Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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Raw Redux (June 15th, 2015): The Bellas Ball, Paige Falls

The Divas had an iconic match at Money in the Bank, Chyna has turned up at WWE HQ and we actually had storyline advancement that kind of made sense last night. Has hell frozen over?

Howdy all and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux! We were lucky enough to enjoy a Divas handicap match last night in a refreshing change of pace whilst twelve Divas made it onto the show. Maybe the writers watched Game of Thrones and tried to make their girls as badass as Arya or Brienne in the season finale…

Like most weeks, the greatest mic talker in her entire family, the one-and-only Stephanie McMahon is our first sighting of the night. She is backstage with Triple H and they are interrupted by Seth Rollins, annoyed at his altercation in the arena just now with Dean Ambrose. Steph asks Seth if he has listened to himself recently. She heard him saying that he didn’t need her or Hunter, twice. Seth says he never and HHH asks Rollins if he is calling Steph a liar. Seth kisses up some more. He sure loves being their third wheel.

What’s that? JOB Squad meeting backstage? Fandango, Heath Slater and Zack Ryder are joined backstage by Alicia Fox, Emma and Summer Rae as they chat to Raw’s guest star that absolutely no one cares about, Machine Gun Kelly. I would care if it was Kelly Kelly, WWE. Thankfully someone of relevance, aka Paige walks in and interrupts. She asks the girls to meet her later for a team meeting and she’ll… text them the location. Whilst we know the Divas travel together in real life, should we really expect Paige and Summer Rae to have exchanged phone numbers? Absolutely not. A nice enough segment other than that logical mess of a plot point.

Lana is next up and her ankle is seemingly fine. Woohoo for continuity and woohoo for my sarcasm. She accompanies Dolph Ziggler to the ring ramp (not sure why she keeps doing that) as he accepts Kevin Owen’s open challenge. No really, that is not a typo. Kevin Owens referred to himself as Kevin Owen. Lana and Ziggy kiss and that’s the last we see of the Ravishing Russian and her non-existent ankle injury. WWE have idea what to do with her.

The Divas backstage meeting takes place now, with Paige seemingly managing to text Layla, Naomi and Tamina too. I’ve heard Paige matched with Rosa on Tinder to tell her about the meet-up. According to reports, Natalya lost her cell in with her dominatrix props which is why she wasn’t there. Eva was too busy being all about fire and then maybe Cameron was at one of her acting classes.

Paige stands on a pedestal and asks her fellow Divas to help take a stand against The Bella Twins, who have managed to make everything about them, whether that be WWE or non-WWE TV. Paige questions that it might be to do with who they are married to. Low blow! Summer asks if she only wants back-up as she lost to Nikki again last night and Alicia questions trusting Paige considering she has backstabbed all of her friends before.

Naomi and her badass self then struts to the forefront. She says that whilst she hates Brie and Nikki, she isn’t going to be bossed around by Paige. Speaking on The Bellas, they show up and Nikki explains why she has been dominant. Ever since helping Stephanie (epic use of authoritative name dropping) she has been unstoppable. She says that she doesn’t mind whether people stand with her or with Paige. One by one, the girls exit to the left. Paige hoped someone would join her crusade yet nobody did. Nikki and Brie mock Paige as she is forced to prep for big handicap match against Nikki and Brie on her own.

Match time now and Paige enters first with no pals by her side. If I was there, I would have accompanied you Paige. I’m good at chucking my leather jacket to the floor and then screaming. Not that I have ever practiced…

After Nikki and Brie’s entrance, the match begins with the twins reverting back to their corner a few times to try and mess up Paige’s psyche with their cocky antics. Paige then takes Nikki down to the mat, clubbing her with strikes as she has had enough of being messed around. Nikki fights back with a shoulder tackle yet her confidence gets the best of her again as Paige trips her down and bags a near fall. Paige knocks Brie to the outside before pummelling Nikki on the apron with her signature collection of knee strikes. Nikki is then with the referee when Brie sweeps Paige’s legs from under her, a move that sends Paige crashing back first onto the steel apron.

Brie is tagged in and decks Paige with a missile dropkick before applying the first rest hold of the match. This is not a tag team match Brie and people don’t get as invested in rest holds when one person doesn’t have anyone to tag in. Stop applying basic, bland holds SO. EARLY. ON. JBL namedropping Saraya Knight entertains me whilst this goes on. If only she would be the girl to stand by Paige’s side and take on Brie and Nikki. A guy can dream…

Paige gets back to a vertical base yet Brie takes her back down, delivering her patented running knee strike. After a double flapjack, the now legal Divas Champ kicks Paige in the back before applying a headscissors. She mocks the fact Paige has no partner to tag as she wrenches on Paige’s neck whilst doing press-ups! Brie is tagged into the match, yet a bit of miscommunication allows Paige to fight back!

Paige hits consecutive clotheslines on Brie before knocking her around a bit with some elevated kicks to the face in the corner. Shame the camera positioning made it totally obvious that Brie’s hand with protecting her face. Brie then throws Brie into her sister, knocking the butterfly belt beholder off the apron. Paige hits the RamPaige on Brie and just as you think Paige has done enough, Nikki breaks up the pin at the last second. Nikki attacks Paige in the ring, despite not being the legal woman. She is nearly in their way too long and risks disqualification yet she eventually retreats. Nikki then tags in Brie and she takes out Paige with her devastating forearm strike. A Rack Attack later and the numbers game catches up to Paige. The Bellas get the win and Paige is now not just friendless. She’s beaten up and friendless. :(

Finally, Stephanie is back again for the final segment of the night. Her and HHH have selected Seth’s next opponent, the “pressure” that will reveal whether the lump of coal that is Seth Rollins either turns to diamond or dust. That man is Brock Lesnar. Love it.

Post-show, we got another glimpse at Rosa as she continued her shenanigans with Adam Rose:

Yep…

Thoughts: I did not figure that Money in the Bank would usher in such a positive aftermath yet I am actually quite pleased with this week’s action. I knew Paige and Nikki would deliver at the PPV, as “special event” matches are normally always good yet they have delivered two nights in a row. WWE’s storytelling actually improved too. Who’d have thought it?

Whilst I am still not majorly keen on Paige trying to inspire a generation, the way that WWE handled it this week and the way they used the rest of the Divas to move the story forward was nicely done. It was nice to see the other Divas have reservations about Paige’s true intentions. Does she want back-up simply so she can have the title again and then she’ll dump her new pals? It was nice to see the girls question her motives and several of them have speaking parts of the meeting segment. Naomi was exuded so much charisma which I absolutely loved. WWE removing her from the title picture is such a big mistake in my opinion.

With Paige losing yet again, I thought that maybe she will take a backseat. However, with her being a judge on Tough Enough, maybe the other Divas or could call Paige out and label her as a hypocrite. Whilst WWE did a good job to put over that Paige is annoyed at The Bellas being all over WWE TV and being billed as the true stars of Total Divas, you won’t be seeing Brie and Nikki on Tough Enough. That’s Paige’s house. To make this storyline more realistic, interesting and to emphasise that both The Bellas and Paige’s camps aren’t popular with the rest of the locker room, someone else needs to call out Paige. Paige is basically looking out for #1 and she is annoyed Nikki and Brie’s opportunities because they aren’t hers.

Will Charlotte to be brought up now to side with Paige and then take the spotlight all for herself? I would love to see her debut as a face (if those even exist anymore) and have her beat The Bellas in a tag match with Paige. Then Charlotte will turn on Paige in a subsequent triple threat for the WWE Divas Title, with Charlotte winning the title and reaping all of the glory for herself. I think Charlotte was edited off the NXT titles this past week too, so I think her call-up will happen sooner rather than later.

The only negatives I have for this week was the pathetic booking of Lana and Paige’s ridiculous line about texting the Divas. Even a fortune teller couldn’t predict what is happening to Lana. It may be mostly due to Rusev getting injured, yet her face turn has turned into such a flop. Rusev made her hurt her ankle last week, and as bad as the plot development was, it is annoying to see them drop the injury and not have Rusev appear at all.

Onto Paige, none of the Divas like her, so why would they have her phone number? I suppose she could ask Mark Carrano for all of their numbers yet it would just be easier to find the Divas in the backstage area. She can have my phone number though if she likes!

Whilst things are far from perfect, WWE have shown in the last two nights that when given time, the Divas can excel. The match last night was solid, of a unique match type and had an intense finish. Will Charlotte be next to twist the plot? I think that may be the case soon enough. I’m ready to woo!

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