Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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Raw Redux (August 10th, 2009) – Divas Eat Gail’s Defeat

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So that Raw match. Bit of alright, wasn’t it? Last night’s show saw Gail Kim become the #1 Contender for the Divas Championship, in one of the best Raw matches of the year. The Divas involved including Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly put on quite a show in the ring and out of it.

From the outset, the Divas got a nice rhythm going, setting the tone for the rest of the match. It seems like they took the time to choreograph the match meticulously and plan spots for all four girls involved and that’s a great thing. Usually in these matches someone tends to get lost in the shuffle, but they did a great job here of giving each Diva something to do and they all looked great.

Kicking off with Kelly and Beth in one corner and Alicia and Gail in the other. Kelly gets an early start on her screaming, going for a hurricanrana on Beth into a pin but Beth kicks out and goes for a Glam Slam very early on. I like her style, it shows that she’s trying to pick off each of the Divas from the outset and trying to secure the #1 Contendership. Nice logic. Gail interrupts and we see a succession of rollups; I gotta be honest, this fell flat for me but it seems to have worked in getting the crowd into it with all the rollups from each of the girls. This is followed by an awesome tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Alicia on Gail, these two have always had tremendous chemistry and Alicia can go in that ring with the best of them.

With Gail out of the ring, the heels turn their attention to the ‘innocent’ Kelly Kelly, who shows Trish Stratus-like courage in trying to fight off both Divas. This was a nice change of pace from what we had just seen, with Fox and Phoenix crowding around her and Kelly trying to scout the both of them. Beth grabs Kelly in a headlock and warns Alicia off, and the feisty newcomer isn’t taking that lying down. Alicia shows she’s not afraid of the Glamazon, hitting her with a boot to the face, but then gets hit with an awesome missile dropkick from Kim.

We now see the two babyfaces go at it, as G-Kim and K2 exchange forearms and Kelly tries to hit Gail with a headscissors. Err Kelly, that’s like telling a pilot how to fly a plane… Gail counters, perching Kelly across the top turnbuckle and hits a stiff kick before Beth comes and goes at it with Gail. It’s time for Beth’s closeup, as she grabs both Kelly & Gail, hoisting them in the air before getting chop-blocked by Alicia.

Ooh this the part I loved! Alicia is not intimidated one bit by Beth, getting in her face — okay she got shoved right back down, but this shows that’s Alicia’s character is a cool heel rather than a wimpy subservient heel. Alicia, still not intimidated, gets right back up and steps to Beth but gets tossed over the top rope. It was fun while it lasted, Alicia Fierce indeed.

In the ring however, Gail mounts some offense against the Glamazon with that launch through the ropes that we still don’t have a technical name for, but it looks amazing anyway. Gail then shows some awesome highflying of her own [that I joked was to rival Sarita’s move on Impact last week] as she uses the middle rope as a spring board and does a 180 with a crossbody on Alicia Fox to the outside. Beautiful visual.

Kelly is now back in the mix and hits what is possibly her best handspring elbow yet, though without the elbow as Beth catches her and throws her over the apron, where she lands and hits a crossbody of her own on the Divas outside. Didn’t expect a spot like that from Kelly Kelly, but it was very nicely executed. Not to be outdone, Beth Phoenix climbs the turnbuckle but is thwarted by A-Fox. Fox then walks into a kick from Kelly who then rolls her into the ring. Another awesome spot here, as Kelly attempts to jump over the top rope but Alicia catches her in mid-air with a dropkick. I never thought I’d see bumps to the outside from Kelly, but she is doing them — both of these Divas deserve their props, they’re not as experienced as Beth or Gail but still manage to do some great spots of their own.

For the finish now, as Fox walks into an ‘Eat Defeat’ by Gail Kim and she becomes the new #1 Contender for Mickie James‘ Divas Championship.

Awesome match, great work by all four and some very, very cool spots. In comparison to the earlier fatal four-way which saw Mickie James become the #1 Contender to Maryse‘s Divas Title a few months ago, I would say this one was much better. The absence of one Rosa Mendes helped, I believe. I don’t think she could hang in there the way Alicia and Kelly did. A commenter last night made a very valid point that Jillian wasn’t in this match to determine a #1 Contender despite getting a tag victory over Gail and Mickie last week. I agree she should’ve been in it from a logical standpoint, but WWE and logic don’t work and to be honest, I really loved what I got here so I’m not missing Jillian’s absence.

What does this mean win for the Raw Divas division? I think this could be the start of a great run for the division after an extremely lackluster feud between Mickie & Maryse. Gail and Mickie can work and I look forward to seeing their match or matches together. Plus as you see here, this combination of Divas works well together so that should provide some good matches too i.e. Gail & Mickie on opposing tag teams. For Gail, I really hope this is a big push. If we look at it, she has never had a real all-out feud in WWE in either of her runs, they’ve usually been short and then moved onto something else. Hopefully her programme with Mickie will last a good few months. Like I said last week with the whole ‘creative amnesia’ thing, I definitely see them going back to playing up tension between the two despite ignoring that over the past couple of weeks. It’ll be interesting to see if either of the Divas do turn heel, frankly I’m quite intrigued by both of them playing babyfaces. I wonder if WWE’s booking can stretch that far with the Divas?

As for the girls individually involved in this, I think we learned some things about each of them and I think they managed to open some eyes. Kelly Kelly is a touch-and-go worker, but she hung in there and she did some great spots but then again, she always does great spots — she just never really hits basic moves. I guess we can’t really judge her wrestling based on last night’s performance. Beth worked really well with all four Divas, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Gail and her, I think they have a lot of chemistry and could have great matches. But for me, Alicia Fox, the girl we have been touting forever was the one that came off the strongest. She really came out of her shell, upped her game and showed a lot of flare in the ring. The stuff with Beth was awesome and where Kelly tends to be more of a ‘spot monkey’, Alicia seems to have a better balance of cool spots & basic mat skills. I truly hope some of the people backstage opened their eyes to Foxy last night; this girl can hang in there with the best of them. She showed us she can hang with Melina, McCool and Gail and now Beth too. She continues to impress the fans and the girls she works with, for example Melina praised her highly last month — and Melina doesn’t give praise to just anyone. If we can see it and the rest of the Divas can see it, WWE needs to see it!

Overall, last night’s Raw was far more entertaining than what we’ve seen in the past few months. Let’s hope they can keep up the momentum and continue to deliver, it seems like the girls themselves had a bigger hand in putting this match together and I believe that is the key to delivering the goods each and every week. One of the best Raw matches in quite a while and I think that could be a longlist contender for ‘Match of the Year’, longlists are the list of possibilities before they get shortlisted. So depending on what’s to come between now and December, it could make the shortlist or it could be cut for something even better.

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