Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Raw Redux (January 12th, 2015): Foxy Slays Her Hand-Tied Prey

Happy Tuesday all and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux! Just like last week, we were treated to two Divas matches last night and a major amount of Diva appearances in the form of managers and authority figures. We received appearances from Eden, Lana, Natalya, WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella and Stephanie McMahon whilst taking part in matches were Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Naomi and Paige. Let’s just jump right into the action quicker than Jeremy Jackson got thrown out of the UK Celebrity Big Brother house – that was bloody fast!

The Queen of the Crop, Stephanie McMahon is the first Diva appearance of the show as may be expected, as she interrupts John Cena spewing some boring dialogue about The Authority firing Erick Rowan, Ryback and Dolph Ziggler last week.

Stephanie thanks the fans for their beautiful reception before laying it to John Cena.

“Are you even listening to yourself out here?! I mean, #AuthoritySucks. Woah, that’s awesome. That’s very, very original.” The shade is thick people.

Stephanie rubs a massive bucket of salt in Cena’s wounds as she mocks the men she fired last week and she blames Cena for all of it. Stephanie mentions how Seth Rollins used John Cena to get what they wanted and she brands Cena “selfish”. She takes the Michael out of his catchphrases and plays that old trick where she states what is clearly the “best for business” in the eyes of backstage WWE yet spins it sarcastically as a heel. It has to be all about John and I am loving this promo. Nevermind John, I’m all about Stephanie.

We next witness Stephanie McMessiah backstage with The Usos and Dean Ambrose. Perhaps she is going to go all Teddy Long and book a 6-man tag? Well, she is going to book a match, yet not that one. Due to comments that The Usos made on Friday Night SmackDown, she was warning them to watch their mouth. One of the twins (like Stephanie cares) stupidly says, “Is that it?” to which Stephanie reponds with by pitting Naomi in a match against Alicia Fox… and she will have one hand tied behind her back. Nice one Jimbo!

We return to the arena and whilst “funk is on a roll” are lyrics that are booming throughout New Orleans, funk seems to be at a major halt as Naomi begins to get her wrist tied up by the referee. Alicia is hilarious as she mocks Naomi by making fun of her and taunting her. Whilst Naomi may not feel like a winner with her hand tied, she is a winner in my book as she has a sleep, black attire that isn’t checkered. Congrats Naomi, you no longer look like a Formula One racing flag meets glow stick!

The match starts slow with Alicia toying Naomi, feigning a test of strength and a lock-up attempt. Having enough of Alicia’s antics, Naomi kicks her in the stomach and gets fierce all up in her opponent’s George Foreman. Naomi then bulldozes Alicia with a really rough looking clothesline. Love this.

Alicia soon gets the better of Naomi however, as she drops her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Alicia employs very little offense for a while next as she is simply relishing being in a superior position. She kicks tripping Naomi’s free hand to knock her flat on her face before forcing Naomi’s face into the mat herself. Not happy with just messing Naomi’s face up, she starts to work on Naomi’s mobile arm too, key lock style.

Naomi eventually makes it to her feet after using those bodacious buttocks of hers to her advantage. Although back in peril for a short moment thanks to a barrage of elbow strikes from Alicia (ala a female Kevin Nash – and yes I did just reference him on a Raw Redux), Naomi fights back with an elbow of her own. She then kicks Alicia square in the chest and follows that attack up with some stiff clotheslines. This match is so brutal and I praise Alicia for that sick selling!

Naomi next knocks Alicia to the outside with a nice sidekick before bashing Alicia’s brains into the ring apron. Unfortunately for Naomi, anything she can do, Alicia can do better. As Naomi gets back into the ring, Alicia absolutely knocks her block off with a hard big boot. She stays with her leg-based arsenal and finishes Naomi off with a sloppy looking Scissors Kick. Either way, Naomi will have been easily pinned following that devastating kick!

Our next Divas sighting also takes place in the arena and we are blessed to receive yet another glimpse of Stepharaoh McMahon (not my best Stephanie pun yet it was worth a shot). After Daniel Bryan discusses getting back in action, Steph of course cannot wait to interrupt. Stephanie is gold on the mic, yet not always gold in the wardrobe department. She was looking particularly good though last night!

The true boss (sorry Sasha Banks) firstly gives Bryan her fitness DVD as a gift considering her not be quite fit and ready. How considerate! Stephanie is also kind enough to give Bryan a flashback to her memory of him in 2014, when he was laid out by Kane and chokeslammed on the steel steps, giving him a major neck injury. McMahon refers to Bryan as an “average Joe” before saying that although his “unborn box troll children” believe in him, does he truly believe in himself? Amazing mind games.

Bryan raises his arms and chants YES!, before explaining to Stephanie that doing that is probably better for the body than her workout DVD! Oh burn. The shade keeps on coming as he listens to the crowd and then masks calling Stephanie a “ho” as a ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan impression. LOL. Bryan puts it in the clearest terms possible that he will not stop fighting and the fans won’t stop with him. Stephanie then introduces Bryan’s opponent for later this week, Jobber Kane… I mean Corporate Kane. Easy mistake to make!

It is time for Divas match two of this evening’s proceedings as Brie Bella is set to face Paige. Both Divas are already in the ring, meaning we didn’t get a single entrance tonight. Bit of a letdown! Speaking of letdowns, Tyson Kidd is there with Natalya in the corner of Paige, and of course, Nikki’s shadow is accompanied by champion Nikki Bella.

Paige gets the better of an initial collar and elbow tie up, accentuating her offense with a stiff elbow to the face. Paige rallies ferocious knee strikes into Brie’s face next, yet her patented scream comes back to bite her as it allows Brie to nail a kick, which was off camera. What is this, the opening night of TNA Impact on Destination America?

Brie rebounds back with her running knee to the face, a move that she follows up with a missile dropkick. Brie wraps Paige up in a chinlock next as the fans’ eyes become wrapped on Nikki Bella’s backside. Wowzers! That camera man knew exactly what he was doing. The commentators then begin to mention Brie and her marriage to Daniel Bryan, which is really weird considering Brie is a heel. Like how Nikki and John Cena’s relationship is never mentioned, whilst Brie is a heel, her personal life should not be referenced in my opinion.

After Brie shuts down Paige – who had just started to get life back in her – Mrs Danielson (I’m allowed to reference her marriage as a writer!) reverts back to the submission to bludgeon the life out of Paige. The former 2x Divas Champion eventually breaks free and does some bludgeoning of her own as she levels Brie with a sharp kick and series of headbutts. Paige then hits Brie with a patented kick to the face for a near fall.

Following that, Tyson Kidd gets up on the apron for no reason, bringing all the attention on himself. Paige goes crackers at him and this costs her as Brie rolls her up for the win. After the match, Nattie and Tyson argue yet Paige puts a stop it! She turns Tyson round and blasts him right across the face with a slap! Natalya decides not to stand there like a wet fish either as she struts off with a smile on her face. Tyson shouts to Nattie yet the Queen of Harts just isn’t listening.

After the show as part of the Raw Fallout, we received a cool piece of storyline follow-up that really could have been a part of Raw itself. An incensed Paige was seen backstage, being chased by Eden Stiles. Eden performs well in the role which is much better suited to her, and she gets Paige’s reaction regarding Tyson sticking his pussy-loving nose into her business. The claws are certainly out as Paige forgets to miaow and instead ROARS at Eden. She says that she doesn’t need Natalya and she doesn’t need Tyson. There’s a reason she has no friends. She then tells Eden to get out of her face. Amen Paige, amen.

It’s Lana time next as the Ice Queen accompanies Rusev for his match against Dean Ambrose. Lana brands the audience “idiots” and starts making fun at Ryback. Lana kisses up to The Authority and thanks them and John Cena for getting rid of Ryback. She then suggests Ryback get a job in a deli. I hear Walmart are hiring, although they tend to stay clear of former WWE employees in case of theft.

Stephanie also appears in the final segment of Raw, which is a contract signing for the WWE World Heavyweight Title match pitting Seth Rollins against John Cena and the bulldog chewing a wasp, Brock Lesnar. Don’t let him hear me say that!

Thoughts: Let me first give my two cents on the better match of the night in my opinion, Alicia Fox vs Naomi. This match, although pretty short, was in my opinion, so solid. These two have terrific chemistry, and although Naomi’s hand being behind her back was a major factor, they made this match have an entirely different feel to last Friday’s bout on SmackDown. This match had a really realistic and brutal feel to it, two qualities I really enjoy in a match. Alicia’s selling was as always, absolutely fantastic. Naomi brought the fire with her clotheslines and then, the icing on the cake was the absolutely UNREAL kick at the end from Alicia. Wow. That looked so painful! Top work yet again from these two.

I was also a major fan of how Stephanie inserted herself into Naomi and Jimmy Uso’s storyline. Whilst she didn’t speak with Naomi directly, she punished The Usos by punishing Naomi. This was textbook wrestling heeldom and I loved it. Stephanie’s reaction to confusing Jimmy and Jey also – LOL! In terms of Stephanie elsewhere in the show, she was stellar. The sarcasm was flowing, she looked fantastic and she even managed to get a cheeky plug in for her DVD!

Onto what I didn’t really like, Lana’s segment. Is it just me or was this one of her weakest yet? I’m not sure what it was yet I felt the dialogue was too repetitive and she said stupid a lot. Which was stupid. Stupid. I’ll stop saying it now. It’s getting stupid.

Another thing I wasn’t too fond of, Brie vs Paige. Yes, I am a Paige mega-fan yet this match was way short and to be honest, it was boring. My first gripe is with Brie, who needs to stop acting like a face in the ring! From shouting “Brie Mode!!!” all the time to performing high-flying moves like the missile dropkick; it is just not working at all.

Brie has no character whatsoever and her moveset does not fit her supposed heel persona. Other than the rips in her trousers, I thought she looked great, yet that is the only positive I can fathom from seeing her performance in the match. Her chinlocks were too basic for my liking and to win by a roll-up was so annoying. The distraction clearly left enough time for her to hit a Bella Buster, yet they decided to book it in the most bland way possible.

Tyson’s distraction also was so lame. I know he’s meant to be a douchebag, yet there was no logic behind him doing what he did. If he explains that he was annoyed Nattie was getting attention from someone else but him, then I get the distraction. Come on WWE, at least give us something on the app!

Speaking of the app, Paige getting a chance to show some personality with Eden was really nice to see. Her slapping Tyson after her match was simply awesome and her ranting and raving backstage was also a cool touch. It’s a shame that it was shoved on the app, yet some explanation or development is better than none!

Natalya and Tyson’s story development was also a treat amongst the trash in the segment. Natalya strutting out of the arena like a badass bitch was awesome. She was putting her nose in the air and flicking her hair, I liked it! Also, how hilarious is it that Tyson Kidd has went from nothing to appearing in two storylines in the show? I am here for that!

Overall, it was another mixed bag for Raw this week. The matches were way too short, yet at least two storylines got a chance to shine. The WWE Divas Championship picture is shaping up nicely for the Royal Rumble, and whilst the story element is somewhat lacking, at least we know a combination of Natalya, Nikki and Paige will deliver.

Until next time!

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