Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Raw Redux (March 21st, 2016): Charlotte Proves Why She’s the Champ

Happy Tuesday everyone and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux. While Raw on the whole was – as The New Day would put it – hot garbage, it was thankfully another solid showing for the WWE Divas division. There is nothing rubbish about them, which is fantastic news!

The side feud at WrestleMania was unfortunately relegated to the Raw pre-show, but we did get a great match between Charlotte and Natalya, a segment which also featured Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks on commentary. As you would expect, those two were pretty bloody good at hyping their impending triple threat match. More on that soon, but first, Stephanie McMahon is in the spotlight.

We see Steph a total of four times before our Divas match takes place; if you’re a fan of Stephanie Marie, then this is your lucky day!

The Billion Dollar Queen’s first appearance is alongside Roman Reigns in the opening segment:

These two have cut each other with blunt words various times in the past, and this particular exchange ended with Roman blocking a slap from Stephanie before telling her: “I’m the Authority now”. OH NO YOU DIDN’T Roman?!

Steph is next riled up by Kevin Owens, who tries to make ridiculous demands for his WrestleMania opponent:

He thinks he calls the shots, and Steph leads him to believe so during their first encounter.

After all hell breaks loose (hell being Zack Ryder in a title feud segment), Kevin asks for Stephanie’s help but she is angry at what took place in the ring:

Kevin mentioned climbing the ladder of opportunity earlier in the night, and Steph took particular interest in that line. She says that at Mania, he’ll defend the title in a 7-man Ladder Match. KOMania just turned into OHNOMania for Kevin!

Finally, see Steph scream like a banshee in the parking lot as Roman Reigns briefly attacks HHH, until he and Steph escape in their car:

This was pretty intense – I liked it!

Finally, it’s match time. We return from commercials to see Sasha and Becky say at opposite sides of the announce table, both ready for a war of words alongside Charlotte’s battle with Natalya.

Nattie goes for a quick schoolgirl cover to start out the match and Charlotte retaliates with a stiff shove and woo for good measure. A woo goes hand-in-hand with a chop, so Nattie delivers two to Charlotte before upping the anti with a stunning surfboard submission. After wrenching on the back for a little while, Nattie kicks Charlotte in it for good measure, before transitioning her focus to Charlotte’s face with a dropkick. Woolotte retreats to the outside but has words with Becky Lynnch. Nat takes advantage of Charlotte taking her eyes of the prize, blasting her with a discus clothesline.

Nattie is a little too slow getting back into the ring, and Charlotte hits back with a big boot for a near fall. The Queen City native then hits an exploder suplex and successive chops, roughing Natalya up big style. After a few stomps, Charlotte pulls Natalya from the corner, dropping her on her head in the process. It’s not long though before Tal is back in the game, dropping the Divas Champion with a massive powerbomb. After a tantalising near fall, Nattie locks in the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte proves how good she is, getting to the ropes quickly. She sharply turns the tide, sending Nat into the turnbuckle head first. She tries to win via putting her feet on the ropes – similar to RoadBlock – but lightning doesn’t strike twice. After her kick out, Natalya reverses a figure four attempt into a pin of her own, but Charlotte raises her shoulders.

Natalya tries to lock in the Sharpshooter again, but Charlotte whacks her with an almighty slap to the face! Before Nattie can get her bearings back, Charlotte clubs her in the back of the head and decks her with the Natural Selection for the win! Another solid victory for Charlotte!

Thoughts: A great match last night for Charlotte and Nattie. Some of the spots like the powerbomb, surfboard and rope-utilizing pin attempt where rinsing and repeating from RoadBlock, but at least Natalya learned from the latter and was able to kick out this time. When instances like that occur, it’s cool to see that the combatant the move is used on has learned from their previous encounter. I can’t be made at some of the repetition though as this match was still amazing and had it’s own standout touches like the discus clothesline on the outside.

I was also a big fan of the finish, re-enforcing that the Natural Selection is a move that can win matches. I especially loved that Natalya kicked out just after 3, helping put over the act that she was *just* beaten by Charlotte.

Sasha and Becky were both so solid on the mic – I am just so impressed with the growth of them both. They started out as only being relevant to due to a family connection to Snoop Dogg for Sasha, and ridiculous Irish dancing from Becky, and now they’re total triple threats, pun intended; they have the mic skills to demonstrate their status as the best heel and face in the division in my opinion, they have unique looks that help them stand out among the crowd, and they are the main roster’s two best workers in the ring. Their hard work has paid off and this was proof.

A big thumbs up too for Becky mentioning that she technically did pin Sasha, even if their match resulte din a double pin. People were scratching their heads regarding that after Sasha mentioned on SmackDown that she hasn’t been made to submit, or be pinned since debuting on the main roster. Technically, she is right, but technically, she is also wrong. Glad WWE addressed that situation!

A shame to see the Team Lana vs Team Brie scenario be relegated to the Raw pre-show, but at least it was still built up. I thought Summer was a definite after the events of WWE Main Event, but is that the case? Having the faces suggest Lana’s side can pick a mystery partner makes me think they have other ideas. Honestly, unless it’s Kharma, I’d rather Summer get that spot that’s someone from NXT. And yeah, I know Kharma is plagued with an injury that has really limited her in the ring, but one last run would be brilliant. It’s not going to happen but there’s nothing wrong with putting it out in the open is there? It happens on DD Weekly! What the guys say on there has a strange knack for ringing true, so maybe some of their wisdom/luck can rub off on me!

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