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RAW Redux (May 22nd, 2017): Glitter, glitz, sparkle, sticks

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Your usual RAW Reduxer Alex got caught in the work flow, so I’ll be jumping from blue to red to cover the show this week! And what an episode to jump in on! Between the side feud and the title picture, the women of RAW give us a great episode!

Our first sighting is when Sasha Banks is walking backstage and quickly interviewed by Charly Caruso. Caruso asks Banks about her thoughts on her upcoming rubber match with Alicia Fox, especially after suffering a surprise loss from the former Divas champion last week. Banks corrects Caruso and says that the match is best described as a “get out of jail free match.” The Boss believes that when she “finally” wins, she will be able to “get away from that crazy fox, and her hot mess of a boyfriend.” And “speaking of hot messes…” Noam Dar and Miss Foxy arrive just on cue!

Dar defends himself and Alicia by brushing Banks’ hatred of them as jealousy. He claims that she’s jealous that Fox has Dar, whilst she has nobody. Alicia then mocks Sasha’s lonesome self whilst Noam attempts to insult her further. However once Banks moves physically closer to the Cruiserweight, he’s fearfully lost for words. Well, on that note… Let the match commence!

Foxy (whom is accompanied by Noam) and Banks make their separate ways to the ring and the match goes underway. The contest starts with an aggressive grapple that ends with Alicia being tossed in the corner. Fox is then tripped over and an attempted Bank Statement is put into play. Unfortunately Alicia is far too close to the ropes for her to be in it for too long. The former Divas champion then retreats to the outside to be consoled by her boyfriend, but pretty soon finds the soles of Sasha’s boots across her face. A quick escape to the inside of the ring allows Noam some time to mock Banks’ entrance – which includes a very awkward hand gesture – and thus giving Fox the opportunity to boot her opponent’s head.

The match then takes a slow pace for a short while, which is then followed by an equal amount of offense and defense for both women. We see Alicia attempt to replicate last week’s antics with a Scissors Kick, but this is immediately avoided. Once Banks gets Fox into the corner rope, she applies the Double Knees and scores the victory via pinfall!

As the Boss is celebrating her victory, Noam comes up to her to have an inaudible argument. It seems that Dar is getting sick of what Sasha has to say, but before he can do anything he receives a slap from Banks that sends him on the ground, bewildered. Alicia then quickly defends her man by knocking Sasha from behind, sending her straight to the ground. A tough Scissors Kick is then applied and the couple then kiss one another, to celebrate their dominance.

We soon see Charly backstage as she introduces the RAW Women’s champion, Alexa Bliss! A quick look at last week’s attack on former champ Bayley is then shown, as well as devastating pictures of the marks left on her back. A short moment of silence takes place when we return to Bliss before she asks Caruso whether “this is the part where you expect [Bliss] to feel bad for Bayley” …’Cos she doesn’t. A smug Bliss boasts about how the sound of hitting Bayley’s back with the kendo stick makes her “salivate”, claiming that she wants to do it all over again. She then states that compared to what she’s going to do at Extreme Rules, this was “nothing.” The champion promises to leave Bayley’s back “tattooed in welts” after their encounter. And, Bliss claims to know that she will win as Bayley, whom is probably dreaming up some revenge like she always does, “is incapable of getting extreme.”

The attention is then brought to Alexa’s upcoming match with her former partner and Bayley’s “new friend” Mickie James. The champion insists that she’s doing to do to Mickie what she will do to Bayley, and that is to “take her little dreams, and turn them into a nightmare.” And with a smug smile, Bliss leaves the scene.

The match then takes place later in the night as Bliss promises to make her mark – quite literally – on Mickie James. The bout starts out with some grappling and then quickly leads to some dominance from James. Mickie offers a ton of offense, including heavy chops to the side of Bliss’ neck that leave their mark. Mickie tries to stay on the head area with offensive kicks, but in the end, Bliss proves to be a little too much for her as she puts her away via DDT!

After the match, the champ goes outside of the ring to get her hands on a kendo stick. And, as promised, she rips Mickie a new one with a hit across her back. Unfortunately for Bliss, Bayley comes out to ringside and manages to pull her legs down, forcing her to drop the weapon. The former champ then threatens to hit Alexa with the stick, but a quick retreat puts an end to that.

Throughout the night we also see Maryse accompanying The Miz when he confronts Dean Ambrose.

Thoughts: The women of RAW are truly killing it lately. I’ve been Team Blue since the initial brand split, but I have to admit that the ladies of the red side have really caught my eye – even the ones I’m not too keen on.

The Sasha and Alicia feud is the kind of fresh air I didn’t know I needed. Romantic stories tend to be pretty dull in WWE, but this one feels like it may shape into something more interesting than the others. We have two kickass women, one of them being one of the most popular wrestlers in the company. And when you put them in the ring together, they make magic. Fox and Banks have the kind of chemistry you want to watch week in, week out. And with the fact that they’re mixing in Cruiserweights into it, it’s bound to be an interesting feud. But who will the inevitable fourth party be?

The likes of Mustafa AliAustin Aries and Cedric Alexander would be wonderful additions. Three of the best talents in their respective divisions, with the latter having history with the heels in question. We’ll be able to see Banks work a side feud that could actually be worth our time – because the one with Nia was pretty dull. Putting Banks with Foxy is great. And as a fan of Alicia Fox, it’s extremely exciting to see her being used week after week whilst simultaneously receiving story development. She most likely won’t come out on top, but her bizarre antics and fast paced wrestling is always a treat to see.

Though, one complaint is that losing via the Double Knees is kind of frustrating. Alicia Fox may not be more decorated than her opponent, but she has been in WWE for a lot longer. A more credible loss would’ve sufficed, but at this point we take what we get. I’m just excited to see Alicia in a good feud!

The title picture is also just as entertaining – and that’s a big thing to say for RAW. Alexa Bliss is taking ahold of her role as the ultimate heel to the new level. She has this sense of power and authority that is so enticing that it makes me, an Alexa fan, want to see Bayley overcome her. Bliss overpowers her opponents in an endearing way, with her antagonistic mic skills to her bratty and aggressive wrestling style, she is doing wonderfully as the top girl on RAW.

Seeing Bayley hint at becoming “extreme” is something I can appreciate. Bliss is consistently antagonising her, stating that she could never be extreme, so the result of this will hopefully pay off. We’re seeing Alexa get under Bayley’s skin by ribbing at her loss at Payback, and mocking her personally. Bliss constantly belittles Bayley, and treats her as though she has nothing to her name. And week by week, we’re seeing Bayley react to this, which will (hopefully) lead to an extreme beat down at Extreme Rules. This is the kind of treatment of Bayley I like to see. Don’t treat her like a revolutionary, don’t treat her like a leader; treat her like an underdog, belittle her, and give her some edge.

On top of all of this we have to discuss Mickie James. Despite not having much of the crowd on her side, James is an exciting face to watch. She’s working her way from almost no build on SmackDown to a little bit of an underdog story here on RAW. Her best efforts are coming across well – in my opinion – but clearly something is going wrong as the crowd refuse to react. And that seems to be the same case as SmackDown.

Whilst I appreciate the fact that James actually comes across as a good guy on RAW (as opposed to the awkward ‘tweener on SmackDown) she needs to have a good story to keep her steady. Having Bayley by her side does almost nothing as the crowd always keeps their focus on the former NXT Women’s champ, rather than the veteran. This woman is extremely underrated and has managed to have multiple good matches since moving to RAW. We just need to see the creative team pick up some slack! How are we supposed to see James as a veteran when she’s won a total of three times since returning to WWE? Give Mickie a good opportunity and we shall see her go far!

Overall, RAW was great this week. The title picture is doing wonders and the side feud is surprisingly intriguing.

What did you think of RAW this week? Which feud do you prefer? Who will Sasha’s partner be? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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