Friday, July 1, 2022

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Raw Redux (April 13th, 2015): Naomi Shocks the World and Takes an Opportunity

Tally ho Diva fans and welcome to this week’s spiffing Raw Redux from merry old England!

Tonight is the night were we find out who will be the new #1 Contender to Nikki Bella‘s Divas Championship as Alicia Fox, Cameron, Emma, Naomi, Natalya, Paige, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae compete in a Battle Royal to determine next in line to the throne. #RoyalFamilyReference

Will funk continue to be on a roll for Naomi or can any of the other Divas throw a spanner in the works?

The first Diva on the docket is Lana, and she uses her wickedly seductive self as the perfect distraction. After John Cena defeated Bad News Barrett to retain his United States title, the Ravishing Russian took to the ramp. Whilst she pretended not to know where her man Rusev was, it was all a ruse.

Rusev pounced on Cena from behind, laying him out with a chain-wrapped fist to the face. Lana announces that at Extreme Rules (which has Fall Out Boy’s ‘Irresistable’ as the official theme – woohoo!), Rusev will face off against Cena in a Russian Chain match! Is Russia even famous for chains? Couldn’t they have made it more realistic? How about a Russian Vodka match where Cena and Rusev would have to down a slab of the strong stuff before the match? Think Tara vs ODB in TNA just with less testosterone.

It is Divas Battle Royal time next and we are about to find out who will face Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules! Speaking of the champion, Nikki and Brie are first to make their way out to the ring. Despite being advertised for the match, Brie will not compete and will instead sit with Nikki at ringside. FYI, Nikki is looking all kinds of hot!

After commercials – or as we in the UK call them, adverts – we see that most of the Divas are already in the ring. Natalya completes her tweener-ific entrance before Paige enters the arena to a monumental reception. Well a nice response from the crowd anyway. The Bellas are not impressed!

The match starts with Nikki throwing shade like a palm tree towards poor Rosa Mendes. Rosa quickly shuts Nikki up though as she ELIMINATES (you read the correctly) not one… but TWO Divas at the same time. I am not making this up! Rosa takes advantage of Natalya and Summer knocking each other to the apron and then Rosa dropkicks the pair of them out. So now we know what being cast in a WWE ‘blockbuster’ gets you…

Rosa bows to the crowd before bowing out courtesy of Emma. Oh well, it was good whilst it lasted. At least she savoured the moment. Following Rosa’s elimination, Foxy eliminates Emma with a huge dropkick after a tussle in the corner.

And we are already down to our final four…

Foxy and Naomi clash whilst Paige deals with Cameron in the opposite corner. Foxy gets the best of Naomi with a Scissors Kick whilst the Bellas blow their own trumpets. Alicia then attacks Paige, leading to a two-on-one attack from her and Cameron. Seemingly Alicia’s bipolar behaviour means she has forgotten all about Cameron laying her out on SmackDown. The two try and eliminate Paige but when the Anti Diva powers out, they just beat her down some more instead. Cameron delivers the cherry on the cake by nailing Paige in the face with a split-legged kick.

The heelish duo try and eliminate Paige again yet Hell in Boots stays in the match. Paige moves out of the way next as Naomi hits a double Rear View to both ‘Lic and Cam. Her and Paige then clean up, leaving just the two of them in the ring.

Paige tries to rugby tackle Naomi over the top rope yet the feisty Floridian hammers back and then kicks Paige in the face on the apron. Naomi utilises a front facelock to try and take Paige down yet Paige hits back with a stiff right hand to the face and then some even stiffer knees to the face and chest. Naomi retaliates with another kick square on Paige’s temple yet Paige still won’t go down. Back in the ring fully following that kick, Naomi uses another – an enziguiri – to take Paige down to the mat.

Paige isn’t down for long though… as Naomi picks her up! Still looking groggy, Naomi sets up the Rear View yet Paige ducks it! She then kicks Naomi twice in the stomach, shots that send Naomi to the arena floor. Paige is the winner!

Paige takes to the mic after the match and she lists her accomplishments in the past year. She says that although winning the Divas Title in her debut match and also being victorious in her first WrestleMania are amazing achievements, nothing beats being able to become #1 Contender in-front of her Dad and brothers and her home country fans. She says that at the end of the day…

“THIS IS MY HOUSE!”

Or so she thought.

After uttering her trademark catchphrase, Paige is then attacked by Naomi, who has stuck around at ringside! Naomi pummels Paige and then charges at her, knocking her hard on the outside. Naomi then blasts Paige into the ringside barricades four times and all four throws looked super hard-hitting. Naomi mocks Paige, asking her who’s house it is before saying how good it feels to be attacking the two-time Divas Champion. Naomi then throws her Usos themed t-shirt to the ground and struts off, her own badass babe.

Have I ever been more proud of Neysus? Little did I know I would be even more so later in the night.

We next get to see Nattie again as she is managing Tyson Kidd and Cesaro in their two-on-one handicap match versus Randy Orton. Good job Tal took a break from bullfighting!

Our second sighting of Rosa Mendes follows next as she consoles Fandango following his loss to Stardust. Booker T says that Fandango used to be a major player (slight exaggeration) yet look at him now.

Fandango seemingly hears Booker T say that and he grabs a mic and jolts up to stand on the announce table. He says that he has been sharing his love of dance with Rosa for too long. He should have been sharing it with the world. Fandango’s old music hits and he has solidified his face turn (which has been hinted at as he has been facing the heel Adam Rose every week on Superstars). The crowd are going crazy as Rosa goes a different kind of crazy in the ring. And back to obscurity (most likely) for Miss Mendes.

And we are not done yet! If you like the idea of Summer Rae being in a romantic angle with Damien Mizdow, then you will love this next segment when she accompanies him to ringside to face The Miz. Best face turn ever. #Sarcasm

Although I am being a little harsh, Mizdow is still way over so lets hope that it rubs off on Summer a little.

Our final moment of the night features Naomi, the woman who shocked the world earlier on. She ditched the good girl attitude and her cut-up Usos tee. Jimmy will be so mad with her. Maybe as mad as when she bought her poledancing pole that one time.

Naomi says that she is really disappointed in herself for beating up Paige earlier on… PSYCHE!

Naomi says that she could care less about what happened out there. She calls Byron Saxton an idiot (good point) and says that as Nikki Bella is the Divas Champion, that is a problem to her. She calls Byron “honey” and the sass continues when she said that this is all about her. She said that she beat Nikki twice (even Naomi is forgetting Main Event exists) and that there shouldn’t have been a Battle Royal. She deserves her title match.

Naomi then says that she started in the same season of NXT as AJ and now everyone is excited about her retirement, calling her a legend.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

Neysus says that she is sick and tired of people taking her kindness for weakness and it stops right now. She is no longer going to sit and wait and ask for an opportunity, she is going to take it. And I am now deceased because of how amazing that was.

Thoughts: Another week, another positive Raw Redux. Before addressing the mountain of positives, lets talk the negatives.

Considering the level of talent in the Divas division, I was slightly disappointed at the length of the Battle Royal. I’m not going to lie. The first four eliminations happened way too quickly and I thought that Rosa’s, Alicia’s and Cameron’s eliminations could have been more interesting.

Whilst I think Summer did go out way too early, having the top two faces and two heels in the final four made sense. As Summer is seemingly a Face now, there was seemingly no other time for her to be eliminated. I liked it and didn’t like it at the same time yet it is what it is. Those are the only negatives I can think of to be honest!

A moment that was middle-of-the-road for me was Summer Rae and her affiliation with Damien Mizdow. Whilst I appreciate that WWE are inserting Summer into a men’s feud, they have nowhere capitalised on Summer being in the movie as much as they should have. She has turned face because she liked a kiss from Damien Mizdow. She hasn’t had a chance to really show us who she is. And why does she all of a sudden like Damien Mizdow? Whilst I know it is early days, I just feel that if you are going to turn someone, make it mean something and make it impactful. WWE did it right with Naomi yet not really with Summer.

As for the positives – where do I start? Let me first commend Lana on being utterly brilliant yet again. Sometimes less is more and tonight was one of those nights. She has more charisma in her little finger than most of the roster have in their entire bodies.

I also think that Rosa Mendes being dumped is also a positive. Whilst most people may think that this storyline move plus her removal from Total Divas for Season 5 will lead to her release, how about she manage an NXT talent and bring him up the main roster to feud with Fandango? How about Tyler Breeze? That is certainly one way of trying to camp it up even further, not to mention he is more than ready to be called up. What a way to bring Prince Pretty to the main roster by having him battle someone who rivals his flamboyance. Both can be ruthless when they want too also, so seeing that dynamic would be interesting too. Coupled with the fact that Rosa eliminated TWO WHOLE PEOPLE in the Battle Royal, I think we could be about to witness the start of something fresh for Rosa.

Or at least I hope so.

As for the Battle Royal itself, despite the shortness and initial quick eliminations I did enjoy it and it did feature some nice moments. I thought Emma’s elimination was really fun and the spot of the match was when Naomi hit the Rear View on both Alicia and Cameron. Those two got one cheek each. I also enjoyed that despite the rest of the Divas not getting a lot of time to shine, Paige and Naomi were given a decent amount to make some magic. Paige reversing the Rear View was a rare moment that I enjoyed.

The positives keeps coming now as I absolutely loved Paige’s promo. It was real, raw (pardon the pun) and I really respect WWE for letting her have that moment to soak in and remember forever. Albeit, it would be interrupted and she would be left flat on her back. This promo made me believe more than ever that Paige really is a top Diva. She is the total package.

The shock factor of Naomi’s heel turn was tremendous. I thought Paige and Naomi may have hit the floor at the same time, yet I never expected Paige to win alone, nevermind then get assaulted by Naomi. The beatdown was everything. Naomi nailed every single throw into the barricade, cocky remark and deliciously villainous facial expression. To anyone said that Naomi is all athleticism and nothing else, take a seat.

As for Naomi’s backstage interview, it was tremendous. Unlike Madonna who sucked the life out of Drake at Coachella, Naomi GAVE me life. Whoever didn’t like this segment needs to reassess their life. It was so refreshing to see Naomi as a heel for the very first time. She exceeded my expectations most definitely. She tore AJ a new one too which was hilarious. Just like her character, Trinity took that chance and she absolutely nailed it.

One final note before I go, I thought to let you guys know my experience at a WWE Live event in Newcastle, England this past Thursday.

It was literally the best thing ever. It knocked sliced bread out of the park. I met Paige.

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Let me backtrack slightly to explain. Like the excitable little boy I can sometimes I act like, I tweeted Paige, Naomi and The Bella Twins knowing that they were on the show. When at the event, I then tweeted Paige saying that I would be at ringside on the left side and I enclosed a selfie of me wearing her t-shirt. I assume many fans do that. I hope they do anyway!

So Paige’s music hits and I am going ballistic. I regain my composure when she walks past me not to make myself look silly. She then walks past me after hitting my hand.

And then my heart stopped.

Paige turned round, had a double take and then pointed at me, singling me out in-front of everyone as the 8 year-olds around me froze in shock. Everyone gasped as she pointed at me for a good three seconds. And then she said “Hi” (I think), winked and walked off.

And then I melted.

Following her and Naomi’s win over The Bella Twins, I then caught Paige’s attention again and asked for a picture. She quickly obliged and I felt so grateful and lucky to the one of the only people any wrestler stopped for a picture with. I will be forever grateful that she took the time out to make my day.

Cheers ‘Raya!

On that note, I encourage all of you guys to post your Diva selfies in the comments. I would love to see who you guys have met and to read about the experiences you had!

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