Friday, September 24, 2021

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Raw Redux (November 24th, 2014): Talent is Not Sexually Transmitted

After a monumental Survivor Series, last night marked the first night with Stephanie McMahon out of power and AJ Lee without a title. Nikki Bella is the new Divas Champion, Brie Bella‘s behaviour is creating a whole lot of questions and it’s about time we answered some of them!

On yesterday’s Monday Night Raw, AJ Lee gave The Bella Twins a good verbal battering as Natalya looked on as The Bunny got a physical battering. Stephanie McMahon had a taste of the blues and Lana was forced to recite some red, white and blues! How did all of that plus some bizarre Rosa Mendes dancing unfold? Let’s find out.

Queen Stephanie and HHH opened the show and whilst Steph is still a monarch to us Diva fans, she’s no longer ruling the roost at the top of the WWE Universe! Steph takes to the mic and says that her and Hunter were willing to stand in the face of adversity and make tough decisions as The Authority that the fans may not like. Their team may have lost at Survivor Series yet they don’t stand before the fans as losers; they are winners and leaders who are accepting the responsibility of their loss. A loss all because of Sting. (How bloody amazing was his debut?!) Stephanie says that although she and Paul don’t have control over the lives of WWE Superstars and Divas, they still have each other. Pass me the sick bag so I can HEAVE!

HHH tells the fans that they are privileged as they don’t know all of what The Authority knows. There are things behind the scenes that they are forced to control (like Randy Orton crapping in people’s bags maybe?) that will not be sorted out now that they are not sat on their rightful thrones. He said that the chaos will ensue in two to three weeks time when people don’t run the show properly and deliver what is best for business. He said that the WWE Universe will be begging to have them back.

Cue the Rise of the Valkyries!

Of all people to rub salt in the wounds of the former Authority, Daniel Bryan will perhaps rub it in that much harder! Daniel Bryan receives a massive reception as he leads about 15 solid minutes of YES! chanting, right in the face of HHH and Stephanie! Stephanie’s reaction is priceless. I just hope D-Bry gives his arms a rest – that injured elbow needs to be rested not thrusted into the sky 8547654365465406546546 times!

Our second and final Stephanie sighting of the night is slightly later on backstage, as she and HHH exit in a limousine with a very p-o’d Vinnie Mac. Stephanie apologises to her Dad, saying that she is so, so sorry to let him down. Vince says that isn’t angry, he is just disappointed. Seemingly impossible obstacles are overcome by successful corporate business people and the fact that they didn’t manage to impress Vince has left him feeling bitterly let down. Stephanie reiterates her apology yet Vince’s classic voice rasp kicks in and Stephanie’s face is amazing. It’s like she’s been sent to the naughty step!

Later on, I was forced to bow down to Lady Lana, as she and Rusev take to the ring to make a decision based on plans set-up by Daniel Bryan. The Bulgarian/American Russian pair must either say the pledge of allegiance to the United States or Rusev must defend his US Title against the entire WWE roster! They don’t want to do either yet Sgt. Slaughter, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter try and make them. They don’t manage to get the dastardly Soviet crew to do so yet they do scare them off. Mostly because of Jack Swagger’s haircut most likely. It looks like Sweeney Todd cut it!

From scary hair to scarily bad dancing… Rosa Mendes is here! As Lilian Garcia introduces the new and improved Latin dancing Fandango, before we see him, it’s Peligrosa time! With the spotlight on her, Rosa is just missing her maracas to fully embody all Latin stereotypes. Whilst the dancing is a little off, she’s still putting her all into it. Shame she didn’t get involved during the match yet at least she looked good. The dark hair is so much sexier than the Marilyn Monroe waxwork-gone-wrong look.

Next up, it’s match time! Already in the ring are Brie Bella, who will be competing tonight and her sister, the new and perhaps sexiest Divas Champion of all time, Nikki Bella. Brie is still all smiles with Nikki and spoiler alert, we get no explanation as to why which I’m not happy. No subtle hints are Brie turning back or anything. Urgh.

After a desperate plug for Kris Jenner and a genuinely hilarious joke from JBL (what is wrong with me?) about Bruce Jenner challenging for the Divas Championship, AJ skips out to the arena and she’s got her best weapon with her – a microphone.

AJ mocks Nikki and her stereotypically girly attitude before addressing Brie, calling her an even bigger skank than her sister. Oh snap! Les-be honest, this the bitchiness from the Divas we need more of!

Brie takes advantage early with some strikes yet following a monotone “CUMMMM OHWWWNNN REF!”, AJ fights back shots of her own. She then dropkicks Brie to the floor. AJ turns her attentions to Nikki next and she beats her to the floor, yet AJ is sent down too as Brie decks with with a clothesline.

As much as there is no indication from the acting of Brie that she could just be being nice to fool Nikki, the announcers put over the history behind the distraction and the assumed resurrection of Nikki and Brie’s relationship. Brie works over AJ’s arm on the ropes and in the middle of the ring with a keylock to try and wear down the three-time champion. AJ doesn’t stay down long though, fighting back with a Lou Thesz press, corner clothesline, spin kick and Shining Wizard.

Somehow, Brie manages to kick out and Nikki is impressed… I think. She mocks Brie Mode yet there is no major animosity it seems towards her sister. What the fudge is going on here? Brie shrugs AJ off yet Mrs Brooks counters with an elbow. The referee checks on Brie and then Nikki hangs up AJ’s arm on the top rope. Brie hits an Oklahoma Roll and nets the win.

After the match, the Bellas celebrate in cahoots as AJ grabs the mic once more. She says that it is about time someone tells the Bellas straight…

“Talent is not sexually transmitted.”

Aah, if only your husband was still with the company, you perhaps wouldn’t have a leg to stand on! Killer line though. Already AJ is proving to be a much more entertaining title chaser than she ever was as Champion.

Following that match, we get our second Interspecies Tag Team Match in 6 days as Tyson Kidd and Natalya face Adam Rose and The Bunny.

Nattie hardly did anything and Santino Marella of all people and the douche guest star were on commentary so don’t bother putting yourselves through this one guys!

Finally, the often overlooked (my bad!) Renee Young is seen backstage with Ryback. Ryback is unfunny and boring yet Renee is looking absolutely unreal. Definitely looking the best last night!

Thoughts: Last night’s Raw was horrible storyline wise, terrible in-ring wise yet really nice mic wise. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

Starting with the horrible storylines. Whilst I am intrigued about Brie and Nikki seemingly fixing their relationship, if there’s no explanation behind it, this will be a total mess. I’m really hoping that on Main Event and/or SmackDown, Brie confesses that she just wanted to get out of doing nasty chores for Nikki on her final day as her personal assistant. She can declare that she has been happy to fight AJ all along as AJ has insulted her, attacked her for no reason on several occasions and well, she was once engaged to her husband and ‘cost him’ the World Heavyweight Championship a few years back! Yet now that she is not tied down to being Nikki’s lapdog, she’s ready to overcome all the odds and win the Divas Title.

Take note WWE, something like that would make sense!

Another horrible storyline arch was Lana being subjected to what she was put through. Whilst a fun idea at first, Sgt. Slaughter defending America has been done to death and Jack Swagger has already feuded with Rusev. It’s way too early to even consider revisiting this feud. It was ok yet just a littled too clichéd for my liking.

Now onto the matches we got to see. I thought the AJ/Brie match was definitely competent, yet it was way too short. I enjoyed the outside interaction and Brie kicking out of the Shining Wizard yet that was about it. Although it seems impressive that Brie kicked out of a move that AJ has won several matches in, it’s not like it showcases that much resiliency. Brie hadn’t been pummeled for 10 minutes and then kicked out. Maybe I’m just in an annoyed mood with the way this has all been booked yet the match was just bland.

Whilst I like The Bunny and Natalya’s storyline with Tyson, this tag match was horrendous. Santino is awful, the guest host was abysmal and the fact Nattie wasn’t able to wrestle is just daft. I hope a major payoff is due for Natalya as after being stuck with Great Khali and Hornswoggle for what felt like a decade and having a gimmick that involved her farting and then owning the smell, Natalya has more than paid her dues and shouldn’t be stuck with Santino, pointless guest stars that aren’t entertaining and The Bunny. Next!

Onto the positives. AJ Lee has done exactly what I wanted her to do – excel on the mic. Her delivery was excellent and the lines were borderline too far for the PG era which I loved. She was bitchy yet without swearing, I really liked it. As for her ending line, that was awesome. It won’t sting The Bellas too much I’m sure as they are in my opinion, better wrestlers than AJ, yet there is no question, AJ kills it when she’s on top form on the mic.

Finally, we say farewell to now to Stephanie McMahon. The ultimate boss bitch (I mean that in the most complimentary of ways) is rumored to be pregnant, hence why has been written out of the storylines. I’m not so sure after she took a cool bump at Survivor Series, yet I hope Steph has a successful break whatever the reason is for her going away. She has been the most consistent person – male or female – on the mic this year and has been thoroughly entertaining. I salute you Steph.

Right, I’m now off to beg Diva Dirt’s Chris to make a fantasy Divas Championship promo video for Bruce Jenner vs Nicole Bass. Bye!

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