Saturday, July 2, 2022

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Raw Redux (July 20th, 2015): The Revolution Keeps on Rolling


After a blockbuster bout at WWE Battleground, the “Diva Revolution” continued to roll on through Raw as we were treated to not one but two Divas match featuring our favourite nonagon of relevant Divas. That’s a nine-sided for any of you not fans of geometry.

In addition to appearances from Lana, Lilian Garcia, Renee Young, Stephanie McMahon and Summer Rae, Charlotte (with Becky Lynch and Paige) faced off against Brie Bella (with Alicia Fox and WWE Divas Champion, Nikki Bella) following their involvement in the finish to the triple threat at Battleground. If that wasn’t enough, the razzle and dazzle of Team B.A.D were on commentary. And it was hilarious. Later in the night, Naomi and Sasha (with Tina… I mean Tamina Snuka) added some walking of the walk to their earlier talking of the talk as they scrapped with Becky and Paige in a tag team match. Would The PowerBuff Girls keep building on their momentum from Battleground or would any of the other factions get their first tallies in the win column?

Our first segment of the night featured Stephanie McMahon and Triple H after The Undertaker opened Raw. It is so amazing to have him back. Fingers crossed for no concussions this time around. Steph and Trips act like they have no clue about the booking – “Taker shows up, we’ve got a main event for SummerSlam right there” – and its hilarious. The type of comedy I like. WWE playing along with us instead of insulting out intelligence. Stephanie says that she is going to get marketing on board right away. Clearly they were already working on it as soon after, they had already produced an animated match graphic!

Following Stephanie seeing dollar signs in her eyes, my vision is glued to Team B.A.D at ringside. They are very interested in this next match, a singles bout between Charlotte and Brie. I was worried that Lilian may botch Charlotte’s first ever entrance yet she got it absolutely perfect. No #AliciaKeysGate like happenings thank god!

Brie gets the best of an early lock-up attempt whilst JBL picks Naomi’s brain about why she never got involved with this power tussle until Sasha was introduced. Naomi says that she thinks the Bellas need knocking down a few steps and she would never stand alongside Paige and she’s done nuthin’ for her. Naomi says that this is all about B.A.D, and they’re even better than the Michael Jackson song.

BLASPHEMY!

Naomi says that JBL would know nothing about being beautiful and dangerous as Charlotte performs a beauty of a nip-up. Michael Cole then calls Tamina “Tina” and I am deceased at that.

“DID YOU JUST CALL ME TINA?” That line was “Simply The Best”.

Big wheels keep on turning (I couldn’t resist) as the match rolls on and Charlotte decks Brie with a massive shoulder tackle. One thing can be said for Brie, she may be as dull as dishwater on the mic yet boy can that girl sell! Brie gains momentum when Charlotte looks to vault over the ropes onto her. Learning a lesson from the night before, Team Bella pull Brie out of the way and Charlotte crashes and burns as commercials begin.

Back from the break and Brie has Charlotte in the unique submission that she debuted against Paige two weeks back. Naomi kills me by saying that she won’t tell JBL where she buys her light-up boots from as Brie continues her punishment by whacking Charlotte with a flurry of kicks and then a neat dropkick. As her kicks weren’t enough to keep the Queen City native down, B.A.D joke that Brie has a lot of germs but that is pretty harsh. It’s only her acting that makes people ill.

After some more boring rest holds (why Brie why?!) business picks up when Brie hits a gorgeous missile dropkick from the second rope. B.A.D make a valid point about Charlotte referencing her Dad all the time yet Tamina doesn’t go on about hers all the time. She used to though. They failed to mention that. Remember her yearly Elimination Chamber push?

Brie doesn’t seem to remember that going to the well once too often isn’t a good idea and Charlotte reverses her attempted kicks and fights back with an awesome array of chops – woo! Charlotte hits a kneeling neckbreaker before taking Brie down with a monstrous big boot. Charlotte’s fancy footwork isn’t enough to get her the victory though just yet.

Nikki jumps to the apron to stop Charlotte locking in the Figure 8 yet a battered Brie doesn’t manage to muster enough energy to take advantage of the distraction. Brie charges way too late, opening a window of opportunity for Charlotte instead. The genetically superior Diva bulldozes Brie with an epic spear before making her tap to a sublime Figure 8.

I make that 2 – 0 – 0 to The PowerBuff Girls!

After a truly epic brawl between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar filled the middle of the show, our next port of call was featured later in the night, when we docked into Hour 3 for a second Divas match. After Team Bella are introduced on commentary, Paige and Becky make their way out to Paige’s music (although others did, I certainly won’t be complaining) as they hope to tear the stars out of the sky and grab a win too. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” Naomi’s theme plays next as her, Sasha Banks and Tamina Turner enter the arena for the second time in one night. Can they stop Paige and Becky getting a second win in one night for their team?

Becky and Sasha will start the match and holy hair dye, the main roster has certainly enhanced their ‘dos a little. Sasha wins the first test of strength, a collar and elbow tie-up. She is The Boss though so we shouldn’t have expected anything less. Becky fires back with successive arm drags yet Sasha manages to back Becky into her corner and tag in Naomi.

Naomi pummels Becky in the corner, showcasing her delicious, vicious streak. Naomi goes for the cover yet Becky bridges out from underneath Naomi, accentuating that impressive display with a dropkick. Becky then hits a leg drop trifecta. I love those and I love her. Her growth into finding a character and style she feels comfortable with has truly been a pleasure to watch! JBL hypes her well as she tags in Paige.

Hell in Boots trips Naomi before sending her knee directly into Naomi’s jaw. That’s gotta hurt. Nikki’s tweenrish commentary makes some good points here. I liked that she has demonstrated success without being “genetically superior” and she says that for her reign to stand the test of time, she needs to prove herself against the best opponents. Quite the face thing to say yet it makes sense so, why not say it?

Sasha is tagged in and her and Paige go back and forth until Paige hits a crisp fall away slam, that JBL of course loves. Becky enters the match against she clocks Sasha with such a neat springboard kick. That is such an idiosyncratic move for Becky, great stuff. What is not so great is that she lets a distraction from Naomi cost her. She faces the am-ay-ay-ay-ay-zing Diva and then Sasha charges at her from behind.

After a commercial break, Naomi is back in the squared circle for her team, and she hits a leg drop on Becky. Naomi then slows down the pace with a camel clutch and front face lock and this is where the action takes a slight nosedive for me. Naomi aggressively clubs Becky and that gets me interested again. If rest holds are applied, it is (for me anyway) so important to add something extra to keep the crowd invested. Naomi then drops Becky with a spinning elbow before mocking the fact she is too beaten up to make the tag.

Brie then knocks me to sleep with her bland commentary yet Sasha wakes me up after wickedly slapping Becky. Sasha then pushes Paige from the apron, allowing Naomi to assault Becky in the corner. Following those dirty tactics, Diva Dirt’s Chris probably wet himself after hearing the Golden Girls reference from Team Bella! Becky continues to be in hot water at this point as Naomi performs a nice jumping calf kick.

Tamina tells Sasha to turn it up and that she does. The NXT Women’s Champion hits a backstabber/straight jacket combo that sucks the life from Becky. The luck of the Irish is with Becky though, as she is able to muster one final amount of energy to escape a tussle with Sasha and finally tag in Paige!

The former two-time Divas Champion hits consecutive, connecting clotheslines on Naomi and she follows it up with a running kick, a barrage of knees in the corner and shuffle side kick. Just like that, Paige has Naomi in the PTO and it looks like her team will get yet another win! Sasha breaks up the submission and then sells the absolute Tameezus out of being thrown out of the ring. Tamina herself gets involved yet Paige sends her back to the arena floor with ease. She doesn’t recover from the distraction so easily though, and Naomi drapes her throat across the ropes. Sasha then returns to the ring and makes Paige tap to the Bank Statement. One word for that ending – wow.

Team B.A.D. later talked about their dominance on Raw Fallout:

Our penultimate segment of the night featured a radiant Renee Young interviewing the Ravishing Russian, Lana:

Lana has thankfully ditched her dodgy side pony and is all bunned up. She gives a medical update on her squeeze Dolph Ziggler before she notices that Summer Rae is stood to her left. Renee is smart and jumps right on out of there, and Lana is in shock because Summer is dressed just like her.

Rusev makes his presence felt as Summer mocks Lana. He says that whilst Summer looks beautiful, Lana just looks tired. Rusev kisses Summer whilst staring at Lana the entire time. Creepy. Summer psyches Lana out afterwards, slapping her big time after it looked like she was going to have some remorse for her. Work that role Summer!

During the main event, the blondes grace our screens again. Summer is managing Rusev and all is well until the match breaks down towards the end. Lana throws her shoe in Summer’s face (holy catfight moment!) before tackling her to the crowd and kicking her ass! The crowd roars as Lana yells at Summer, telling her to never touch her again! Something tells me that she won’t be listening to that. All of the commotion results in Randy Orton becoming only the 3rd ever superstar to pin Rusev after an amazing AA/Cesaro Swing/Slingshot RKO combo.

Thoughts: I am very, very shocked that I am about to write what I am about to write.

The WWE gives a shit about women’s wrestling guys. Oh my god.

Despite Brie’s over reliance on rest holds, nothing negative can really be said about this week. Oh, and I thought Team Bella were ropey at times on commentary, and they were definitely more bumpy than B.A.D. Alicia nearly had a “hungry piranha promo” moment. It was like she was making it up on the spot. We need more crazy! It wasn’t constantly bland though, as Nikki impressed me at some points. Besides those points, all the Divas featured delivered with hugely engaging storyline development, engrossing action and fantastic presentation of how individual each if their characters can be.

Let’s start with the less important parts of the night, which were still massively well received from the crowd.

Lana and Summer’s interaction was the classic gritty, catfight action that contrasts brilliantly with the wrestling in the ring. Their brawl at ringside was amazing. I can’t believe Lana actually chucked her shoe at Summer’s face. This was the Torrie/Dawn esque parallel to that ruled the roost on SmackDown back in the day. Whilst not as important as the title feud, feuds like this need to happen as I firmly believe in having more than one female story running at a time. Well done girls on this!

It is obvious that Rusev is simply using Summer to get back at Lana and hopefully get her to rejoin him. The fact he dressed Summer just like Lana is a giveaway. Summer is no idiot though, and her pairing with the Bulgarian Brute should ultimately end with her stating that she wasn’t just using fights with Lana to get noticed, she was using his position too. She should go along with his every word until he can humiliate him at the highest level.

Now onto my least favourite of the two matches, Charlotte vs Brie. This was a really good match, with some standout kicking (and dropkicking!) offense from Brie and some sheer athleticism from Brie. Brie has so much less to gain than Charlotte does, so her losing again was the right move too.

The triple threat at Battleground didn’t have a rest hold in sight, yet this match had way too many, which was a shame. The first was rather unique, yet the rest were bland. I also feel that the momentum shift that follows “clap along” moves of that nature is much more satisfying to watch when it involves a tag partner reaching their fresh team mate.

Also, the Figure 8 is one of my favourite moves. Stunning. Good riddance Natural Selection!

I adored B.A.D on commentary too. Tamina was my personal highlight with her telling one of the announcers not to point at her and then obviously, her ripping into Cole for calling her Tina. Hilarious!

Speaking of getting the hot tag, the audience ate up the tag match and it was a joy to see. Becky sold her isolation brilliantly and the match told a terrific story. B.A.D put on a heel tag team clinic. Yes, there were rest holds, yet I feel that with Paige desperate to tag in, and with the crowd reacting more so than the first match, the dynamic was totally different and it worked. Plus Sasha hit a backstabber into a straight jacket submission, which looks heaps flashier than a chinlock.

I also love that WWE has really shifted the gears by having Paige tap out to Sasha. A rare feat achieved by The Boss. With Paige taking a loss, she is now technically the weak link of the team on paper, and I never thought I would write that. Her taking a submission loss just made this feud even more refreshing and unpredictable. The top face who has been a constant on TV for over a year tapped and that definitely signals a shake up to me.

I am so happy and shocked that the WWE haven’t dropped the ball (low standards I know), so perhaps they really are serious about transforming the division. They are now truly giving the Divas a chance, multiple chances. Keep this up WWE, we’ve only been asking for it for about 10 years.

Now is a brilliant time to be a Divas fan, and let’s hope that time doesn’t have a limit.

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