Sunday, August 1, 2021

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RAW Redux (July 31st, 2017): ‘Bay’ja-vu as the Hugger overcomes ‘Team Rude’


The ‘Biggest Party of the Summer’ Summerslam is on our door step and last week saw the battle lines come clear after weeks of chaos in the RAW women’s division. We saw BFFs Sasha Banks and Bayley go toe to toe, with ‘The Huggable One’ getting the win over her friend. So now, what was in store this week as the action heats up this Summer!

Backstage, Charly Caruso catches up with RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, who asks her about her thoughts on Bayley becoming her opponent at Summerslam. Alexa is quick to give Charly a history lesson – recalling how she defeated Bayley at both Payback and Extreme Rules, she even admits that she thought Sasha would beat her! Alexa is even more confident because she knows that Sasha is away on a promo tour, announcing that Bayley will be taking on Alexa’s strong ally Nia Jax.

This week’s match follows much of the same rhetoric of their previous encounters. Nia Jax is out to set destruction, but Bayley is the ever stubborn competitor that won’t stay down for the 3 count. Nia tends to dominate throughout, at one point she tosses Bayley out the ring and mocks her side ponytail. She even executes a sweet chicken-wing drop on Bayley which gives shades to Jazz and Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix.

The end of the match sees Bayley finally gaining enough speed to knock Nia out of the ring from the apron. Bayley leaps onto Nai to take her out with a crossbody, as the referee begins the count out. While Bayley gets to her feet, she ends up thwarting a sneak attack by Alexa Bliss! However, the distraction allows Nia to get to her feet and she grabs Bayley by the hair and throws her into the ring barricade. She then turns to charge at Bayley, who jumps out the way and into the ring while Nia ends up going full speed into the ring steps.

The referee counts 10 and Nia Jax is counted out, the winner is Bayley! While Bayley celebrates, Alexa tries to sneak her one more time, but Bayley manages to escape and enjoy her victory. Meanwhile, the dangerous pairing of Alexa and Nia look on in anger.

Elsewhere, on RAW’s Fallout we saw Dana Brooke having a word with Titus O’Neil who addresses her tweets to join Titus Worldwide. He tells her that she needs to find herself and that she needs to be ‘country strong’… what that means, who knows?

Thoughts: Another 3rd hour 10 minute slot for the women, how sad that the women have taken such a back seat over the last couple of months on RAW. It really says a lot that the SmackDown division has managed to maintain a healthy credible booking for their division, but RAW just continues to slowly regress. What makes it worse is that this was the exact same format as Sasha Banks VS Nia Jax pre-Great Balls of Fire… how lazy.

As you all know, I’m not the biggest Nia fan but I actually feel sorry for her. She’s the big dominant girl, but she barely wins anything and has hardly any credibility any more aside from her size… which still doesn’t say much. She is slowly doing more and more moves, but how many times is she going to rotate losses between Sasha Banks and Bayley to put both of them over… then the cycle continues because how many times can she then try regain credibility by squashing everyone else in the division?

The duo of Alexa and Nia is really being overlooked here too, there’s the potential of a really strong and fun alliance here. Both women should be in segments more often, both of them are generally booked evenly and their characters are so different that there’s a lot of magic there. Plus, the fact that they’re friends in real life would really help to bring that pairing to life. Instead, we’re stuck with the constant ‘are they friends, are they enemies’ relationship.

Moving forward, the WWE are clearly cautious with the feud here because it really bombed the last time they did it. They’ve still yet to factor a story, but I think it’s pretty obvious that the numbers game and Sasha Banks’ involvement will prove to be pivotal over the next couple of weeks.

How are you feeling about this week’s match? Do you think the women should have got more time? You know what to do in the comments section!

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