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This week’s RAW is much like last week’s SmackDown; there’s some good, and unfortunately some bad. On one side of the spectrum we get a huge boost for Stephanie McMahon’s storyline, which is really great. However, when it comes to Sasha Banks’ hunt for the Women’s Championship, pretty much nothing happens. But before we get into that, let’s remind ourselves of this week’s antics:
Sasha Banks discusses her upcoming match against Dana Brooke with Renee Young and she insists that she will be victorious. Banks tells Young how much this match has been weighing on her mind over the weekend and basically builds it up as if this is some kind of ‘Mania feud that everybody has been dying to see.
After the interview we’re taken to the ring and we see Dana enter to Charlotte’s music, despite Flair not being involved in the actual match. Anyway, the match is fairly slow but we do so some great back and forth action. Though it lasts a minute or two longer than it should, we witness Sasha getting the inevitable win by making Dana tap to the Bank Statement.
Once the match ends Charlotte insists that she’s still on top and that we shall see a rematch between Banks and Dana on SmackDown this week – because clearly this wasn’t enough and the high intensity of the crowd definitely shows how much we want to see it again.
Later on in the show Stephanie and Shane McMahon are greeted in the ring by their father and WWE’s Chairman, Vince McMahon. Vince hypes up the crowd before he announces his decision on who will become the Commissioner of Tuesday Night SmackDown as of next week, but, before he can do that he asks his children to give him their reasons behind why he should choose them. Stephanie’s pleads by stating how hard she has worked for WWE and how, under her control, many pleasant things such as the WWE Network and the largest Wrestlemania of all time have occurred. And whilst Shane begins to give his reasons, Stephanie throws in the comedic “pandering” comments and refuses to let him speak. After a short while of the two going back and forth, Vince announces that the Commissioner of SmackDown will be none other than Shane-O-Mac! After a few leaps and skips around the ring, Vince stops his son’s celebration to announce that the Billion Dollar Princess will be in charge of WWE’s flagship programme, Monday Night RAW! Stephanie rejoices by throwing a “yes!” chant towards the audience and Shane, solidifying her reign in the WWE as the single most annoying member of the Authority.
Before we can end the show, Vince makes it clear that all he wants to see is competition; through merch sales, ratings, audience participation, social media… everything. He also insists that both of his children must pick a general manager to run the show, as of course with their busy schedules, they can’t do so.
And of course, to make her mark, Stephanie slaps Shane and walks down the ramp – before almost tripping on the stairs.
Thoughts: The problem with the Women’s Championship picture is that Sasha Banks is booked horribly. WWE are treating Sasha Banks as though she is the female equivalent of Brock Lesnar, despite not weighing more than 115 pounds. For feuds between competitors of similar builds to be interesting, it can’t be so one-sided. Week after week we’re seeing Sasha gain the upper hand by tearing down either Brooke or Flair (and sometimes even both) and this does pretty much nothing for the storyline. Banks is a tremendous talent and should be treated as such, but when a woman with an undefeated streak is constantly pitted against newbies with no credentials, the stories easily become boring. And it doesn’t help that she is always given the same lines to say.
Every time Sasha walks out, we know she’s going to win. Every time Sasha is given a mic, we know she’s going to boast about being a “boss” and how much she hates whoever she is facing. Sasha is way too talented to be given the same lines and booking every single week. And fans of women’s wrestling are way too passionate to be given this.
Sasha has talent to last for years, but this feud can easily damage her chances. Everything that happens with this story right now is predictable, and adds absolutely nothing to escalate it. Just like the tag team situation from last month, each week is a repeat of the last, just extending the story for absolutely no reason…
On the other hand, Charlotte does hold her end of the bargain, to an extent. Whilst managing Dana during the match we see her comedic heel reactions that we’ve grown to adore. She’s great as a heel and knows how to make her mark, unfortunately, sometimes the microphone doesn’t agree with her. I’m not sure if it’s because of the lack of crowd reaction, but Charlotte’s work after the match ends up being semi awkward and a little bit sloppy. Much like Sasha’s lines, Charlotte’s refuse to change. Though she does work them well with her performance, we are left thinking at the end, “what actually happened here?”
It’s hard to enjoy a story where the same person always gets the upper hand and never looks like they’re at a disadvantage, even for the shortest amount of time. Each week Sasha vs Charlotte is proving to be the filler feud nobody expected, and that’s a real shame when you consider the amount of talent either woman brings to the table.
Moving on to the main event, this is a slightly better worked segment than the women’s match (at no-one’s surprise). Stephanie and Shane have had a good relationship, and despite the predictable ending, this wasn’t too difficult to watch. Regardless of what anyone may think of the Billion Dollar Princess, she does always deliver whenever she’s out in the ring. Stephanie knows how to work the crowd by getting them to hate her and love her opponent, and tonight is a great example of that (I especially loved her patronizing “yes!” chant, to be honest).
It’s also great to see that WWE are truly pushing SmackDown to greater heights. Though Shane-O-Mac isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, he does represent “change”. And for SmackDown to be seen as something new, the familiar face of Stephanie McMahon should not be running the show.
Now, this leads us all to the one question: who will be the general manages running each show…?
Let us know your views on this week’s RAW and predictions for next week’s episode in the comments below!