Greetings peeps and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux! Raw has rolled on into Ohio this week on the road towards the worst named pay-per-view since ‘This Tuesday in Texas’, WWE Fastlane. This week, we were treated to an in-ring promo from Lana, some on-stage verbal shenanigans from Stephanie McMahon, managerial duty from Naomi, Natalya and the WWE Divas Champion, Nikki Bella and we saw Brie Bella clash with Paige between the ropes. Let’s get a move on before I hurl my guts up into a sick bag at the thought of more horrendous PPV names. December to Dismember. Oops. Too late.
Raw began with my ears bleeding thanks to an in-ring promo from Roman Reigns. I kid, I kid. He’s not that bad. WWE made Daniel Bryan call Roman ‘big dawg’. Cringey!
Thankfully, the only woman that measures up to Beyoncé, Stephanie McMahon, heals my ears miraculously with the sound of her sarcastic tone. Who Run The World? Steph. Queen Ste is accompanied by HHH, Kane and the Big Show. Not sure where Seth Rollins was at this point. Perhaps changing he was changing his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram passwords…
Stephanie hypes the PPV everyone is “excited” about, Fastlane. Her sarcasm is so infectious. She then berates Roman and Daniel for being outlandish bullies, to put it in my words. She said spearing an “innocent” Big Show was done totally out of spite. Roman is totally laid back, and responds in a pretty funny way, leaning back and folding his arms after his response. Not sure about that ‘Too Cool’ body language but I’ll let you off Roman.
Stephanie then describes Daniel Bryan as “sick and twisted” after he stuffed Kane in a Casket, where decomposing bodies are kept. Wait, Michael Hayes was in the casket too? Alas, Stephanie wants to punish the face duo for their crimes, and she puts them in a tag team match against their ‘victims’.
It is match time now as the spotlight is cast onto the Divas Championship picture. Brie Bella is to go one-on-one with Paige.
The segment begins with Paige already in the ring before Brie (along with Nikki) enters the arena to ‘Beautiful Life’, a theme that does not fit her ‘character’ (whatever that ‘character’ may be) whatsoever. I don’t mind the song, yet she is not a face and as a heel, it is not ok. Before the match begins, Michael Cole explains that The Bellas made fun of Paige and Renee Young whilst on the WWE App. Perhaps Brie should make fun of her reflection for wearing all of that green. Her attire is horrific right now. At least it isn’t shiny. #SilverLinings
The match starts with Paige taking Brie down with a Lou Thesz Prees before mounting her with punches. The onslaught of strikes continue after Paige kicks Brie square in the jaw. Brie fights back with a kick the shin, which she follows up with a dropkick to the head. After an elbow strike, Brie hits her patented running knee, which looks like it totally missed Paige’s face. That’s because it did. JBL nearly fluffs the name of Drew McDonald, a wrestler whom Paige’s family were close to (I could have sworn he nearly said Drew McIntyre!), yet thankfully, he managed to get it out right in the end. Classy tribute from Paige.
Following a cover attempt, Brie locks in a really long headscissor submission, which quite frankly bored the life out of me. I have said it before and will say it again, a short match like this really doesn’t need a rest hold that long. After Paige breaks out, Brie keeps up her assault, levelling the former two-time Divas Champion with a missile dropkick. Oh Brie, was that another face move you just did? Oh yeah, it was.
After Paige kicks out of the pin that followed the dropkick, the tide turns and the Anti-Diva makes her comeback. Brie and Paige are stalemates when they both slap each other at the same time, yet Paige is the lucky one who is able to capitalise next. She hits three consecutive, connected clotheslines and a stiff dropkick, which she follows up with a RamPaige attempts. Nikki gets onto the apron to try and distract Paige, yet Hell in Boots just throws Brie into Nikki, sending her flying! The second time marks the charm for Paige, who hits RamPaige for the win.
After the match, Paige ducks a Nikki Bella clothesline and retreats to the ramp. The two staredown as Nikki raises her belt up high. Let’s hope it isn’t Nikki’s much longer or WWE start to give a damn about this feud.
Shortly after our Divas match (at least you live watchers didn’t have to wait til Hour 3 for once…), we get treated to our weekly dose of Lana. The Ravishing Russian introduces a John Cena video package that shows some memorable highlights before a strong dose of lowlights! Lana questions that if Cena is vulnerable inside following his thirteen years battling against the odds. Long story short, Cena makes his way out to the arena and he declares that this “old man” will whip Rusev’s ass! Instead, Rusev whoops Cena’s leaving him laying after throwing him into the set.
In our final Divas ringside action of the evening, check out Naomi and Natalya having words as they support their respective tag team pals, The Usos and Tyson Kidd & Cesaro. Surely a heel turn is looming for Nattie? Honestly, I’m all for it!
Thoughts: Let us start with by far the best segment of the night, Lana and Rusev’s confrontation with John Cena. Whilst Lana has rubbed shoulders with many top WWE names such as The Rock and Chris Jericho, her and Rusev have yet to be embroiled in a full feud of this calibre. With the incredible video packages sandwiched between Lana’s cut-throat promos, it is safe to say that there is nothing not to like. I won’t go over-the-top and say that last night was her best ever vocal work, as it wasn’t. Yet she is so solid.
The fact that the match is now for the United States title is even better. I am so excited that WWE are having Cena mix it up for the midcard belt. It elevates the championship and means Rusev has even more to lose, which will imply that Lana will have to put more effort in to have Rusev hold onto the belt. Will Lana finally get physical? Perhaps pull on Cena’s leg or hit him with the belt or gold star medal? Now that Rusev is involved in the next level of feud, I want to see next level interaction from Lana.
Another positive yet again was Stephanie. How she tried to make out that Daniel Bryan was responsible for the Casket Match and should be ashamed for putting Kane in a casket was hilarious. Clearly Stephanie has somehow managed to wipe the memory of Katie Vick from her brain. If only we all could.
Onto the middle ground events of last night’s now. I was really pleased to see a continuation of the tension between Natalya and Naomi this week, following their really well done restaurant altercation on SmackDown. WWE rarely create segments like that nowadays and it was massively refreshing to see something like that. Whilst I enjoyed that and liked what we got on Raw, I would have liked that tiny bit more to capitalise on the Smackdown segment. Perhaps Nattie could have ‘inadvertently’ interfered to allow Tyson and Cesaro to get the win? What we saw was decent, yet not great, but I do appreciate the effort.
Onto the negatives, Paige vs Brie. It wasn’t particularly bad, yet it was just boring. The rest hold dominated the match, Brie’s performance and in-ring body language completely contrast her character and Paige hardly got any offence in. Paige always says that she is a “figh’er”, yet the segment closed with her retreating to the ramp? That is out of character behaviour completely. She should have kicked Nikki’s face in and flung her into the barricade or something. I didn’t hate the segment by any means, yet again, similarly to the Naomi/Nattie situation, I was left wanting more.
I feel like a broken record yet all-in-all, this week was a sub-par week on the whole. The non-wrestling personalities shone once more whilst the girls in physical roles lacked that extra spark that I was looking for. On next week’s Raw, I would have Paige, Natalya and Naomi team up to face The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox. After Naomi is shoved into Natalya, Nattie should snap, attacking Naomi and Paige in the process. Nikki can then hit The Rack Attack on Paige, taking the credit and the win. Then after the match, we get a backstage catfight between Naomi and Natalya, with their tag teams breaking it up.
Will WWE listen to my ideas? Probably not.