Friday, December 3, 2021

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Raw Redux (August 18th, 2014): The Frenemies Grow Closer as the Sisterhood Breaks Apart

Ahoy guys…

Yeah I promise I’ll never say “ahoy” again, but nevertheless let’s get underway with tonight’s Raw Redux! I’m a little late-ish this week as my computer was down most of the day but nobody cares about that (seriously, not even I do) so I won’t waste your time on it.

This past Sunday, we saw Nikki shock the world and turn on her sister Brie, revealing her true allegiance lie in The Authority. In addition, Paige also shocked the world by abandoning the color purple… just kidding, she shocked it by ending AJ Lee‘s not near as long this go around title reign as Divas Champion and getting a second grasp at the belt on her birthday. Happy B-Day indeed!~

Tonight, we were promised to hear why Nikki Bella turned her back on The Bella Sisterhood, and in addition we also get Paige vs. Natalya in what’s sure to be a stellar match. Add in appearances by Stephanie, Lana and AJ Lee… and it’s time to get recapping.

We open Raw with the entrance of one Daniel Bryan! Psyche… it’s Stephanie McMahon in all her brilliance as she makes me weak at the knees by entering as a Daniel imposter while rocking her new “STEPH! STEPH! STEPH!” T-Shirt. Stephanie thanks everyone for chanting her name when she walked out, to which they break out in a chant. She then brings up the point that Summerslam was dubbed better than WrestleMania by a lot of fans (especially Diva fans). One of the reasons being that Brock Lesnar won the WWE World Title, with another being that Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt put on such commendable performances. However, the BIGGEST loser of the night has got to be Brie Bella.

Brie learned that you don’t mess with The Authority… not emotionally, mentally or physically… because The Authority always wins. Stephanie is such a god that even her $9.99 plugging doesn’t bother me. She claims she can’t take the credit all by herself, but also thanks Triple H for always being her rock and being faithful, unlike Daniel Bryan (STOP THE CLAIRE-ITORY). Here to tell us more about the person Brie Bella really is… it’s Nikki! Nikki enters to a rousing ovation of boos and shocked signs, and clearly she is still shaken up as her shoe popped off on the ramp.

Nikki steps into the ring and grabs microphone as she hugs Stephanie. The crowd breaks out in a “You Sold Out” chant! Nikki claims Brie betrayed HER. From the minute they came to WWE, it was supposed to be The Bellas against the world… but it’s never been that way. Nikki has always been there for Brie, but secretly… Brie didn’t become the woman Nikki wanted her to be. Nikki claims she’s selfish and manipulative, and that ever since they’ve been kids, it’s ALWAYS been about Brie. Whenever she got in trouble, she blamed Nikki. She always wanted to be better than Nikki, and always brought up the point that she walked down the alter whereas Nikki probably never will! Stephanie eggs it on, but Nikki claims she won in this situation over Brie. Why you ask? Because Brie settled for a scraggly goat face like Daniel Bryan.

Nikki does give it up to Brie for being cunning though, weaseling her way into a match against Steph and all. Nikki brings in the crocodile tears, claiming she has to admit she’s heartbroken over the situation. She has countless examples of all the times Brie mistreated her throughout their entire life (Side note: I NEED them to bring up how Brie was the one that got the spotlight when they debuted and were trying to hide the fact they were twins, leaving Nikki to collect dust under the ring like little orphan Annie each week until Brie forced her to go out and win the matches for them under her name… there’s no way they can’t bring this up right?!)

Nikki is now standing on her own two feet. She could say she lost a sister… but she honestly never really had one!~ And now without the burden of Brie around her neck… she is FREE! And it feels so damn good. Ruh-roh, here comes Brie marching down the ramp to a great pop from the crowd! And now a “Yes” chant! LOVE THEM CROWD, LOVE THEM.

Brie shakes her head and asks Nikki why she’s doing this? They’re sisters! Nikki destroyed their family, and for what? Brie says that she can honestly forgive Nikki for last night, but before she can continue, Nikki cuts her off with an evil look of disgust.

“FORGIVE ME?!”

POW! Holy Jesus, Nikki just smacked the organically cooked chicken right out of Brie’s mouth. Brie goes flying across the ring as Nikki screams that SHE will never forgive Brie, leaving Brie in a puddle of tears as she scurries to the back and Stephanie looks shocked, yet extremely happy with what she’s caused. Oh and the crowd chants “You Sold Out” at Nikki again… you know, no big deal that in the span of a few months we’ve got Divas getting actual chants instead of crickets. Boom!

Out to the ring we go as Natalya stands ready for singles action (Side Note: Am I the only one starting to miss Six Diva Tags btw?). Nattie looks incredible and should never go back to tights for another day in her wrestling life, but before I can even finish that thought, out skips Paige with her newly won Divas Championship! K, so no matter how any of us feel about Paige and AJ’s feud, can we agree Paige exudes so much more confidence and excitement in her champion entrance this go around? Speaking of better things happening for Paige this go around as champ, she has a microphone! Paige just wants to say that despite everything, she respects and looooves AJ. In fact, she dedicates this match against Natalya to her little AJ. Ok so her promo time equaled out two typed sentences, but that’s still two typed sentences more than 98% of her entire first reign. Progress.

The two lock up as the bell sounds and Paige starts rubbing up on Natalya! Natalya breaks it up fast and executes a firewoman’s carry, then a jacknife for a near fall as Paige rolls out and they fight for position. Paige breaks out and hits a sharp kick, now… sensually (i.e. picture Jenna Morasca‘s entrance from her infamous Hall of Fame worthy match up against Sharmell) crawling over Nattie’s downed self, then knocking her in the skull with some headbutts.

Let’s Light It Up!

AJ skips out from the back and around the ring, much like Paige last week, which takes the new champion off her game and allows Natalya to score a quick roll up for the win! Nattie heads to the back and Paige starts freaking out and AJ grabs a microphone. She just wants to say that despite everything, she also respects and loves Paige. Oh my god, Paige’s confused facial expression is potentially my new favorite thing in life. Anyways, AJ wants to dedicate not just a match, but her LIFE to Paige! And she wants to get in the ring to shake the hand of our champion, however, as she rolls into the ring, Paige escapes out the other side and the two engage in a stare off. And I now hate the same crowd I just loved in The Bellas segment.

Also check out this week’s Lana fix, as she and Rusev engage in a fun promo opposite Mark Henry:

The Good:

Stephanie/Nikki/Brie Promo – I freakin’ loved it, sue me. Maybe some parts were a little overdone and maybe a few of the lines were a tad cheesy, but it’s their first segment working this role against each other and I was 100% here for it… as was the crowd. I LOVED Nikki’s heel turn, but part of me was still afraid of turning her when she had gotten so over as a babyface. Needless to say if this crowd was any proper example of whats to come, they made a good call. Nikki and Brie are working so hard and if I had to make one small comment (and trust me, it’s just a ridiculously tiny thing that I think can work to improve their segments even more), it’s that I think they perform better acting wise when they don’t try to yell their lines. Brie’s wwe.com and Summerslam backstage interviews were freaking awesome, and part of that is she was speaking in a lower tone which I think resonates her intensity better than when she raises her voice a few octaves to illustrate her point out. Nikki is kind of the same way judging by tonight, as I thought she was absolutely killing it every second she spoke in a lower register and then a little hit or miss when going higher, but regardless I still thought the absolute world of this and I’m so excited to see where they go with the feud and what all they can accomplish.

Stephanie was clearly her usual brilliant self which is why I focus less on describing her because you just know when Steph’s involved, she’s perfection 100% of the time. All in all, though, this was a very very good segment in my opinion and I think if The Bellas just work on not raising their voices when they deliver points that need emphasis, it will come off even stronger in the long run. Just a small critique though! I don’t want to sound like I’m criticising or anything because no matter what anyone says about them, they got the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand with all they were doing out there (which is something a lot of the people backstage or at home complaining they aren’t delivering to the caliber they should be aren’t managing to do themselves). Rock on with your bad selves B&N. Maybe it took wrecking a family’s bond and destroying the past 30 years of sisterhood… but the crowds are giving you amazing reactions so isn’t it worth it?! Just kidding, but I love this so much.

Oh and that slap though… A+

Paige vs. Natalya featuring AJ – I also really liked this to be honest. I know a lot of people find their feud boring and predictable, and I’m not going to disagree that it is kind of predictable, but I was into what they were going for this week. It’s starting to seem a little lesbian teasing, which I’d be okay with to be honest because I think it could really work in their favor. Not like full on romancing, but just kind of incorporating tactics to try and psyche out the other as much as possible. The only thing that’s completely killing this for me are those god awful people who can’t stop chanting CM Punk, which is the most deflating feeling in the world because there’s absolutely nothing AJ and Paige can do to stop them no matter how good they are or how hard they work or how much they’re given. The worst part is I feel like the crowd is doing it to SUPPORT AJ, when in reality it’s just killing all of her segments and what she does but they don’t realize that because they’re just so enamored with Punk they can’t open their eyes to see it comes off aggravating on screen. Ugh, it’s whatever though, but it just freaking sucks and I hate it. I’m trying my best to not let their mouths influence the way I view AJ and Paige’s segments together, so if I don’t focus on that part then I think it was a job well done. Predictable, yes, but still solid nonetheless.

The Somewhat Good:

Lana – It was a usual Lana week which might start to get old soon but I don’t think we can really transition to Diva Lana just yet since I don’t believe she’s ever had a legit match even on live events or NXT, therefore this was solid. Her facial expressions are still my everything.

The Not-So Good:

Nothing really, maybe lack of SLayers but after that Hornswoggle segment, I would like a few weeks off so they can maybe work out a stronger role for the two to return with.

In Conclusion:

Overall I thought this was a good week. The segments both delivered to me at least, and I think the only negative was that we could’ve had maybe another segment thrown in since both of these happened so early on in the show that the last half felt empty Diva wise. I don’t want to sound greedy or anything, it was just how it came off to me personally when they kept recapping The Bellas opening segment, it could have lead to a backstage segment or something just to give it a little more oomph after what a big moment it was at Summerslam for the two.

I really do think we NEED something big with AJ and Paige next week though. AJ got her revenge on Paige’s actions last week, but this feud — while I appreciate a slow build — is moving a little too slow and I’m not sure how much longer it can sustain people’s interest if we continue with these smallish type moments of mindgame playing. Keep the mindgames up if you must (because like I said in my prediction, Paige winning the title gives no reason for her to snap now unfortunately, so I see this side of her continuing on), but do something big. No little skips around the ring to distract the other, no poems (although I loved Paige’s poem, not gonna lie). This feud needs a jolt of surprise and intrigue zapped into it, especially considering the caliber of the two women involved. Don’t get me wrong — they’re getting a pretty darn good amount of promo time, but I just feel like they’re not delivering many powerful/memorable moments that fans will look back and think to how good their feud was in the way that Brie and Stephanie have been.

Personally, I think they should’ve had AJ capitalize on Paige’s birthday being Sunday and really try to get in HER head now that Paige took the title. AJ could’ve thrown her a little surprise party backstage and really played up her psychotic mindset now that her baby was taken from her again, with Paige being the one who seems confused at AJ’s understanding and giving nature. It could’ve involved gifts and stuff, then when AJ brings out the cake and sings Happy Birthday, she smashes it into Paige’s face and the two have a knockdown, dragout brawl in the locker room with all the birthday trinkets and party favors flying around and AJ chucking them at Paige as she screams that this isn’t over and has to be hauled out by the agents. That would’ve been crazy fun as a viewer, but who knows? Nobody ever said you can’t throw someone a week late surprise party. Let’s do it next Monday WWE!

That’s it for this week, so see you guys next time!~

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