Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Raw Redux (April 11th, 2016): Natalya Gets Robbed by the Dirtiest Players in the Game

Who knew a women’s segment with a celebrity involved could actually be half decent? Whilst WWE still thinks it is ok for their female talent to liaise with (mostly irrelevant) guest stars, it worked last night, and perhaps was the first seed planted in a blossoming storyline.

I am course talking about Dr. Phil. I would have personally preferred to see Jeremy Kyle, Ricki Lake or Trisha Goddard, but believe it or not, Doc pulled it out of the bag. Let’s see what I’m talking about.

The segment in question is actually the first of the night spotlighting WWE’s women’s division. Our champion Charlotte is chatting to her cobweb father Ric Flair, who tells that she looks so gorgeous tonight. Or something to that effect. Let’s be real, she has never looked better – the cape is an awesome new touch.

Breaking up the nauseating complimenting session is Dr. Phil. He says that he can see why Ric is proud of everything his daughter has accomplished, but he himself is certainly not proud of Charlotte! He is sick of her using her Dad to cheat to win on every given occasion. He tells her to stand on her own too feet. Use that two things you stand on to move out of Ric’s shadow Lotty!

Righteo, it’s match time now. Believe it or not, Charlotte will be defending her WWE Women’s Championship against Natalya! It took Nattie 8 years, but she has finally gotten a chance at WWE’s most prestigious prize for female talent.

Hooray for fancy in-ring introductions from Lilian too!

After the match, Natalya spoke with Rich Brennan on Raw Fallout, explaining that Charlotte hasn’t earned her respect whatsoever. The war has just begun apparently. Yoko Ono will be crying somewhere hearing that.

Like Charlotte, another woman with a man by her side is next in the spotlight. Last week’s amazing returnee Maryse is having a fit at a production worker, annoyed that the water they’ve been supplied with is not imported, nor did he take the blue M&Ms out of Miz‘s supply. How very dare he?! I’ve heard those blue ones are right full of additives. You just can’t get the staff these days. JoJo interrupts to ask a few questions, and the segment closes with new Number One contender Cesaro putting Miz in his place. To quote Rebecca Black, this was fun, fun, fun, fun!

Finally, Rich is back and he approached Becky Lynch backstage for some YouTube exclusive content, asking her about her next potential challenge – Emma. The shade about stealing things – I cannot!

Thoughts: What a fantastic episode of Raw! Before we get to the major consequences of the episode, let’s address the smaller points of interest.

How refreshing is it for Maryse to be back?! I know the term Diva has been ditched as a gender-wide blanket term, but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t have any on the roster at all. Maryse – and The Miz actually – are the absolute epitome of Diva. I loved their comedic antics. The Miz was becoming a lost cause if I’m honest, basically being used to put others over without being a total jobber. Maryse is a breath of fresh, Quebec air for Miz’s character, adding another dimension to the overall package. The two together are more comedic (without being insufferable or Santino-like), more entertaining and more dangerous. Two’s company after all!

I love that WWE are pushing Becky vs Emma as a side feud. WWE have done a so-so job handling two feuds over the last few months, what with the many break-ups of our triangle of recent factions. It would have been nice for that segment to have been shown on Raw, but consistency is consistency. WWE lacked that for the longest time so we can’t complain. Becky continued to show she is a solid talker and I can’t wait to see this really fresh pairing go at it. Emma will bring the cold shoulder and Becky can provide the “FIIIIRRREE!”

Charlotte and Natalya once again put on a fantastic match. Natalya didn’t have the stereotypical huge comeback, which felt fresh, as did the back-and-forth feel of the entire match. I loved how the two of them transitioned from submission to submission – Charlotte’s way of applying the figure-four was fantastic. This was a slick affair that had no downsides for me.

Dr. Phil’s words to Charlotte were also pretty interesting – will she see that she can win on her own and ditch Ric? Even if she resorts to cheating by herself, she will have done that on her own accord and merit, ensuring that she will be the only one to take any credit for her successes. I think we’re heading down that route.

Ric getting Charlotte disqualified just as Charlotte tapped out to Natalya was classic professional wrestling storytelling which I absolutely loved. Natalya was so close to earning her first title reign in 6 years, only for it to be cruelly taken away at the last moment. The fans ate it up too which is great to see. This type of interference was also brand new for Ric, ensuring that him getting involved is as ingenious as possible before he eventually steps aside from Charlotte’s spotlight.

Either Ric will cost Charlotte the title, or Charlotte will defend it without his help, spelling the end of this pairing. Just how could those potential scenarios transpire? I’m predicting either a match where Ric is banned from ringside or a match that has both Ric and Jim Neidhart involved. Could a stipulation match also be in the works? A Lumberjill (god forbid) could neutralise Ric’s machiavellian behavior, or could a Cage Match be on the horizon to keep the Nature Boy out? Natalya knows one of two things about dungeons, and being locked inside a cage is surely a similar environment. If any two girls can pull a match like that off, it is these two!

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