soccer) commentators during the World Cup! It’s still something so unheard of in the masculine world of sports, so seeing Renee get the opportunity and absolutely smash it was amazing to see. This is definitely something we shouldn’t sleep on because this was a great development!
What did you think of this week’s RAW? Did you like Ember Moon filling in for Natalya? Do you care about the Riott Squad yet? Will Ronda Rousey learn more moves? You know what to do in the comments!