Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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RAW 09/17/18: Rousey’s ready for a Riott

Just like that, Hell in a Cell is over and all eyes are on Evolution… or Super Show-Down or the Mixed Match Challenge? Either way, with Alexa Bliss losing her rematch for the RAW Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey, the doors are open for her next challenger. With a more than stacked roster and eyes drawing closer on the women of RAW, who is ready to take on the self-proclaimed ‘Baddest Woman on the Planet’?

Kicking off the show is a quick match between Bayley (accompanied by Sasha Banks) and Dana Brooke. It is revealed over commentary that Brooke has left Titus Worldwide following their fallout last week (damn really?). To be fair, Brooke puts on a great showing and dominates most of the match with her gymnastic/power moveset. Unfortunately for Brooke, Bayley wriggles out of a Fireman’s carry, nails Brooke with a running knee and puts her down for the count with a Bayley-to-Belly suplex. Banks celebrates with her friend and we move on swiftly… yep, no background segment between Titus O’Neil/Brooke, no Crews running to check on Brooke, not even a segment. Ah well, was fun while it lasted.

Backstage, RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey catches up with Brie and Nikki, the Bella Twins and Natalya. Fresh from her victory at Hell in a Cell, Rousey asks the girls for their tips on issuing an open challenge. Natalya warns her that making the challenge is easy, but winning it is the challenge.

Rousey makes her way to the ring. She addresses her Championship match against Bliss and thanks her for being a decent challenger and pushing her to a limit. Rousey claims that she wants to be like the greats like Ric Flair and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, so she issues her open challenge to see if any of the women have the ‘gumption’ to face her. (Yes, she said gumption).

Interestingly, it’s her friend and trainer Natalya whose music hits the sound system and Rousey seems happy for the challenge. However, Natalya doesn’t come out ready to compete. In fact, she’s dragged out by Riott Squad members Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan who have laid her out. The leader of the squad, Ruby Riott, takes to the mic to warn Rousey that she doesn’t particularly like her and wants to challenge her.

Before Riott gets into the ring, Rousey knocks her off the apron. Her sidekicks try to jump Rousey, but she manages to take them out with arm tosses. Riott takes out Rousey with a spear, allowing Morgan and Logan to stomp her out in the corner. The Bella Twins run down to make the save! The Bellas throw Morgan and Logan out of the ring, while Rousey finishes off Riott with her Samoan Drop variation. The Bellas and Rousey look on as their Super Showdown opponents back themselves up the ramp.

Last up, we’re treated to a tag match with Alicia Fox and Mickie James (accompanied by Alexa Bliss) taking on Ember Moon and a mystery partner… although anyone who knows the RAW roster could probably tell who it is by process of elimination of who had appeared on the show already. Her tag team partner is none other than… the returning Nia Jax!

Very nice to see Foxy working with Moon, they also finally get the chance to hype how James is taking on Lita at Evolution. Eventually, the heels begin to dominate Moon and it becomes clear that we’re gearing up for Jax to get the hot tag – and that she does! She pretty much ragdolls Fox, throwing her from corner to corner. Moon takes out James with the Eclipse and the two brawl to the outside. Fox attempts her Scissors Kick, but Jax catches her and drops her with the Samoan Drop. Jax and Moon celebrate and Bliss tends to her fallen mates.

Backstage, Jax tells us in a exclusive that she’s happy to be back and her joy over winning her #SeeHer Award.

Thoughts: Oh RAW… I just don’t really know what we’re doing anymore. There is so much potential, so much talent, so many opportunities… but these writers don’t seem to have a fucking clue what they’re doing. Now, SmackDown isn’t perfect, but they are doing a damn far better job considering they have far less time to work with.

Let’s start with the whole Dana Brooke and Titus Worldwide disbandment. Sure, the stable as a whole was a bit of a filler, but they had a structure that we don’t really have elsewhere on the roster in terms of a female with a tag team. Brooke has been a bit of a comedic character since her roster debut and there’s no problem with that, but we’ve already seen the ‘I want to wrestle’ schtick with Lana… and she’s still gone back to managing. This was a nice match for Brooke, but the fact that she didn’t win at least with a surprise roll up to justify leaving Titus Worldwide just makes it clear they have no idea what to do with her. With an overstacked roster and being taken from a role that gave her regular spots on TV, you can’t help but feel worried for her status on such a packed roster.

Now we turn to her opponents, Bayley and Sasha. Right now, they are on the backburner and that’s perfectly fine, but each week they are becoming more and more irrelevant – hurting their credibility and characters. To know that they were on the brink of one of the best feuds there, to seeing them in filler matches and hugging like school girls is a joke. We have a couple weeks until Evolution and these two stars of 2015 are probably going to be stuck in a battle royal or in some basic squash tag match. I know we got an overload of them this past year, but they should still be running complimentary to Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch on SmackDown. The crowd was soaking it up when Bayley attacked Sasha, but now SmackDown has taken that energy and ran with it for Becky – now look at how popular she is. Meanwhile, Bayley is there defeating Dana Brooke in a basic 4-minute match…

Over to Ronda’s open challenge, which was probably the best of this week’s action. However, did you hear that reaction when the Riott Squad came out? …Yeah, I didn’t hear it too, because no one gives a shit about the Riott Squad. From jobbing to Sasha, Bayley, and Ember… to go for the title? No one believes it, no one cares, even the fact that Rousey was taking them all out in a matter of seconds only underscored how much of a non-factor they are. We all know they’re doing the job to the ‘Super Team’ of Mainstream Superstars at Super Show-Down anyway, so I’m really not entertained by this. Read on to find out who I thought should have answered the challenge…

What bothers me most is how the Riott Squad also fills a dynamic on the roster that we don’t have – an all-woman stable, not just a tag team. Arguably, they should be the female answer to The Shield or New Day, heck even Sanity… but right now I see three jobbers. Obviously, I’d like to see that change, but they’ve been around for months and I’m still not sold.

Also, can we take a second to process The Bella Twins, well particularly Nikki and Natalya chatting backstage and being best mates… considering last year they were literally trying to kill each other. Either way, this is WWE using their ‘Men in Black’ memory pen again – just like with Sasha Banks/Bayley and Alexa Bliss/Mickie James. God, these RAW writers are terrible.

Finally, we have the grand return of Nia Jax… who came back as the mystery tag partner, instead of answering the open challenge to the person she was last feuding with Ronda Rousey? What an absolutely wasted opportunity. How great would it have been to see the Riott Squad use the numbers game to take out the biggest woman on the roster, to send a sign to Rousey. ‘But that would make Jax look weak!’ I hear you say, well no, Nia could take out someone like Liv next week to make up for it.

Instead, Nia came back with his basic face character that has sucked her completely dry. If anything, that segment would have meant so much more if it was Dana Brooke entering the match again to try and prove herself. That’s how you get someone noticed, not by having her get jobbed in 4 minutes. Just like that, in a couple paragraphs, I’ve booked stronger character development for 5 of the women on this roster… oi WWE sign me up already.

I’ll also address my weekly rant of them not using Mickie James appropriately. I just don’t get it. Evolution is around the corner. She is taking on one of their Hall of Famer legends, they want to shift ticket sales and they have an absolute star… but instead, they want to job her out. Then they’ve now possibly lost Alexa Bliss due to her injury… putting one of their 3 confirmed matches on hold. I want Evolution to be amazing, but RAW is on a really bad decline for the women.

Right now, we have; Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Natalya, Ember Moon, Bayley and the Bellas as generic babyfaces; Dana Brooke, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Mickie James and Alicia Fox as generic heel jobbers; Alexa Bliss, the only developed heel character is sidelined with injury and Ronda Rousey who is super over but hasn’t got the most flexible character or booking. It’s really quite disappointing to see, all this talent but all being used completely incorrectly.

Do you agree with my thoughts about booking RAW? Should Nia have answered the challenge? Are you happy Dana Brooke has left Titus Worldwide? Are you happy the Bellas are back on RAW still? Comment below, I’ll be reading!

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