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Raw Redux (November 23rd, 2015): Charlotte and Paige Slug it Out


Thanksgiving is right around the corner. We had a lot to be thankful for regarding the majorly personal injection needed to breathe some life into Charlotte and Paige‘s feud last week, not that the Flair family were thankful for it mind. Survivor Series sadly didn’t deliver what we hoped, leading to a bad taste in our mouths reminiscent of overcooked turkey.

Last night’s Raw gave us a little to be thankful for in the form a Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks match as sweet as a dollop of cranberry sauce. Sadly, that little was counteracted by another long match between Paige and Charlotte that unfortunately missed the mark again. Like turkey sandwiches that seem to last an eternity after a holiday meal, this feud is sadly continuing. Due to the quality of the matches thus far, I may have gone off the taste of Charlotte vs. Paige by the time this story is over. No thanks WWE.

Kicking off Raw was a returning Stephanie McMahon, who told Roman Reigns to “back up and get out of my ring”! Not a lot to write home about here but Stephanie was funny mocking the crowd at the start of her promo. Also, as much as I hate Sheamus as WWE Champion and I’m not the biggest fan of Wade Barrett‘s King character, I am very intrigued to see how their European alliance with Rusev evolves. It could lead to loads more spotlight for Lana too.

Our first match of the night pits “The Boss” against the “Lass Kicker” as Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch get to show off their stupendous chemistry in a singles match. The wig-snatching trio of Sasha, Naomi and Tamina arrive on the scene first, and Becky is in the ring ready and raring to go when we come back from commercials.

Both girls are looking absolutely incredible as the bell tolls. I especially loved Sasha’s gear last night! Becky gets the best of the first collar-and-elbow tie-up and she really is looking radiant. Loving her at the moment. Sasha shoves Becky to the mat as a result of the second exchange that saw the two jockey for position, and Sasha follows that up with a series of grounded punches.

The crowd chant that Sasha is ratchet as Becky fights back with stiff shots to the midsection and face. Sasha retaliates however with a stunning reversal sequence that lands Becky in seriously hot water. She gets double kneed right in the midriff and our favourite wrestling prophets, Neysus and Tameezus clap with enthusiasm at the majesty they witnessed in the ring. Sasha continues her onslaught by choking Becky on the ropes. Sasha brings the sass too, getting in the referee’s face without a care in the world.

Sasha stomps at Becky in the corner before choking her again, this time near to Tamina and Naomi. Our favourite contact lens wearer then delivers a leather-clad clout to Becky as the referee has his back turned. Sasha mocks Becky whilst placing her in a submission, resting for a short time.

It’s not long before Becky turns the tide though, giving Sasha a taste of her own medicine by draping her throat first onto the second rope. Becky then unloads with a flurry of European uppercuts, clotheslines and jumping calf kicks, topping that sequence off with a stunning T-Bone suplex. Becky then clasps the Dis-Arm-Her onto Sasha and the former NXT Women’s Champion is seemingly struggling to stay in the match.

The numbers game plays dividends for Sasha however, as Tamina distracts the referee so that Naomi can drag Sasha’s foot to underneath the ropes to break the hold. Becky is absolutely livid and tries to take a swipe at Naomi, but this costs her. Sasha rolls up Becky, grabbing her shorts to gain extra leverage leading to the win. Becky is visibly annoyed as Team B.A.D laugh their way up the ramp.

On Raw Fallout, Team B.A.D. addressed their trickery:

Sasha denies tapping, blaming her slapping the mat on a wayward spider. Tamina then makes Eden pay for her probing questions by chasing her away.

Immediately following the match, Paige manages to somehow interrupt the commentary team and she gets into an argument with Michael Cole:

Hell in Boots shows footage from Survivor Series, and she looks mighty pleased with herself that she has managed to find a way to squirm yet another championship opportunity into 2015. I honestly think WWE are doing this now to spite the Paige haters even more, and I’m all here for that. This plays into Paige’s bratty character nicely, and she has wormed her way in yet another title chance later tonight.

Before that can happen, Renee Young is stood backstage with Paige’s opponent, the Divas Champion, Charlotte. Renee wants to get Charlotte’s opinion on Paige accusing her of cheating and being a “dirty player just like her Daddy”. Charlotte is sadly the victim of ATROCIOUS writing yet again as she says that she respects Paige as a competitor. How can you respect someone who is absolutely desperate to make your life hell and who insulted your dead brother? Horrendous writing here from WWE.

It can only get better than that right? Right? Well it is time to find out, as the championship match is next on the agenda. Following fancy in-ring introductions from an absolutely on-point Lilian Garcia, the high stakes bout begins.

The match starts with the aggressiveness that their Survivor Series match really lacked and it is a very strong start. The pair tussle with a lock-up before slapping the absolute crap out of each other! Unfortunately, it stops there as Charlotte drops Paige down to apply a front facelock. I know that if someone had insulted my family in the way Paige had, I wouldn’t be putting them in a headlock! What’s next? A wedgie?

A wedgie it is not as Charlotte grabs Paige’s arm instead of her undergarments. Paige sells this armbar really nicely and eventually gets her foot on the ropes to stop the submission. Paige then cowardly stands behind two turnbuckles to avoid Charlotte, but the Queen City native eventually is able to grab Paige and sloppily throw her back in the ring.

Sadly, this is where things start to fall apart. Both girls are sadly way too loud calling spots, with what sounds like “what are you doing?” or “what are we doing?” being uttered. Yikes. Charlotte decides what she wants to do… and that is three stiff knees to the face of Paige. She then hits a knee drop and annoyingly copies her Dad’s signature walk.

Charlotte, if you want to be seen as more than Ric Flair‘s daughter, STOP IMPERSONATING HIM! Make up your mind for crying out loud. Charlotte’s lack of character, dearth of individuality and overall presentation is so lacklustre. Urgh.

Charlotte’s offense continues briefly with rolling figure four neck lock rolls, but Paige switches momentum massively by tripping Charlotte form the middle rope, sending the back of her head crashing into the top turnbuckle. The former two-time champion stomps a mudhole in Woolette after that before wrenching her with a modified cloverleaf/Regal stretch looking submission. Not my finest hour naming that move I will admit!

Paige’s brutality rolls on with a barrage of knees to the face, before she applies a figure four neck lock of her own. More spot calling preempts a pin attempt from Charlotte to break the hold. Although Charlotte managed to break the submission, she soon finds her leg in pain instead of her head as Paige changes her plan. Paige hits a snap suplex to Charlotte, whacking her left leg off the ropes in the process. Not sure why Paige’s offense is rather inconsistent here but nevermind.

Soon after, Paige works over the leg against the ropes before then going back to Charlotte head. She drops her instinctively with an absolutely sick kick to the face. Paige hit another rope-assisted suplex before mounting Charlotte with fists and a headbutt. Following that, Paige utilises a crab-style submission, writhing on the right leg of Charlotte…

A totally awkward exchange of spot calling can be heard again before the Divas boot each other in the face at the same time. Back from a commercial break, Charlotte has taken control after a big boo. Paige thwarts Charlotte’ attempt at a second wind with a dropkick, but Charlotte is quick to try again with some chop action. For a very odd reason, Charlotte then applies a sleeper on Paige and I am just ready for this match to be over. Byron Saxton notes how both girls are spent and they aren’t the only ones!

Charlotte ‘spears’ Paige to the outside and then the pair tussle as the referre’s count climbs and climbs. A double count out ends the match, but the girls aren’t done. Charlotte attempts to get the best of the situation but it is Paige that does. She throws Charlotte into the steps before locking in the PTO on the announce table. Charlotte keeps the title, but Paige gets the last laugh.

Finally, Summer Rae rounds out Raw for the Diva fans as she accompanies Tyler Breeze and Kevin Owens for a tag team match:

Tyler loses again. I’m not a happy bunny about that!

Thoughts: Everyone knows I absolutely adore Paige and I think Charlotte is an incredible worker when really given the chance to shine. However I have to be honest and say that the match on Raw was a mess. It was sloppy, slow-paced and the spot calling was just far too loud. It seemed like the girls didn’t have enough time to rehearse and they were making it up as the went along.

I will say that I did like the aggressive slapping but most of the match felt like a bit of a chore to match. Another positive was the selling from both Paige and Charlotte; the former for the armbar and the latter for the cloverleaf style submission. Paige turning the tide by dropping Charlotte’s head on the top turnbuckle was nice too.

Unfortunately, as seen with these two matches within two days, the girls just don’t have good chemistry, which is seemingly why it looked like they were totally lost at times. This match was far from smooth; the transition to the cloverleaf, Charlotte throwing Paige from the apron into the ring, the spear to the outside. This wasn’t good sadly.

Sasha and Becky proved that their chemistry is phenomenal, and that a longer match length doesn’t always ensure that the level of quality is higher too. Paige and Charlotte’s match lacked that edge-of-your-seat feel and I preferred the Survivor Series match. The latter had more enjoyable spots and Raw’s match just didn’t feel seamless enough for me. It was obviously nowhere atrocious or terrible, but it unfortunately wasn’t memorable either.

The aftermath however was much better. Paige ensured that she got the last word and secured herself another chance at the title. Whilst performing the PTO on the announce table doesn’t make the move any more painful, it does look cool. I like Charlotte got the same treatment as Becky, but this time, no one ran down to save Charlotte. That proved Paige’s words right from the contract signing that in fact, no-one has Charlotte’s back.

Speaking of Sasha and Becky’s match, it was very, very fun. The way Sasha got Becky into position for the double knees was so crisp, and I loved how Becky reversed Sasha’s kick and ducked her punch, trapping her into a T-Bone. Beauty of a move. Team B.A.D’s interference was classic. I’m so happy they are still such a cohesive unit.

What can we expect from SmackDown? Maybe Natalya can make an appearance and face Paige perhaps? I’m still annoyed they have just dropped who attacked her backstage, and have also seemingly dropped the little feud she had going with Team B.A.D. Where was her match with Sasha. Tut tut, WWE. I feel like tutting you for a lot of things actually. In one week, we’ve gone from having one of the most shocking segments in a long while to them ignoring the main insult within that segment, lowering the intensity and the interest in the title feud. Womp womp.

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