Sunday, April 14, 2024

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RAW 06/18/18: Extreme Friendships

At Money in the Bank, Alexa Bliss did the unexpected and pulled a ‘Kane/Dean Ambrose’ by winning the MITB ladder match and later cashing in her contract to become the new RAW Women’s Champion. Once again, the division has been shaken and with Extreme Rules and Summerslam on the horizon, how would these developments change things up. With “The Goddess” back on top, who will be the next to challenge her throne?

It’s only fitting that RAW kicks off with the women who caused the stir, the new Ms. Money in the Bank and RAW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss. Introduced by RAW General Manager, Kurt Angle, who also reveals that Nia Jax is getting her arm checked out and that she’s invoked her rematch clause to face Bliss for the title at Extreme Rules. Before they can discuss the upcoming match, Bliss thanks the WWE Universe for getting the chance to ‘rub it all in their faces’. They start cheering for Ronda Rousey

…and she’s out to answer the call! Straight to business, Rousey is pissed and makes a beeline for Bliss. With Angle blocking the way, Bliss is able to continue the trash talk, justifying her actions and rubbing salt in the wound, claiming that all the attention was on Bliss and not Rousey for a change. Boom goes the dynamite, as Rousey darts past Angle and takes down Bliss. Angle once again tries to pull back Rousey but gets a judo flip for his efforts. Bliss looks to take advantage while Rousey’s back is turned so she tries to strike her with the briefcase, but end up getting taken down. Instead, Rousey gets ahold of the briefcase and she starts to go mental – she hits Bliss… and Angle with the case! Referees come to stop her and she reigns down the punches on them! Finally, Rousey hoists up Bliss and slams her through the table!

A pissed off Rousey heads up the ramp and backstage, where Angle manages to catch up with her. Due to her attacking Angle and the officials, Angle has no other choice but to suspend her for 30 days. Rousey storms off, where Renee Young tries to catch her for an interview. She’s not done with Bliss, threatening to kick her ‘pink-haired ass’ whether she’s even Champion or not!

Next up, we have a cute segment with Sasha Banks and Bayley backstage. Bayley helps to cheer up Banks following her loss at Money in the Bank. The two shake hands as they agree to set their problems aside to turn a new page and have a fresh start to defeat the Riott Squad.

Speaking of the Riott Squad, the team of Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan make their way to the ring causing more havoc backstage. Logan smashes and laptop and Riott signs a mirror with their ‘R’ trademark.

Bayley and Sasha Banks take on Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan this week. From the offset, you can tell that Banks isn’t on the same page as she keeps trying to tag into the match, despite being taped up from injuries from the MITB ladder match. Can’t say I remember much about this match since it was completely interchangeable with any of the tag matches they’ve had with this group and even Absolution at the start of the year.

The end comes as Banks tries to get the tag to Bayley, but instead, Bayley is distracted by Logan. Morgan tries to capitalize, but Banks ends up dodging her and lining her up for her double knee drop in the corner. Logan tries to interfere, but Bayley runs into the ring. As the referee tries to take Bayley out of the ring, Banks is met with a cheap shot, allowing Morgan to roll her up for the win!

As the Riott Squad celebrate, Bayley tries to console Banks once again but she pushes her away. Bayley tries again and the two start a face off, until Banks shoves down Bayley and storms up the runway.

Oh we’re not done yet! Bayley catches up with Banks backstage saying she’s not finished… but Banks says she is… Bayley snatches Banks and the two start to brawl. Eventually, it’s Banks who gets the upper hand as she slams Bayley into a bin and throws some cups at her. Later on in the night, like a stalker ex-girlfriend, Bayley once again catches up to Banks who ignores her, marches into her car and drives away.

Backstage, The Riott Squad celebrate and state that Banks and Bayley are past it, so their egos are preventing them from being a proper team… like the Riott Squad.

Thoughts: Oh WWE… how wrong can you get it? The take-home message from MITB and this episode of RAW is that no one gained anything. Ronda has been written out of programming so her push is on pause. Nia Jax, Natalya and Ember Moon all had a night off, which may be well-deserved, but they still could have had even a minor segment after such a notable PPV and being put over the rest of the roster for the past month. Meanwhile, everyone else just cemented their place as fillers in the division, especially the complete “meh-ness” of the Sasha/Bayley saga.

I can’t even tell if this is the WWE finally pulling the trigger on this feud, but judging from those crowd reactions and reaction online, they missed that target by about 3 months. What makes it worse is how this is still a side feud while Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax feud over the gold. I’m not trying to come off as some Jax/Bliss hater, but their feud was based on bullying – which was completely pointless after Nia started bullying jobbers. I for one, am in no rush to see them having a stipulation match.

If the WWE knew that they would be writing out Ronda and setting Banks/Bayley for Summerslam, then I have no idea why they didn’t use MITB to capitalize on it. Sasha Banks should have won and cashed in. Period. Point. Blank. She would have finally gone heel (which we all know is NEEDED at this point), it would have set a future angle with Rousey and it would have been the perfect trigger for Bayley to question their friendship. Instead… we got Bayley and Sasha falling out over a throwaway tag match to the Riott Squad, looking like a weird pseudo-lesbian angle. It was just such a big waste of two major opportunities.

What about Nia and Alexa I hear you say? Well, they could have been the extra players in the big Banks VS Bayley game. Imagine Bliss putting the bug in Bayley’s ear to attack her? Or Jax becoming Bayley’s muscle? Banks and Bliss as an alliance? Even if you don’t like these two, it would have added some freshness to this really stagnant build and helped add developments of their feuds. Instead, we’re now going to get 2 very mediocre feuds moving forward.

Speaking of the Riott Squad, I know I complimented them last week for you know… actually causing a bit of a riot, but that needs to get cranked all the way up. We got them throwing crap backstage, but I need them interfering in matches, Ruby needs to hijack commentary, they take out competitors coming out for matches. I’m starting to see the potential here, but they are still at the very bottom of the ladder. I mean, this week they didn’t even do the ‘R’ thing? They should have played the numbers game, fully laying a beatdown on Sasha – a roll up loss being the trigger for this feud? I can’t.

If I am to compliment anything, then yes Alexa’s character is still one of the strongest on the roster and there’s no denying that winning the title in such a way and seeing her get beat by Rousey was good storytelling… but she’s the only one to benefit. Absolutely no one else on the roster – including the women on SmackDown in that MITB match, gained anything from that match aside from Alexa Bliss. You could even argue that Bliss barely gained from the victory since she really didn’t need this reign.

Once again, the RAW division is in a really weird stage. All these women and maybe about 4 of them have some clear direction. So many floaters, so many tag matches, I’m really not invested in what they’ve got going on right now. Bayley/Banks and Jax/Bliss may start bringing weapons into their feuds, but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who doesn’t even want to see that… onto next week, please!

Did you enjoy Rousey taking out Bliss? What did you think about Banks and Bayley once again throwing hands? Are you here for the Riott Squad? Let me know in the comments below!

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