Saturday, December 2, 2023

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RAW 09/03/18: Brie Mode? Brie No!

Hello, and welcome again to Mykel Night Raw, again I’ll be filling in for my buddy Alex, and tonight we have a treat with Renee Young back on commentary and the return of the Bellas after 3 years (We know that’s not exactly true, but whatevs, that’s the hype point), and without further ado, let’s get into it!

Our first women’s sighting is the return of our favourite reality Doublemint twins, Brie and Nikki, the Bella Twins going up against our Viking Tater farmer, Sara Logan, and her punk rock Aksana/Powerpuff Girl look alike partner, whom I love, Miss Liv Morgan. Renee Young notes how much the Bellas have been busting their butts to get back, let’s see how it goes.

Its Nikki and Liv starting off, and immediately Liv agitates the former Diva Champion using John Cena’s signature taunt (if they are indeed split, I guess she can’t see him, but I digress), and Nikki charges. Miss Liv finds some respite in the ropes and tags in Valhalla’s own Sarah Logan. Taters and Spuds (as we the Irish call them), overpowers Nikki and puts two to the dome with some hard looking forearms, which Nikki responds with a hard waist lock into a pinning combination.

Nikki continues working over Logan’s left arm with judo flips that would make women’s champion Ronda Rousey proud and a couple arm submissions, she sets up for her finisher (I’m not saying the name as it’s dumb as all hell), which is a fireman’s carry into a cutter, but Logan gets out, grabs a handful of hair and brings Nikki to the mat on the back of her head. They trade offense until Nikki plants Logan with a single arm DDT off the top and tags in Brie. They both hit a modified double codebreaker to both Logan’s shoulders, and her Viking screams are so loud she could wake Wagner from the dead.

Brie continues the pressure with a pin and a hammerlock, on the bigger, stronger Logan. Logan overpowers Brie, who goes for a sunset flip, missing the blind tag to Miss Liv, but I’m sure she felt that kick that Sable would be proud of to her spine. After a quick pin, we have our third or fourth rest hold of the match, a reverse chin lock that Brie gets out of, summoning the strength of earth, fire, wind, water, and heart, as well as all the soy grass organic lattes she downed prior to this match, Captain Planet 2.0, Brie fires back with forearms after Liv mocks her daughter, however that flurry doesn’t last long as Miss Liv hits the matrix move and snatches her so quick I thought they were in our comment section, and brings her to the mat.

Back in comes Brunhilda, excuse me, Sarah Logan, only to eat a very, um, awkwardly placed dropkick from Mother Earth. As Hildegard gets up, she’s met with yes kicks that look so weak, they’re more like Eh kicks. In comes Miss Liv, who gets dropkick for her troubles. It just so happens that the ladies are both laying against the ropes, and Brie Mode is engaged, she runs at them in turn, hitting her patented knees to their faces, after a distraction from Ruby herself, Brie goes for a tope through the ropes, and well, she fell short, allowing Sarah, who only has a couple weeks before fall harvesting begins, to clobber her in the back of her head.

A break and we are back with a resthold, Brie tries desperately to get to her sister, no joy and back to the Riotous corner she goes. Logan starts giving “Red Riding Hood” (good movie, watch it) tease as she howls like a wolf to be met with a VINTAGE middle dropkick! Hot tag to Nikki who lights Miss Liv up, clotheslines, dropkicks, facebusters, corner clotheslines and top rope kicks from the Fearless One. Nikki goes for a pin only for our Valkyrie Villain Sarah Logan to break up the pin. Sarah is thrown out of the ring by Nikki, and Ruby eats a right forearm, and then Brie pretty much hit a nice swan dive onto the floor and laid there like she had a grudge against life. Not pretty viewing folks. Cue Nikki hitting the Bella Cutter and the win.

Afterward Cole, Graves and Young plug the Bellas joining forces with Ronda Rousey to face the Riot Squad at SuperShow.

Our next women’s sighting is during yet another Elias performance where he runs down Columbus, and that brings out Alexa Bliss flanked by Alicia Fox and Mickie James who have been reduced to bump takers for Bliss and window dressing. She starts off buttering up the crowd then joins in the running it down.

She then apologized for Trish Stratus’ behavior in slapping Elias, causing her to remark that since when was it “Ok to go and slap people that are more successful and talented than you?” To which Elias agreed and remarks on their beauty. Alexa then says she’s going to handle Trish next month, Ronda this month and Nattie tonight. She then wraps this up by saying she wants to walk with Elias.

Enter Nattie and Ronda.

We start the match with some excellent chain wrestling. A tie-up, side headlock takedown, head scissors, release. They keep it very basic throughout the opening moments of the contest. Things pick up with a springboard atomic drop into the low dropkick by Natalya and a two count. Bliss wasn’t having it and popped her so hard in the face I’m sure Ronda was having flashbacks of Holly Holm.

She stomps her in the corner and detains the referee while Fox and James throw weaksauce hits on Nattie, follow up with DDT3 and an armbar that Bliss refuses to let go of. Ronda enters the ring with facial expression 2/3 and checks in on Natalya, she beats back Bliss and goes for a gut wrench and enter Fox.

Alicia got yanked and yoked so aggressively and quickly I’m surprised the wind didn’t blow her wig back, she was ragdolled with speed and ferocity. After Fox catches her ass-whoopin’, in comes Alexa, and she’s not playing with these girls today, she chop blocks Ronda’s knee, throws her out of the ring and into the ring steps. She brings her to the ring to finish the job to be met with hard punches to the abdomen, and she slides out of the ring in the most anti-climatic fight I’ve seen.

We’re backstage with Nattie and Ronda as they discuss how Nattie is channeling her inner Christina Aguilera and isn’t feeling like herself tonight, and in walk the Bellas, small talk ensues and Natalya excuses herself looking defeated. The Bellas waste little time with flattering Ronda telling her she’ll be great, and she inspired them to come back, platitudes aplenty. They then offer their services to Ronda to train, which she rebuffs, citing loyalty to Natalya. Undaunted, The Bellas offer help to Ronda from business to books to fashion (for the love of God, Ronda, let them help you there), which Ronda appreciates and they walk off. Okay, then.

But wait! There’s more!!

We have tag team action: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Ember Moon and Dana Brooke. Talk about your random pairings.

We have Dana starting off with Bayley, who brings Brooke into the corner for a tag to Sasha, they hit a straitjacket reverse Irish whip into the corner, roll her out and Bayley hits her sliding clothesline, followed up by meteora. Dana needs a breather, so she gets out of the ring as we go to break.

Back from the break and we see Bayley with Chris Jericho’s 199th hold, the standing armbar on Ember Moon. Ember comes back with kicks and a wicked head scissors and looks to tag Dana only to be stopped by an elbow from Bayley. Back in comes my hometown girl, Sasha. Boss and Bayley come in for a double Irish whip which is countered by Madam Moon into a springboard crossbody onto both ladies.

In comes Dana who levels Sasha with a clothesline, which Sasha pays back in kind, but not too kindly with a knee/kick to the face. Banks misses meteora in the corner, and she is hoisted onto Brooke’s shoulders with ease. She used the quadratic equation to crunch those numbers on the boss and foresee her trajectory. Banks counters, but Brooke is ready for her and nails her with a back elbow that almost sends Sasha’s bank statement into overdraft. Dana follows up with an enziguri, but can’t capitalize because Trip O’Neill and half Shaq at ringside are distracting her.

She does some quick trigonometry in her head and bellows “ENOUGH! I GOT THIS”, and the stats lied, sweetie. Brooke goes for a handspring back elbow, and misses, Sasha turns a corner head scissor into a victory roll and secured the win! Dana is sour as dragon piss when she gets out of the ring and informs a still bickering Titus and Apollo that she is done. You go, Buffy!

Also, with little fanfare or notice, we have our second confirmed Evolution match, Mickie James vs Lita.

Thoughts: Whooo! That was a lot to unpack. Let’s get the positives out of the way…great outfits, beautiful outfits.

The latter half of Alexa’s promo was very well done as well, like I said last week, she works better when she can bounce off someone, but her trolling antics and promos are predictable and stale, that’s just my taste, and I know that a fair few, you know who you are, are going to be logged into your feelings over it, so before you come for me, remember, tell Jesus, he cares, I don’t. Moving on.

All of these matches were off for me. I don’t know what it was, but everyone seemed tired or winded very quickly. The best match of the three was the tag, but it was so random and unsubstantial, the honor is dubious at best. Why is Dana tagging with Ember? What happened to Bayley and Ember in the end? They didn’t get beat down so badly they couldn’t have been more active. Another positive, breaking Dana away from Titus Worldwide, she can focus on being a solo mid-card performer now and show us how hard she’d been working. Like with Bayley and Banks, there needs to be an endgame and pay off for this. Like them or not, these women have busted their asses and none of them have had a fair shake on the Main Roster.

Moving on, Ronda, girl. That was some Chyna level of non-selling there. Alexa clipped your knee, threw you to the floor and rammed you rib first into the stairs. You don’t just pop back up and start punching people like it doesn’t really phase you. Yet again, Ronda sits there with her three faces of doom, doesn’t really do much of anything, and she still has no personality to latch or any discernible amount of charisma to make me care about her. She can fight, cool, but give me something Ronda, between you and your three faces and Alexa and her three moves, I’m not really looking forward to your match. Speaking of things that irk me, what are we doing with Alicia Fox and Mickie James here?

Fox is a veteran, paid her dues and has done everything the company has asked of her, and by and large has remained uninjured and can put on decent matches, why is she Alexa’s lapdog and the one Ronda continually is beating on? Why does Fox need Bliss? She doesn’t, and this alliance hurts her more than helps her, and Ronda needs to be careful with how she yanks these women around. Same goes for Mickie James, she was the standard bearer in the dark post-Trish/Lita days, and she gets this? She plays second fiddle to a woman who she can wrestle circles around, got her ass whooped by Nia for Bliss and now doesn’t even have that happen, she doesn’t speak, doesn’t do much of anything, and she looks like a chump. The most decorated women’s wrestler in North America is reduced to being a sidekick and irrelevance. Hope they’re paying well.

A couple more positives: I’d like to say I enjoyed a fresher matchup with Riot Squad vs Bellas, Sasha/Bayley vs Dana and Ember, and seeing so many women up and down the show. Now, that tag match, Miss Liv Morgan and Nikki Bella saved that. Liv is so fun for me to watch, and if WWE plays their cards right, she can be a star in the division. She has upped her game and it shows, and I’m so here for it, I have perfect attendance. Nikki, we know I don’t see it for her, at all, but she brought it. When it was her and Liv in the ring, the match was fun and faster, and shoddy dropkick aside, her moves were crisper than a Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme. Sarah, girl, I don’t know what has happened, but every time I see her, her work gets more and more reductive in the ring. I don’t like her “gimmicks”, I don’t like what’s she doing in the ring, and I’m not wild about her overall presentation. As a stronger wrestler prior to WWE/NXT, I expected more, Liv gets tens, Ruby tens, you get chopped.

Also, Brie, Nikki, and Ronda should NEVER EEEEEEVERRRRRR be in a segment that involves acting together again! It was so awkward and we all know the Bellas aren’t Ivory on the mic, and we know Ronda is about as flexible as a marble statue with speaking and it fell flat, hard, with a thud. Last positives, Alexa sowing the seeds for her feud with Trish, and commentary putting over Brie’s feud with her man against the Mizanins.

Speaking of Brie…and this is hard because I like her…but I gotta read her like a church mother reading bible verses on Easter Sunday. Brie was undeniably the weak link. Her offense looked weak, she was rusty and a bit sloppy. I don’t know who messed up the first tope, but that second, my God, I thought she pulled a Lita or Undertaker and hurt herself. She just didn’t do it at all last night, and the amount of rest holds in that match leads me to believe she got gassed much more quickly than her sister. It was not her best moment, nor her best match, and I hope she retires that move or is more careful before she hurts herself or another competitor. Tighten up, Brie. We know you can do better, and I’ll give you a bit of a pass since it’s been a while, but maybe you should stick to fundamentals for a while first before trying to do it big.

That’s the recap! What are your thoughts? Was it a good show? Any highlights? Lowlights? Favourite moments! Sound off in the comments!

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