Payback saw the landscape of the division change as Alexa Bliss became the new RAW Women’s Champion. With a quick rise to the top of the pecking order following her trade to the red brand, all eyes are on who will step up to the challenge next. The roster is brimming with women ready to go after that title, but let’s see what happened on this week’s RAW as we enter the Era of Bliss!
— WWE (@WWE) May 1, 2017
At the start of the show, we have all the currently active women on the roster in the center of the ring: Mickie James, Dana Brooke, Emma, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox and a clearly uncomfortable Bayley. They are all gathered in the ring for the new Champion’s ‘Coronation’, who is introduced down to the ring by Jojo.
Donning her new red title belt and fresh with her ‘Little Miss Bliss’ side plates, Alexa Bliss makes her way to the crowd to address the division. She starts by thanking the other women for attending… even though most of them were forced to attend by RAW General Manager Kurt Angle.
Alexa starts off by referring to Superstars who like to call themselves ‘Queen’… she goes on to say, “The Queen is dead”. Wooo, Miss Flair – I think those shots have been fired boo! Alexa goes on to refer to herself as “The one, the only ‘Goddess’ of WWE”… not as catchy, but we’ll see if it works. She stresses that tonight’s Coronation is a moment to highlight her record breaking achievement as the only woman to hold both the RAW and SmackDown Live Women’s Championships.
She proceeds with a couple thank you messages, backhanded ones to say the least. First she thanks Mickie James for being a role model, but mocks her age by calling her contemporaries Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah. She then thanks Sasha Banks, by showing that she appreciates her achievements, but she calls her out for her Mariah-esque “I don’t know her’ comments on the Payback Kick-Off show. Alexa reminds her that she was the person that she pinned during the fatal 4 way number 1 contender’s match and gets into her face.
As Alexa backs away, she bumps into Nia… “we’re good, you’re great, you’re naturally talented”. The Champ swiftly moves on from an awkward altercation to turn her attention to her recent rival Bayley. Alexa gets onto a mounted podium in the center of the ring to portray her place at the top of the division. Alexa thanks her Payback opponent, mocking her for being the person pinned, mocking her family that came to watch her and mocking her nephews who burst into tears.
That’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back as Bayley flips over the podium to attack Alexa! Nia Jax tries to save her tag partner for tonight’s match, but gets jumped by Sasha Banks. All the other women jump in and begin to brawl with each other as we reach a commercial break!
When we come back from the break, it is announced that Kurt Angle has changed the tag team match to a 4 VS 4 tag team match: Mickie James, Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke and Bayley taking on the team of Nia Jax, Emma, Alicia Fox and the RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss.
Starting off the match are Bayley and Alexa – how it should be… until Alexa runs to the corner and tags in Emma. She seems to take a bit of a beating from Bayley and Mickie, until Dana is tagged into the match. Emma avoids her old protege and tags in Alicia. Dana manages to show off some more acrobatic face moves with a handspring elbow and a running cartwheel splash! Alicia continues to be outwrestled by the face team and spends the next few minutes locked in a resthold by Sasha Banks. Alicia manages to throw Sasha out of the ring, causing all the women rush to the outside and argue as we head to another commercial break.
When we come back from the match, the tide of the match has switched. A cutaway shows Nia Jax using her traditional running body avalanche on Sasha Banks during the commercial break, which leads to our current situation with the latter placed in a chinlock by Alicia Fox. The heels are now in control, with Sasha taking the role of the damsel of distress.
Sasha manages to get the hot tag from Bayley, who straight away guns for Alexa Bliss. She is fired up and hits her signature dish of offence, ending with a new back drop move. She attempts to put away Alexa, but the count is interrupted by Nia. Dana comes into the ring to distract Nia, who charges into her! Dana pulls down the second rope to send Nia out of the ring and Mickie hits her Mickie Thesz Press from the top rope to ground the 272lb Nia to the ground!
This distraction allows Emma to toss out Dana, but Emma is then dropkicked out by Sasha Banks. As the tag match breaks down, Alicia goes to town on Sasha and the two scrap like it’s the Season 17 reunion of the Bad Girls Club! Bayley comes in to jump-a-hoe, leaving Alicia and Sasha to continue to brawl to the outside. She focuses her attention on Alexa and tries to put her away. However, Alexa counters Bayley’s move with a rake to her eyes and manages to hit her DDT to score yet another pinfall victory over Bayley.
While the dust scatters and Alexa’s music hits the speakers, she brings in her team mates to celebrate the ring. She can be seen mouthing “Thanks, you’re welcome” to her fellow team mates. It looks like our ‘Wicked Witch’ turned ‘Goddess’ of the WWE has proved once again why she stands atop the RAW women’s division!
Finally, we catch up with Maryse and her husband The Miz backstage following his victory to win the #1 contendership for the Intercontinental Championship against Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Despite two big interferences by Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe, Maryse claims that The Miz takes all credit for his victory and he will win the IC Title!
Thoughts: Seeing that roster of women at the start of RAW was a great sight for my eyes. If you read my reviews, then you would know that pre-WrestleMania, I was SICK to head of combinations between Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte and Nia. Now that we’ve had a couple returns and a shift between brands, the possibilities are there – so let’s just hope that the WWE don’t mess this all up.
My first big worry is the direction of Emma. She looked like a fourth fiddle in that match and during the coronation segment. She’s been brought back to have a program with Dana, who is nowhere near the top of the food chain. For the longest time, Naomi was seen as the under-appreciated talent, but I think that award now goes to Emma. Sure this is early days and she’s literally just made her return to RAW, but when Alexa and Nia have flown up the food chain, there’s only so much room for someone that they’ve never had a good track record for pushing.
Next up, is my fear for Bayley and Sasha. Sure they’re the golden girls of the 4HW, but each week the crowds are turning on them… and it’s getting louder and louder each week. I see the comments on here and on social media and I can agree with some of the things I read, but if these two start getting the Cena/Reigns treatment, then it will only ruin their booking – because we know that the WWE will troll us more. Sure we all want Sasha to go heel and sure Bayley’s underdog shtick can only last for so long, but they need to stay faces to establish all of these other women – including the other faces!
Finally, can we take a moment to acknowledge Alicia and Sasha trading blows like they were on the Bad Girls Club? I don’t know whether that was a cover up for a missed spot, but damn they went in! I had to jump on Twitter to see if that was a shoot, but damn I’ve not seen that since the classic break up of the Funkadactyls… or the Season 17 BGC finale (Team Bri btw!). I might as well show my appreciation for Miss Foxy who was pretty much the MVP in that match – . Oh and for the record, for those of you who keep track of my Nia Jax ‘appreciation’, she hit 2 running body avalanches, 4 elbow drops and 1 hair biel. Yes, I’m going to start taking records of how basic her wrestling is – especially when you have women like Emma and Alicia who should be doing a whole lot more.
Next week, RAW will be coming to London and I’ll be heading down there! That means that my RAW Redux will come a little later! If you have any sign idea then please feel free to share in the comments section!
Do you think they should have added the other women to the match? Do you think Alexa is ready for such a big push? What do you think about the state of the RAW women’s division? Send your comments below!