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Raw Redux (January 18th, 2016): Ric Runs His Mouth and Runs Charlotte into Trouble

It’s nearly Royal Rumble time again! Talk about time flying. They say it really does fly when you’re having fun, and the NXT Women’s Division certainly brought the fun in 2015. Thankfully, two of 2015’s biggest and brightest NXT talents are now in the main title feud on Monday Night Raw. Charlotte and Becky are now in roles that work for them tremendously (Charlotte took her time getting there) and this week plays off their characters perfectly. Let’s take a look.

First up this week is Stephanie McMahon, although she was absent from the opening segment that saw Chris Jericho set up a match and make himself the referee. Needless to say Steph was not best pleased:

The two exchange awkward banter with Stephanie putting Chris in his place. If he steps out of line again, she will make sure he will pay.

Our first Divas match of the night is underway immediately after, with Brie Bella accompanied by Alicia Fox taking on Natalya… with Paige?! As in the person who badmouthed her a few weeks ago and who is meant to be a heel? Because that makes sense.

A video is then shown looking at animosity between Foxy and Paige from Total Divas. Of course, the two don’t get in anyway physical during the match. Because that makes sense. I know Paige is on the shelf, but couldn’t she have even tripped Alicia or something?

Long story short, Natalya won in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it match. One highlight however was Nattie selling and reversing the “Shades of Her Husband” kick combo in a unique way that I haven’t seen before. You can always count on Natalya to add a unique spin on proceedings!

Nattie and Paige talked about the Queen of Harts’s return to the ring on Raw Fallout:

Next up, it’s the Queen of Connecticut, Steph again:

She approaches the League of Nations, subtly getting under the skin and riling them up, ensuring that they sort out Jericho whilst Brock Lesnar can pick apart Roman Reigns.

If you wanted more Steph, then you’re in luck as she next appears on stage with Vince McMahon:

They have a tombola machine with them and are ready to announce the number one entrant to the Royal Rumble. Because this won’t be a total fix. After Vince butchers his way through opening some very tight capsules with names in, he finally opens several to reveal that Roman Reigns was in them all. He will be entering the Rumble at #1. Sucks to be Reigns.

It also sucks to be Tamina, as she lost again:

Apologies for the shorter recap, aka a lack of one for this match but the recaps will be back to full strength next week. It’s been a very busy day! What I can say though is that Tamina and her opponent Becky Lynch had nice chemistry, and Becky in particular looked fantastic. She was like Roadrunner in there, dashing and clashing at the speed of light! Shame Naomi wasn’t able to do much at ringside.

After the match, Becky addresses the elephants in the room, or should I say at ringside – Charlotte and Ric Flair. Becky says that the crowd and everyone at home want to see her get another shot at the title but Charlotte shoots her down, telling her that she lost already and that she needs to start back at the bottom of the ladder.

Becky retaliates, saying that backing down from a fight was never something Ric did. He would cut as many corners as he could, but he would always stand up and not back away. Becky questions whether all of Ric’s Hall of Famer buddies would respect Charlotte’s lack of sportsmanship. She also asks what Ric thinks of it, asking if he has gotten as cowardly as his daughter in his old age. Naitch snaps, telling Becky that she has her match for the Royal Rumble. Ric is hyped believing his daughter can get the job done, but Charlotte has a face like a slapped backside – she is not at all pleased!

Becky talked about her big title shot on Raw Fallout:

Thoughts: Let us first start with the disappointment that was Brie Jobber vs Natalya. This was way too short. Paige being paired with Nattie made no sense whatsoever considering Paige was catty with Tal a few months ago, and was most likely who attacked her backstage. But I guess we’re meant to be stupid and forget that happened right?

I’m also not fond of the clip WWE chose to promote Total Divas. On TV, Paige and Alicia have never gotten on (other than the brief period Paige was using her) so why would Paige now be bothered about Alicia unfollowing her on social media? They have been on opposite sides for months. WWE wants to keep kayfabe alive and then does something that, which just blurs the waters. They also showed the clip, only to have Paige and Alicia do absolutely nothing at ringside. Such lazy booking to ignore the bloody obvious.

It was nice seeing both Paige and Natalya back but it is just a shame it was part of a throwaway, forgettable segment. Am I clutching at straws in thinking a win for Nattie might thrust her into the title picture? Probably. We’ll no doubt not see her again for another 78 weeks.

Stephanie continued to be her entertaining self this week, so that was the first major positive to take away from the show. Her chemistry with Chris Jericho is always electric, and her condescending delivery of “you will never, ever be the same again” was hilarious. Her facial expressions were on point too. She knows how to pull of a killer scowl and strut away from a conniving conversation.

Also a massive plus point was Becky’s character development. She has been plagued by Ric Flair’s antics for weeks, and she used what Charlotte has used to her advantage in the past, to her detriment this time around. Excellent booking. Charlotte sold the self-entitled, pretentious little creep role tremendously and Becky was booked as a clever cookie who you can’t help but root for. I’m excited for Sunday.

As for Becky’s match, it was a damn site better than the Total Divas lackluster hype-sesh from earlier. Tamina and Becky have decent chemistry, and Tamina didn’t botch anything, which is great. The lack of involvement from Naomi as annoying, but I’ll let it slide considering I really enjoyed the finish of the match. Becky was hopping, skipping, jumping and leg dropping at 100 miles an hour too which was a delight to watch.

Will a stipulation be added to the Royal Rumble title match on SmackDown? How much longer will Summer Rae and Lana be on milk cartons? Can Ric Flair’s face get any more like a beetroot? Can Becky Lynch capture that butterfly belt and make herself look even more off the wall? So many questions, I need a lie down. See you guys on Sunday for some brilliant live tweet action!

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