Monday, March 4, 2024

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Raw Redux (April 21st, 2014): Crosslocks, Cobras and Crushing… Oh “Yes!”

Good day everyone! It’s Bobby again, and I promise within a few weeks I’ll stop feeling the need to introduce myself to you all. Before I get underway with everything though, I first off want to say I hope you all had a marvelous Easter Sunday that didn’t involve studying your butt off for finals like mine (P.S. – I’ll try to not make this Redux my own personal venting station about the stress of final exams but I make no promises). It’s officially Tuesday though, so let’s crack open that Easter Egg (Hey, I tried) and take a look at all of the Diva treats we were granted upon via last nights edition of Monday Night Raw.

We were (again!!) treated to two Divas matches this week, as Paige took on Aksana and Emma went toe to toe with the Devil’s Favorite Dancer, Layla. Add in appearances by Stephanie McMahon, Brie Bella and Lana, and we’ve basically got the Diva Olympics represented between England, Lithuania, Australia, Russia and the United States. So, America RRRRISE for the super redux… starting now!

… Is this real life? I mean, I feel like we’ve been asking for Brie Bella to becoming involved on screen with Daniel Bryan for the past 650 years so I feel like I’m seeing things as he makes his way to the ring and she’s currently standing inside “YES”-sing along with the crowd. They’re now “YES”-sing together in the center of the ring and I feel like this has turned into some sort of beautiful fanfic written by our very own Cryssi. Before they can get to speaking though, the music of queen bee, Stephanie McMahon fills the sound system! Could this be the Brie/Stephanie interaction we’ve been hoping for?! Boss lady struts out and… oh lord at her having to pass right by a sign saying “Stephanie’s Kid is Mine” directly in camera view. Steph wanted to simply come out and congratulate Braniel on DB’s title win, as well as their “organic, crunchy, rustic” wedding!

The pictures were breathtaking (if you’re into that kind of thing), and being that WWE is like a big family, she got them a wedding present! Daniel will be defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane at Extreme Rules, making Stephanie to instruct Daniel that after Kane’s warning last week, she hopes he keeps his pretty little wife out of harms way. Just then, Kane’s music hits as Daniel shields Brie and Stephanie screams “NOT NOW KANE”. Bryan helps Brie out as the two try to exit… but Brie runs right into Kane and screams in fear as he ambushes Daniel! The two go at it for a bit, as Kane then turns his attention to Brie until Bryan saves her. “RUN BRIE RUN” screams Boss lady Steph, as Kane basically destroys Daniel for a good five minutes, complete with in ring live commentary by our mother hen Stephanie McMahon.

We return to the ring later on in the show and spy Layla dancing alongside Fandango. It looks like she swiped Summer Rae‘s first main roster ring gear, but before anyone can start pointing fingers, the ‘bubbly’ music of Emma hits! The crowd gives her a really nice pop, as she and Santino dance out from the back and bubbles fill the entrance ramp. Justin Roberts continues pretending he’s from Australia when pronouncing “Melbourne”, but I can’t stop focusing on these crowd members getting their groove on to the Emmalution! As soon as the bell sounds, we get underway as the men exit and let the women do their thing.

Fandango immediately drops Santino to the outside, as Layla ambushes Emma from behind and drops her face first onto the canvas. Ha! She starts imitating Emma’s moves and then chokes her on the ring apron. A snapmare follows up as Layla locks in an arm stretch submission, but Emma eventually manages to fight out and knees her in the stomach. A few shots to the face, as Emma misses a dropkick and Layla starts taunting her. “You think you can beat me, huh?”, with Emma running off the ropes and nailing a clothesline as Santino takes Fandango out with the cobra. Inside the ring though, Emma reaches into her boot and pulls out her own pink cobra! She loads it up and blasts Layla in the face for the victory!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t mean to flip to a new subject so quickly, but please allow me to take a moment and give you a quick update on former WWE Diva turned Psychic, Caylee Turner, who predicted this on April 29th, 2012:

That’s so Caylee… it’s the future she can see.

What the hell? Aksana is getting an entrance… on Raw?! I know I joked about this being a post apocalyptic alternate universe, but this may have just completely sealed it. Her music cuts as she stands on the ramp and that of Paige’s fires up! Out struts the Divas Champion, who garners a few shots of some nifty signs in the crowd while we gain a look at the match graphic of herself vs. Tamina at Extreme Rules. The bell ding ding dings, with Paige getting a kick, shoving Aksana back and dragging her right across the ring a few times by the hair. Paige now with a headlock into an off the ropes sunset flip! Only a two count attained, sparking our vicious champ to nail a ton of knees to the face (#Justice4Naomi) and shriek out until Aksana drags her to the corner. Aksana places her on the second rope and gets a nice kick before flipping her off the top and scoring with a suplex. The lovely Lithuanian now hits a few kicks as the crowd boos her while she taunts at them.

Aksana continues to ambush Paige with chokes and a huge smack across the face. She keeps playing off the crowd, but runs back inside to only get a one count. The commentary now becomes… a mess, as it becomes clear none of them even watch NXT despite the fact JBL is the apparent GM. Aksana keeps attacking Paige with elbows and applies a submission, but Paige fights out and unfortunately gets taken back down again. The taunts continue, as Aksana nails a sidewalk slam and does her randomly hilarious sexy crawl, but Paige ducks the kick! Paige with a series of clotheslines, but Aksana fights out and tosses her down with a spinebuster for a two. This fires the resident shovel fearer up, as she goes for another spinebuster only Paige counters this one into a guillotine! Paige now with a big knee (#Justice4Naomi x2), and lets out a huge scream which… well I’m just gonna leave this here:

From there, she applies the Scropion Crosslock and Aksana submits! No Tamina though… womp womp.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRISE! It’s time for the Ravishing Russian to make us wish we could see Russia from our house whenever she returns home for the holidays, as she struts out from the back. First of all, I absolutely love her confident walk. What it tells me is that if you tell Lana she’s hot, she’s gonna reply by saying she already knew that but thank you for the compliment. Ooh and her theme song reminds me of a Mario game where you race through the worlds trying to rescue Princess Peach so +500 bonus points for that.

Lana takes the microphone and speaks Russian for a bit, therefore I cannot provide you a recap until she hits the English section. She lets us people of America know that the fact we share oxygen with the great being that is Alexander Rusev… well, it’s a privilege of a lifetime. Resistance is futile so we must all drop to our knees in reverence of him, but I’d rather drop to my knees in reverence of his theme song because I can’t stop repeating “Rusev Oogria… Rusev… Matchka”.

Rusev basically walks out and crushes Sin Hunicara until Lana forces him to stop, before raising his hand up in victory as we prep for his pay per view (re)debut against R-Truth and the greatness that is Xavier Woods.

And as always, check out this weeks installment of my honorary Diva, Adam Rose’s hype videos and continue to speculate with me if any of our NXT Divas might jump onto the stage with him for his main roster entourage (because I totally don’t only continue mentioning that to find a way to plug these):

Current Mood:

The Good:

Two Divas Matches (Again!) – Four weeks! Eight matches! Have we officially broken the record for most consecutive weeks of getting two Divas matches on Raw? I really think we have, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. See WWE, you can have two different womens feu–… err, two different womens segments involving ring action going at the same time and it doesn’t hurt anything. And three out of four even got televised entrances this week! I feel like we’re experiencing some sort of alternate universe/post-apocalyptic world that I actually kind of enjoy but still fear is going to suddenly stop doing things right and fall back into the dreaded abyss of only one womens match a week. Keep me into this world WWE, keep me!

Brie Bella Finally Gets Involved with Daniel Bryan – I was pretty shocked to see Brie already in the ring to open Raw… so much so that I thought maybe the lack of sleep I’ve been suffering due to Final Exam week was making me hallucinate. Granted we all would’ve liked to see her go after Stephanie, due to the circumstances involving Daniel, I’m sure this entire thing was very last minute and so I can’t fault the fact that they didn’t really go at it much because it took a lot just for the two of them to even be on Raw tonight. I do want to say though that I kind of appreciate the fact Stephanie did all of the talking in this segment. Maybe it came off rushed since she entered immediately after Daniel, but it looked like he was about to break down during his entrance, and who could blame him? The fact he even agreed to be on Raw after the news yesterday speaks volumes to him as both a performer and a person, and so there’s no reason or way I can pick anything apart. With Stephanie and Brie though, maybe we’re finally moving in the right direction and we can get some added interaction throughout the next few weeks while Daniel’s recovering? I sure hope so because while it should’ve been happening for the past few months, I’ll take what Braniel goodness I can get for sure.

Emma vs Layla as a Whole – I really enjoyed this match! It wasn’t a classic or anything, but it felt different. Emma didn’t really do all of her signature moves and I appreciated finally getting to see her take on a different approach to one of her tv matches. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a whopping of the Emmamite Sandwich or dilEMMA any time, but I like when she sort of saves them and doesn’t bust them out every time because they feel more special. Layla’s heel mannerisms were so on point too, and I legitimately cackled when she started making fun of Emma’s dance during the action. Plus, I’m still pretty on board with her and Fandango. It does feel a little too thrown together considering we never got a backstory as to why he chose her (we can assume it’s due to her dance background, however, a segment would’ve been cool), but the two of them are making it work so well that it’s starting to feel more natural to me every week. Overall this was a fun little match that served its purpose, and while Santino vs Fandango feels beyond overdone, Emma vs Layla felt fresh due to the recent switch in partners so I have no complaints. Plus the crowd gave Emma a nice pop when her music hit so bonus points!

One thing I do want to address though is Emma and her character. I’ve seen a lot of chatter over the weeks about how people feel bad for her being stuck in this role and how she deserves better, but honestly… I don’t fully see it that way. Does Emma deserve better? Well yes, but who doesn’t? All of the Divas deserve better. However, I kind of flip/flop on how I feel about her and Santino together. I mean I do have problems with it on account of I want her more focused in the division or even paired with someone else for selfish reasons, but this IS actually getting her on TV every week, and the fact she’s only faced Summer and Layla means there’s a lot of fresh matches left we’ve not yet seen. Their act is kooky, it’s fun, and it’s working for them no matter how much Santina… I mean Santino isn’t exactly a Diva fan favorite *shutters*. Truthfully, I don’t even buy into the whole Jillian Hall comparisons because the difference is that WWE seem to actually be behind Emma. Jillian got how many wins in her entire career from the moment she was drafted to Raw? Two or three if that? And I love Jillian so that’s not a dig at her… I just don’t think Emma really has to worry about that just yet. I mean, there were only four Divas who even got to see action tonight and she was one of them. What’s bad about that? Emma has only been on the roster for four months, and out of those four months, there’s maybe only been a few weeks she wasn’t used on either Raw or SmackDown for that seven day period. To be honest, I see that as something good, not something bad. I’m sure any of the Divas (including our #1 contender) who have to sit in the back would certainly be up for that amount of screen time each week. Keep it up Emma, because what you do deserve is every bit of air time and success you’re getting and you’re absolutely killing it. Plus, not gonna lie, I did laugh at her naming the pink cobra VenEMMA.

Lana – Star! I see it more and more every single week, especially now that we’re getting somewhat of a real solo entrance. Granted we’ve never seen her in the ring minus those training videos (where she did look impressive), if her wrestling is even just a fraction of her acting/promo ability, Lana is officially a total package. I don’t mean to be shady or anything, but I can’t see a world where in one to two years, more people remember Alexander Rusev over her. It’s like she adds everything that makes this persona interesting… everything that makes it work, but he doesn’t really bring anything to the table that hasn’t been done before. He’s not bad or anything, it’s just clear in my opinion that the whole reason this pairing got called up so quickly after forming has everything to do with her and not much to do with him. Honestly, I can’t wait for the day she breaks out on her own but as for now I’m fine waiting because it gets people familiar with her until she becomes a key player in the womens division.

The Somewhat Good:

Paige vs Aksana as a Whole – Maybe it was the fact I don’t really expect much from Aksana in the ring, but I actually very much enjoyed this match (and the fact our champion didn’t have to get beat down for a majority of it). Paige is definitely bringing a certain freshness to the division that it’s been needing for a while, and while I want to start seeing her work tag matches with some of the other Divas, she’s definitely been bringing the best out of Aksana for the past week. Not every move was picture perfect, but I enjoyed it for what it was and thought the two worked very well off one another. The problems I had will, for the most part, be mentioned below in the Not-So Good section, but one thing I’ll talk about here is the crowd not being very into it. It’s a shame, but I think you run that risk every time you stick the Divas in the third hour. They’re drained from all they’ve seen, plus they still have the main event left so matches like Paige vs Aksana or Alexander Rusev vs Sin Cara are going to suffer. Overall though, ring work and time wise I put this in the Good section, but a lack of crowd interest as well as a few other reasons drop this down to a middling territory for me.

The Not-So Good:

No Build Between Paige/Tamina – Yeah, this was just weird. Well, last week I mentioned how I understood AJ taking a week or two off to play into the whole “She’s lost her mind” type thing, but I guess that timespan is going to be much longer than I thought. That does kind of bum me out because I wanted that Paige/AJ feud, but it still works storyline wise and I fully believe AJ Lee deserves some time off. Now, I have no problem with Tamina being chosen to be next in line. She’s the next best built heel they have to legitimize Paige, and as much as I was hoping for someone else (just because I don’t feel like Tamina is the best at playing off of a crowd to get them into a match in comparison to Alicia Fox or even Aksana to be honest), I get why she was picked and it does make sense so I’m fine with it. What doesn’t make sense though is how anyone is going to get behind this feud if Tamina isn’t even on the Raw following her battle royal win. Had it not been for the graphic promoting it, most of the audience probably still wouldn’t even know we even had a match scheduled. I was hoping the fact we had something booked already with weeks left until Extreme Rules meant they were going to try and really build it up being Paige’s first defense, but it looks like we’re just going to be sliding along until either AJ Lee returns or Summer Rae is done filming because I feel like she’s the next heel in line for a shot. It is what it is, but hopefully we get something next week I suppose.

Still No Backstory on Paige – Sigh. I guess I’m not really angry about this because from the moment she walked out on her debut, even with how incredible it was and how I cited it as my favorite Divas moment in years, I knew they weren’t going to build her the way I was hoping. Paige is Paige… she’s basically a walking backstory! Her family history speaks for itself. Her wrestling needs no help. Her promos are on point. But fans who don’t watch NXT are not going to get behind her if you don’t let them know who this girl is or at the very least, build her up with some sort of dark vignettes. I know you want to keep her mysterious, but play that video package we’ve been seeing elsewhere dang it! It captures her persona brilliantly, and lord knows it’s been shown 10 million times on every other show. Give her a televised interview even… I just… Agh. I feel so bad for complaining about this considering we’re actually getting two matches a week right now, but the crowd wasn’t really here for this match tonight. It’s understandable because it got buried in the third hour, but I want something to be shown or some sort of interview to take place with Paige before we hit July and she’s still facing Divas left and right with no backstory. We finally have a Diva who could be huge based on something that actually took place on Raw involving her, but without the follow up, it’s going to be a thing of the past no matter how much talent she brings.

That’s all for this week, so until next time… don’t be a lemon, be a rosebud!

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