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Raw Redux (January 24th, 2011): Melina Bent in Half, Bella Twins Bent Out of Shape

After a confusing edition of Raw last week, WWE had a lot of work to do to get everyone on the same page again. Luckily for us, WWE managed to work almost every Diva (Sorry Eve) into the show and it worked out really well. First up, Melina cashes in her title shot, squaring off with Natalya for the Divas Championship. Check out the match below:

Out first is the challenger, Melina, minus red carpet and paparazzi. Next, Natalya makes her way to the ring, championship belt in tow. The official presents the belt to the audience, signals for the bell and our match is underway. The lovely ladies lock up and Melina gets the upper hand, forcing Natalya to the ropes. The referee breaks them up, but Melina tackles Nattie, sending her flying out of the ring. Melina picks Nattie up off the floor, slaps her across the face (Just one of many slaps to come tonight) and tosses her back in the ring.

Still in control, Melina slams Natalya’s face into the mat a few time, before leveling her with a vicious curb stomp for a one count. Frustrated, Melina slaps on a unique legscissors submission, working over the arms and back of the champion. After a long struggle, Natalya fights to her feet and slams Melina into the turnbuckle to free herself. Natalya wails on Melina with a few forearms, prompting the referee to pull her off of the challenger. Natalya charges a second time, but gets caught by a heel kick from Melina.

Melina tries to get back in the game, but Nattie takes her over with a scary looking hip toss, followed by a hair biel. Natalya goes for her discus clothesline, but Melina has her scouted and blasts her with a blow to the head. Taking advantage of the stunned champion, Melina goes to work stomping on Nattie’s mid-section. Melina tries for a split leg drop, but she’s caught by Natalya, who quickly slaps on the Sharpshooter. And here’s where things get crazy…

We all know Melina is flexible and all, but this Sharpshooter must have stretched her to her limit (literally). Nattie leans all the way into the submission, putting her shoulders flat on the mat and folding poor Melina in half. Melina has no choice but to tap out and Natalya retains the Divas title.

Natalya celebrates her win, but the party is cut short by Smackdown Divas, Lay-Cool, who are looking great tonight. They get on the mic, and basically tell everyone they will be invoking their rematch clause at the Royal Rumble, while throwing in a few fat jokes at Nattie’s expense. Later, we would find out that this will be a Handicap match.

While I haven’t been the biggest fan of Melina’s heel turn, I loved her tonight. She showed a lot of the aggression heel Melina was known for in her heyday. I also think this is the best she’s looked in the ring in a long time. That said, it’s all too little, too late. We should have seen this Melina weeks ago when she first turned heel. Now Lay-Cool has swooped in to take a crack at the title and Melina is left out in the cold.

Speaking of Lay-Cool, I was really hoping to have a break from them in the title picture. Let’s face it, they ran the division for the better part of 2010. That said, Lay-Cool have been the most consistent Divas in WWE for a while now. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that. While I’m not thrilled at the possibility of another Lay-Cool reign, I could see why the writers would go that route.

Moving on, we got another match involving the Divas and a doozy of a backstage segment to go with it. Watch below as Daniel Bryan teams up with The Bella Twins to face Ted DiBiase, Maryse and Alicia Fox:

We come from commercial to find Daniel Bryan and The Bellas already in the ring. Out next is the team of Maryse, Alicia and DiBiase. Both Maryse and Alicia are sporting new gear and they look fantastic. I must say, Alicia’s new Rihanna-esque weave has worn on me. I approve.

Bryan and DiBiase start things off, but that’s not why you’re reading this, is it? After a stalemate between Daniel and Ted, Maryse tags her herself in, forcing Nikki Bella to come into the match. Nikki lays in a boot to Maryse’s mid-section, whips her into the corner and takes her over with a snapmare. Nikki take Maryse out with a clothesline, but gets distracted when she sees Brie giving Daniel some “special attention”. Maryse takes advantages of the distraction and rolls Nikki up to pick up the win for her team. Ted DiBiase take notes.

Not much to say on the match, so I’ll skip to the good stuff!:

After the match, we find The Bellas Twins arguing backstage over the match and who Daniel want to console. The charge into his dressing room, only to find him making out with… Gail Kim?! *cue shocked gasps* When the Bellas ask him what’s going on, Daniel introduces Gail as his girlfriend of six months. So THAT’S what she’s been doing for the last six months! It all makes sense now!

The Bellas go on to reveal the fact that they don’t know the difference between a ‘virgin’ and a ‘vegan’. Gail Kim gets involved telling the twins Daniel has only been seeing them because he felt sorry for them, because they have nothing to do with no guest hosts around. OH SNAP! The Bellas comeback by calling Gail an afterthought, asking when’s the last time she’s been TV. OH SNAP 2x! Not willing to take any crap from The Bellas, Gail hauls off and slaps the holy hell out of Brie, starting a brawl. Daniel sees his girl getting jumped and tries to help, but gets bitch-slapped by Brie for his trouble. The catfight is broken up by the referees (Where’d they come from?) and the segment ends with Daniel Bryan holding a livid Gail Kim.

Wow. After months and months of relative obscurity, what a way for Gail to get into the limelight. The best part of the segment was the fact that everything Gail and The Bellas said was true. I mean, what Diva fan hasn’t made a comment about The Bella Twins and the guest host or complained about Gail not being on TV. I don’t know where this Daniel Bryan/Gail/Bella storyline is going, but WWE definitely livened things up tonight and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

All in all, I enjoyed Raw this week. We got an enjoyable title match, a match for the Royal Rumble and an excellent backstage segment. Believe it or not, I’m actually for forward to next week’s Raw for a change.

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