Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Raw Redux (December 28th, 2015): Stephanie Has Daddy Issues


The final Monday Night Raw of 2015 ended on a high for the Divas, as WWE allowed for two of their best grappling talents in Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks to mix it up in a lengthy match. Becky also got some mic time backstage and like she does in the ring, she delivered. Elsewhere, Stephanie McMahon‘s acting prowess was on full display, and it was sheer perfection. Nice to end the year on a positive note. Find out why I’m so giddy below!

Vince McMahon returned to Raw to kick off the show, and he wasted no time in calling out Roman Reigns. The pair have a major altercation, leading to Roman branding Vince a “rich snob” who doesn’t own him and can’t tell him what to do. “I’m not a rich snob, I’m a freakin’ billionaire,” retaliates Vinnie Mac. Brilliant.

Things take a turn when Vince talks some really bizarre smack talk and then feigns a neck injury. Out comes the Billion Dollar Queen, Stephanie McMahon. Police officers accompany the Queendom to the ring, but they say that they won’t arrest Roman Reigns. Stephanie gets very irate very quickly, questioning why the police wouldn’t arrest Roman when he put his hands on the “geriatric” Vince. Stephanie milking it for all she is worth – love it.

The cops tell Stephanie that if she doesn’t calm down, it’ll be her spending a night in a cell, not Roman. Vince then explains how the officer is “pissing [him] off”. Steph continues to remind Vince of his neck, but the neck is the least of the McMahons’ worries. Vince puts his hands on the officer, and is arrested!

After the commercials, we see Vince being thrown into the cop car, and Steph is acting like a woman possessed! She is screeching “OFFICER BRUTALITY” as she threatens to sue, and then own the NYPD. The segment ends with Vince driven away as Stephanie yells “DAAAAAAAADDDDDDD”! Meanwhile I am howling to myself due the utter brilliance of that segment.

Next up, the lovely JoJo is backstage with Becky Lynch. The former Total Diva asks the Lass Kicker about her relationship with Charlotte, and whether there is any pressure on her to get a win without the Divas Champion by her side. Becky says that every step of her career before coming to WWE was done on her own merit, and whilst she will be outnumbered when up against Sasha, she isn’t worried. She isn’t in the WWE to sit back, she is there to stand out.

Immediately following Becky’s mic time, Team B.A.D. make their way to the ring. The girls have mics of their own and Sasha berated Brooklyn. The simply phenomenal looking Naomi then bumps her gums, describing Brooklyn as a “rat-infested, cockroach-crawling, garbage-filled, overrated, overpopulated, polluted, stank dump”. She definitely has a way with words!

After hearing Becky’s bloody marvellous entrance jam (it’s more than just a theme), the match gets underway following a commercial break. Sasha gets the best of Becky after the first collar-and-elbow tie-up before departing to the outside for a little “UNNNIIIITTTTYYY!” with her beautiful and dangerous pals. Back in the ring, these two show off their outstanding chemistry, highlights of which include intricate wristlock reversals and deep arm drags from Becky.

Business starts to really pick up when Becky dropkicks Sasha to the outside. Sasha fights back with a crisp springboard armdrag but the back and forth nature of the match continues when Becky hits a lush dragon screw leg whip. The Lass Kicker next locks in a submission that I cannot call but neither can any of Raw’s ‘expert’ commentary team so I hope you can let me off guys! Someone not let off… the hook is Sasha. Despite Team B.A.D. helping her reach the ropes to break the submission, it isn’t long before they are all flat on their backs. Becky throws caution to the wind and dives right onto the entire team!

Back from the break and it is Becky who still has control. She hits another lightning armdrag and roughs Sasha up with a hard dropkick through the ropes. Lynch then takes to the top rope, but she is sent crashing to the mat when Sasha trips her and delivers her patented double knees! Banks piles on the pressure, choking Becky on the second rope and kneeing her in the face with no remorse. She stomps a mudhole in Becky and chokes her again before putting her knees to good use for a second time.

Sasha decides to go down the submission route next, digging her feet into Becky’s back and neck in a loose example of a surfboard. The Boss adds insult to injury as she taunts Becky whilst choking her out on the ropes before she goes to the submission well for a second time. Sasha’s cockiness gets the best of her shortly after though, and Becky moves out of the way of a leg drop when Sasha starts to utilise Becky’s own moveset!

Becky puts her own repertoire to good use, decking Sasha with her trademark combination of clotheslines and a jumping calf kick. Becky tries to take Sasha to Suplex City before Banks is so quick to not let Becky really take over. Becky gets draped onto the middle rope but she also ensures that Sasha doesn’t keep the upper hand for too long! Sasha aims to dive right at Becky, but instead takes Team B.A.D. out with a massive suicide dive!

Despite her aerial disaster, Sasha is soon back on the front foot. She hits a backstabber/straight jacket submission combination that is really wrenching Becky’s back! Despite that punishment, Becky yet again showcases her resilience, chucking Sasha into the turnbuckle with a front facelock throw!

Despite Sasha kicking out, Team B.A.D. realize that The Boss might be on the losing end if they don’t step in! Tamina fumbles around the apron on one side of the ring as Naomi belts Becky with a shin kick on the other side of the squared circle. Sasha hits the Bank Statement but Becky manages to roll Sasha onto her back to try and nab a pinfall win. Sasha kicks out and temporarily locks her signature submission in once more, but Becky jolts her neck from harm’s way and tries to plan a Dis-Arm-Her on Sasha! Sasha wriggles free and grabs Becky’s tights to get the schoolgirl win!

Finally, we later see Renee Young waiting outside of the police station where Vince was taken too. He has since posted bail, and Renee tries to get his and Steph’s reactions as they leave the jail. My wish for Stephanie to do a Tom Phillips on Renee sadly doesn’t happen sadly, and Vince tells Renee to get out of his face as the McMahons get away from their embarrassing situation.

Thoughts: Lots of positives to discuss this week! But before that, let’s look at the only negative I can think of (other than the dodgy crowd of course). Where was Lana? Is she a part of the League of Nations or not? Bizarre that Rusev was all over this show and she was yet again not to be seen. It seems to me that WWE don’t have a clue what to do with her!

That slight downer aside, the year ended on a high as far as I’m concerned. Whilst the Stephanie/Vince/Roman debacle was sublimely ridiculous and very old-fashioned, it was really fun. The insulting of The Wild Samoans was a mess but the rest was really fun. Stephanie was utterly crazy and not a lot more can, or needs to be said. This was wrestling at its most ludicrous and I was thoroughly entertained by Steph. Although, when am I not? She is gold.

Just as entertaining was the Divas match, which allowed two of WWE’s premier talents with superb chemistry to put on a really fun match. The back and forth nature was terrific, and I was once again impressed with Team B.A.D. They really can do no wrong for me at the moment. The heel tactics are wrestling at its most classic and I loved the traditional story being told here. The ending was particularly a joy to watch, perfectly booked by the girls to show how well they really do know each other in the ring. They always knew what each other’s next step was going to be, which made for an edge-of-your-seat match.

Where is all of this leading? My guess is that we’ll see Charlotte vs Sasha vs Becky at the Royal Rumble, possibly then leading to Charlotte vs Sasha at WrestleMania. With Charlotte and Becky’s tension rising and Team B.A.D constantly keeping themselves relevant, that would be my bet. Not to mention, Sasha has still yet to be pinned or made to submit since stepping foot on the main roster, so she clearly has a good reason to be crowned #1 contender. The next step needs to be fully establishing where each of the girls lie on the heel/face spectrum and once that has been finalised, let the triple threat fireworks commence!

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