Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Raw Redux (April 4th, 2016): Submissions, Slaps and Surprises Open New Superstar Era


The WWE took a huge leap Sunday night at WrestleMania, ditching the Diva terminology in favor of Superstar branding across their entire roster. Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch proved they were worthy of that moniker, stealing the show on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

Last night’s Raw did a good job of welcoming the future, showcasing a division with phenomenal talent, historic prestige and unparalleled personalities. The very short match length aside, the Raw After WrestleMania lived up to the hype.

Our first Divas sighting of the night was Summer Rae. Whilst her entrance was cut (some things may never change), she did get to cut a promo in the ring, which was a treat to see. Summer of course fueled her own ego, putting down her opponent for the night, her former BFF cohort, Sasha Banks. Judging by a BEASTLY slap to the face, I guess Sasha isn’t mucking around.

Up next, we turn our attention to the conclusion of the Intercontinental Title match between new champ Zack Ryder (I’m just as shocked as everyone else) and The Miz. Zack winning may have been shocking, but things are about to get a whole lot more surprising!

The Miz gets in the face of Zack Ryder’s Dad, who is at ringside. Mr. Ryder (perhaps the best on-screen parent since Agnes J. Bateman) then shoves Miz to the ground, to a large pop from the crowd. Out of nowhere, none other than MARYSE bursts onto the scene. That’s right, the badass that once did this. I can’t find the original video but the one below more or less captures the moment. Maryse took flowers from a fan, and then gave them to another fan. Oh, the shade.

Whacking Zack’s Dad square in the face is the distraction Miz needs to win his fifth Intercontinental Title! I absolutely popped hard for the blonde lady in the background who took that slap way too seriously! The security guard (who just so happened to be female – ironic considering WWE never have female security) who was restraining the former two-time Divas Champion nearly ruined the entire segment but not letting Maryse go, but she thankfully did, allowing the A-List Lovebirds to enjoy a celebratory smooch.

On Raw Fallout, Maryse and Miz posed for selfies backstage, and were interrupted by Scott Hall.

Our final segment of the night was a biggie. Charlotte’s official Women’s Championship presentation was to go ahead, and all of the active Divas were invited. Lita was on hand to conduct the ceremony, with guests including Alicia Fox, Becky Lynch, Emma, Eva Marie, Lana, Naomi, Natalya, Paige, Sasha Banks, Summer Rae and Tamina.

Finally, if you want to see WWE personalize Charlotte’s WWE Women’s Championship with her side plates, then take a look at this little nugget below.

Thoughts: I am super excited about the first night within WWE’s new Women’s Championship era – who would have thought we would ever see the day?

Addressing Summer and Sasha’s match first, I am positive about it. WWE was smart to give, arguably, their most over female character air time, and have her beat Summer Rae quite convincingly. This felt very similar to NXT’s modern booking of a squash match; whilst the winner was obvious all along, Summer was booked well to prove that she isn’t a pushover.

The match was short, but with so many debuts and returns, I can let that slide. The segment served its purpose, putting Sasha over. Both girls were able to speak on the mic too, showcasing and elevating their characters. We have to be happy with that.

Maryse’s return was amazing. Getting her and Zack’s Dad involved was a path I didn’t think WWE would go down, and just like the unpredictability of Zack winning the belt, I was so here for the shenanigans from Raw.

Maryse was the same brash, headline-grabbing bitch that we’ve always known and loved, and to finally see her on screen with her husband will be really fun. Will she be wrestling too later on down the line? Is she the newest member of the Total Divas cast? I guess we’ll find out in due course.

The only negative from last night? Where the hell was Carmella? Lame WWE, lame. She brings so much to Enzo and Cass and is part of the package. I’m disappointed to see she didn’t debut alongside them. You never know though, she may show up in a few weeks to win against The Dudley Boyz.

Looking to the new Women’s Championship division, the possibilities are tantalizing. I love that Charlotte not only became the first of the new champions, but she is also the first person to ever hold the WWE Women’s Championship, the WWE Divas Championship and the NXT Women’s Championship. The only other woman who can do that? Paige. Speaking of records, only Alicia, Natalya, Nikki, Paige and now Maryse have the chance to join Beth, Charlotte, Layla, Melina, Michelle and Mickie as women to have held both the WWE Women’s and Divas Championships. I think I should start a Twitter facts account!

I really enjoyed the segment, which opened with a nice celebratory tone… that quickly turned into Charlotte bigging-up herself and her pet fossil. Ric‘s inclusion was once again perfectly booked, with the Divas walking out and stealing the spotlight from Charlotte and him once she started rambling on about her Dad. The girls aren’t putting up with that shit anymore, especially Nattie! I thought WWE were going to have her win the title last night and I started doing backflips inside, and although that did not end up happening, I’m here for Tal and Charlotte colliding again. Their RoadBlock match was just that, a match, so I’m excited to see a program between the two. It’ll be The Harts vs The Flairs on the main roster. Maybe Jim Neidhart can even the odds for Natalya too?

One thing is for certain, the girls’ abilities are what matter here, and my god I am excited about where that will lead us. Diva Dirt readers, welcome to the new era.

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