Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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RAW 05/14/18: Bliss one step closer to the Bank

Put that kettle on, get your finest tea and crumpets because this week’s RAW comes from my hometown – London, England! Ironically, I’m actually going to the SmackDown taping tonight (awks), but hey I always love it when the Superstars we love travel the pond for us. With 6 more slots to grab to be apart of the next Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, all eyes are on who takes those slots.

Ahead of all of this, WWE uploaded a video from NBCUniversal’s UpFront red carpet in which Nia Jax issues a challenge for Ronda Rousey to face her for the RAW Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank. Egged on by Charlotte Flair, a hesitant Rousey accepts the challenge and all three walk off arm in arm together… yeah I got a lot to say about this one so get to that ‘Thoughts’ section.

We also get the reaction of the Champ’s most recent nemesis, Alexa Bliss… well more a quote from her that was apparently, ‘Wait, what?!’. I guess this whole angle is gonna be about ‘cutting the line’, won’t knock it til I’ve tried it, but hey WWE.com got a little clickbait out of us.

It’s also announced that Bayley, Mickie James and Alexa Bliss will compete in a triple threat qualifying match for a position to take part in the Money in the Bank match.

Before that big triple threat, we’re treated to a 6 woman tag team match with Sasha Banks, Natalya and Ember Moon teaming up to taking on The Riott Squad, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott. You know what, we slag off these tag team matches, but this is way better than the 2010 era of 12 on 12 Diva matches that lasted 2 minutes.

A standard outing with Sasha being the ‘worked over’ face and Liv being the ‘worked over’ heel. Sarah had a nice presence in this match, working a little rougher than usual and this was emphasized on commentary. This is probably the most amount of ring time that Liv has had since joining the main roster too. End of the match sees Sasha taking out Sarah with her double knees, Ember takes out Ruby with a suicide dive and Natalya makes Liv tap to the Sharpshooter.

Now onto the triple threat! Before the match, Sasha bumps into Bayley backstage and wishes her luck before the match. As expected, allies Alexa Bliss and Mickie James work together for the majority of the match. Also as expected, because of the UK crowd, a lot of ‘HEEYYY BAYLEY’ chants throughout. There are a couple clunky spots and the alliance between Alexa and Mickie is the main point of attention.

The end of the match sees Bayley hit Alexa with a half-assed Bayley-to-belly, but she gets dragged by Mickie mid-pinfall. Mickie gets pulled out when she goes for her own cover and gets booted to the ground by Bayley. However, this provides enough time for Alexa to hit Bayley with her forearm and round things up with a DDT to get the victory. Alexa Bliss will now take part in her first Money In The Bank ladder match!

After the match, Alexa makes it clear that her business isn’t finished with Nia Jax. She throws shade at how she offered Rousey a title shot, but also gloats that she’ll be holding that briefcase after Jax loses to Rousey at Money in the Bank.

Thoughts: Well if this wasn’t weird booking 101? First up, let’s talk about Jax challenging Rousey. Like everyone on Twitter has said – way too early, no build up, whoever loses will suffer… just a no from me. It was clear that WWE just wanted a ‘red carpet press’ moment, but it came at the stake of ruining all kayfabe. It also completely failed since it barely got any ‘huge’ press attention. You have the RAW Women’s Champion and largest women on the roster in Nia, you have one of the most well-known female sports athletes in Ronda and you have the top woman in WWE in Charlotte… and they interacted in a corny skit where they ended up walking off and smiling together. I facepalmed.

I just can’t see any benefits to this match. If Jax loses, then our ‘Monster’ who has only really started looking dominant now, loses all her momentum. Her title run looks whack and all that fat-shaming just goes to waste. It also means that a very green Rousey becomes the Champion… and are we ready for female Brock Lesnar yet? Even if Natalya was involved and caused a mishap for Jax to win without Rousey looking weak, it still wouldn’t help to see Jax taking a weak victory when she’s meant to be this big bad monster. The Rousey/Natalya alliance has barely been featured on TV too. The only way anyone will look decent after this will be a DQ ending, but again that’s such a waste of time.

Then the random ass tag match. The whole angle was that the Riott Squad has had Sasha’s number, which played into why she needed Bayley by her side… but then they brought in Ember and Natalya, so all of that was pretty useless. Then they had Sasha wishing Bayley good luck, so I guess they’re on good terms for now… but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this was all filler because the writers have no clue what to do next. Like if they were going to have Alexa/Mickie who are known to be in an alliance, then it would have made perfect sense for Sasha to come out and even the odds like Bayley did last week?

Added to this, they’ve pretty much used all the ‘stars’ in their qualifying matches so far already? You’d be lying to me if you said that you’d be excited to see Liv Morgan VS Dana Brooke VS Natalya next week. It really devalues the purpose of these qualifying matches if these women are going to get another chance. I imagine they’ll have a ‘last chance match’, but again what’s the point if they’ve already lost their chance in the first place?

Now finally, I mentioned last week that I didn’t want Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair involved in the match… now a week later, they’re both in. My whole problem with this is that the Money in the Bank opportunity is a chance to make a star, the chance to take someone from the midcard to the main event – as we’ve seen with Carmella. Or, it’s the chance to revamp a top tier talent (i.e. Bayley or Becky Lynch) to keep them in the public eye after a couple months of obscurity. It’s also an amazing chance for some of the newer wrestlers to have a stand out match, much like Tamina who was my MVP of both MITB matches. Sure we have Ember in there, but a dynamic worker like Ruby Riott or Peyton Royce can be a unique wildcard in this match.

Either way, I’m not hating on Alexa being in the match as she will add a really fun dynamic as one of the top heels. Twisted Bliss off the top of a ladder? I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing that!

Did you enjoy last night’s RAW? Are you happy Alexa is in the MITB match? Are you going to be at SmackDown Live tonight? Hit up that comments section!

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