Friday, April 12, 2024

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Raw Redux (July 14th, 2014): Chats, Slaps, Dances and Handicap Traps

What’s up, Diva fans? Eleri here, filling in for Bobby!

I’m going to kick this Redux off by saying that I’m am so psyched to be a Divas fan right now. So psyched! There’s so much going on. Lana is shining so, so brightly and I’m really excited about her future in the company. Let’s be real, she’s the star in her partnership. Layla and Summer Rae turning on Fandango is awesome. Nikki Bella vs. The Authority, which many think will lead to her turning on her sister, Brie, when she inevitably returns, is great. Then there’s Naomi and Cameron, who have finally come to blows after weeks of tension and, finally, the Divas championship feud! Paige vs. AJ Lee promises to be a stellar match, and I really hope Paige goes full heel after AJ retains this Sunday (that’s my prediction!).

Without further ado, let’s get into the Redux.

In amidst his match with Dolph Ziggler, Fandango is surprised when his own music starts playing. The commentators are thrown for a minute too, until the camera pans over, the crowd gets to their feet and we see Summer Rae and Layla dancing away their boy blues on the announce tables! Distracted by the two ladies in his life, Fandango loses his match.

And to the victor go the spoils! (Or something else that’s witty and appropriate.)

Summer and Layla head into the ring to celebrate with Dolph and proceed to dance around him. Dolph looks as shocked as the rest of us. Fandango, meanwhile, looks less than enthused and grimaces as his two former ladyloves plant two big smackers on Dolph’s cheeks. He’s over his surprise and puts his arms around them. Pays to be Fandango’s opponent.

I’m really happy about the way this storyline has gone. I know a lot of people in the comments of Diva Dirt and on Twitter are confused about where this partnership could lead, but I’m just glad WWE took the realistic route with this one. Two girls get played, so they team up and take down the player. Girl power, please and thank you.

Moving on!

This was my favourite segment of the night. Now, I’m not going to get into a political debate about the character of Zeb Colter, and the issues that come with his face turn, because this absolutely isn’t the right place to be voicing my opinions on that kind of thing. I’m going to pull a Switzerland and stay neutral. But I will talk about Lana and how absolutely, drop dead A-M-A-Z-I-N-G she was in this segment. If you don’t love her then fine (I don’t understand, but fine) but you can’t argue that she’s isn’t doing everything right at the moment. You just can’t.

You know how some people are just born to do what they do?

Lana was born to play an arrogant, intelligent, ‘ravishing Russian’ who takes no shit. Fun fact of the day: Lana was in Pitch Perfect as Footnote #5. I will be watching it later to see if I can spot her. (What do you mean my Wednesdays aren’t exciting? Shut up.)

The detente kicks off with Michael Cole saying that Lana has said some harsh things about the US. This is met with USA chants and boos alike, and Lana proceeds to respond in Russian. Growing up in Wales, I personally have never uttered a word of it. But I get the general idea. America = bad. Russia = good.

After a few insults are flung Zeb’s way, Lana resorts to more serious words.

“You’re stupid! All of you are stupid! America is stupid!”

At least she makes herself laugh.

Not surprisingly, the fans aren’t too happy about it and drown her out with more USA chants.

“Shut up! Shut up America! Shut up! Shut up, I am talking to your stupid American!”

I literally just want to quote everything she says, but I’m not sure that’s a good formula for a Redux.

Lana goes on to say that Mother Russia is, and always will be, the peaceful and loving country. If nothing else you have to appreciate the irony of all this. All Lana and Rusev ask is that Zeb and Swagger admit their mistakes and apologize. Of course, Zeb is nothing if not stubborn. His answer is simple:

“Not no. But HELL NO.”

They’re out from behind their podiums. Shit is about to get real. Go down. Hit the fan. It’s all kicking off. Lana pulls the Putin card, but Zeb’s ready with his very own Obama card. Obama gets a mixed reaction. Zeb throws down the gauntlet for Rusev. Will he face Jack Swagger at Battleground? Yes or ????

Rusev declares war. It’s official. Lana orders Rusev from the ring but stops when Zeb calls her back, saying he’s wondered who wore the pants – or the skirt – in her and Rusev’s relationship. Zeb asks her to teach Rusev three words as the crowd says along with him and Swagger: WE THE PEOPLE.

Lana seethes as she storms back to the middle of the ring and slaps the taste right out of Zeb’s mouth.

Rusev’s back in to aid her, but Swagger takes him down with a tackle. Swagger’s pounding on Rusev now, but Lana isn’t having any of that! She grabs Swagger by the hair. Jack Swagger, 6 ft 7in brute with the wingspan of a… well, I don’t know but probably something huge… who towers over her and could pick her up with one hand. And Lana just manhandles him!

Rusev to get a shot in and is in control, but Swagger counters and locks in the Patriot Lock. Lana’s screaming on the outside and Rusev manages to break free.

Can I just say that Lana is one of my favourite things about WWE at the moment?

I’m going to move on before I say too much about her.

Once again, Nikki Bella fell victim to the wrath of the Queen; instead of the intended tag match, Stephanie McMahon forced her into yet another handicap match. Stephanie was quick to remind Nikki, however, that she shouldn’t blame the authority. She should blame her sister, Brie, for everything that’s happened.

Cameron and Alicia Fox make their way to the ring.

As I primarily cover Impact I don’t get much room to talk about the Divas, which is why I love it any time I’m able to cover WWE. I want to talk about Cameron here. She’s come such a long way since the Melina vs. Alicia Fox fiasco on Tough Enough, and right now she’s transitioning into such a fierce, believable heel. I’ve always felt she’s a natural baddie; she has the attitude, the looks and the charisma and she can be gold on the mic. I’m not sure how her match with Naomi will go on Sunday but I sincerely hope they both come out of this feud strong.

Back to the match!

Alicia and Nikki start things off. They lock up and Nikki takes Alicia down with a fireman’s carry. She attempts to cover her but Alicia fights out of it. Nikki catches Alicia in an arm lock in an attempt to wear her down. It’s good strategy. If she can wear Alicia down early on, she’ll only have to focus on Cameron for the most part. Nikki turns her arm lock into a roll up and gets a two count. Nikki’s come on leaps and bounds in the last few months. Just like when Nikki was out and Brie took centre stage, now it’s Nikki’s turn.

Alicia drives Nikki into the corner and Cameron tags in. She kicks Nikki in the mid-section hard, then slams her head back onto the mat. Nikki fights back and attacks Cameron, nailing a knee to the head for a two count. Must say, I really do like that move. Nikki picks her up and throws her head first into Alicia, who tumbles off the apron. Atta girl!

Nikki hits a great Alabama Slam that gets the crowd going. She looks to have it won but Alicia saves her partner and Nikki only get a two.

Cameron and Alicia tag in and out as they work Nikki over in the corner. A big Let’s Go Nikki chant breaks out and it looks like the crowd are really starting to get behind Nikki in this ongoing reign of terror she stuck under. Alicia hits a snapmare take down and now has Nikki in a chin lock. Alicia taunts Nikki as she wears her down, asking ‘where are you, Brie?’. Coooold. Nikki tries to fight out but Alicia with a knee to the back. She hauls her up and attempts to throw her out of the ring, but Nikki counters into a crossbody off the ropes for another two count!

Nikki’s in control now as she fires up and brings the pain! She climbs the ropes and kicks Cameron to the floor. Before she can make another move, Alicia pulls her down and Nikki’s grounded. Alicia hits her finisher and gets the three count.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Alicia’s theme? Because I do. I really do.

Alicia and Cameron hug it out as they relish in their victory. Poor Nikki.

And now for our final Diva segment of the night!

It’s Divas champion AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie, with former Divas champion Paige on commentary.

Eva Marie is already in the ring as the announcers welcome Paige to commentary. AJ’s tron and music hit and she makes her way out to applause from her opponent on Sunday, Paige.

AJ and Eva lock up as Paige discusses how much she looks up to AJ and respects her. AJ takes control in the ring with an arm lock on Eva. Eva manages to reverse and throws AJ down to the mat. Paige talks about how AJ got in her face and calls her a frenemy. Meanwhile, Eva Marie is given a warning by the referee. AJ comes back with a drop kick. She pulls Eva around the ring by her hair, before running her at the ropes and taking her down with a kick to the head for a two count.

Eva rolls out of the ring to take a breather but AJ goes after her. She tries to drag Eva back but Eva sends her flying into the ring apron, spine first. Eva gets a two count when they’re back in the ring and applies a submission, asking AJ if she likes it. That might be the first time I’ve ever heard Eva Marie’s voice change pitch. She’s usually so very monotone.

On commentary, Paige disagrees with comments that she’s being sneaky. She says she’s a genuine fan of AJ and respects her. She says AJ’s a great lady. Back in the ring, AJ is fighting out the hold but Eva Marie puts the breaks on her with a knee to the gut. Eva throws AJ into the corner and catches her in a well-executed back breaker when she comes back out.

Eva tries the same thing again, only this time AJ counters it into the Black Widow. Eva Marie taps out. Paige applauds.

After the match, AJ heads on over the commentary table. She perches herself on the top and takes JBL’s headset. She asks how Paige is. Paige says congratulations on the victory and tells AJ her hair looks great. AJ replies in kind. There’s a brief pause, and then AJ says goodbye and heads on out of there.

That was pretty tense.

Thoughts: Where to begin? This was a pretty action packed Raw when it comes to the Divas. As I said before, Summer and Layla teaming up is something I’m really happy about. It’s about time the girls in shitty situations like that start kicking ass and taking names. Mixed handicap match, anyone? Yeeees.

As always, Lana was perfection. She is dynamite on the mic and I’m super excited for her appearance on Sunday. Loved that she got involved with Swagger and put her hands on him. A lot of the time the ladies run scared from the bigger boys, but not Lana. She needs to stay forever.

Poor Nikki Bella. She’s seriously getting the terrible treatment, and it all makes me wonder if they’re going for a Bella vs. Bella feud when Brie’s back, after Brie settles her beef with Stephanie McMahon. I’d even love it if Nikki teamed up with Stephanie to take Brie down because Nikki’s sick of living in her sister’s shadow. That would be great! Time will tell where this all goes. The match was really good tonight. Alicia and Cameron showed a lot og aggression and Nikki showed a lot of heart. Conspicuous by her absence was Naomi. I assumed we’d get a post match beat down with Naomi making the save, but I guess she had the night off.

Eva vs AJ was solid. Eva’s still a rookie and it does show, but her attitude is on point and her sneakiness – when she went to the outside and used it to her advantage – is coming on strong. Her back breaker was good and I look forward to her developing her moveset more!

And now for the finale… AJ and Paige.

Paige is playing the good girl so well right now that you just KNOW she’s turning heel come Sunday, or the weeks following. The little silent stare down right before AJ left spoke volumes about how they see one another. It’s good to see them playing each other this while. They’re very similar and I think this feud has the potential to go to Summerslam, if it’s booked right. I hope to see them square off at the biggest party of the summer, personally. I’m sure AJ will keep her championship for a few months yet, but I’m excited for the road ahead.

Until next time, ciao! x

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