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Raw Redux (June 29th, 2015): Summer Slays, Lana Makes Her Pay

Howdy everyone and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux. In what appears to be an alternate universe, most of the men’s action was terrible last night whilst the Divas were involved in a lengthy match and a killer promo segment. Hooray! Before I jinx future episodes by rambling on about how exciting the Divas getting sufficient time on an episode of Raw is, let’s get on with the Redux!

Entrances are unfortunately cut as we witness our first sightings of Divas for this week’s Raw. Alicia Fox, accompanied by Brie and Nikki Bella will be taking on Paige, who is of course accompanied by nobody. Yet. Alicia is looking pretty awesome with her new hair do, elbow pads and tights might I just add.

Paige gets the best of Alicia in the early going by taking control of collar and elbow tie-up tests of strength. She then transitions her grip into an armbar on Alicia, leaving the long-limbed former Divas Champion writhing on the mat. Paige sends her back down with a unique low crossbody sweep of the legs before caving Alicia’s face in with a knee strike.

Alicia fights back following on from some monotone Bella encouragement from Brie, and she connects with a sharp slap. She continues her comeback attack with forearm strikes and she continues to brutalise Paige in the corner. Paige is quick to fight back though, bulldozing Alicia with a gorgeous looking Lou Thesz Press. Now that is what you call fluidity.

Alicia shrugs Hell in Boots from off of her before recuperating on the outside. Paige retreats from the ring too, yet finds herself stuck between Bellas. Their presence is enough to distract Paige and Alicia blasts her to the floor.

After the commercial break and Alicia is still relentless in her punishment towards Paige. Part of the match was cut accidently from this video yet Alicia only had Paige in a rest hold so not much was missed. Watching from where the video picks up the action, Alicia continues to work over the back of Paige’s head and neck by utilising her trademark Northern Lights Suplex. After a two count, Paige briefly shows that there is still life left in her yet ‘Lic blasts the Tough Enough judge with a massive big boot.

Alicia continues to clamp every last breath of Paige’s out of her that she can with a vicious looking sleeper hold. Whilst a resthold, Paige’s selling is good and Alicia’s stance and aggressive grip on Paige makes the move look pretty painful. The crowd are majorly into the match and they cheer Paige to her feet. The atmosphere is electric and reaches fever pitch as Paige kicks out at 2 and 7/8ths after Foxy hits her trademark tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. I, like the crowd am I loving this!

Paige feeds off of the crowd’s euphoria and she manages to throw A. Fox from off of her back and she rebounds in a major way. She rallies knees into Alicia’s face before hitting her in the kisser with a series of clotheslines and a dropkick. She nets a near fall before screaming her trademark catchphrase. This is her house in what may perhaps be a Bella neighbourhood, yet as Byron Saxton so cleverly put it, Paige manages to purchase some property as she doesn’t let a distraction from Nikki get the best of her. Paige reverses Alicia’s roll-up with one of her own and she races away the ring a victorious woman!

Lana and Dolph Ziggler make their way out to the ring first for our next segment and Lana is rocking the side pony. I’m sure Dolph has been happy riding that steed. Sidenote: WWE need to have Lana change her attire and ditch that horrendous ‘Ravishing Russian’ nickname. It is way too cheesy.

Dolph cuts a frankly, boring promo before Lana says that now that she is by his side, she knows what being with a real man is like. Lana says that Rusev told her how to talk, how to dress and how to react towards American values. Apparently he is still telling her how to dress then… Her and Dolph are as giddy as school children who just pulled their first prank as they admit that they are now more than just good friends. Apparently Dolph is very passionate also. I am pretty passionate about wanting to projectile vomit everywhere after listening to that!

Rusev interrupts, and he is joined by a sizzling Summer Rae. She looks absolutely fantastic. She’s got the strut down that is quite the paradox to Rusev’s hobble. Looks like their random pairing is about to be fleshed out a little bit. Rusev says Lana is a cold fish and kissing her was like kissing the ringpost. Ooh burn. Ziggles interrupts Rusev, calling him a scumbag for talking to his girlfriend like that. He urges Rusev to walk away otherwise he’ll take care of that other knee of his.

The men staredown before Rusev backs away. Summer doesn’t go anywhere, and she takes to the mic. She says that Lana is a gold digger, who jumped ship from Rusev’s boat as soon as he lost at WrestleMania and got injured. She says Rusev is kind and gentle (what are words like that doing for his character?!) and that he once did really care for Lana. As she’s ditched him, Summer thinks that is appropriate to expose Lana as nothing but a “two-face, conniving, phony”. She then wallops Lana with a slap and an old-school cat fight ensues! Dolph pulls Lana off yet she jumps right back on Summer! The crowd erupt as all of that catty action took place and I couldn’t be happier. See WWE, another example of you giving the girls decent material leading to great interaction from the crowd.

Summer and Lana then proceeded to take more shots, this time verbal ones on Twitter. After Lana bested Miss Rae in the ring, Summer seemed to get the best of the online exchange for me.

I don't know what's more pathetic @LanaWWE..your right hand or that terrible weave!! ???????????? #RAW

— Summer Rae (@RealSummerWWE) June 30, 2015

You have no class @RealSummerWWE…a cheap shot by a CHEAP excuse for a real woman. #Raw

— LANA (@LanaWWE) June 30, 2015

Finally, Rusev and Summer are backstage with Eden. Rusev did pretty poorly in this segment I thought yet Summer did ok. Their bilingual relationship is pretty strange in terms of how they communicate! Summer better get across to Google Translate!

Thoughts: Has Summer Time finally arrived? I hope it has and it is manages to stick around for the longest time. Whilst I am not a fan of how much Summer has regressed in the ring, she looked amazing in the segment last night and her delivery and facial expressions were fantastic. Lana coped well yet I think Summer was the MVP of the entire night. Fantastic work from her. Finally, the potential we all saw in NXT has made its way onto the main roster, if only in a glimpse. Let’s hope this small showcase can turn into a grand performance.

Away from the acting and talking, I also thought the two performed solidly, and I love that it looks we are finally going to see Lana in the ring. You have to be really, really awful to make a catfight look bad and these two pulled off a good one. Lana’s reaction to being slapped was a little pathetic for me (considering she has stood up to the likes of Chris Jericho and The Rock defiantly in the past) yet I’ll forgive her as the fight was very believable and once she was pulled off, Lana went in for seconds. Congrats to both ladies for taking the ball and sprinting with it. Heck, they practically broke the 100m world record with it.

Another highlight was the match. Let’s talk about THAT match! Alicia Fox honestly needs to be Divas Champion. I really hope her alignment with the Bellas leads to her accidently winning the title, leading to a jealous Brie and Nikki turning on her as this woman needs another run with the title. Aside from the messy looking Scissors Kick she has perhaps dropped now, she hits every move to perfection. Examples of which could be seen in last night’s match. Whilst I would have preferred less rest holds or perhaps more interesting and painful ones that we have seen from her and Paige before, I cannot fault Alicia. To be honest, the fact the crowd was so into the match meant that I didn’t care about the rest holds that much. And that is a rare thing for me to say as I BLOODY HATE THEM.

One negative I have to address from last night is the lack of story progression in terms of Paige’s side of the battleground. Is Paige going to recruit anyone or is she just going to continue to defeat Team Bella? I like that her win tonight was via a suspenseful role up as despite being in a win, it showcased perfectly how this situation is far from perfect.

This feud still needs that extra layer that is really going to captivate me. The announcers did a great job (have I taken acid?) of teasing Naomi and Tamina‘s involvement in this, and I love that JBL said that Naomi should head her own coalition. Seeing different sets of Divas throw their own armies into the mix would make this much more believable. More often than not, there are more than two sides to a story, and I think WWE need to focus more on that. Why not have Cameron join Naomi and Tamina, and maybe have Natalya join Paige? Charlotte and Sasha Banks can debut together to form their own alliance perhaps, and then we will be able to get a more realistic sense of war. Everyone is gunning for the title, and they are aligning with who they trust – and not who is also the same face/heel alignment as them – to get the job done.

I definitely preferred this week’s episode to last week’s and thankfully, no referees tripped any of the Divas up. The stale Dolph/Lana/Rusev love triangle began to make headway by transitioning into a love square and Paige managed to defeat Alicia in a great match by Raw’s standards. Let’s hope now that both stories add extra layers to them to make them more believable and captivating. Maybe give Alicia and Summer a chance to express their true motives maybe? That surely isn’t so hard is it, WWE?

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