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Raw Redux (December 22nd, 2014): Natalya Sets Her Sights on the Ultimate Christmas Gift

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s wonderful every time that I’m around I know (#HEEL) yet the festive season is upon us and last night, we were treated to a Christmas themed Monday Night Raw that can only be described as a must-have gift for the holidays. We received two Divas matches, both lasting a reasonable length of time – you could say that they are excellent Christmas crackers! Add in a Stocking filler of an appearance from Lana on Piper’s Pit of all talk show segments and a sighting of Rosa Mendes (who is no longer a rarer sight than Rudolph) and we are all set for WWE’s flagship, adrenaline-filled sleigh ride. And Hulk Hogan is dressed as HO HO Hogan. No, I’m not making that up.

Our first noteworthy appearance is from the Pig in Blanket, AKA Fandango with the sizzling Rosa Mendes wrapped around his arm. Does everyone have those mini bacon-wrapped sausages with their Christmas Roast? Anyway, before my belly starts rumbling, let’s get into what Rosa did. Well, she didn’t really do a lot as her entrance wasn’t televised yet she looked good doing not a lot at least. She shimmied around Fanny (Dango also works as an acceptable abbreviation) after the match and gave him a bit of a snog. Those two defo hit the bedroom for a teamy night with some Bucks Fizz and mince pies after that!

Random note as he was next in the show, I am sick of the Big Show. He has turned way too many times and is so stale. I prefer him as a Face so his current role makes him even worse. I think it’s time to hang up that singlet…

We next see a radiant Renee Young interviewing her man Dean Ambrose. Fair play Dean my friend, you got yourself a keeper in Renee. She looked beautiful last night.

It is time for our first match of the night as Brie ‘I was in the Feud of the Year with the company’s Principal Owner and now I’m a jobber’ Bella, accompanied by her sister, the WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella, faces off against the woman who made her tap last week, Natalya. Nattie’s husband Tyson Kidd is at ringside, so I wonder if he’ll play a role? Well, I already know the answer as I’ve seen the match already but alas!

FYI, I am not a fan of Brie’s ring gear at all. Metallic looking ripped trousers? It’s Christmas season Brie, not Halloween. I don’t want to be scared thanking you!

The match gets underway as the camera focuses on Tyson wearing his Fearless Nikki baseball cap. Hilarious! The girls start out by chain wrestling nicely, with Brie shutting Nattie down and stopping her from doing her usual technical reversals and rolls. After taking some stuff knees to the kidneys, Nattie shrugs Brie off, yet having a word with Tyson proves costly as Brie takes advantage and sends Tal crashing to the mat from the middle rope.

After a two count and a monotone “COMMMMEEE OOONN REF” from Brie, the newly-heel-for-no-reason Bella clouts Nattie twice in the face with vicious running knees. I’m not a fan of Brie’s character at all but she really can make moves look realistic. Those knees were dynamite. Brie locks in an armtrap submissionfor a short time and just as it looks like Natalya is to mount some offense, Brie shuts her down with a clothesline.

Brie locks in the same submission again and this time, Nattie knows what to do to escape. Once free, she clobbers Brie with a set of hard punches. Brie goes for a sunset flip, which Nattie reverses into a Sharpshooter attempt. Brie reverses that into a small package yet then Natalya reverses that into a pin of her own and she gets the win!

After the match, Natalya charges at Nikki, who has jumped the apron and she bashes her right off! I’m impressed with Natalya showing a little fire! Nikki is clutching her shin again – presumably to get the attention of Tyson – but Tyson is for once, not being a douche and he is celebrating with his wife… with the Fearless Nikki cap on. Well, I guess Natalya is happy to take that.

Natalya then poses with the Divas Title as the segment comes to an end. And if you were wondering about that the “ultimate Christmas gift” was that I referenced in this Redux title, it was the Divas Championship, not divorce papers.

P.S: A last note regarding this match; how hilarious is the referee’s face in the still image used on the home page for this Redux? Something about Natalya’s hand is freaking him out! Put your best captions below!

The Ice Queen’s presence is upon us as Lana and Rusev are guests on Roddy Piper‘s Piper’s Pit in the next segment. Two major talk show segments for Lana and Rusev across two weeks for the Russian duo. I assume they’ll get slots on either The Cutting Edge or The Peep Show next week considering Edge and Christian are guest hosts?

Piper makes a few lame jokes before introduces Lana and Rusof, whoever that is. Well done Roddy for addressing Lana first though, she is the star of the team after all.

The non-Scotsman who dresses Scottish says that he likes to get to the point and he tries to but he is cut off by the American who dresses and acts Russian, who manages to Bulgarian who also acts Russian. I hope you are keeping up. Whatever next, we’ll have Canadians and Puerta Rican Americans playing Mexican cousins. Oh wait, TNA already did that.

Lana berates America’s idea of Christmas and nearly spoils that Santa isn’t real (there would have been so much heat if she spoiled that for little 3-year old Nicholas in Row 2) yet Roddy gets fired up rather quickly. Clearly, she just ruined the illusion for him too. She says if believing in Santa is ok, believe in this! After footage is shown of Ryback getting his arse kicked on SmackDown, Lana is in hysterics. Her facials in this segment were simply magnificent. Ryback and Rusev scrap to the end this short yet sweet segment.

The final match of the night that we are interested in is the final segment related to us tonight as we get a six Diva Santa’s Little Helper tag team match. The Divas get separate entrances (IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!) as we see Alicia Fox, Emma and Naomi enter the arena first, followed by their opponents, Cameron, Summer Rae and PAIGE!!!!!!! Note: all of those exclamations were for Paige – so glad she is back on Raw wrestling. And she got the longest time for her entrance. And she got a pop. Happy with that!

I’ll shut up stanning now as the match gets underway with Emma kicking things off with Summer Rae. A pet hate of mine happens here, as despite Superstars only being watched by 43 people, Emma and Summer repeat the exact same routine from the beginning of their match from that show last week. So annoying.

A “WE WANT PAIGE” chant beams from the crowd, yet Summer decides to tag in Cameron instead. I’m all for that as she knocks the Christmas stuffing out of Emma with a sweet codebreaker. Cam works over Emma before finally tagging in everyone’s favourite heel Diva, Paige.

The ‘Bah Humbug’ Diva headbutts Emma and regardless of it being Chrimbo, proceeds to knee Emma relentlessly like she was a Mardi Gras Pinata. She does what she wants! After a close call, Emma kicks out of a pin attempt, only to then get wrapped in a clamp submission. Emma fights out after a distressing near-minute in the hold before she and Paige hit a double clothesline. Both girls make a tag and the former Funkadactyls are now the legal women!

Naomi gets the best of the face-off, hitting a flip clothesline and dropkick in quick succession. Naomi then flips over the top rope, near concusses Cameron with a kick and then she hangs the mouthy Californian off the top rope. The Funky Floridian tries to get the win, yet Summer Rae breaks up the pin. Chaos ensues as Alicia takes Summer’s bracket off with a big boot, yet then Paige delivers similar treatment to Alicia. Paige then throws Emma out of the ring yet Emma trips Paige afterwards ensuring she takes her to the outside with her.

Back in the ring, Naomi tags Alicia, who basically just no sold Paige’s kick. Cameron and her go at it fiercely, with a nice series of reversals. Alicia impresses me so much by reversing Cameron’s schoolgirl attempt exquisitely. Alicia hits her leg vice finisher and gets the win for her team. Two weeks of wins in a row for Alicia!

Thoughts: Lets split this week’s thoughts into some Yuletide themed categories.

The “OH MY GOD, THIS WAS AT THE TOP OF MY LIST!” moments:

A return to two matches in one night is certainly a welcome booking decision from WWE, and with both matches getting a neat amount of time each, I was thoroughly entertained. Whilst I preferred the six Diva tag, the singles match was solid. Natalya has been quite aggressive as of late and I thought the reversals between her and Brie at the end of the match were as sweet as chestnuts (roasted on an open fire at your discretion).

As for the six Diva match, I honestly miss seeing a good old fashioned tag match like this that gets a nice amount of time and is really fun to watch. Emma, Paige and Summer brought the character element big time whilst in-ring wise, the MVP for me was Cameron. That codebreaker was really nice and her exchange at the end with Alicia was great. This girl can work. And no, I’ve not been drinking too much Eggnog. You can see the effort Cameron is putting in and I thought she did really well.

I also was a big fan of Lana getting yet another opportunity to share the mic with a legend in the field, Roddy Piper. Whilst I feel his best days with a microphone were echelons ago, having someone renowned for their mic work to interact with week-after-week is better than Lana just standing there cutting a promo. I joked earlier about her working with Edge and Christian next week yet I really hope that is the case. It keeps her Pro-Russia schpeel fresh.

The “gift you didn’t ask for, but is nice nonetheless” moments:

The ‘story’ behind Natalya challenging for Nikki’s title was a little hit and miss for me. Whilst, I liked that Natalya pushed Nikki off the apron and raised the belt, I wasn’t a fan of Tyson having little to no interaction with Nikki. Him wearing her baseball cap was genius, yet for me, I would have liked to have seen more blatant storytelling so we could see a reason as to why Natalya may hate Nikki, as well as just wanting her championship. Nattie beating Nikki’s sister is not a storyline – it is just a fact. Nikki playing mind games and taking advantage of Natalya’s marital issues will hopefully happen in the next coming weeks, otherwise, I’m going to get bored of seeing Brie job every week.

Hate me all you like for this, yet AJ being off Raw again was not something I am craving for, yet it was refreshing to see other girls get a chance. AJ has dominated screen time this year, so I’m not worried about admitting that it was good to see girls like Alicia, Emma and Cameron get a chance.

The “whoever decided this needs to receive a lump of coal” moments:

Alicia’s lack of character. Just because her and Paige split, it doesn’t mean one of them needed to turn face. Then as a face, it doesn’t mean to say Alicia can’t still be a batshit madwoman all the time. The fact her bipolar antics have been toned down is a real shame. She looked impressive and got the win, yet she didn’t really excite me unfortunately.

Where was the next installment in the The Miz/Naomi storyline? I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to hear anything more on this and get the next development. The action regarding that was more about the men involved this week. Here’s hoping this is a one-off and Naomi can return to prominence next week.

I think that calls time on this week’s Redux. Join me again next week just before the New Year Ball drops!

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