Thursday, June 30, 2022

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Raw Redux (August 31st, 2015): Charlotte Beats the Clock


On paper, WWE booking three Divas matches last night, all under three and half minutes would normally be a sentence that would turn a Divas fan’s stomach. In the past, we would have just been thankful that it was three matches and not one. Fast forward to 2015 and in the midst of a Diva Revolution and that sentence doesn’t sound so bad. Yes the matches were short, yet the Divas were either featured or hyped in every hour of Raw’s three last night, and the one-night storyline was really fun too. Who would have thought that a match of three minutes and twenty one seconds would be considered acceptable? I think it was and I’ll explain why a little later…

After Sting opens the show, the fallout from his promo is captured backstage between Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins. Seth says that Sting is spitting in the face of The Authority. Whilst Steph was angry that Sting pulled his stunt last week, she (and her Egyptian bangles) tells Seth to look at his title match in a different way. Beating Sting would really cement his credibility as champion and he needs to wake up and see that. Awkwardness mounts between the pair when Triple H is namedropped, and Steph says that Sting was right, Seth Rollins is nowhere near as Triple H, yet. You could cut the tension with a spork.

Lana and Summer Rae are in the spotlight next, and it all kicks off once Summer gets Rusev disqualified in his SummerSlam rematch against Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and was going to pin Rusev, yet Summer broke up the pin and went batshit on Ziggy. Lana charges in as the timekeeper goes crazy and her and Summer scrap on the mat. It is Lana who has the last laugh (for now) as Dolph picks her up, allowing her to blast Summer in the face with a kick.

After the match, Renee Young catches up with Dolph and Lana. Both are ecstatic with the win, yet Dolph says he would rather have won with a three count. Dolph hits the showers, and Renee hypes the Dudley Boyz in a piece to camera. Whilst this is going on, Summer Rae sneaks into Dolph’s locker room in the background. This is getting JUICY!

Side note: Utilising Renee to hype the rest of the show whilst having a story happen in the background was brilliant! Totally loved that.

Our first match of the evening follows our first two doses of Lana and Summer drama. Competing first in the Beat the Clock challenge is Becky Lynch, and she is going to face Team Bella’s Alicia Fox. Before that can happen though, Divas Champion Nikki Bella is in the ring with Foxy and Brie Bella.

Nikki says that she wants to share each and every precious moment of her career with not only the Bella Army, but the whole WWE Universe. With that in mind, and to fuel her own ego, she introduces The Bellatron! Her patronising tone isn’t heard for long however, as the much more fist-pump triggering theme of the Lass Kicker booms through the speakers. Becky is flanked by Charlotte and Paige, and I love that all three of them are present for each other’s matches tonight. They are supporting each other, yet deep down want to beat each other too. DRAAAAAMA!

Side note: If WWE won’t allow the girls to call each other bitches, can they stop scripting “b” or “b-word” into promos? It is so annoying. Like last week’s Nene Leakes reference, this was totally out of character for Becky. WWE have been pushing her well, yet they need to curb those catty remarks and celebrity references from Becky’s dialogue.

Bex and Alicia engage in a major pin-fest to start the match, both looking to put away the other as quickly as possible. Becky traps Alicia in a hammerlock, ironic considering Alicia absolutely hammers her face in with a big boot shortly after. Alicia throws Becky across the ring with a hairgrab takeover and then she showcases how much of a veteran she is. She stomps on Becky’s hand and chokes her across the ropes in a cold, calculated display.

Following a dropkick, Foxy traps Lynch in a chinlock. A three minute match really doesn’t need a rest hold. I did like that Becky was looking at the clock though as she was getting the life squeezed out of her; go Becky telling that story with her eyes!

Becky soon fights back however, battling away with elbows, uppercuts and clotheslines. She drops Alicia with a sweet T-bone suplex too yet she can only muster a two count. Becky tries to hit another slam, yet Alicia counters into a roll-up. Becky then crisply reverses that pin into the Dis-Arm-Her and Alicia taps quicker than she jumped into bed with Edge. Holy 2007, Alicia Fox as a wedding planner reference! Becky has set the time to beat at 3:21!

Next up, we get to see how irrelevant the Intercontinental Title scene is when Summer Rae slays Ryback‘s interview backstage. And by slay, I meant that she killed it. Although her performance did slay me in the modern sense of the word too. Anyway, no-one, including WWE seem to care about what Ryback had to say as the camera pans from him to a giggling Summer Rae, who is seen running from Dolph Ziggler’s locker room with his clothes. Dolph appears at his dressing room in just a towel – ooh err! I’m sure many fans are wishing Summer had stolen that towel too…

We go back to the arena for our next notable segment, the second Beat the Clock match featuring Brie Bella and Charlotte. After we witness a minitron clip of Charlotte mentioning her lineage again.

Side note: We get it WWE. Charlotte is related to Ric Flair.

Brie’s tactic is really interesting for this match, and she aimed to annoy Charlotte with ever move. She was all about running and less about fighting. As soon as the bell rang, Brie scurried away between the ropes, ensuring Charlotte had hardly any options to strike her and potentially secure a win. Brie eventually had Charlotte chase her on the outside, resulting in Brie clocking (pun intended) Charlotte square in the face with a hard forearm shot.

Brie then jolted back into the ring and hoped Charlotte would be counted out. That wasn’t the case however and Brie made her first mistake. When Charlotte was on the apron, Brie ran at her hoping to knock her off, yet the Queen City Diva has recuperated enough and bashed Brie in the mush. Brie managed to regain her focus quickly by grabbing onto the ropes every chance she could yet Charlotte clearly thrives off of adrenaline as she handled the situation well and didn’t get frustrated *cough*like Paige*cough*.

Still holding the ropes, Brie kicked Charlotte in the knee yet Charlotte acted like she got hit in the face. This is not football and you are not Rivaldo, Charlotte. Hooray for the rare football reference here on Diva Dirt! Regardless of where she was kicked, it didn’t affect Charlotte too much, as she rebounded by hitting her kneeling hangman’s neckbreaker on Brie. Down on her knees, Brie was in prime position for Charlotte to deliver the Natural Selection, which she did successfully. Three seconds later and Charlotte is the new Diva to beat with a win in 1:40!

Lana and Summer’s saga continues next as Lana and Dolph talk about the shower “incident” from earlier on. Dolph says that as soon as she noticed Summer was in his locker room, he got a towel and hid his little zigzag. Lana is annoyed at Dolph because Summer saw him naked, yet she needs to get over it. Half of the past and present female employees of the WWE have been down and dirty with Dolph so, she isn’t the only one to have seen his junk!

After enough segments to fill a soap opera, the good times keep on rolling as it is time for our THIRD match of the night. Team PCB make their way out in the arena for the final time of the night, and Sasha Banks, Naomi and Tamina make their presence felt for the first time. Sasha’s theme gets a nice response from the crowd and not only does Paige have to beat the clock, she has to beat the Bank doing it! After a third minitron promo, this time from Paige, the match begins.

Paige charges in wildly and Sasha manages to shrug her off. Paige is thrown into the middle turnbuckle and Sasha stomps a mudhole into the Anti Diva. Sasha drops Paige on her back and tries to get the win for herself, which I absolutely love. A totally brash attitude and totally different game plan to what Brie had earlier in the night.

Paige hits a sunset flip and then the two exchange lightning fast pinfalls one after another. Paige ups the anti with a corner knee strike, a clout she follows up with a second knee direct to the chin. Those whacks aren’t enough to get the win, and Paige is left frustrated in the ring. Sasha takes advantage with some elbows, yet Paige regains her composure, reversing a hurricanrana attempt into the RamPaige!

Despite being left groggy, Sasha rolls under the ropes, and then Team B.A.D solidify Paige missing out on a win by pulling their Team B.A.D cohort to the outside. Paige throws Sasha back in and tries to lock in the PTO, yet the time runs out and Paige is left absolutely gutted in the ring. JBL brings up that maybe Team B.A.D should have been disqualified, and I wonder if that will play into a future story arc perhaps?

On Raw Fallout, the champ and challenger gave their thoughts on the newly-booked Night Champions match:

Our final installment in Summer Rae and Lana’s captivating cattiness is next, as we see Lana’s reaction to an interview that Renee Young did with Summer Rae during commercials.

Summer says that Dolph stuck his head out of his locker room, and told Summer to come inside. If Lana had seen both earlier segment involving Summer, she would know Summer was lying about that and stop sulking!

Anywho, Summer continues to BS and I am absolutely loving her elaborate scheme. She said that it seemed that Dolph was going to clear the air, something that she wants to do. Summer says that she was mesmerized by what happened next – Dolph got completely undressed in front of her! Summer says that Dolph and Little Zigs asked her to join him in the shower, and she only said no as she is obviously standing by Rusev. She said that she will never forget the image of the water dripping down “his glistening body”. Renee looks like she wishes she’d seen some that! Hilarious.

Summer continues by saying that Dolph gave her “the look”, and that it was clear Dolph was trying to seduce her! She says she will never forget the name of Goldust Dolph standing naked in-front of her. The plot thickens!

Finally, Mrs McMessiah herself, Stephanie McMahon was involved in an explosive main event segment with Seth Rollins, John Cena and Sting. Steph continues to push Rollins’ buttons, announcing he will be in two matches at Night of Champions!

Thoughts: It is easy to view last night’s Raw as a flop. Two matches lasted just one minute and forty seconds, whilst the other last three minutes and twenty one seconds. However, add that to entrances, constant promotion across the show for the matches and one-night storyline of determining a new #1 contender, a promo from Nikki Bella and the fact that last night featured the first ever Divas Beat the Clock challenge, then actually, the girls received a solid amount of time that actually progressed this story along nicely. I personally feel that we have had enough matches that whilst solid, have been lacking a storyline element necessary to get us to really, really care about them, instead of just care about them. We finally saw a story begin to develop last night.

I honestly thought Becky and Alicia put on a cute little match. Alicia’s big boot, the quick-fire pin attempts and Becky’s reversal into the Dis-Arm-Her were all nice highlights. Becky looked impressive, whilst still clocking up a respectable time in the challenge. She definitely came out of the night looking better than Paige.

I also enjoyed the interesting aspect to Brie and Charlotte’s match. It was blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short, yet JBL summed it up perfectly (I often find myself praising him a lot recently which is weird); Brie was too busy trying to run away and annoy Charlotte that she forgot to actually defend herself. Charlotte managed to grab her, seize an opportunity and put Brie away with the Natural Selection. Whilst a terrible finisher, I don’t think she has utilised it yet on the main roster, so her using it tonight was fresh. It is a much quicker move to pull off too, which makes sense as Charlotte was trying to win as fast as possible. She did just that, moving onto to Night of Champions to face Nikki.

Speaking of Nikki, I also enjoyed her in-ring promo. She looked utterly incredible, and the Bellatron countdown graphic is hilarious. Fun little touch. Whilst it reminds me of people like The Honky Tonk Man and Santino *vomits*, it plays into Nikki’s condescending, airhead character. “Look at me now, I even have my own Bellatron!” Whilst those exact words didn’t come out of Nikki’s mouth, you can imagine her saying just that.

Another sign of good booking was allowing Sasha to face Paige, and not a different member of Team B.A.D. Whilst choosing Tamina would continue the hype resulting from her epic Total Divas appearance, most fans don’t watch that show, and Sasha is so over on the main roster. Whilst having her appear in a match under two minutes long wasn’t the best way to promote her, it was better than nothing. She didn’t lose either, leaving Paige in a teary mess.

Speaking of that meltdown, I honestly see Paige turning heel after Night of Champions. She is so passionate about holding the Divas Championship, and I think that passion will eat away at her until it evolves into obsession. Paige and Charlotte would have an epic feud, and maybe Becky can even turn too to hark back to the Knight Dynasty days of SHIMMER?

Elsewhere, I LOVED the storyline development between Lana and Summer Rae this week. Summer was absolutely fantastic in every appearance. She threw caution to the wind in the ring and blew everyone’s wigs off in her interview with Renee! It was interesting to hear her say that she only didn’t succumb to Dolph’s advances because she is aligned with Rusev. Her dialogue made it seem that the two of them are more business associates as opposed to lovers. Despite their kiss before, I prefer that. Summer and Rusev should be working together; not every guy/girl pairing has to sleep together. Just ask Darren Young and Tamina. Oh, the glory days of NXT: Redemption…

Whilst Summer may have regressed in the ring over time, she is a phenomenal actress and she is my MVP for this week. She has the sultry, evil sass queen character down and I am HERE. FOR. IT!

I am also here for Stephanie, who continued to toy with Seth Rollins this week. Whilst he does deliver the goods in the ring, he doesn’t half go on whinging! Steph is doing all she can to get her investment to man up. I like that despite Steph wanting her man to win, John Cena’s words in the main event segment made it obvious that she doesn’t mind testing Rollins’ patience. He has bagged major victories/DQ losses as of late, yet only thanks to interferences, so she needs to put him in his paces like never before. If he loses his two matches at NOC, Steph won’t care as she will be rolling in the cash and she can select a new bloke to step up her plate anyway. The main event was such a fun segment and I do wonder if it will lead to Seth, or maybe even Trips and Steph turning face.

Moving onto SmackDown, I guess we’ll see Charlotte defeat Alicia or something. I would be intrigued to see Sasha speak up and decide that she deserves a chance as she “beat” Paige on Monday. Go on WWE, I’ll let you have that idea on me. You’re welcome.

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