Monday, October 2, 2023

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Raw Redux (June 9th, 2014): The Wrath of Milk and Popcorn

What’s up guys and gals? Good news… I finally messed up the time of day I sleep again just for you! Therefore this redux will actually be posted early and on the correct day again. I know I’ve been off the past two weeks, but it’s time to get right back on and bring forth the Diva recap of epic proportions.

That’s enough about me though. Let’s get to the real meat and bones (or should I say milk and popcorn) of tonights festivities!~

It was a night of many different food and beverage products taking center stage when it came to our Divas, but what arrived with those items was some fun segments galore. Match wise, we’re back down to one again, and it’s… yet again, Paige vs. Alicia Fox. This time we’ve got Aksana at ringside though, so we’ll have to see if that can be enough to make this one feel unique in their best of 7500 series against each other.

In addition to that, we’ve also got appearances by Lana, Stephanie McMahon, Vickie Guerrero, Layla and Summer Rae so strap in because we’re ready for a pretty bumpy ride and it’s starting right off with my highlight of the night:

We head backstage to see… LAYLA, and she’s speaking! Sound the alarms because I don’t know if we’re still on planet Earth. Ooh, she is trashing the people of Minneapolis to a new debuting makeup lady who I will now call NotJan, and then asks if Summer Rae herself is from the area. I’m kind of ashamed in Layla because she’s supposed to be the company’s goddess of Instagram, therefore she should have known Summer is from North Carolina and has a slight (justified) obsession with Bojangles Fried Chicken. NotJan laughs at Layla’s insult to the people of Minneapolis, which now makes me a fan because we FINALLY have a heel makeup lady! Layla feels they don’t appreciate the fine art of dance and exclaims that Fandango can’t wait to leave, then requesting NotJan (real name, Jackie, but still to be referred to as NotJan) to get her favorite smudge proof lipstick. From there, she begins recalling the tale of the last time she kissed Fandango but can’t finish because Summer Rae is here! And she has fat free milk!

Summer dumps that half-gallon right over Layla’s head, sending the British Bombshell into an array of screams as her entire look for the night is ruined at the hands of our very own Dairy Queen. Summer then shoves her right back onto the makeup table and proceeds to beat her down as if an E! camera crew had followed her right to Layla’s front doorstep! “Get Off My Property” screams Natalya in the background (of my imagination) as Summer drops the table right over a downed Layla and throws powder all over her to get the job done. Layla is left a mess on the floor as Summer walks off like the badass she is. All hail the Dairy Queen of wrestling!

We head to the arena as Paige’s screechy intro blares across the speaker system and out she walks, proudly showing off her title for the world to see. Up next comes Foxy, who displays a new manic titantron! And Aksana! Alicia struts down the ramp and hops into the ring for another match against Paige as the bell sounds and we get underway with a lock up. Fox shoves Paige outside quick and runs outside but accidentally bumps into Aksana. Paige with a slap to Aksana, but this distraction allows Foxy to hit a dropkick to the outside off the ring apron. Back in the ring we go as Alicia applies a headlock and the crowd tries to get behind Paige. Fox with the Northern Lights now for a two count, following it up with a knee to the back and then another headlock. Paige with a quick roll up! Just a two count though as Alicia nails an Aksana approved clothesline for a two count.

Alicia wipes the dust off her hands and hits a delayed tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Aksana screams on in support of her friend. Another headlock now, but Paige fights out of a sidewalk slam attempt with a nice headscissors counter to send Alicia outside the ring. Fox tries to get back in, as Paige now hits some of her trademark knees. A scream in the face, followed with a series of clotheslines and another scream to get the crowd fired up, as she goes for a dropkick that only garners a two count. Paige with an elbow now as she climbs up top, but Fox slams her off and now Aksana is getting in Paige’s face. Alicia tries to get in Paige’s face, as Paige swings her forward and she collides head first with Aksana. From there, Paige locks in the PTO and gains the victory via submission!

After the match, Aksana tries to comfort Alicia, but Fox is not happy. She takes Aksana down! Now grabbing a bucket of popcorn and some bottles of water from ringside, Alicia starts throwing it around before sliding into the ring. She dumps the water all over Aksana and starts eating popcorn out of nowhere. Fox beats Aksana down and now begins to offer/force feed the yellowy substance right into her Lithuanian mouth. She then comforts her and Aksana looks kinda slightly terrified as the segment comes to a close.

Later on in the show, Layla makes her presence felt again as she manages the team of Sandango (Fandango & Damien Sandow) against the Tag Team Champions, Jimmy and Jey Uso:

Next up, it’s time for the weekly dose of Ravishing Russian, as Lana struts down the entrance ramp like a runway and this time sets her sights on none other than Barack Obama!

Also, check out Stephanie McMahon as she and Triple H deliver an announcement on the future of Daniel Bryan‘s reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion:

And finally, Stephanie has a confrontation with none other than Vickie Guerrero later on in the show as well. Unfortunately, I can’t find video of it!

The Good:

Layla/Summer Rae – Is WWE reading these reduxes? I mean I kind of had oddball thoughts when the random things I would mention in Adam Rose’s entrance were getting fixed up, but now I’m starting to really get suspicious because the very final sentence of what I wrote last week was about how a backstage segment involving Summer and Layla should happen, claiming it would only take up 1-2 minutes of a three hour show… and now we get just that. Plus as I predicted, I loved it! A segment like this in all its 59 second glory accomplishes more than a match 85% of the time when it comes to the Divas, and I lived for the catfight they had. The crowd ate every second of it up and it made Summer Rae come off looking like such a badass! This definitely makes up for not getting anything last week as far as I’m concerned, and I need it to continue on for a little bit. To be honest I still don’t know what disposition Summer is… and I actually kind of love it that way. She doesn’t need to turn into a smiley babyface for this feud to work because fans love seeing two Divas just beat the crap out of each other if there’s a real story behind it. Segments like these do wonders to further their feud, and look! Just like I said last week, it only took one minute out of a three hour show. You got this WWE! Feed us more and bring all the dairy products you want.

Lana – I can’t handle Lana anymore… and I mean that is the greatest possible way. Her promo tonight killed me to no end, and even though I’ll never be able to get behind Rusev, I love that WWE is putting so much emphasis and promotion into an act that a Diva is in. The crowds destroy Lana when she has a mic. She basically has them in the palm of her hand every week, and it doesn’t matter what hour of the show she gets put in… she can always rile them up. The Obama stuff tonight was hilarious in terms of how she delivered it and tried to turn on something that’s actually current. She is constantly something I look forward to every week, and as sad as I am that they didn’t have Adam Rose on this week, I’m glad they’re at least looking to be moving forward when it comes to her promos. Rusev’s squash matches on the other hand are a different story when it comes to moving forward, but as far as I’m concerned, this is all about Lana and what she does every week is actually progressing each time we see her.

Stephanie McMahon – I don’t really have much to say about Stephanie this week since it was just a regular promo with Triple H, but as always, she delivers. And bonus points for the dig at Brie Bella now having quit for no reason whatsoever.

The Somewhat Good:

Stephanie/Vickie – I didn’t mind this and it was great to see Vickie Guerrero back on TV after what feels (to me at least) like forever, but nothing really happened in it that lead to anything so I’m just slotting it in the middle section for now. If it leads to anything continuous between those two, I’d definitely start charting their segments higher… but for now, it was just sort of there but in a good way because I love whenever Stephanie gets to play off of another woman and I also love seeing Vickie Guerrero in any capacity.

The Not-So Good:

Paige vs. Alicia – I couldn’t really get as into this match as their past ones. I don’t know, I just kind of have the mentality if you’re going to give us a match for what kind of feels like the 65th time in two months, something special has to go down to make us interested in seeing it again. No matter how good two girls are, I can honestly only see them face off so many times before I become uninterested if it just feels like I’m seeing the same match every time. Alicia and Paige were so good at differentiating each of their bouts, but it feels like the more spotlight they get, the more they start to feel the same and sort of rely more on Fox’s meltdowns to stand out. It also never helps when they get slotted in the third hour and have to perform in front of a dead crowd, but at this point I’m used to that so I kind of tune them out and just try to focus on the action.

I also still can’t get into the way (I’m assuming) they’re making Paige stick to the same few moves and win matches after being beat down for a majority either because it just feels so weird to me. It’s like they can’t decide which way to market her, whether they want her to portray this new rookie or an esteemed veteran who just got to WWE after years of training. Those video packages show she can do so much more and they continue to mention her growing up as a wrestler, but then when they put her in action it’s like they want us to think she’s an unexperienced rookie who has to be dominated by the other Divas for 3/4 of a match. I honestly wish they’d just let her be this badass Anti-Diva we sort of saw in NXT, but turned up even more because I feel like THAT’S what crowds want to see. Paige was touted as the developmental Diva who could help change the game of the main roster Women’s Division, and her debut really did solidify that “Wow, they really are giving her the ball to run with” feeling we had all feared they wouldn’t do. But since then, it seems like more and more every week they’ve just lost all sense of what to do with her. Nothing is really different about her anymore except for the things that she herself brings to the table like her look and screams, and it stinks but it’s up to them to put the effort into her that they did on her debut and I just don’t see it being done.

Alicia’s Meltdown – Sigh, it pains me to put this here but it honestly has nothing to do with the segments themselves at all. It’s more the fact that we seem to be stuck in them accomplishing the same thing every week, and that’s nothing. The segments were gold at the start because they were building her up to a title match with Paige, and I’m 100% happy they’re still being continued afterwards and Alicia is still a focus in the division. But what I’m not really digging is how they just seem to be the same thing time and time again now. It’s almost like WWE finds something that works and gets a lot of positive feedback so they think they have to repeat it for the next ten weeks instead of move it forward and give it some storyline progression.

Alicia doesn’t need to lose to Paige again just to have a meltdown. Hell, put her and Aksana in a feud with Nikki Bella and let Paige feud with someone else for a month or two. They are getting so much better at finding side roles for a lot of the Divas and I’m extremely grateful for that, but there’s even more we can expand on to capitalize on everyone’s strengths. Paige could feud with Cameron and allow Naomi to be sort of this centerpiece between them who doesn’t know which to side with, leading to a heel turn and big feud over the title that could have a legitimate storyline considering how close Naomi got to that being her Championship before Paige debuted. Summer and Layla can continue to feud, then you could even have Fox and Aksana opposite Nikki Bella. Three feuds is asking quite a lot I know, but this also could go into why I forever miss the brand split although I’ll save that for another day.

Ultimately, we’re going in a good direction but I feel like we could be in a great one if we just had a few tweaks. Next week I’d really like to see a multi-Diva tag (which I know is horrible to wish) between maybe Paige, Nikki, Naomi & Cameron against Alicia, Aksana, Rosa and Layla. With Naomi/Cameron and Paige not exactly seeing eye to eye, as well as Alicia and Aksana, it’d be so interesting to watch how the teams gel together. Plus it’d get Nikki on TV to keep the Brie storyline focused on, Rosa on TV a little more heading into Total Divas return down the road, and we could even have Summer Rae run out and catfight with Layla at ringside to progress that. One match could accomplish so much and provide a lot of unique, fun scenarios that could play out… but as always, we’ll have to see what happens. Fingers crossed!

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