Friday, July 12, 2024

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RAW 08/20/18: Stephanie still not ‘Rowdy’ enough

Summerslam has come and gone, with the results seemingly dividing the WWE Universe’ opinions. ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey made waves by making quick work of Alexa Bliss to win the RAW Women’s Championship, getting her first taste of the WWE gold. With sights set towards our first WWE all-women’s PPV, Evolution, all attention turns to this historic event as the card develops. Sure, we have Hell in a Cell, but I think the SmackDown ladies will be taking center stage for that one.

Our only women’s match this week is… a tag match! This time with Ember Moon joining Sasha Banks and Bayley to take on the full lineup of Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott, The Riott Squad. To be fair, this was actually a pretty fun matchup. The Riott Squad manage to dominate Bayley, helping the crowd to warm up and get Banks the hot tag. By the time the Banks hits the ring, the match is already broken down and all the competitors are in on the action. Moon takes out Morgan with a Tornado Suplex from the apron onto the floor, Logan takes out Bayley with a brutal clothesline on the outside, Banks takes out Logan with a Meteora from the apron… but as Banks heads back into the ring, she’s met with a tough Riott Kick. 1, 2, 3! The Riott Squad pick up another victory!

Backstage, Cathy Kelley catches up with our winners. Riott states that they still want to prove that Banks and Bayley’s friendship is still a facade, so they won’t be happy until they expose that.

Hyped through the night is the celebration ceremony for Ronda Rousey. Before the segment starts, the ring is surrounded by the RAW Women’s roster: Ember Moon, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Natalya, Dana Brooke, Alicia Fox, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, the returning Bella Twins and our former RAW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss who has her arm in a cast.

RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the ring, so it looks like she’ll be hosting the ceremony tonight. She immediately addresses the division by saying how proud she is of the evolution, blah blah blah. She soon turns her attention to our new RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, claiming that she was the one who saw the potential and turned her into a star. She calls Rousey a media darling, just like herself, saying all the rest of the women outside the ring want to be like McMahon and therefore want to be like Rousey. Just as she’s about to introduce her as her ‘protégé’, Rousey makes her way out.

She’s not ready to play ball, first swerving a handshake from McMahon and then taking to the mic to thank all of the other women outside the ring, telling them to stand on the apron. She praises Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley for their work which gets cheers from the crowd. Rousey states that she’s not going to be a Brock Lesnar (ooooh sip) and that she’s going to fight every night. Knowing that she’s losing love, McMahon flips the switch and makes the other girls weary of what damage she can do, warning them that she’ll break their arms. However, Rousey claims that she’s only here to break the arms of those who deserve it… cue classic Rousey angry screwface.

She grabs McMahon and places her in her third armbar of the year. McMahon rolls out of the ring, leading the heels to tend to her. Meanwhile, Rousey lifts up her new RAW Women’s Championship flanked by the other babyface Superstars. They exchange hugs and smiles, but this won’t be the end I’m sure…

Following the action, McMahon is taken to the medical room where she is being checked on by Alexa Bliss and Baron Corbin. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle comes to see if she’s okay, but McMahon isn’t impressed. As a result, McMahon forces Angle to take some time off and puts Corbin in charge as Acting RAW GM!

Thoughts: Stephanie McMahon… the Queen of getting involved to boost her own clout. To give her the benefit of the doubt, she does it a lot less with the women and generally, she’s been on the losing side to Rousey but this makes it pretty clear that she’s going to be a focal point of Evolution. I mean, it’s not a bad thing by any means, but it does take the shine away from some of our stronger talents that are there grafting each week. I don’t know, but I’ve never been a fan of wrestlers becoming mindless sheep to become jobbers in a McMahon feud – something I can definitely see them doing.

Let me get to the RAW action, so yes… another tag match with a combination of the same women. Even with Riott out of the picture, I felt I had seen this combination before. The thing is, I love tag team wrestling and this match had such a strong end, but because we’ve seen these so much and there’s no direction, I just don’t know what we’re meant to be watching for. Each week, the Riott Squad do a interview and they don’t even seem to really know what they’re saying because it’s clear the writers are just chucking them all on so Sasha/Bayley can stay on the show.

The RAW Title celebration was weird too, first off I found it weird that the Bella Twins were just randomly plonked in there. Says a lot when Dana Brooke looks more in place in a segment than you. I mean, if those two are gonna hang around until Evolution, then I’d rather see them on SmackDown. Brie should be mixing with The Miz, Maryse and Daniel Bryan, while Nikki should be making a return to the division she helped to create. Yes, I’ve seen the rumours of Nikki vs. Ronda and that’s a resounding no from me.

Ronda Rousey as Champion is going to be interesting as her ring work still needs some improvement, but we can’t deny her popularity at the moment. However, I still can’t put faith in her as a main eventer until I see her work with stronger workers. Her matches have been fun, but this is where we need the Molly Holly’s, Jillian Hall’s and Natalya’s of the divisions to work with her and make her a more well-rounded worker. She’s been on the roster for half a year and we’ve still not seen it. I’ve got high hopes for her, but if she’s going to take the lead at Evolution then I want to know she’s going to do it well.

What did you think of the RAW title ceremony? Do you think Stephanie is going to go all ‘Authority’ on Rousey? Where has Alicia Fox left her romaine lettuce leaves this week? You know what to do in the comments section!

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