Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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RAW Redux (August 22nd, 2016): The Hugger comes to RAW

After Summerslam’s title switch shocked fans across the world, what did the red brand have in store for the women?! Well, they finally gave us something that we’ve waiting over a year for so let’s get straight into this week’s RAW Redux!

I normally run through shows chronologically, but this week let’s just skip right the the good bit! Tonight, the new WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, along with her protege Dana Brooke, will be here to address the crowd following her win at Summerslam!

As soon as they step into the ring, Dana Brooke tries to start a ‘“You deserve it!” chant for Charlotte much to the chagrin of the crowd. Charlotte goes on to show how Sasha Banks was ‘all flash and no cash’, proving that she didn’t need Ric Flair or Dana to silence the crowds of New York as the ‘Queen has reclaimed her throne’.

Ohhhh, but it’s not over! As the duo try to leave the ring, the car crash hits the speakers and RAW General Manager Mick Foley is out to address the new Champion. He states that Sasha Banks will receive her rematch after she’s recovered from her back injury, but also reveals that he’s signed the hottest free agent to RAW – it’s BAAAYYYYLEEEYYYYY!

The crowd erupts! The whacky waving inflatable tube men rise! The headbands are snapped out and people all over the world want to give each other a hug! Bayley is finally on RAW! The real ‘You deserve it!’ chants start and Bayley thanks Foley for the opportunity. It’s not all celebrations as Charlotte interrupts, “There’s a reason Bayley got left behind for the revolution…” …ouch! However, the new debuting star certifies her presence and wants to challenge the Champion and throws down the gauntlet. The Champ claims she’s not dressed for battle, but she’s prepared her protege to always be ready for a fight – so Foley makes it official, Bayley will make her official RAW debut by taking on Dana Brooke!

It’s a solid match between the two – arguably Brooke’s best match since coming to the main roster. Brooke remained on the offense for most of the match, being a lot meaner and cattier than she usually is. However, she’s quickly put away with a Bayley to Belly for the pinfall victory – so Charlotte the clear message has been sent! The #HugLife is coming for you!

Backstage, we see Andrea D’Marco catch up with Bayley fresh off her victory for the Fallout. She mentions that it’s been crazy to come full circle, since last year she won her first NXT Women’s Championship at the Barclay’s Center and this year she’s making her debut and official call up!

Another appearance came from a stern Lana, introducing her man Rusev in a much more cold style than her recent upbeat announcements. Rusev loses his qualifying match for the Universal Championship via countout, leaving Lana to stare him down disapprovingly as they head to the back.

Thoughts: So you guys know my Redux style by now, while I love being positive, the little smark in me always has to be the realist. We’ve all wanted to see Bayley debut, we know she deserves a spot on the roster… but was this the best choice? After that year long wait, was this really the best time?

With all the rumours swirling around Sasha being taken off TV, we were all wondering who the next challenger would be. Lots of women’s wrestling fans wanted to see pushes for veterans Alicia Fox or Summer Rae, there has been a steady build for Nia Jax and we’ve seen the friction between Dana Brooke and Charlotte. I mean… I was holding out for Rosa Mendes to make her ‘Super-Mum’ return, but Bayley got the ‘golden ticket’ and finally made it.

So I guess the main ‘pro’ is that Bayley had pretty much run her course in NXT. Her character is a natural underdog, but she was top dog in that division and it wouldn’t have been long til we would have been bored of her. She’s now got a great chance to mix it up with some different talent and really breakout as a star, especially when the crowds are so hot for her. We know management like her, we know she’s winning the title soon and she’s going to be a main draw for the women.

The main ‘con’ I see, is that I feel this debut could have been bigger. If you break it down, she’s debuted to be Sasha’s replacement… there was no real shock factor to it, it wasn’t on a main PPV, there wasn’t a stand out moment or spot. This easily could have happened after Wrestlemania 32… or after Battleground… or during the draft. They dragged it out so much, that while this was good, it was still so predictable. My other fear, is that we will literally be repeating NXT’s 2014/15 women’s division on the RAW roster. How many times can we really see Bayley/Sasha/Charlotte variation and combinations until we get bored?

Let’s not forget Alicia and Summer either. This pushes them further down the pecking order, which is such a shame considering Alicia is a veteran and Summer has never really had that title push. This would have been the perfect window of opportunity for one of them, while they saved Bayley for something much bigger. All you need to do is peek over to the women on Smackdown who are ALL being used, all getting ring time, mic time and being used more as a whole division, as opposed to just two main characters.

Either way, I’m super stoked for Bayley and it’s so heartwarming to see her dreams come true. It will be interesting to see her coming in as an established top dog, with an underdog character – especially on the main roster. So I’m expecting some amazing match to come our way!

Was Bayley the right choice to take on Charlotte? Where’s Nia Jax? What about a filler feud with some of the other women on the roster? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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