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Raw Redux (June 6th, 2016): Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Money in the Bank

Welcome to another Raw Redux here on Diva Dirt. This week, the women of the WWE actually had more than two minutes – hooray. Although none of them got to wrestle – boo. Stephanie McMahon was back on form however, making a blockbuster announcement regarding the future of SmackDown. Theodore Long of all people was the brunt of Stephanie’s sharp tongue on three occasions too. Talk about random…

It is indeed good ol’ Teddy who more or less starts the show, interrupting a MITB segment to try and make some matches. Unfortunately for him, he makes no sense WHATSOVER. Stephanie comes out and wonders how on earth he even got out there and his music played (and that brand-spanking new titantron for that matter!), but she lets it slide. She ignores the “DOLLA”ing and the “HOLLAing” and tells him to get to stepping. Believe it or not, Teddy didn’t even mention a tag team match… there’s still time however!

Up next, Lana introduces Rusev before he wins another squash match against someone he’s beaten about 5753 times already in his career. Next!

We’re now off to Stephanie in her office, and she’s interrupted by – you guessed it – the former First Playa of SmackDown. He even has his entrance music playing on his phone. LOL! He proposes a Fatal 4 Way tag team match for Money in the Bank, which someone actually ends up getting booked. Great idea, I just didn’t think it would wash with Queen Steph! She tells him to get out – “Just leave Teddy. Just leave.” – after he tells her that he paid the security off to give him access to the building. Why has that never happened when I’ve tried it?! Funny segment.

Our women’s segment of the night is next, and it begins with Charlotte apologizing for some of her words against her Dad from two weeks ago. She says that she doesn’t regret any of it, but she wants to clarify that it was meant in a professional context. She said her Dad is dead to her in terms of her career, but not her personal life. Yeah, me neither.

Becky and Natalya interrupt her… oh, and Dana was there too. Natalya says she doesn’t buy any of what Lotty is saying, and Becky thinks it’s total cow dung. The two them said that Charlotte has shown her true colors once again – she just uses and abuses everyone around her to reach the top. The good girls tell Dana that exact same will happen to her.

Then ensues some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a while. Dana is “deep thinking” but instead looks like how a confused old woman would when lost in the street. She just stared blankly at the sky. Anyway, it then looked like Dana would walk away from Charlotte, but she attacks Natalya instead. Becky then falls over Nattie and the whole thing is not exactly smooth. They tried at least. Some of the dialogue and delivery was decent.

Finally, Teddy Long comes out to make an actual tag team match (YAY!) but Stephanie has security remove him. She then tells him backstage that the new person running SmackDown will be young and vivacious, not someone old who doesn’t make one bit of sense. The new leader of SmackDown… will be HER!

Thoughts: A mixed bag this week on Raw. No women’s match is ridiculous although I do appreciate yet another attempt at improving the girls’ mic skills in-front of a live crowd. One thing WWE has really improved on from 2014 onwards is the amount of promos the girls have gotten. I appreciate their regularity, even if the content isn’t always the strongest.

This week’s promo was on the whole really bad, but I did really, REALLY like Natalya and Becky sowing the seeds of doubt into Dana already. This is storyline development after all, and that isn’t always done well in WWE. Addressing the past and how that will inevitably influence the present was great. Dana will know that herself, but continuing to be “mentored” aka to Charlotte’s dirty work and get herself noticed is her agenda at the moment. Dana will cross the inevitable double-cross bridge when she gets to it.

The rest of this however – ouch. The segment reminded me of a high school production of The Wizard of Oz. You had Natalya as Dorothy, desperate to get back home (aka the WWE Women’s Champion) and Becky as the scarecrow with that lovable charm and crazy hair – it really had a life of its own this week! On the other side of the table, you have Dana as the Tin Man (shiny and new with not a whole lot going on inside) and Charlotte was the cowardly lion, who uses every trick in the book to avoid getting her hands dirty. I guess that also makes Bret Hart Toto the Dog.

The whole thing was bizarre. Becky’s hair, Dana’s weird staring, Charlotte’s chat at the start which was unnecessary and did nothing but devalue her heel character, Becky falling over, you name it. I feel bad for being negative but it really was bad. The highlights for me were Becky on the mic, Charlotte’s brutal dragon sleeper (please use this more!) and Dana hitting her finisher perhaps the best she has ever done it. Other than that, I unfortunately wasn’t a fan. What was Dana staring at? Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Or was it someone else who like Dana, was called up way too early? Dana as actually impressed me up until tonight, but she should stick to excelling at trash talking and avoid acting with her face. It just didn’t work.

It also looks like we’re going to get a filler tag team match at Money in the Bank, and not the Fatal 4 Way which would have been way more exciting. If WWE are already teasing Dana splitting from Charlotte, why not go a little further and book the four corners match? The booking is way too safe, and it is way too obvious that this is randomly stalling until Sasha steps up. Let’s hope that is sooner rather than later.

One major positive to end on, Stephanie got her mojo back this week. She was SOOOOOO out of character last week so it was good to see her back to her usual self. She was brutally honest with Teddy Long, just how she should be. I just hope we get a reason for why she has decided to head up the SmackDown brand. Considering Raw is her baby and she made a big deal about making sure Shane didn’t get control of it, we need a good reason as to why Steph is willing to leave it behind. If they say that she knows SmackDown will bring so much attention to her, and be more hyped and talked about than Raw, then that would suffice. Let’s hope the explanation of that is better than Charlotte trying to explain why she lashed out at her Dad. I’m not counting my chicken before they hatch that’s for sure.

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