Sunday, August 14, 2022

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Raw Redux (August 25th, 2014): Nikki Bella Breaks Free as AJ Starts to Break Paige

Greetings everyone! And welcome to this weeks Raw Redux. I have to be honest and say I missed out on Raw Monday.

And classes are back so my schedule is wrecked.

And I wrote 3/4 of this then my Internet went out for an hour.

… soooo you may see me step away from the redux for a bit as you can clearly tell I’m a bit of a trainwreck again, but never fear(!~) because I’m finally here to bring forth all of the Diva greatness as usual.

We’ve got Paige vs. Natalya giving Bayley vs. Sasha Banks a run for its money in terms of match repeats, but being that all four are supremely talented, this isn’t particularly a bad thing when it comes to ring work. Plus we have to assume AJ Lee will make her presence felt right?

In addition, it’s a hefty Brie and Nikki based ring promo kind of Raw! And I for one am insanely looking forward to this because they should be getting more comfortable in their roles as the weeks go on and it’s already giving me (good) anxiety to think about it so let’s get started okay.

Oh, and I’m expecting a REALLY bad crowd for the entire show if my Twitter feed was correct as the episode was airing. So I’ve been warned and it probably won’t bother me ahead of time.

It’s time for the family reconciliation! Our host for the evening is Jerry Lawler, which I will assume is only because his name is Jerry and it will play off well should the crowd chant for him due to Jerry Springer’s constant notoriety. King welcomes Nikki Bella out, and it looks like she keeps the theme which I approve of because I always felt it was more heelish anyways. But the mini-tron needs fixing, and fast.

Jerry says the fans aren’t as forgiving as Brie, so it’s time to work the problems between the two of them out. He then welcomes Brie and… ugh, the same theme song. We need this sorted as they already have to share a Twitter account much less a theme song. Nikki immediately channels her inner me and snarks that Brie couldn’t even get her own entrance theme… and I’m already dead. Brie says Nikki can have the music if she wants because this is about the person she trusted more than anyone else stabbing a knife in her back. She loves her friends and her husband, but the two of them have been together since before they were born. When Mama Bella was pregnant, her ultrasounds showed the two of them holding hands in the womb. Brie knows Nikki’s feelings are hurt and that she got abandoned, but she had no idea by her quitting it would inflict punishment on her own sister.

If that’s how she feels though, Brie is sorry. She doesn’t know what else Nikki wants from her (besides entrance music)! Forget everything WWE, forget Total Divas… this is Brianna talking to Nicole.

It seems like Nicole doesn’t want to speak to Brianna though. Nikki calls Brie’s speech the biggest load of crap she’s ever heard! She gets it, Nikki is the selfish, materialistic twin and Brie is the innocent, beautiful woman that wants her family back together. Nikki is disgusted that Brie’s trying to paint such a fictitious story to these people, no matter if they’re stupid enough to believe it. Nikki KNOWS the real Brie. She’s ALWAYS wanted the spotlight, and ALWAYS wanted to be loved more. Brie never cared about her sister, but Brie immediately chimes in that Nikki’s behavior is insane.

Nikki disgustingly pleads for Brie to stop putting on this angel act. Maybe they weren’t holding hands in that precious Mama Bella ultrasound… just maybe Brie was doing what she does best, and that’s holding Nikki back! Nikki’s finished with Brie, she’s finished with her family treating her as the afterthought, and she’s finished with the guys in the audience having a stupid fantasy of twins that they’re too fat and ugly to ever have! I LOVE HEEL NIKKI. Oh my god, take my money. Take the WWE Title, you deserve it more than Brock Lesnar.

Most of all, she’s so over Brie’s:

A) Scraggly hair
B) Save the earth crap
C) Log Cabin House
D) Troll faced husband

She’s done playing second fiddle to a sister that never gave a damn about her! But wait, miss Daniel Bryan… everyone’s fav Bella!~ that Brie that everyone knows and loves, she stole all Nikki’s boyfriends when they were young and she always pointed the finger at Nikki when they got in trouble as children. Nikki claims that when Brie quit, she abandoned her. She chose love over family, and that’s not flying with this Bella Twin. Nikki was put in countless handicap matches and every week she was forced to demean herself while BRIE sat at home and watched on television. Brie cared more about trending on Twitter than her own sister!

Nikki calls Brie one sad excuse of a sister… one sad excuse of a human being! Oh? Is Brie gonna cry? Nikki starts taunting her perfect sister, telling everyone to look at this pathetic hot mess. Jerry tries to intervene but Nikki yells “Stay out of it old man! GET OUT!”

Reminder: Heel Nikki is my icon. My idol. My everything. This is the part when I break free and announce I want Heel Nikki to guest appear on every comedy/drama/dramady/television show in general and go off on characters I don’t like.

Jerry gets the hell out of Nikki Bella’s ring, as she walks up to her crying sister and reveals that as far as she’s concerned, she has no sister. Nikki grabs Brie by the hair and tells her that her one wish is life is that she died in the womb!

I collapsed.

Nikki throws Brie off her chair by the hair and beats her with her Louboutin! The god awful crowd actually attempts to boo which… for this group, is basically like getting the equivalent to the level of noise that Daniel Bryan’s reaction at WrestleMania equated. Jerry tries to drag Nikki off of Brie but she smacks him across the face and goes right back to Brie, whacking her with the microphone! Jerry continues going after her as she screams “GET OFF ME! YOU’RE DEAD TO ME!”

Brie cries in the ring as Nikki is dragged off from the ring but eloquently gathers herself to strut out.

Screw everything else I missed on Raw, this is my peak and no level of Rusev bored face or John Cena “You Love Me or You Hate Me but either is OK because it’s been going on for so long we accept it” promo is going to come close to topping it. Bless you Bella Twins, you deserve your air time and I wish I had air time to give you so you could have more.

We head to the ring to see Natalya get half an entrance, which is half an entrance more than last week so we’ve got progress! Up next is her opponent, our Divas Champion, Paige, who still has yet to tag with anyone but AJ Lee on TV in the months since joining the main roster. Paige steps in the ring and skips around Natalya, before kissing her title and listening as the bell sounds for us to get underway. Nattie with a lightning fast roll up for a one count as Paige fights her off and hits a stiff shot to the face. She then skips around and starts nailing a few headbutts before working on an abdominal stretch.

She keeps the hold locked on Natalya until Nattie reverses it and hoists the leg up into her own variation and gets a pop! A POP! From this crowd! Paige quickly fights out and slams Nattie down, then hitting a sharp kick and running off the ropes into a shoulder tackle by Natalya! Nattie with a German Suplex! Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter and the crowd is reacting! Paige fights… and fights… and she eventually grabs the ring apron to cause a break as the referee keeps Nattie back. Paige goes for the PTO… and JBL thinks it’s the Sharpshooter which stuns his commentators speechless. Nattie is going for the real Sharpshooter now but Paige kicks her off and nails the Paige Turner for the victory!

Paige celebrates with her title and out comes AJ Lee, who startles Paige back inside the ring as Lee follows suit with a microphone in hand. Paige then turns right around into a discus clothesline by Natalya! AJ helps her up, and I realize the best thing about a dead crowd is that even their “AJ’s husband” chants are dead. ALL HAIL.

AJ smiles at her little English muffin, and says that she knows Paige was being sincere when she said she loved her… but not as sincere as she is. With that, AJ slowly walks to Paige and gives her a hug, before grabbing her hand and laying a kiss on it to leave Paige a little creeped out as AJ skips to the back.

In addition, check out this weeks dose of Lana as she manages Rusev against Jack Swagger which I feel is something I’ve said 500 times:

The GREAT:

Nikki Bella – Oh my God. I am absolutely in love with heel Nikki Bella, and tonight she did even better than last week. She was on fire and it’s such a shame she had to perform so well in front of a crowd that didn’t deserve it. I didn’t watch the show, but I heard how awful they were so I knew going into it to not expect much of a reaction which actually might have made me like the segment more because I focused solely on the twins and not on whether or not the crowd was responding. Nikki, you were born to be a heel and I loved everything about this performance tonight. That’s not to take anything away from Brie at all, but this was clearly Nikki’s moment to truly shine and break out into her full on newfound role. She took the ball, she ran with it, and she slam dunked it right on the face of every male superstar on the roster who wants that ten minutes of airtime.

The Bellas Segment as a whole – It was a lot of Nikki, but tbh I also thought Brie did her role very well. I’ll elaborate more later on about why I support her being “Crying Brie” for now, but acting wise I do think Brie did her role well. It’s not like this is Breaking Bad. I don’t need moving masterpiece performances that leave me breathless when it comes to promos, and Brie was more than passable tonight in my opinion. Her cry face might not be the best, but do you think any of us look captivating when we’re bawling? I sure don’t. And honestly, I’m not going to pick apart anything because the segment was just so good as a whole to me. The lines were on point, the deliveries were so much better and even when Nikki would scream (which I pointed out last week wasn’t my favorite part of her performance) at Jerry Lawler, she found that sweet spot where it sounds 100% natural and like true frustration.

I loved the entire writing behind it (seriously… holding hands in the womb to holding Nikki back was GENIUS), and felt this is exactly where The Bellas feud needs to be in terms of story development. This is the portrayal I want done, and judging by how on fire Nikki was as the heel, we made the right decision in which Bella to turn and I don’t regret saying that anymore. I’m so so ready to see more and I’m so happy for the two of them in getting such a big segment (starting off the hour does classify as big even if it’s not the main event) to showcase their feud. They’re killing it and leaving me wanting more and more every week which is the best feeling in the world (okay second to winning the lottery, but you know…)

The Good:

Paige vs. Natalya – This match feels like it’s happened 50 times and in reality I think this is only their third not counting NXT, but that doesn’t mean the two don’t have insane chemistry together and actually got a dead crowd to react to some of their spots. I personally thought the match was extremely solid and on point, even if it was short. You can tell Natalya freaking eats up any amount of ring time she can get, and after being on the backburner for a while, I love seeing her get a weekly spot again. I just wish we could see her tag with AJ or something because it would be interesting given their history together, and I think it could add a layer to the story because we haven’t yet focused on the fact AJ Lee will have to start teaming with the same women she was so against just a few months ago. That’s an element I want to see explored but I fear if the day comes we get a tag, it will be forgotten about and AJ/whoever will just smile as if their minds from Payback 2013 to WrestleMania 30 were erased.

The Somewhat Good:

Paige and AJ – I’m so mixed on this. I really like where it’s going because I think it’s intriguing in the sense that it’s a case of who can freak the other out and really get into their head to the point they emerge the true victor of the feud in the end. It also shuts the fans up from chanting for AJ’s husband if she’s performing sensual tactics to a fellow Diva, which is a plus for those of us sick of hearing them. The problem I have though is that, as I’ve said, I appreciate a slow burn, but it’s kind of feeling almost too slow and the repetitive singles matches don’t really help to make anything feel different.

It seems like every week has become a tradition that they wrestle a singles and then the other comes out and cuts a promo, which is good and I love the promos themselves, but I feel like we need to move forward to the next step… whatever that may be. A backstage segment or something that just mixes it up from being the same sort of segment each week. I know people are bored of it, but I haven’t lost hope. I think the feud still has so much potential, we just need to spring forward instead of slowly inch if that makes sense.

The Not-So Good:

Obsession with Singles Matches – I want a six Diva tag. I want an eight Diva tag. I want a FOUR Diva tag. I want something that isn’t Paige or AJ versus someone in a singles. The Bellas are busy, but we can still bring Naomi and Cameron back into the mix, along with Emma, Alicia, Rosa, Summer, Layla and Eva please.

In Conclusion:

I still think we haven’t yet left the great Diva push of 2014 just yet. Things have slowed down since those few weeks of show takeover brilliance, but we’re still getting promo time each week (I mean a pair of Divas have gotten 10+ minute speaking segments by themselves two weeks in a row so let’s not claim defeat) and we’ve got two legitimate feuds going on which in itself is a world of improvement since AJ vs. Total Divas. Yes, I wish more of the other Divas could be included even if they aren’t directly in the stories, but I still love the fact we’ve got what we’ve got going at all.

AJ and Paige just need to hit the peak of their feud and I think they’ll start killing it week to week. It’s a very slow building feud, but it’s a feud that at least has something going on besides “Hey you’re champion. Me want title. Give me shot when I beat you in match”. They’re getting consistent promo time and are starting to move into a territory I want to see them explore because I think it can be edgy without crossing the PG line since we can attribute it more to mind games as opposed to a full on romance ala Mickie James to Trish Stratus. I also think Paige not being a full on heel yet might be good for her career since she’s already won the Divas Title as both a face and a heel in the span of four months. If we don’t see her be the Anti-Diva yet, it gives a spark to a potential third title reign down the line and keeps her feeling like she hasn’t already accomplished everything in such a short time. I see good in these things and so for that, I will continue waiting for the feud to really explode into the goodness I know it can be.

When it comes to The Bella Twins, they are absolutely killing it in their feud. Maybe the story is too soapy for some, but not me. I am obsessed with it, and I think it’s the best thing they’ve ever gotten to do as a twosome. Nikki, in particular, is completely owning it out there and proving that she’s got star written all over her as a top heel of the division. Brie I feel isn’t being given the best role to play in terms of crying good twin, but I get that she needs to be this way for now. She can’t just automatically hate her sister and be seen as good… it needs to reach a breaking point where she’s forced to retaliate so that way it can come off as something she doesn’t want to do but has to. It’s kind of like when Vince feuded with Stephanie and Stephanie pleaded not to do this but Vince didn’t care. Nikki can act that way because she’s the heel, and while I do want Brie Bella out of the crying phase and into the “You bitch!” one, it will come and this part is needed in order to make her still seem likeable when she gets to that point.

The difference with her feud opposite Stephanie is that the story claimed Brie was forced to sit backstage and watch as The Authority took out Daniel, so we could assume she went through this teary stage while she was restricted in the back. With Nikki, we saw the first moment happen on Summerslam and so Brie’s sorrow can’t just be hidden backstage like it could then. Overall I’m so here for Bella vs. Bella, but I just wish it could’ve happened a little closer to WrestleMania because it sucks that it’ll probably get put on one of the lesser known shows unless they could hold off until Survivor Series. Even then, Mania just feels like the perfect spot for sister vs. sister, but who knows? Maybe we could get Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Nikki Bella vs. Daniel Bryan, Brie Bella, and hmm… *cackles as I flick the head off a Bratz doll*

Just kidding guys, but it’d be awesome for sure.

So this is me signing out until next… err, until I see you again!

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