Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Raw Redux (February 1st, 2016): New Challenge for Sasha, New Challenger for Charlotte


The first Monday Night Raw of February was an impressive affair, showcasing nine Divas across two matches, two backstage segments and an in-ring promo. The final nail in Summer 2015’s coffin was hammered in, as Team B.A.D imploded in front of our very eyes, despite a momentary split that was refreshingly amicable. More on that shortly.

Elsewhere, Charlotte squared off with Brie Bella, Alicia Fox and Ric Flair engaged in a shouting match, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks tried to finish a match together to prove who is the more dominant and Naomi and Tamina Snuka used the chips on their shoulders to good measure. Throw in a Stephanie McMahon appearance and hilarious Lilian Garcia botch, and that makes up this week’s show!

None other than Lana is first up this week:

While it is fantastic that she is back at ringside with Rusev, it isn’t so good that she did absolutely nothing. Yay.

Stephanie McMahon is next up, and we catch her backstage with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose:

She is serving sarcasm in bucket loads, telling the two of them that their little friendship could collapse at any moment, just like past friends such as The Rockers, Evolution, and even The Shield when Seth Rollins broke free. She says that whilst they might be together now, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Another backstage moment is next on our agenda, as Renee Young interviews Brie Bella:

Brie goes on and on about Nikki, providing “an update” aka generic chit-chat about how Nikki is getting on. Tell us something we don’t know Brie!

Another microphone master in Charlotte interrupts, and she rubs salt into Brie’s wounds. If you didn’t catch that sarcasm by the way, then here’s me notifying you about it now. Doing by best Steph McMahon impression! Charlotte says that she wants Brie to pass on her well wishes to Nikki, as she feels a little bad that beating her twice could have led to her injuries. On second thoughts, Woolotte says that she won’t apologise, as she’s on her way to becoming the new longest reigning Divas Champion as Nikki is on her way towards a new life sitting at home… online shopping. What a zinger. Let’s give an Emmy to whoever wrote that.

Up next, poor Lilian Garcia announces The Usos as the Grammy Award winning Tag Team of the Year:

Well… at least it wasn’t as bad as when she announced Alicia Keys was competing in a Divas match.

Our first Divas match of the night is up first, and was set up following Brie and Charlotte’s altercation earlier in the night. Michael Cole calls Brie Bella “Brie Wella” to kick off the segment, and he gets tongue-tied a lot of the time during the match. Apparently Dotal Tivas compete for the Tivas Ditle. LOL.

Charlotte performs some push-ups to start the match but her cockiness costs her! Brie hits a series of forearms, a nasty kick to the shoulder and a clothesline before knocking out her favourite move ‘Shades of Her Husband’. Charlotte is pummelled by the flurry of strikes, but ends up dumping Brie to the arena floor after avoiding her running knee.

Back in the ring, Brie’s face makes enemies with the floor and Charlotte’s knees, all whilst we hear “WOOO!” uttered 453 times. Charlotte hits a couple of figure four neck lock throws next, beating Brie’s face into the mat a few times for good measure. Alicia gets the crowd going with some nice managerial work, leading to Brie feeding off the energy and powering out of a submission predicament.

Brie keeps her momentum going, taking Charlotte down with clotheslines, a bulldog and her running knee strike. Credit to Charlotte, she does stop Brie from hitting a missile dropkick, but Brie applies a sleeper complete with scissors to make the best out of the situation.

Naitch then pops up on the apron, hoping to distract Brie. Alicia Fox then barks at him to get down, and this exchange between them is hilarious. If only Foxy has some popcorn and Mountain Dew handy! Brie is a little distracted it seems, as Charlotte turns the sleeper in a jawbreaker reversal, sending Brie crashing to the mat. Ric stays on the apron, much to the referee’s annoyance and showboats with Charlotte. The Divas Champ tries to lock in the Figure 8, but the nonchalant Diva is surprisingly rolled up by Brie for the win!

On Raw Fallout, Brie talked about her surprise win and her Divas Title prospects, as well as the condition of Nikki:

In the final hour of Raw, our final Divas sightings take place. Sasha Banks is next in the spotlight, and she takes to the mic:

She tells the crowd that The Boss is back, and she is going to be doing things on her terms. She won’t let Divas steal her opportunities, and she is going to do it alone.

Just as Sasha says that no-one is going to stop her from becoming Divas Champion, Naomi and Tamina interrupt! Sasha’s former(?) Team B.A.D buddies explain that as veterans, they knew the day would come that Sasha wants to branch out. Just because she wants to and will, they think that it doesn’t mean they can’t be sisters, even though they could become competitors. Sasha agrees, and Tameezus and Naomi stick around for Sasha’s match with Becky Lynch.

After the commercial break, Becky enters the arena, and I swear she is getting more smoke by the week. It’s a surprise she doesn’t have bronchitis!

Sasha shoves Becky down to kick things off, but Becky is quick to retaliate and showcase what she can do. She applies a waistlock to Sasha, and the two chain wrestle, exchanign armdrags and pin attempts. I absolutely loved the genius tactic from Sasha of running alternative ropes to the ones Becky was running – fantastic! Beckt gets the best of the chain, but then Sasha hits back hard with her signature double knees. Sasha keeps Becky down with stomps and a flying armdrag, ending her sequence of offense by reversing Becky’s springboard and throwing her to the arena floor.

Outside, Tamina grabs Becky, in plain view of the referee! Naomi looks like she is about to clock Becky, but Sasha stops them her from doing so. Naomi then grabs Sasha, causing Sasha to push her back. The Boss tries to then get back in the ring, but Team B.A.D assault her, causing the referee to throw the match out.

Tamina throws her leather jacket, “making a statement” like one we haven’t seen in quite some time! Just as Team B.A.D look to have their way with Sasha, Becky gets involved, and she starts hammering Naomi with forearms! Team B.A.D end up getting the better of the NXT graduates for a short time, but Sasha and Becky hit back, sending Naomi and Tamina packing. An “NXT” chant breaks out as the segment draws to a close. Could we soon see Team B.A.D vs Team B.A.E?

Thoughts: An interesting night for the Divas, with much of the action reeking of killing time.

Charlotte vs Brie Bella is not something I am excited about. After months of consecutive losses, is Brie going to win should she get a pay-per-view match? Hell no. Brie has jobbed for months to just about everyone and getting a roll-up win does not make her an acceptable or believable challenger. This upcoming match will simply be used to keep the belt on Charlotte longer and give her reign ‘credibility’. The only reason I’m glad it is actually happening is so that I can tell myself that Brie’s win over Charlotte on Main Event few months ago finally means something. I’m still holding out for Emma getting a good opportunity for winning at Brooklyn!

Whilst potentially getting a title shot, I’m annoyed for Brie in the way that she has gotten it. Brie is only getting this spotlight because Nikki is injured. This feud is all about Nikki, despite the fact she is at home injured. If Nikki wasn’t injured, Brie wouldn’t have this opportunity point blank. Brie can seemingly only get over or get somewhere is either Daniel Bryan or Nikki are referenced. She has talent all of her own, which isn’t the reason she is potentially getting this.

Brie and Charlotte’s match was nice, and the two have good chemistry so if they do have a championship match, then we can bet it’ll be good. The only reason I am really excited for it though is something that we got a taste of on Raw – Alicia Fox vs Ric Flair! Ric Flair was clearly on the apron way too long in my opinion but Alicia made the best of it, showing us a little bit of her crazy side. Although I would have preferred Alicia pulling Ric down to truly distract Charlotte, I still loved their interaction.

Sasha vs Becky ending in a No Contest again didn’t bother me, as the match was fun, their chemistry was simply fantastic and it is clearly building to a number one contender’s match at Fastlane. I wasn’t really a fan of why the match ended the way it did, but having the two temporarily reunite before trying to truly assert themselves as Charlotte next challenger is a nice story.

I’m not really a fan of Team B.A.D imploding as the way it all came about was plain stupid. Team B.A.D have been perfect at utilising underhanded tactics, and then they attempt to hit Becky in plain view of the referee? It just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe after a few weeks, the three of them can make up a little, like how they showcased one last form of “UNITTTTTYY” before the match, so I’m holding out hope for that. I also hope Naomi doesn’t get left out in the cold either. Having her face the likes of Tamina, Paige, Natalya, Brie and Alicia in a WrestleMania pre-show number one contender’s match would be nice.

With the Fastlane chequered flag ready to fall really soon, it looks like we’ll get two Divas matches on the event, which would be fantastic. Charlotte should retain and then Becky and Sasha’s match should end in a double pin, leading to a triple threat at WrestleMania. Let’s hope WWE have that in their long-term plans too!

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