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RAW Redux (April 10th , 2017): Queen bows out, Bliss shines on

WrestleMania season is over and this week on RAW was the ‘Superstar Shake-Up’! After almost a year of the new brand extension, we were promised that the rosters were going to be shaken up and boy did that happen! Read on in this week’s RAW Redux!

First up this week, our first new RAW recruits are John Cena and Nikki Bella… oh wait, no it’s The Miz and Maryse! The self-proclaimed ‘it’ couple of the WWE have come to the red brand! The couple continue their ‘Nena’ parody act, mocking the couple and their rumored attempt to make it in Hollywood. Before the jokes continue, they’re interrupted by the Intercontinental Champion, Dean Ambrose, who is also making his return to RAW.

After a peculiar exchange where Ambrose doesn’t seem to notice who he’s in the ring with, the duo take off their fancy dress… only for Ambrose to take out The Miz with the Dirty Deeds!

Our first glimpse of women’s in-ring action is a rare heel VS heel set up, following on from last week’s developments. The Queen, Charlotte Flair, is set to take on Nia Jax in one on one action.

Technically, Charlotte should stand as a more evenly matched opponent to Nia… but it’s still very much a match where Nia dominates for the majority. However, the chemistry just doesn’t seem to be there between the two. We see a very sloppy shoulder break attempt and Nia applied a resthold quite early on which kills the crowd early.

Charlotte is able to mount more offence than Nia’s usual opponents and even manages to hit a Natural Selection and a classic moonsault to the outside to try and ground her huge opponent. Again, it’s another scary landing for Charlotte who seems to feel the full force of the floor and seems to cut her elbow. The end seems to be in sight when Nia manages to roll back into the ring and Charlotte attempts to lock in the Figure 8, but Nia kicks her into the lower turnbuckle and she becomes a sitting duck. Nia finishes off Charlotte with a Samoan Drop and a clear message is sent that she is now the top heel on RAW.

Interestingly, Nia doesn’t seem to have the smug look on her face that she usually has following a victory. She has a bit more of a thankful and subdued look as she walks to the back, while Charlotte looks on in frustration. Was this a passing of the torch moment between RAW’s top heels? Guess we shall find out with Part 2 of the Superstar Shake-Up…

Backstage, we see Dana Brooke reading a book titled, “How to be your own Protege”. She’s interrupted by the recently returning Emma, who calls Dana to accompany her… but where to, we will never know as Dana refuses the offer. Emma brings back a little rare WWE continuity as she reminds Dana that before she was Charlotte’s protege, she was her’s. Dana replies back saying that while Emma was having her ‘Emmalina’ crisis, the RAW women’s division was getting better. She continues by saying that while she’s not the best, she’s not going to align herself with anyone else and will stand on her own two feet!

Our last major shake up comes in our final segment, which starts with Sasha Banks making her way to the ring. She comes out to introduce the RAW Women’s Champion “just” Bayley!

Bayley takes the opportunity to thank the fans for her support following the biggest win of her career at WrestleMania. Before celebrations continue, Sasha takes to the mic to tell Bayley that the moment…. Is over! The crowd react and we’re all on the edges of our seats as Sasha continues, ‘and now it’s time for me to take the WWE…’

Before she can finish, the theme music of the former two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss hits the PA and the crowd erupt! The Five Feet of Fury has come to RAW and she’s making a clear statement as she addresses the two popular Superstars in the ring. She continues to belittle the BFF duo and warns them that now she’s on RAW, she can forget the SmackDown drama and focus on ‘winning, dominating, winning Champ…’.

The sound of Mickie James’ classic theme echoes around the arena! Calling herself the ‘Greatest Women’s Champion of all time’ and reminding everyone that she’s the only six-time Women’s Champion, Mickie James makes her way to ring to let everyone know that she’s joined the RAW brand too! She warns Alexa that she hasn’t escaped the drama just yet, because her nightmare has just begun!

Out of nowhere, Nia Jax blindsides Mickie James and takes her out. She makes a beeline for the ring, where Alexa shoves Sasha into her. While Nia tosses Sasha out the ring and finishes off Bayley with a Samoan Drop, leaving the Champion knocked out as she raises the RAW Women’s Championship over the 3 popular faces Mickie, Sasha and Bayley. As she walks up the ramp, she catches the attention of Alexa, whose smug grin turns to a look of fear. Nia backs up the ramp, while Alexa looks on at her new division. The new lines have now been drawn!

Thoughts: Where to begin?! They sure did shake things up last night! I guess we’ll start off and talk about the big news with Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Maryse all joining the RAW team. For me, that’s three very strong choices! Maryse and Miz probably didn’t need to move, but if they have title plans and don’t want to put him in the main event card anytime soon, then there’s definitely more space for them on RAW. Mickie is a solid worker and her character could really use that umph to get her back to her glory days, what better way than to rub shoulders with two women who are now at the top of the division. There is a fear that she could get lost in the shuffle, but here’s to hoping that this RAW push will help add more dimension to her face character… especially if there are still more shake-ups to come!

Alexa going to RAW is probably the biggest move of the three. SmackDown was her chance to run with the ball and she definitely ran with it. She’s now got the chance to work with more popular characters and is probably stepping in to fill Charlotte’s boots (if rumours are to be true)… and those are big shoes to fill. I have high hopes for Alexa and here’s to hoping that she can still continue running with the ball.

Next up, I guess we can say that Nia’s victory over Charlotte and the way she dominated all the faces is a sign that Charlotte has tied up the loose ends on RAW and is probably on her way to SmackDown. You guys know that I’m not the biggest Jax fan out there and last night’s match only underscored my point more, so I guess time will tell for both her and Alexa. The face side on RAW is so over, that these heels are going to have to really stand out to be noticed.

Finally, let’s not forget our two other factors in the division – Emma and Dana. I mean, the same as above applies for both of them really, but even moreso. They are both starting from scratch and arguably at the bottom of the pecking order for both alignments. Sure, this could all change once the Shake-Up continues on SmackDown, but if things stay they same for either one of them, then they will need to get a push or break out somehow.

Are you happy that Mickie and Alexa are on RAW? Do you think Charlotte is going to SmackDown? Do you think Nia needs more work in the ring? You know what to do guys, comments below!

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