Thursday, January 26, 2023

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Raw Redux (June 1st, 2015): Twin Magic Returns

Howdy everyone and welcome once again to a Diva Dirt Raw Redux. Following Sunday’s Triple Threat which saw Nikki Bella retain the Divas Championship to my utter shock (my PPV predictions have been diabolically bad in 2015!), the title was up for grabs again last night as Nikki put up her bejewelled butterfly for Paige to have a chance of taking. And Naomi was there too… wait, what do you mean Naomi wasn’t used and her momentum was totally dropped? Woo.

Stephanie McMahon kicked off the show in a rather interesting green dress. When I say interesting, I’m being nice. She berates Dean Ambrose for stealing the WWE World Heavyweight Title and getting arrested. She says he is not WWE superstar material, never mind champion quality.

After having his place in the MITB ladder match put in jeopardy, Roman Reigns is seen backstage happy with his win over King Barrett. Steph and Triple H interrupt, telling him he has to put his position on the line again, this time against Mark Henry, thus starting a chain of matches to be unfair to Reigns. I love it when WWE buries three “top” heel talents so they can shove Roman down our throats. Awesome.

Next up, we see Nikki Bella interviewed by Byron Saxton. After being told she is the longest reigning current champion across the roster, she says that the fact is unbelievable and she is so proud to be in the Divas Division.

Paige interrupts to a major ovation, and she says that now Naomi is out of the picture (she was pinned clean on Sunday), Paige thinks she should get the 1-on-1 match she was promised. Nikki agrees, and says she is happy to defend her belt tonight.

Solid promo solidifying Nikki as a face. Until later on that is…

Lana arrives on the scene for the next segment of interest. She watches from the stage to see Dolph Ziggler in action.

After Mark Henry becomes the next glorified jobber for Roman to defeat, The Authority tell him that he has one more to defeat. Someone who like Divas, the creative team have nothing for – Bray Wyatt.

Next up, we have our Divas Title match:

Nikki comes the ring sans-Brie, which should raise some eyebrows. They tie up to start, Nikki backing Paige into the ropes before shoving her in the face and knocking out some jumping jacks. They tie up again, and now it’s Paige who gets control, backing Nikki into the ropes. She mimics what Nikki just did, shoving her by the fact as well.

Now even, the Divas go for a third tie-up, Nikki taking Paige down and locking in an armbar. Paige gets to her feet and fights Nikki off, but is soon caught again and taken down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Nikki goes for the pin, but Paige kicks out.

While waiting for Paige to recover, Nikki hits a few pushups. After that decidedly un-babyface-esque display of cockiness, she carries Paige into the corner and nails a few shoulders to her midsection. Nikki then hits Paige with a suplex, going for another pin but only getting a two-count.

Nikki props Paige up and plants a knee between her shoulder blades, wrenching her arms back. After a few moments, she turns the submission into a chinlock. When Paige starts to fight free, Nikki knees her in the stomach and hits a slingshot suplex aided by the top rope. She rushes over to cover Paige, but Paige again kicks out.

Nikki then takes aim at Paige’s legs, criss-crossing them and locking in a submission. Paige immediately crawls to the ropes and is soon grasping the bottom one, freeing herself. When Nikki tries to go back on the attack, Paige kicks her away. Sensing a turning of the tides, Nikki rolls out of the ring before Paige can grab hold of her. On the floor outside, Nikki busts out a few crunches. Next thing you know, she’ll be bringing out Simon Dean

Feeling refreshed, Nikki enters the ring again and fights off Paige, kicking her in the midsection. She lifts her up for an Alabama Slam, but Paige slips free behind her and rolls through. She nails Nikki with a knee to the face and immediately goes for the pin, but Nikki kicks out.

Paige isn’t deterred, though, and right away she goes to lock in the PTO. Nikki somehow frees herself before Paige can get too far and manages to hit the Alabama Slam, taking back control. She covers Paige, but the challenger narrowly kicks out.

Both Divas get to their feet, Nikki going to grab Paige. Paige hits Nikki with two successive kicks to keep the champ at bay. Paige pins Nikki, but it’s not enough. Frustrated, she pulls Nikki up for a suplex attempt, but Nikki powers free, lifting Paige up for the Rack Attack. Paige slips free and shoves Nikki away, ducking her subsequent attack. In the corner, Nikki kicks Paige away and hops up to sit on the top rope. Before she can perform any attack, though, Paige is on her, taking her out with a super DDT!

Nikki has enough wits about her to roll out of the ring, but this time she’s not looking for a breather. She rolls over to the edge of the ring apron, finding none other than Brie underneath the ring. Brie emerges, similar ring attire, hair weave and all, and climbs up to the edge of the ring. Neither Paige nor the referee notice the change, and she’s dragged inside, allowing her to surprise Paige with a small package pin. Brie gets the three count and retains the Divas Title for her sister!

The Bellas celebrate, the referee none the wiser. Paige can’t believe it.

Stephanie is back again for the final segment as Dean Ambrose returns and has a Ladder match set up for Money in the Bank.

Last, but not least for those Rosa Mendes fanatics out there: a Raw Fallout segment saw her and Adam Rose explain why they’re the WWE’s hottest couple:

They refute claims of Lana and Dolph Ziggler’s hotness and assure each other of their own hotness before breaking into a chant of “I love us!!!!!”

Thoughts: Talk about hit and miss. What on earth has happened to the #GiveDivasAChance momentum? Whilst the match last night was way better than the triple threat and the ending was somewhat fresh, the lack of consistency shown yet again with The Bellas’ characters and the ball being completely dropped with Naomi are major, major low points for me.

Starting with the latter, I seriously don’t understand what the point is in turning a character heel, repackaging her completely and then aligning her with a brand new ally, only to make her lose when it really matters. WWE have basically made Naomi out to look like a total flop, not a Total Diva. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Tamina has been booked stronger than Naomi despite being a secondary character. Clearly these clowns on creative haven’t got a clue.

They mustn’t be bothered about writing someone totally out of character either (their recent persona at least) as Nikki’s cockiness – whilst something she would have done months ago – is not representative of the impression she has been giving off in recent weeks. Her clean win last night cemented her stance as a face instead of tweener yet then WWE shat on that within 24 hours.

Brie is just irrelevant at this point. She is just Nikki’s puppet and Daniel Bryan’s spokeswoman. Not here for it.

As for the match, I watched it just a few hours ago and already I can’t really remember it. Paige was once again too loud calling spots (I love her yet have to be honest) and the lengthy, bland chinlock rest hold was well, lengthy and bland. I did like Nikki’s belly to belly and the attention to detail of adding blonde to Brie’s hair yet that is about it. The middle rope Rampaige was ok yet Nikki didn’t sell it particularly well and then more or less no sold the actual effects.

What does everyone think of twin magic returning? Clearly this was done to ensure Paige is entitled to a rematch yet I thought it was an example of clutching at straws. The Bellas developed their own unique characters, styles and even body parts to set them a part so it just didn’t work for me. Some argue that it was meant to not look convincing yet I don’t know about that. Considering Brie’s character has regressed from top Diva to a pawn in Nikki’s game of chess, her reverting back to twin magic kind of makes sense considering she’s not really her own woman anymore.

I am still undecided too on whether I am a fan of Lana and her feelings for Dolph Ziggler. Ziggs certainly isn’t a winner so she can’t be wanting to be with him for success. She must be into guys who like Britney Spears. I’ve heard Rusev does a mean ‘Slave 4 U’ routine in the bathroom when swapping a snake for a shower cord.

At least we did get to see Stephanie in all of her glory. Despite not allowing her female employees to shine most of the time, thankfully at least she does 9 times out of 10.

What do we think will happen on SmackDown? I shouldn’t say it yet watch there be no Divas match at all. That would be typical of a ‘We don’t know what to do with the girls’ time period like this one.

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