Friday, June 21, 2024

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Raw Redux: (August 8th, 2016): Plan B(rooke) denied & a cake covered bride

RAW’s been strong for the women since the Brand Extension, so did they keep up this week? More on the G-Banks pairing? Nia finally mixing it up with a main roster talent? An appearance from someone other than those in the title feud? Well no… but let’s have a look and see what we did get.

“The Boss” interrupts Mick Foley’s phone conversation with Stephanie McMahon, not Steph’s Dad, but our new Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. She addresses how her match with Charlotte at Summerslam is unfair due to her ‘pitbull’ Dana Brooke, so she asks for a handicap match! However, Foley knows that people want to see Sasha take on Charlotte alone, so he sets up tonight’s match: Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke, if Sasha wins Dana is banned from ringside at Summerslam, but if Dana wins then the match will become a 2-on-1 handicap match.

Next up, we see Lana brought to the ring by her new husband Rusev. The two are out to share their wedding celebrations, with the ring decorated with cakes and champagne. A cheesy slideshow shows the newlyweds’ wedding pictures, a cheeky preview before we get to see it all unfold on the next season of Total Divas! The celebrations are cut short when Roman Reigns comes down to the ring, who challenges Rusev for a title match for the US Championship. However, the Champ rejects the offer and Reigns precedes with a toast, referring to Lana as a ‘mail order Bride’. This upsets the Bulgarian Brute who scuffles with Reigns, but accidentally pushes Lana into the cakes! Covered in cake, Lana screams “I HATE YOU!” and throws a tantrum in a post-Bridezilla rage.

Backstage, the couple run to Foley for help, who schedules the US Title match for Summerslam, much to the dismay of the cake covered couple. A exclusive shows more of Lana’s tantrum as she makes her way to the back to get cleaned up.

Ding! Ding! Ding! It’s match time! Sasha taking on Dana… anyone keeping a tally on how many times we’ve had this match? Nothing too exciting about this match, except a botched miscommunication between Charlotte and Dana in front of the ref’s face that technically should have got Sasha disqualified. The match ends with Sasha capitalising on this miscommunication and lining up Dana for the turnbuckle diving double kneedrop for the pinfall. An annoyed Charlotte looks on, knowing that it will be one on one between Sasha Banks and Charlotte at SummerSlam.

Interestingly, as the match ends, Michael Cole mentions that whoever wins at Summerslam needs to be wary of Nia Jax and another promo airs showing recaps of Jax’s destruction both in NXT and on RAW.

Thoughts: Well yeah, as I mentioned, this RAW was a bit of a dud, but was good in terms of storyline progression. We needed Dana Brooke out the way, another squash with Nia wasn’t needed unless she did something drastic and I guess the others women aren’t needed until after Summerslam or else they’d just be jobbing so why waste an appearance. Therefore, my thoughts section will be less directed at RAW’s content this week and more on some specific thoughts that I’d like to hear your opinions on.

First up: Dana Brooke. I’ll go on record and say that I’m not a fan. She wasn’t ready for the main roster, latched onto Emma in NXT, Charlotte on RAW and doesn’t really have anything unique about her. I’ll admit that she’s been much more solid in the ring, but she still brings nothing to the table. Mic skills are meh… she doesn’t really have a gimmick aside from flexing her muscles… her moveset doesn’t even compliment those muscles… she hasn’t got any chemistry with Charlotte… don’t get me started on that weird purple ring attire… she’s basically like a CAW from WWE 2K16. If the plan is to go Charlotte vs. Dana after Summerslam, then they need to get to work on giving us a reason to care about her first. Although, I am open minded – a feud with Charlotte might make her come out of her shell, or just expose her flaws more – so we will see!

Next: Lana. To think that post-WM31 she was the most over woman on the roster, shows that they have something there, but the WWE clearly have no idea what to do with her. She’s not ready to mix with the division just yet (especially with the women kicking it up a notch), but now her character is so close to her personal life… there’s pretty much no point in it anymore. It’s fascinating because this is something that wouldn’t have happened in the 90s. There was no social media, Total Divas, TMZ etc., but kayfabe is becoming a thing of the past and Lana’s at a stage where her real life and kayfabe are being blurred so much, but it doesn’t work since they’re so different. If they had left the wedding stuff away from storylines and had ‘CJ Perry’ on Total Divas, it would be understandable, but now they’re mixing it all up and it’s going to be messy… I guess we won’t know what they do until Total Divas starts, but I can sense the ‘YOU’RE NOT RUSSIAN’ chants coming from smark crowds which will ruin the Lana character as we know it.

Finally: Sasha’s double kneestomp as a finisher. I can’t believe that this hasn’t come up earlier since she’s been using the Bank Statement for over a year, but it’s usually common trend for wrestlers to have another finisher aside from a submission move – even within the women’s division: Paige– PTO/Rampaige, Charlotte: Figure 8/Natural Selection, Naomi: Rear View/Slaymission – so I’ve been waiting to see what Sasha would use. She did use the Bankrupt (straight jacket neckbreaker) in NXT, but that doesn’t quite have the sting and seeing her use the kneedrop to put Brooke away was a bit of a dud – especially since we’ve seen both moves kicked out of so regularly. I thought we’d start seeing the Frog Splash become a regular fixture, but it would be nice to see Banks with her own move. So what do you guys think? What alternate finishing move should Sasha use? Or should she even use another one?

So how do you feel about this week’s RAW? No Nia Jax? Still no sign of Paige? Good build towards Summersmalm? 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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