Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Raw Redux (August 1st, 2016): Certified-Gs left Bankrupt

After a strong RAW last week, did they keep the momentum going? The NEEEWWWW era is constantly being drilled into our minds, so let’s see if the WWE have kept it up and continued the change!

The top of the show sees the arrival of the new WWE Women’s Champion, The Boss, Sasha Banks! “You deserve it” chants fill the arena before The Boss can take to the mic, as she reminds everyone that last year, Bayley and herself ‘owned the show’ at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and this year, she will ‘kick off with a W’ as she aims to do the same this year at SummerSlam

It’s not too long before she’s interrupted by the former Women’s Champion, Charlotte (decked out in her fanciest entrance robe). She declares that she doesn’t need Dana Brooke or Ric Flair to defeat Sasha, so at Summerslam she will beat her all by herself. The two then exchange some of the best insults ever shared by two women in the ring for a long time – “If it wasn’t for a one night stand, you probably wouldn’t be standing here!” – that burn literally made me have to go find an icepack for that burn.

“QUIET! QUIET! QUIET! QUIET!”… out comes Chris Jericho to the ring, calling Sasha an “ungrateful disrespectful little punk” for disrespecting Charlotte. Jericho grills her more by mocking her ‘Boss’ nickname, saying she’s just a “boss of purple haired teeny bopper stupid idiots” and then mocks her Hall of Famer cousin Snoop Dogg.

However, Enzo Amore’s theme music hits and he skips down to the ring to even the score. Amore sweet talks Sasha with the smooth “How ya’ doin?”, as he mentions that he’s got that “hot sauce” for the “Bank to make a certified G deposit” for the ‘B-A-U-C-E!”. The two flirt a little, until Charlotte says that she’s got one word to describe Amore’s love life “SAWWFFTT”… (seriously, someone give the WWE writers a raise this week!). It isn’t long before RAW General Manager, Mick Foley comes out and announces that while he’s not ‘The Boss’, he’s their boss and is setting the first mixed tag match of the new era – Charlotte and Chris Jericho VS Enzo Amore and Sasha Banks… now!

The crowd are hot for this match throughout. We see Enzo and Sasha hit a double suicide dive to the outside and the ever strong ring work between the women. The finish comes as Sasha hits a backstabber, but Dana Brooke runs down to allow Charlotte to roll her up, Sasha counters, but releases her pin to hit Jericho with a slap that I think my neighbours heard next door, allowing Charlotte to capitalise on the action and hit the Natural Selection for the win. As Enzo tends to Sasha, he gets hit with a Codebreaker by Jericho, causing Big Cass to come down and scare the heels to the back.

As the winning team scuffle to the back, eagle eyed viewers may have noticed referee John Cone try to hand Charlotte the WWE Women’s Championship after the match, which the two play up in a RAW Fallout segment. Charlotte states that her win tonight wasn’t a mistake and Sasha’s childhood dream will last 2 weeks until she becomes the first ever 2 time Women’s Champion.

We see a short video package of the Bella Twins hosting and collecting a Teen Choice Award for Best Female Athletes!

The new Mrs. Rusev, Lana is next in the ring dressed in a long train and tiara – literally like she’s walked out of a bridal store. The usually stern-faced Lana changes her usual ring announcement for Rusev to reveal that he is now her husband and flashes off her new wedding ring. Oh Rusev, you lucky, lucky man!

Finally, we’re treated to a pre-match vignette of Nia Jax crushing girls before she makes her way to the ring. In another quick squash, Nia decimates local competitor Ariel Monroe in a brutal beatdown. Stiff chops to the chest, stiff clotheslines and a overhead press slam nails the easy win for Jax, who doesn’t even have a hair out of place. Byron Saxton gets in the ring to interview her, asking how it feels to compete in a WWE ring. Instead, Nia ploughs Ariel into the corner and replies “ask her how it feels”, with Corey Graves commenting that she’s a future Women’s Champion.

Thoughts: The women involved with men… without a love angle… or weirdly thrown together mix… with big characters… and equally sharing the limelight?! I’ll start it, ‘YES! YES! YES! YES!’. I honestly, can’t remember the last time we got a mixed tag match? Was it something with Santino/Emma or something with Layla/Fandango? Either way, this was such a refreshing change!

I mentioned this in my article a couple weeks ago about the ‘Divas Revolution: One Year Later’ that the women need to be mixing it up with the men if this is supposed to be a revolution. Sure, there was a little flirting between Amore/Banks which wasn’t really needed, but it was still a fusion of the most popular characters in the business interacting something that reminded me of when we briefly saw Trish/Rock, Mickie/Cena and even Kelly Kelly/Edge. The women have been placed in this bubble away from the guys in so long that I honestly forgot that these were a possibility!

As well as that, the mic time was on fire! Sure, there were a couple duds by Charlotte and she’s picked up this bad trait of trying to adlib last minute to react to the crowd and getting the timing wrong, but it was nice to see a legitimate build up which really got the crowd involved. Charlotte gets great heel heat, Jericho is the established veteran and Sasha/Enzo are the crowd super favourites – it pretty much writes itself!

The only confusing part was Charlotte seemingly dropping Dana Brooke, only to bring her back again, but I guess it enhances the cheating ways she’s got from her Dad. I just don’t think we need to see Dana jobbing out to Sasha for the next three weeks, but I won’t write it off just yet, since they’ve got to pad out Sasha/Charlotte interacting all the time. I’m wondering that they brought up the referee’s botch, maybe they can get him involved… oh wait… they did that with Charles Robinson already. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s action so I hope they can continue the build effectively for Summerslam.

Finally, I have to say ‘DAAAYUMMMNNNN’ to that Nia Jax squash, now I don’t want to take full credit, but I was the one saying last week that she needs to get rougher and boy did she! Now, while working stiff is something that wrestling fans will always disagree on, I feel that powerhouses need a degree of stiffness for these squash matches to be effective. Last week that chick got her nose busted, this week this other girl got slammed, I need to see someone slammed into a barricade or someone getting a kayfabe injury over the next week. Nia has so much pressure to live up to, after a league of ‘monsters’ like Bull Nakano and Awesome Kong, but now she’s on the main stage I’m really hoping she can pull it off.

How do you feel about RAW’s mixed tag action? Does Charlotte still need Dana? Who should Nia Jax destroy next? Let us know your views on this week’s RAW and predictions for next week’s episode in the comments below!

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