Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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RAW Redux (May 8th, 2017): The Wicked Witch joins The Beast

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The Coronation ceremony to crown Alexa Bliss with her new RAW Women’s Championship reaffirmed her place at the top of division, but showed that there were more than enough women ready to knock her down. This week’s RAW comes from my hometown of London, England and I was in attendance, so I’ll be adding new bits of information this week! Luckily, I’m not a RAW Women’s Champion, so I won’t be losing my title like we’ve seen, but let’s see what did happen for our ladies flying the red brand!

Our first peek at the women is a backstage segment, with Nia Jax asking Alexa Bliss about her comments last week at the Coronation.. Our cunning Champion uses her way with words to smooth-talk herself out of the sticky situation, but she’s met with an ultimatum from Nia. Nia demands that she gets a shot at the title next, after Alexa is done with Bayley. An alliance seems to form as Nia refers to herself as Alexa’s “new best friend” and gives her a pat on the back to head to the ring.

Alexa makes her way to the ring accompanied by Nia, they’re not exactly buddy buddy but the commentators amp up the possibility with this duo. Her challenger for tonight is her former ally, Mickie James (who got my loudest pop of the night. PS, shoutout to the douche who chanting ‘boring’ behind me that I had to school!). Unforrunately, Mickie’s reception is a bit luke-warm, but it picks up when Bayley joins her on the ramp and evens the odds for tonight’s match.

The British crowd are quick to show their love to Bayley with the classic “Heeeeyyy, heyyy Bayley!” chants – I must admit that I joined in too. Alexa seems to have the early edge during the first lock-ups, but Mickie soon starts to take over. The crowd then starts chanting “Hey Mickie” and again, I admit that I joined this one too!

When we come back from commercial, Alexa has turned the tables and is now on the offence. During the commercial, Nia distracted Mickie when she re-entered the ring, which allowed Alexa to nail her from behind. Her main target is Mickie’s left arm, which she proceeds to work on for the next few minutes.

The end of the match sees Mickie attempting to climb the top rope, but she’s pulled by Nia Jax. Mickie manages to shrug her off and Bayley launches off the side ringsteps with a crossbody to ground Nia. While Mickie is distracted on the outside, Alexa nails her with a wicked forearm that knocks her off the top rope and onto the mat. It’s an easy 1, 2, 3 victory for our RAW Women’s Champion!

She’s not done yet though, Alexa continues raining down with forearms on the fallen Mickie. Bayley runs into the ring and manages to nail some shots in, before Alexa scrambles out of the ring. Bayley chases her to the back, but leaves her girl Mickie as a sitting target for Nia Jax. Nia slowly enters the ring and seizes up Mickie to squash her in the corner with a signature running avalanche! Spatula time as Mickie is completely left flattened in the middle of the ring.

Our second match of women’s action comes in the form of Alicia Fox taking on Sasha Banks. Alicia’s entrance wasn’t on the show, but above is a cheeky look (despite my bleacher seat view!). Eagle eyed viewers can see that the ring was no way ready following the Cruiserweight match that took place beforehand – hey WWE, just save the purple ring ropes already!

Sasha Banks is out next to a generous reaction! It seems like this match is a follow-up to last week’s Bad Girls Club brawl between the two during the 4 on 4 tag match. This match starts off on the same foot with a shoving match, stiff slaps and another brawl that would have made Mehgan from BGC9 proud. Alicia gets the upperhand and throws Sasha down by her hair. At this point in the match, the crowd started playing with a beach ball which totally took the live crowd’s attention (which was super annoying!).

There’s a neat countermove by Sasha, as she turned out of Alicia’s signature tilt-a-whirl slam into a crossbody. This is matched by Alicia countering Sasha’s Bank Statement by catching her before she can hit the Backcracker and throwing her into the corner. Alicia hoists Sasha onto the top rope and attempts to go for a superplex, but get hit off. Sasha sees the opening and hits her meteora double knees onto Alicia! She grabs Alicia’s leg to secure the pinfall victory… albeit not a complete victory as Alicia’s shoulder seems to come up during 2. So it looks like it’s up to the WWE whether they acknowledge this or if they sweep it under the rug!

Thoughts: For me, I thought this was an interesting set of developments for the women’s division. With SmackDown doing the clear face VS heel divide, I was wondering if RAW would go the same way. It was refreshing for them to keep Sasha away from Bayley and it was even more refreshing to have Mickie involved. Sure she didn’t get the hottest reaction, but it felt so nice to see someone who I grew up watching back in the ring. I could suspect a heel turn with Mickie hating on Bayley for getting left behind, but I’d prefer it even more if Mickie had her sights set on taking out Nia. I really feel it would be a good feud for both girls to get going while the title isn’t in their sights.

I’m also a big fan of this Nia/Alexa pairing. I was a big fan of the Nia/Eva Marie pairing in NXT, but I think that these two will have a lot more chemistry: not just because of their real life friendship, but because Alexa’s sneaky character works well with having muscle. Nia is unique because she is a monster character that can actually talk, seeing her talk to Alexa and not just talk about being dominant FINALLY made me notice something different in her. Just with that little *pat on back* ‘Let’s go’ interchange showed that there’s a smidge of comedy within this duo, so let’s see how far they go!

Match wise… both of these matches left a lot to be desired. Mickie/Alexa did seem to suck up the crowd as a bit too long was spent on working Mickie’s arm. Meanwhile, Alicia/Sasha seemed like it was over in a flash and had that awkwardly botched finish – it also had that death spot before the main event. Obviously I’ve got it in mind that these girls are still all new to working with each other, but I’m sure the creases will be ironed out by the time the next PPV comes around.

Finally, let me address poor Emma. I was really up for seeing her and I’m really hoping that this injury isn’t bad. For me, she is the black sheep in this crop of women on RAW, so I’m really hoping that she can bounce back soon!

Are you happy Nia paired with Alexa? Do you think Bayley will get that title back before Nia? Do you think WWE will acknowledge Alicia’s shoulders going up? Hit up the comment section below!

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