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Raw Redux (February 16th, 2015): Paige is Dressed to Impress

Vroom Vroom! Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux, the last one before WWE Fastlane. The Divas Division’s engines were revving loudly last night and storylines progressed at decent speed as we actually got treated to some interesting character development and two matches!

Lana kicked off the show, as Rusev and her confronted John Cena in a slightly more refreshing way of opening up the show in recent weeks. Well, Lana being in an opening segment was refreshing, not Cena; he’s been in most the last ten years!

In addition to that showdown, we also saw a backstage segment featuring Brie and Nikki Bella, Paige, Cameron and some Rosebuds (one of which was Mia Yim!), a moment that lead to an interesting outfit choice for Paige in her match against Summer Rae. Naomi and Natalya also got some ring time, as they competed in mixed tag team action. Plus, a wild Renee Young was spotted on the mic backstage. In a shocker however, Queen Stephanie is nowhere to be seen – boo! Introductions over, let’s get to the action!

Kicking off the show is Mr Motormouth (another pun as lame as the Fastlane name), John Cena, who addresses his US Title match with Rusev at the next pay-per-view. He says the talk about Rusev being unstoppable is a load of crap, a comment which gets a rise out the Russians who make their way out from behind the curtain.

Lana says that she is sick of Cena speaking “the same old tired rhetoric”. That is coming from a woman who kisses Vladimir Putin’s back-end every week in a promo. It got a laugh out of me anyway. She said that her and Rusev live in reality, not a fantasy world like John. The reality is that Rusev is superior to every WWE superstar including John Cena. Cena responds by saying that Rusev has never had his ass beat, and that he’s going to hand it to him tonight.

A major altercation takes place on stage as Cena mauls Rusev, mirroring Rusev’s attack on him the week prior. Cena stands tall over Rusev, shouting that anyone can be beaten. “Do you know who you’re dealing with?” If Rusev didn’t before, he knows now. Whilst not the most personal feud ever, this one has been booked rather well with all the cinematic promos and brawls like this. Rusev got destroyed like never before, yet hopefully this means his undefeated streak will remain intact after Fastlane.

It is time for another backstage segment now as Byron Saxton is stood outside the Divas locker room, and he hopes to get a word with Paige. The Bella Twins, not Paige rush out of the locker room, and they have stolen Paige’s ring gear. They say that if Paige does manage to compete tonight, she’ll be doing it, as we say in the UK – starkers!

The Bellas run off as Paige makes her way out in just a towel. Good thing Jerry Lawler isn’t on Raw anymore, we don’t want his blood pressure rising! Paige needs to find some gear, and asks Cameron to borrow her horrendous “Hit Me Baby One More Time” inspired garments. Cameron says that even if she did lend it to Paige, it wouldn’t look good on her; GIRL BYE! Newsflash Cameron, it also looks terrible on you. I like you a lot, but no. You’re a wrestler, not going to a school disco.

Just when Paige has seemingly ran out of ideas, she spots the Rosebuds. Paige opts to ask Leva Bates, dressed as a fairy(?), leaving the others, including Mia Yim (in a kimono-style outfit) outside in the corridor. Will WWE please just sign Mia already?!

It is time to head out to the arena now as we see that a purple and gold-clad Summer Rae is already in the ring. Summer getting a jobber entrance? Never! Paige’s music blares from the speakers next, yet Hell in Boots doesn’t show up. Her music starts over and this time, Paige makes her entrance looking more like a joke in boots! The attire is hilarious and the commentators lap it up. They do however applaud Paige on making the best of the situation looking like an extra in Alice in Wonderland.

The match begins with Jobber Summer talking trash about Paige’s silly outfit. Summer ends up eating her words as she gets rollicked into the ropes on two occasions, moves Paige follows up with a headbutt, corner elbow strikes and some mudhole stomping. The Bellas look on from the backstage area via a monitor as Paige delivers more punishment to Summer’s doorstep. The Anti Diva then brutalises her opponent with her signature knees to the face from the apron. Paige looks to keep her advantage going yet Summer uses a schoolgirl as a transition to get into a better position before levelling the number one contender with a spinning kick. Very nice little exchange.

Summer nets a near fall before using her long legs to suck the life out of Paige with a Lotus Lock. Booker T says he’s never seen the move before; how dare he not have watched Kaitlyn on NXT: Redemption! After breaking the hold, Summer connects with a leg drop, and you could totally hear Paige calling the spots. She has a knack for going that! Summer aims to hit a second, yet Paige rolls out of way. It’s time for the momentum to shift!

Paige hits a trifecta of connecting clotheslines followed by a dropkick to start the comeback. As quickly as it started, her comeback ends (in a good way!) as she knocks Summer down with a kick and locks in the PTO for the win.

After the match, The Bellas take to the stage, and begin to mock Paige on her lovely Rosebud costume (FYI, it still looks better than what The Beautiful People wear). Paige cuts Nikki off, telling her that unlike The Bellas, she doesn’t need a certain outfit to make her look good. Her work speaks for itself, and at Fastlane, she’s going to be wearing something better, the WWE Divas Championship. Honestly, the Divas Title looks like it could be an accessory to what Paige was wearing tonight. Sadly, the belt doesn’t look any less tacky!

We return to the ring for our final Divas segment of the night, one that involves Naomi teaming with Jimmy Uso (with Jey Uso) to take on Natalya and Tyson Kidd (with Cesaro) in the first ever Husband and Wife tag team match. As if a Married Couples match took longer to happen than an Interspecies tag team match!

Following a recap of the restaurant shenanigans two weeks back, the match gets underway with the gents starting off the proceedings. Annoying that WWE didn’t want to reference Naomi vs Nattie on Main Event. I’m being picky yet still, that was a good match and Naomi levelled the score!

Tyson pussyfoots around *pats self on the back for making a cat joke* and after staring Jimmy down, his cowardly self tags in Natalya. Actually, he basically slapped her hard on the arm. Nice bloke. Tal and Naomi pace around the ring before exchanging headscissor submissions, both of which end after both Divas kip up out of the hold. A great show of athleticism is only display until Naomi kind of back down and tags in Jimmy.

Both superstars are back in the ring and this time, Tyson decides to man up and get physical. He traps Jimmy in a standing side headlock before pulling his hair, kicking him in the shoulder and slapping him in the face. Tyson’s confidence doesn’t last long, as yet again, he worms his way out of the match by getting his wife to do all of the work.

With both Divas back in the ring, both match each other in a chain wrestling exchange and then both hit dropkicks at the exact same time. Naomi tries to gain an advantage with a wheelbarrow manoeuvre, yet Natalya reverses it and drops her foe right on her coccyx. The Dungeon Diva then runs right over Naomi’s back and hits a basement dropkick for the near fall.

Natalya asks Tyson if he wants in (seemingly forgetting her can’t take advantage of her work on Naomi) and Tyson’s pathetic behaviour means Natalya flies into a Sharpshooter attempt distracted. A sweet back-and-forth set of pin attempts ends the match, with Naomi keeping Nattie down for the three count.

After the match, Cesaro begins to berate Natalya, yet Tyson intervenes… only so he can mouth off at her like she just gave away one of their cats. Tyson flips out, giving her an not-so-awesome belated Valentine’s Gift. I wonder what he actually got her. Maybe a new exercise bike to match the treadmill he got ‘her’ for her birthday? He really does an amazing job with his character.

Thoughts: A nice showing of action for the Divas this week! Both feuds that were spotlighted progressed well, as both has repercussions affiliated with championship matches at Fastlane.

I thought the backstage segment with Paige and The Bella Twins was nicely done. This is the type of backstage segment that we need more of that can just help a feud have that little bit more purpose. WWE could have had Paige squash Summer again and that be the end of it, yet they managed to incorporate four Divas and the Rosebuds into the segment, meaning the latter group won’t just appear on WWE Superstars. The Bellas were able to show some personality for once and Paige got to show her more comedic side that we’ve grown to know and love in recent weeks. It is refreshing to see WWE allow a girl to be goofy and entertaining (and not in a ridiculous way like Emma) and still be put over as a serious threat in the ring. WWE need to allow more Divas to do this.

I really enjoyed seeing Cameron get some spotlight too. WWE could have easily just had Paige look at the Rosebuds and take the outfit, yet it shows that WWE have faith in Cameron’s acting ability to give her that chance to make an appearance. Cameron is an underutilised character who I would love to see in a managerial role.

The singles match itself was yet again, way too short, yet at least it was more memorable than recent weeks. The announcers referencing Paige’s ability to take her unfortunate situation on the chin was nicely done. This match also showed that contrary to some people’s beliefs, Summer Rae can wrestle. I thought her Lotus Lock and schoolgirl transition into the spinning kick were well executed.

What I didn’t like, other than the match length, was how simple Paige’s comeback was. It was very much a five moves of doom scenario. The booking was a little too basic for me in regards to that. I also wasn’t a fan of Stephanie not being around. How dare Stephanie have a personal life or do other work! ;)

Back to the good stuff we got and another positive to take from this week was how Natalya and Naomi were centre-stage during their mixed tag. Even Cole said that the “Divas are stealing the show”. The rest of the show must have been drab for two kip-ups to be the highlight. But anyway, I digress, it was nice for the girls to receive that kind of attention. The pin atempt combination at the end of the match was also really, really nice. Considering WWE won’t give the Raw Divas a lot of time, I’d love to see Naomi and Natalya square off again on Main Event, with even more time given than last week. Treat us Diva fans well WWE and we won’t act as psychotic on social media! I guess you haven’t realised that yet judging my the lacklustre booking thus far in 2015, so hopefully someone in the ‘E will take note now after reading this!

Stay tuned to see my WWE Fastlane prediction later this week. After winning last year’s PPV Prediction Scoreboard between the Diva Dirt staff (15-5), I’ve got off to a rotten start in 2015. Here’s hoping Sunday steers me on the right path to defending my title!

Until then, have a fantastic week!

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