Thursday, October 28, 2021

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RAW Redux (May 29th, 2017): This is Your Life gets extreme

Guess who’s back for your RAW Redux this week! Must say thanks to the lovely Abir for covering me last week, but I’m back to cover the red brand! With Extreme Rules a couple days away, RAW was the last chance for our women to show that that were able to “get extreme”. So let’s see what was in store this week!

News broke before the show that Noam Dar and Alicia Fox would be taking on the team of Rich Swann and Sasha Banks at Extreme Rules. Mike Rome interviewed the fan favourites of Banks and Swann who say that they’re going to “beat those little suckas down”. Swann mentions that Extreme Rules will be taking place in his hometown of Baltimore, ML and he warns Dar and Fox to prepare for the “fantastic voyage” that they’ll be taking them on.

Before their big match, the men take centre stage on RAW first with Noam Dar (accompanied by Alicia Fox) taking on Rich Swann who brings out his tag partner, Sasha Banks.

Towards the end of the match, Swann looks set to finish off Dar as she climbs up the turnbuckle. Before he can nail a move, he’s distracted by Alicia who climbs onto the apron! But before she can cause any problems, Sasha takes out Alicia’s feet, causing her to land face first on the apron! She rolls out the ring and Sasha thrusts her into the side of the ring for added measure.

The distraction allows Swann to hit the Corkscrew 450 (which the camera doesn’t capture!) and manages to pin Dar for the three count! Sasha comes into the ring to celebrate and Swann gets her to join in with his trademark dancing! Will it be the same dancing and smiles for these two at Extreme Rules?

Backstage, Sasha and Swann claim that this Sunday will be the same result and Sasha also reveals that she’ll be at Swann’s side this week on 205 Live!

Later on in the night, RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss has the ring set up for a special ‘This is Your Life’ for everyone’s favourite Hugger and her opponent for Extreme Rules, Bayley!

On the offset, Alexa plays up to the fact that Bayley isn’t “extreme” enough to retrieve the kendo stick from the top of the pole and actually use it on Alexa. She refers to last week, where Bayley failed to hit Alexa… although we all know it’s because Miss Bliss was giving Usain Bolt a literal run for his money!

So, to ‘dig deep’ and understand her opponent, Alexa digged so deep that she was able to create a ‘This is Your Life’ tribute for Bayley in the same vein as the popular TV show… but what came of it wasn’t exactly the best…

She starts off by showing off a doll, that she claims Bayley has played with since she was 2… or she still plays with now. She then shows off a Bayley that she won… for sportsmanship. She finally finds Bayley’s yearbook which named the Most Likely to… apologise. Alexa rolls her eyes (as does the crowd) as she moves onto the good bit! The people standing in the ring with her.

First, she introduces us to Bayley’s 4th Grade teacher, Mrs Flapper… yay? Alexa asks her about Bayley’s time as a student. Mrs Flapper says she was “a really nice girl, perfect attendance, always sat front row… next to her father” because she would cry if she was away from him too long. She then introduces Bayley’s best friend Tracy Havalina, who says that they were great friends until Bayley stopped hanging out with her because she watched wrestling instead of being a normal teenage girl and going to the mall etc. Finally, Alexa introduces everyone to Bayley’s ex-boyfriend, Phil Johnson. He’s quick to state how Bayley took her Dad everywhere and he even ruined their first kiss! But then Phil reveals that he only dated Bayley to get closer to Tracy… and the two start making out! Imagine that, your ex-best friend and your ex-boyfriend making out?!

Bayley’s had enough and finally makes her way down to the ring! By the time she rolls into the ring, the people from her past have cleared out, but Alexa is able to nail Bayley with a couple stomps to her back. Bayley is able to flip her over and nail a couple of shots in herself, but Alexa also flips herself out and is able to floor Bayley with a forearm that brings her down to one knee. Alexa attempts to go for another, but is caught by Bayley and floored with a side slam.

Bayley starts to throw some of the toys and trinkets on the table from her past, but soon looks up at the kendo stick hanging in the corner of the ring. The crowd chants ‘kendo stick!’ as she signals that she’s going to get it! As she climbs up the buckles, Alexa sweeps her off and causes her to knock her head against the top rope. Instead of making herself exposed by climbing to get the kendo stick on top of the pole, Alexa lifts the table cover and brings out another kendo stick. She once again sizes up Bayley who is practically a sitting target, she hits one more nasty blow with the kendo stick which sends Bayley rolling to the outside.

Alexa hoists the title and the kendo stick up in her arms with pride – will it be the same story in a couple days at Extreme Rules?

Thoughts: Oh dear… is all I can say really. That ‘This Is Your Life’ segment bombed terribly and judging by the removal of its clips on Twitter and how most of it is cut out of the WWE.com version, shows that even the WWE must realise how wrong that went. It definitely wasn’t the fault of the women involved, but segments like this are just outdated and don’t work anymore. Kayfabe is slowly becoming a thing on history and this segment relied on it too much. The audience is getting smarter as social media has destroyed the 4th Wall of kayfabe, everyone knows that Tracy, Phil and Mrs Flapper aren’t real and so they voiced their disdain with sound loud boos, ‘boring’ chants and ‘delete’ chants.

We want to see more realistic storylines, complemented with real hard-hitting matches – it’s really not that hard. All they needed was Alexa sidelining Bayley, using Nia (who I thought was meant to be her ally) to keep making the sides uneven without all the faff about being a child or ex-boyfriends that this feud has become. It’s such a shame because this segment would have been amazing in 2004, but this kind of thing just doesn’t click anymore. It looks like a lot of people on social media felt the same way too.

Now as I said, this wasn’t Alexa’s fault and she truly tried her best to deal with a tough hand that was given to her. She tried to keep the crowd alive, keep that energy up… but it really didn’t help to see her standing tall at the end either. Sure I get that it’s the logical build up, but Bayley should have been left in the middle of the ring and being the sole focus of looking like a victim. It would have made the crowd get behind her and finally engage with her as in a sympathetic light, but the WWE missed an opportunity.

Also, I’m definitely here for Sasha teaming up with Swann! The Banks/Fox feud didn’t seem completely planned, but it’s all tying up nicely. It’s a fresh change of pace, it’s nice seeing Alicia getting involved and we haven’t seen Female/Cruiserweight action in awhile. Plus, it means that we don’t get Sasha involved in the title scene so we can finally see Bayley in her own light. It’s a positive move for everyone involved, especially since the Dar/Fox pairing seem to be a bit lost in the mix in both their respective decision. I’m personally not the biggest fan of the chemistry between Banks and Fox, but hopefully they can prove me wrong.

Are you excited for the mixed tag match? What did you think of the ‘This is Your Life’ segment? Are you waiting for someone to get hit with a kendo stick more than once?! You know what to do in the comment section!

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