We’re just a few days away from WWE Fastlane and the card is shaping up to be tremendous, especially when it comes to our Divas. Who would have thought that even after a match was relegated to the pre-show (poor Kalisto) that we would still have two women’s wrestling matches on a WWE PPV? Impressive stuff from the ‘E!
Raw’s in-ring action sadly was not impressive in length this week, but we were treated to an in-ring promo between Brie Bella and Charlotte, a backstage segment and a match featuring Naomi, Tamina and Becky Lynch (with Sasha Banks after the match) and another match that saw Paige clash with Summer Rae. Beyoncé has heard our cries and blessed us with a Summer Rae match!
The first boss to grace our screens tonight is Stephanie McMahon. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the LEGIT Boss:
Stephanie actually interrupts Dean Ambrose, putting further wheels in motion in regards to initiating tension between him and Roman Reigns. Stephanie says he is going to get an F5 – but not from Brock Lesnar. F5 stands for Fatal-5-Way, a match that Dean loses his Intercontinental Championship in against Kevin Owens. Hooray for the inclusion of Tyler Breeze. Boo for the fact he got pinned.
Our next noteworthy Divas sighting occurs in the second hour of the show and is an in-ring interview with Brie Bella conducted by Byron Saxton:
Disclaimer: His name is Byron, guys. I’ve seen so many people say “Bryon” recently and the spelling/punctuation/grammar police officer and all-round perfectionist in me wanted to point out that a majority of people are being wrong. Someone make me a GIF of that segment Edge repeatedly said “WRONG!” in that one time. Iconic.
Following a nice reaction from the crowd, Brie enters the ring and takes to the mic. It is as interesting as you would expect. For someone who really struggles on the mic, Brie has sure had a her fair share of chances over the years. Thankfully, the phatic conversation between her and Byron doesn’t last long as Charlotte and the WWE Divas Champion Ric Flair interrupt.
Charlotte’s rhetoric gets off to a dodgy start, telling Brie that Daniel Bryan was in a league of his own, before agreeing with Brie that he still is because he isn’t dead. Weird and awkward exchange. Charlotte contiunes by telling Brie that she feels like she should forfeit their match at Fastlane so that she can be there for Nikki and Daniel to care for them. Brie fires back, asking why she would do that? She says that Daniel supports her hunt for the title 100%. Charlotte sarcastically says that she understands that, considering they’ll need the money. Now that was a low blow a highlight for me.
Brie says that Charlotte is simply scared of her, knowing that she isn’t an “easy beat”. Coming from the woman who has jobbed since November 2014, that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Brie says that she is disgusted to see the type of champion Charlotte has become. This remark annoys Ric, who seemingly looks to want to attack Brie, but Charlotte backs him out of the ring.
LOL. What was that? They have Ric act like he is completely senile. Charlotte says that everyone saw the chance she gave Brie a chance to walk away, but she didn’t take it. She then insults Brie’s future children and our favourite hippie-dippie Diva slaps the taste out of Charlotte before tackling her with a Lou Thesz press. Brie then wallops Charlotte with “Shades of Her Husband” before Ric pulls his daughter to safety.
Next up, prepare for the most welcome but random Raw match of 2016 thus far – Paige taking on Summer Rae. That’s right, Summer Rae. The girl you forgot WWE employed. She is in fact still under contract – woohoo!
Summer riles up and rolls up Paige to start off the match, an upper hand that doesn’t last long. Summer does hit armdrags and her roll-through DDT (which for the first time ever didn’t look awkward) but Paige soon fights back with a thrust kick to the gut. Summer gets tripped up by Paige next before the latter delivers a knee to the face. Paige takes Summer down twice in quick succession with some throws and follows those up with a barrage of knees on the apron. One great thing to note, those knees always look really dangerous.
Summer ducks a big boot when Paige gets back in the ring, only to use her own leg as a weapon with a spinning heel kick. Summer hits a duo of leg drops before applying a key lock, which is talked through rather loudly. Oh dear.
A burst of energy is released from Paige next, who clocks Summer with four thrust kicks, a knee in the corner and a running knee. Despite all of the damage, Summer kicks out. Paige has the end in mind however, grabbing Summer’s ankles to set up for the PTO. Paige looks to the crowd and tries to trash talk Summer, but the First Lady of NXT rolls Paige up for the three count. A shock win for Summer Slay!
We head to the parking lot next in a segment recorded earlier in the day:
Becky Lynch is confronted by Naomina, who said that they wanted to check that Becky got to the arena ok. Bex says that she hasn’t got time for this, and that she will settle their differences in the ring later in the night. Team B.A.D (are they still called that?) seem to agree, that is until Tamina wallops Becky’s right cheek off with a superkick.
Shortly after that segment was shown, we make our way to the arena for the match. Naomi is back to using her “Amazing” theme music after using the Team B.A.D theme on SmackDown. What is it to be WWE? Make your minds up!
Becky blasts Naomi with forearms to start the match before chucking her across the squared circle with an overhead suplex. Naomi takes a while to recuperate on the outside, but it pays off for getting that extra breathing space. The Floridian kicks Becky in the side of the head before unleashing a rampage of kicks to Becky’s side. Despite lashing Becky with over two kicks, an enziguri and a leg drop, Lynch kicks out.
Naomi wraps Becky up with a key lock but Bex is soon back on her feet. Naomi stops any potential offense, yet Becky reverses Naomi’s bulldog. Tamina not so smoothly climbs to the apron but Becky clouts her off. Lynch rolls up Naomi, but the ama-may-ay-ay-ay-zing Diva rolls Becky up herself. Out of nowhere (no, not an RKO) Becky shoves Naomi face first to the mat and locks in the Dis-Arm-Her! Naomi is forced to tap, helping picking up some lost ground for Bex!
After the match, Tamina attacks. Team B.A.D/Naomina kick Becky before Naomi delivers a nasty slap. Sasha Banks interrupts, walking with major swagger. She snatches her earrings off and stalks the ring with attitude. Tamina is able to hit a Samoan drop to Becky as Sasha was seemingly in no rush to show her emotions for her former friend, but Sasha seems to just be remaining cool. Sasha does call Naomi and Tamina back for a fight, but they are having none of it. Things got a little ugly last night, but will get way uglier on Sunday.
Thoughts: Quite the interesting night for the Divas. Sadly, I wasn’t a fan of much of it. Let me give thoughts on what we saw starting with my least favourite happening.
Brie and Charlotte’s segment wasn’t exactly “I’M GONNA MAKE YOU BITCH” level was it? Yikes. It was pretty bad. Thankfully, Brie and Charlotte both got the relevant reactions they needed from the crowd, so at least the people are invested. I still feel like the match will be good come Sunday but this promo didn’t do the girls any favours. I am 100% in agreement that a promo was necessary to hype the match but I feel that it fell flat in a number of ways.
Charlotte opening her portion of the segment insinuating that Daniel Bryan hadn’t passed away unlike Reid Flair went down like a lead balloon for me. I was all for bringing up Reid in the segment with Paige a few months ago as it was so blatant and Paige used Reid’s name to really elevate the feud (with Charlotte’s permission), but his reference here was in poor taste. It served no purpose at all.
Brie referring to herself as not an “easy beat”. Are you actually for real? I’ve called WWE out for making Charlotte sound dumb and hypocritical with her dialogue but this was absolutely ridiculous. Brie has lost month after month. Terrible scripting. It’s not Brie’s fault of course, and I know she wouldn’t describe herself as a pushover, but it still felt strange to me.
Thankfully, Charlotte’s stinger about Brie and Daniel needing the money was nice. A shame her rinse-and-repeat goatface joke wasn’t. One of the main problems here is that not just the script writing but the mic skills, or lack thereof also come into play. I’m glad that Brie and Charlotte got the chance to improve, but improving should be saved for backstage training sessions. This is main roster, not developmental. And don’t get me started on Ric.
The main gripe I have with this segment as it wasn’t about either Charlotte or Brie. Charlotte’s initial boos were nice, but then the boos turned to woos as Ric was around. I don’t mind Ric managing Charlotte but I think she should have came out alone for this. And in terms of Brie, she is just used as a way to promote Nikki or Daniel. She is devoid of her own character. A shame.
Middle of the road this week was the Paige/Summer match. I actually really liked the shock result, which played upon the fact that Paige isn’t truly a face. That was a nice touch. Summer showed no ring rust either, which was a treat, as was the misleading fact Summer’s entrance was cut, hinting at her losing. I also appreciate the reference to a potential title match for her down the line. The match was a decent length too, and had some nice highlights including Paige’s knees on the apron and Summer “Who’s House?” mockery.
What wasn’t as good was the match itself. The likes of Summer’s leg drops and Paige’s throws seemed to have little impact or purpose. I am a major Paige fan as people know, but I really feel like she needs to make some adjustments to her in-ring work. The lack of moves in her main repertoire is hindering her, as is her spot calling. All Paige seemed to do was kick and knee Summer, and part of the problem may be that she doesn’t know how to approach her moveset because she doesn’t know if she is meant to be a face or a heel. Her calling the match was sadly noticeable again. Not as noticeable as on Main Event a few weeks ago but it still detracted from the match. The match wasn’t horrible or atrocious by any means, but I felt that a little tightening up around the edges would have helped.
The Team B.A.E/Team B.A.D scenario is the highlight for me this week as it continues to be the most interesting Diva happening that will definitely lead to a good match at Fastlane. I liked the backstage segment first of all. Diva backstage brawls used to be a mainstay of WWE programming, and I for one love a good bitchy altercation in the locker room or canteen. This was basic, but was an added extra that I appreciated.
The match was way too short, but Naomi and Becky impressed as usual. Unlike the Paige and Summer match, this had impactful moves on display such as Naomi’s fast flurry of kicks and Becky’s suplex. Tamina’s hilarious interference is always a bonus. It’s those tight trousers I tell you – they make it hard for her to move!
Sasha’s presence after the match was also great. The reaction she got was impressive and the taking off of the earrings will have snatched a lot of wigs on Twitter. Her and Becky’s partnership is super interesting; Sasha could have sprinted down to the ring to make the save, but she strutted like a badass and allowed Becky to get attacked further before finally entering the ring. She still wanted to give Naomi and Tamina an ass kicking, but she did everything on her terms. Sasha was laid-back and confident whilst making it perfectly clear that she isn’t all of a sudden best friends with Becky. She certainly didn’t lower her
street ring cred.
Whilst I wasn’t such a big fan of everything on display last night, I am confident that we will get two great matches at Fastlane. I think the results are predictable, but I’m still not ruling out on Brie retiring as Divas Champion. Stranger things have happened… like Summer Rae winning a match!