Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Raw Redux (August 24th, 2015): The Diva Revolution Gets a Rough Reaction


Last night’s Raw was filled with some massively noteworthy moments, like the debut of a new Wyatt Family member, the return of the Dudley Boys and a shocking appearance from “The Vigilante” himself, Sting. The Divas were also involved in a really memorable segment, yet sadly for all of the wrong reasons. Whilst the former three happenings had the crowd eating them up, the Divas were sadly subject to major heat from the crowd for no reason. It always happens to the Divas doesn’t it?!

Thankfully, the crowd didn’t give the girls the rough end of the stick the entire night. Team PCB and Team Bella were guests on Miz TV which the crowd were into. Shame they didn’t follow suit when the girls started to wrestle in a six Diva tag match. Stephanie McMahon was also brilliant several times last night, including in her main event spot in-front of the live audience when Sting stuck his nose in her business. In addition to that, Lana and Summer Rae were at ringside for a massive eight man tag that saw Big Show get attacked by everyone. Woohoo! That exclamation of happiness was related to Big Show getting destroyed yet it is very nice to see two Divas mixing it up in the main event picture too!

Stephanie is our first lady in the limelight and her and Triple H are seen looking at Seth Rollins‘s new statue that he will see for the first time later on in the ring tonight. There is not a lot noteworthy here yet can do get to see Stephanie’s new hairdo again and she is looking mighty fine!

Next in our line of sight is… The Miz. He is dressed like Grace Jones and describes PCB as “lovely and simply elegant”. Ok Gramps. Following their entrance and a recap of how SummerSlam went down, Miz asks Becky about her getting the win for PCB at the iconic summer spectacular. Becky says that it isn’t about who got the win as Paige backs her up, insisting that they won because they are a team. Charlotte says she learned all about that from her Dad. What a surprise.

Miz says that Ric Flair helped him learn the figure four, only for Charlotte to say that he hasn’t exactly lived up to her Dad’s legacy. Miz wasn’t even being an ass and PCB are laying into him. He deserves the abuse next however as she says he has surpassed Ric Flair’s success. Let’s be real Miz, you haven’t even surpassed your wife’s legacy.

Miz tries to look underneath the surface of this team and see if there is any competition between them, yet Paige shuts him down, telling him that the three of them are where they are because they couldn’t do it without each other. Paige retaliates saying that what a rarity to see three attractive women getting along with each other and Paige’s bites back, calling him a “little pervert”. Love it.

Charlotte says that this revolution is about them showing that they can take on any woman or any man. Becky cracks me up by saying that they can fight “any ghost, any dinosaur, any animal, any cyborg alien that came from the future” too. Character development. Who knew that existed? Paige calms Becky down and stands up, expressing that the era of the female athlete is here in the WWE. Cue the female athlete at the top of the division Nikki Bella, and her team Bella cohorts, Alicia and Brie.

Nikki says that the only dominant team around here are the team PCB are looking at, Team Bella. Brie says that Team Bella are the faces of dominance. Becky disagrees, telling Brie that she wasn’t exactly dominant when she got pinned on Sunday night. Alicia mocks Becky, asking if she is the token crazy and wild member of PCB. Becky says that it is Alicia who is crazy. What is she going to do, throw a soda on her? I’m going to try and ignore the cringy and out-of-character line from Becky about Nene Leakes…

Nikki steps back in and she says that it isn’t about wins and losses, it is about the championship she holds high, a belt that she will have soon held high for longer than anyone else. After hilariously mocking Paige, Miz interrupts, telling the girls that when he raises his hand, they shut their mouths. Miz says that PCB are just cackling women with a hashtag who wrestle like a bunch of girls. Whilst Miz saying that makes for a cool staredown and potential for PCB to attack him, it’s a shame Team Bella ignores his sexism and uses the moment to ambush PCB.

Following commercials, a six Diva is underway, with Brie and Becky mixing it up. Becky hits a judo throw on Brie and lands a trio of quick-fire leg drops before tagging in Charlotte who drops a knee. Charlotte tries to apply the Figure 8 but Brie wriggles away from danger and tags in Nikki.

Charlotte and Nikki shoves each other until Charlotte utilises the Charlotte’s Web for one. The move is enough to put her in the driver’s seat as she applies a front facelock and tags in Paige. Paige blasts Nikki with knees to the face on the apron, landing another in the ring for a two count.

Becky enters the fray again and her and Paige blast Nikki with a double headbutt. Following this, Becky works over Nikki’s arm for a short while, eventually being put in the same predicament by Nikki. Becky fights back with a series of pin attempts, all of which prove unsuccessful in getting the win, yet they do bare fruit in that they allow her to work over a disorientated Nikki’s arm once more.

Charlotte comes in and continues to work over Nikki’s arm, completing isolation the beholder of the butterfly belt. Paige is tagged back into the match and thankfully the working-over of Nikki’s arm is halted thanks to a wicked spinebuster from our Divas Champion. Paige is soon back fighting, pummeling Nikki in the PCB corner.

The crowd express their want for Blue Pants as Becky and Charlotte make quick tags. A double dropkick to Nikki and stereo dropkicks to Alicia and Brie mean all of Team Bella are on the outside! The pace continues to quicken as Charlotte vaults over the top rope, flattening the Bella Empire as Raw goes to commercials.

Back from the break and business starts to pick up. Charlotte is clamped in a single leg crab courtesy of Nikki, a move that Charlotte is selling really well. The Queen City Diva tries to turn the tide again by throwing Nikki out of the ring, yet the breathing space wasn’t enough as Charlotte is grabbed to the outside area with Nikki. Nikki then whacks Charlotte’s leg off the ring post in a nice display.

Alicia enters the match for the first time and her excellent chemistry with Charlotte is on full display from the get go. Alicia works over Charlotte’s leg with elbows before switching to a fantastic stretch muffler. Unfortunately, this interesting part of the match is sabotaged by the crowd who are doing a Mexican Wave. Really. The crew stupidly decide to spotlight it on camera too. Dumb.

Charlotte manages to headscissor out of the muffler and Paige is tagged in. Hell in Boots charges in in typical fashion throwing clotheslines and a flurry of knees Alicia’s way. The crowd chant “We Are Awesome” as Paige hangs Alicia up on the top rope. It gets worse when the crowd chant “Boring” as Paige flips from the apron onto Alicia. Shame that the match is starting to pick up and the crowd are shitting on it.

Seemingly having enough of the situation, Paige pushes Brie and Nikki to the floor and tries to end the match by locking the PTO on Foxy. Just before that, it appears that Nikki can be heard saying for Paige to do the finish now. I don’t even care if that was a load spot call, I wouldn’t want to be out there either. Perhaps Nikki was fed something and told to finish the match; who knows?

Brie then breaks up the PTO and sends Becky packing with a Bella Buster. Charlotte, still impressively selling her leg injury is taken out by Brie too. Whilst Brie is being moved out of the ring by the referee, Nikki lands a killer elbow blow to Paige, allowing Foxy to hit the Scissors Kick for the win! Despite the messiness of the crowd, it is great to see Alicia get a win again on Raw, even though it doesn’t further the story whatsoever to find a worthy contender to Nikki.

All eyes are on Renee Young next as she interviews John Cena backstage. Random note, has anyone seen Renee’s new (I think) WWE.com render? Holy Photoshop of her face!

In minor appearances, Lana and Summer Rae accompany their respective blokes, Dolph Ziggler and Rusev to the ring for their eight-man main event. No catfighting sadly, although I believe what happened with Big Show could and will hopefully lead to a retirement storyline. Yay!

Finally on iMPACT Raw, Sting returns to tarnish the statue unveiling of Seth Rollins, much to the chagrin of Stephanie, who says that Sting is “dead”. Whilst I love Sting and popped hard for this, people criticized TNA for doing just this, putting an elder wrestler in the title picture. Despite losing at WrestleMania, Sting is now the #1 contender to the WWE Title. Totally illogical from the bookers and a little hypocritical from me when I want Big Show to retire, yet I am still excited for this. Let’s hope for some more Stinger and Steph gold on the mic!

Thoughts: Who knew having The Miz make sexist comments like he does on Tough Enough would make for such a well-written Divas segment?! I never thought I’d be happy for The Miz to be involved with the Divas yet Miz TV was a great segment. Well, it was great other than Team Bella ignoring his pig-ignorant misogynistic comments just to sneak attack PCB. You think as they all about “showcasing the female athlete”, they would help kick him out before then assaulting a distracted Team PCB. Missed opportunity.

Other than that though, the writing was far better than the promo the Divas cut on last week’s SmackDown, which was lame. Thank god (can’t believe I am saying this) that The Miz of all people was the one making some logical sense here, questioning whether one of Team PCB feels more worthy of a title shot than the others. That line reinforced PCB as a unit which I enjoyed. That question needed to be posed and thankfully someone actually said it and the glaringly obvious elephant in the room wasn’t ignored.

In particular, I enjoyed PCB’s verbal bashing of The Miz, and then the solo work of Alicia Fox, Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella once both teams were in the ring. Becky was great when going back and forth with Alicia, and I thought she was absolutely hilarious when saying she would fight any dinosaur or cyborg that stood in her way. She isn’t a comedy character yet she is still able to have fun lines like that. Great character development! I thought Paige calling Miz a “pervert” was also really funny, and overall, I was impressed. When Team Bella got into the mix, Nikki really shone. Her mockery of Paige was side-splitting, as was her Donald Trump joke.

It is a shame however that the crowd weren’t as into the match as they were the promo segment, and I can’t blame the girls for being slightly put off when the crowd were chanting for JBL and doing Mexican waves. It was so disrespectful. Shouting for Blue Pants and Sasha Banks was fine, yet then it just got ridiculous.

Speaking of Sasha Banks, where the hell was she (and the rest of Team B.A.D for that matter)? She is so over right now and after a fantastic NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn match, her team were quickly eliminated at SummerSlam and then she was not in sight on Raw. WWE need to keep her in the limelight. I understand it is hard to keep so many Divas in the spotlight and having nine Divas in the mix hasn’t exactly made for the most riveting storyline. I understand that one team had to be eliminated first and the storyline had to roll without them, yet couldn’t Sasha and Team B.A.D have complained to Stephanie about being left out of Raw in a short backstage segment? Could we not have seen Sasha and Naomi get mad at Tamina?

As for the match, I have to be honest and say that I thought the first half of the match was so boring. It really picked up after the commercial break, and I absolutely adored Alicia’s stretch muffler submission. Charlotte’s selling was also a highlight for me. I also liked the finish, with Nikki bending the rules to show that she is a ruthless force to be reckoned with. However, the gripe I have with the finish is that it means that we haven’t gone forward with anything. Team Bella lost on Sunday, only to even the score and level the playing field again the next night.

Onto other areas of interest, Steph proved yet again that she is brilliant at sarcasm. She rinsed John Cena big time in the backstage segment, and her snarling at Sting was another particular highlight for me. Queen Stephanie is still firmly sat on her throne. Her mic skills are an example of being genetically superior. ;)

I’m not sure what I think will happen on SmackDown, yet hopefully something less confusing than Raw. The scripting of Miz TV made this feud more about the title, but then the booking of the finish mean that Team Bella have seemingly restored the balance and are back to being in the most dominant position. Like Erin and I have said in previous reduxes, the story really needs to pick up a gear here. A challenger for the WWE Divas Title needs to established, unless WWE are planning on making the match at Night of Champions a six-pack challenge. That I would be all for!

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