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Raw Redux (March 23rd, 2015): A Frenemy Frenzy on the Road to WrestleMania

Hi everyone! Pleasure to have you stopping by on the penultimate pit stop before WrestleMania. Well the second last stop that matters anyway – sorry WWE Superstars!

As WrestleMania looms, storylines kick up yet another notch as WWE make us salivate that little bit more before the Show of Shows. Honestly, my drooling is ridiculously unsanitary at this point. I’m seeking medical help guys, don’t worry.

On this week’s Raw, Sting kicked off the show and locked horns with WWE’s ultimate She-Devil, Stephanie McMahon. It was as phenomenal as it sounds. In addition to that, Paige squared off against Nikki Bella with the WWE Divas Championship on line as AJ Lee and Brie Bella were exchanging evils on the outside. We also Lilian Garcia try and get “down with the kids” as she introduced Raw’s guest star Snoop Dogg. Speaking of Snoop, he was accompanied to the ring by Alicia Fox, Cameron, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae. We also saw Naomi observe Natalya‘s bullshit Interspecies tag team match too. Lots of Divas on the agenda, so let’s dive in!

Our first segment features her Royal Highness, Stephanie McMahon as she confronts Sting. The Stinger opened Raw to a raucous ovation and he explained how he is in WWE to take Triple H down. Although he wanted to get his hands on Trips, Steph arrive on the scene instead. The announce team hype Stephanie excellently. Handling Stephanie is a whole different kettle of fish. This genius is no Dixie Carter.

After we were welcomed to the Queendom, Stephanie begins to exude her arrogance, making sure that Sting “soaks it all in” being in the ring with her. Sting calls her a “spoiled little brat” and Stephanie responds by comparing Sting to an old dog, although she doesn’t want to insult any dogs. Love it. Speaking of dogs, Stephanie was an ultra bitch in this segment. She absolutely killed it. Steph tried to slap Sting after bellowing at him that he is a “facepainted freak” yet he grabs her wrist and HHH makes his way to the ringside area!

Trips and Ol’ Steve lock eyes as Stephanie proceeds to get Hunter’s sledgehammer from under the ring. It was a GIF worthy moment if ever there was one. Sting whips his baseball bat out (if that’s what you’re into Sting, I ain’t judging) and his equaliser is enough to send Triple off running scared. I cannot wait for this match. Who knows, maybe Steph will get to see what a Scorpion Death Drop tastes like?

Next up, WWE keeps giving us #GiveDivasAChance followers what we want. Awesomely, we have near 14 minutes of solid Divas action coming up next.

The antics kick off with AJ and Paige discussing the upcoming match against Nikki Bella. One of them will face Nikki for the title, and The Bellas are letting them decide who should step up. AJ says that she can clearly see that the Kardashian wannabes (I hope they don’t want to be like Khloe) are trying to build friction between the former(?) frenemies and she says its cool that Paige will get the title shot tonight. Paige says that whilst AJ was away, it was her who had to put up with the “insufferable slags” so it is only right that she face Nikki tonight. Paige says that she will gave AJ the shot if she wants yet if you’re willing to turn a title match down, then you’re crazy.

Uh oh.

I love that Paige’s Englishness allows her to swear. In case anyone doesn’t know, Paige basically called the Bellas sluts. She’s the first woman since Mae Young to say something nearly as risqué – go Paige!

The cameras then move to the arena as Paige and her “pumpkin” AJ make their way to the ring. WrestleMania is hyped before the Bellas strut their way to the ring in a ravishing red. I miss The Bellas doing their out of time joint shimmy. Alas, I can’t have it all!

After a lovely in-ring introduction from Lilian (she is neck and neck with Jennifer Aniston on looking that good at nearly 50 years old), the match begins.

Nikki opens stronger by getting the best of a ferocious lock-up yet Paige rallies back by tackling Nikki to the floor and pummelling her face in. Paige works over Nikki’s head some more, delivering a headbutt and a flurry of knees. After a trademark scream from ‘Hell in Boots’, Nikki drags herself to the outside to collect her composure. Nikki’s time on the outside served her well as she turns the tide, despite being initially rattled with a headbutt. The champion whacks Paige’s skull into the mat and gloats by doing a few press-ups. Nikki is loving her work. Not the work she has had done, although she should definitely love all of that too. Hot dayum!

My fantasising over, Paige fights back against her opponent by clotheslining her to the mat. Paige then hits a flying clothesline from the apron after Nikki tried to escape. It looks like Paige completely has Nikki’s number, yet Nikki finally ushers in a major momentum shift by sending Paige straight into her knee. A patella dilemma for Paige!

After the commercial break, Nikki is firmly on the attack. She sucks the life out of Paige with a brief chinlock, and then she maims Paige with a Trish Stratus-esque spinebuster. The move only nets Nikki a two count though so she then tries to brutalise Paige with a clothesline. Unfortunately for Nikki, Paige had the same idea, and the two are both down for the count and taking each other out.

Paige’s adrenaline pumps when she gets back to her feet and I’m loving it. Nikki is far from loving it as she gets battered by three clotheslines and a dropkick for the two count. Nikki sold that kick to perfection too. Has she been getting lessons from Alicia Fox?

Nikki is quick to retaliate, giving the match a neat back-and-forth quality. She sends her shin straight into Paige’s face after diving from the second rope, and nets a two count. Nikki then tries to hit her patented ‘FOREARRRRRMMM OF DOOOOOM’, a forearm not quite as iconic as Mickie James‘ infamous one against Gail Kim in ‘that match’. LOL.

Paige ducks Nikki’s forearm and takes her face off with a killer thrust kick to the jaw. The crowd are eating up the action as Nikki stays in the match. Paige them tries to hit the RamPaige yet Nikki rolls her challenger up in a small package. Another near fall! Nikki then nails a brutal Alabama Slam… yet Paige kicks out!

Nikki hoists Paige up for the Rack Attack, yet Paige counters and hits the RamPaige. 1-2-KICK OUT!

History is made as Nikki becomes the first Diva to kick out of the RamPaige – amazing action! Paige is beside herself yet she still has the PTO or Paige Turner up her sleeve. Instead of going for either of those moves, Paige charges at Nikki, a tackle that takes both girls to the outside. Brie Bella struts closers to Paige, yet AJ Lee charges into the scene and takes Brie down. Paige then walks up to AJ, who then elbows her in the face by mistake after thinking it was Nikki! Paige turns around into Nikki’s devastating forearm and Nikki is now firmly in the driver’s seat. A Rack Attack later and this outstanding match is over.

Brie sells her backache well as she gloats at Nikki’s win behind a gutted AJ. She tries to comfort Paige in the ring, who is not in a loving mood. The two begin to kick each other’s asses with the devious Bellas looking on. Eventually the girls calm down, yet Paige leaves with a right face on as AJ is left alone in the ring.

Next up, we get a (thankfully nowadays) rare sighting of Divas acting as a random celebrity’s arm candy. Alicia Fox, Cameron, Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae escort Snoop Dogg to the ring, who ends up laying the SmackDown with Hulk Hogan on Curtis Axel. Cool segment overall, yet would a mentally unstable wackjob in Alicia Fox really want to conform and escort some irrelevant rapper to the ring? Snoop’s cool and all but yeah, I just can’t see Alicia Fox especially doing what she did in her current character.

It is time for the final match of this evening’s proceedings now as Natalya, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro team up to take on Los Matadores and El Torito in a rematch from last Thursday night’s Six Being Interspecies Tag Team match. Nattie managed to sedate the rampant animal in her assigned enclosure on SmackDown, yet did lightning strike twice last night?


Firstly, Tal was tagged in only for the quite frankly repetitive motion of Tyson tagging himself in to happen. I’m getting pretty bored of that now to be honest. It happens every match. I’m sure he can be a douche some other way. Later in the match, Natalya was tagged into the match to take on El Torito. WWE’s sexism was blatantly on show here as were their ‘animal rights’; when Nattie was tagged in, only El Torito could face her, yet when Torito is in the ring, he can face anyone? What a load of literal bull.

Long story short, El Torito managed to kick out of Natalya’s discus clothesline (a move Naomi apparently can’t) and then he proceeded to reverse Nat’s powerbomb attempt and pin her. Woo.

Thoughts: Last night’s Raw was pretty epic. Two Divas matches and a mountain of Divas appearances made for an impressive night. As WWE are learning, they can’t just stick the girls out there and expect us to be entertained. By allowing them to partake in interesting (interesting-ish in the case of the current times) storylines, engaging backstage segments and lengthy matches, fans in attendance and viewers alike have every reason to get behind the action. Last night was a great example of giving people what they want… on the whole.

I’m going to do things a little differently this week and get my negatives out of the way first. I probably make too much of a deal out of the Natalya situation, yet how is a woman’s only apparent equal a dwarf in a bull costume and the dwarf is seen as an equal to everyone? Everyone should be an equal to everyone. Natalya should be able to pick a fight with The Undertaker if she bloody well wants – this is 2015. Nattie could dish out some serious damage to any bloke. WWE need to relax their intergender policy a little. If Natalya is wrestling El Torito, he is still a man at the end of the day. It’s discriminatory to have her wrestle him only because he is small. Anyway, their exchange was actually really fun and I honestly would like to see Natalya vs El Torito one on one. I bet they’d tear the roof off given time.

Having already said my piece on the mediocre aspect of the night when a selection on women were with Snoop Dogg, I only have the fact WWE didn’t have him do something with Sasha Banks to address. Even taping something for Main Event would have been cool, despite Sasha being a heel. This is not the first time Snoop has shown his face on WWE TV and I doubt it’ll be his last. Let him heel it up next time though and hang with Sasha in-front of the cameras.

Finally, we have a dozen of positives which is what I like to see! A happy Reduxer! Is that what they call my kind?

Let’s work chronologically and start with Stephanie McMahon’s verbal dressing down of Sting. Be careful Steph, you might knock his t-shirt off and reveal what is left of his chest! But seriously, this was golden work from both. Sting brought the showtime whilst Stephanie brought the salt for the wounds she was about to open up. Damn, she went to town on him. And her sledgehammer face = pure gold. She is the best female talker ever in the business in my opinion, and I’m glad I get to recap it every week. Trust me Steph, I follow your instructions and truly soak it all in!

The AJ/Paige backstage moment was nicely done. Alluding to AJ’s dormant craziness was cool and the segment allowed both Divas to showcase their quirky personalities – AJ her unhinged mentality and Paige her sarcastic humour. It wasn’t overly long and it definitely didn’t need to be. It was short and sweet and gave the girls enough time to showcase the personalities of their characters.

Simply put, the match was excellent. Limited use of rest holds, thrilling delivery of signature moves, edge-of-your-seat near falls all topped off with a juicy ending that planted plenty of seeds. All girls involved did everything right. I loved it. Nikki continuing to use the Alabama Slam is epic and I love how she kicked out of the RamPaige. My jaw hit the floor at that. Moments like that are what make matches stand out. I definitely will be remembering this in years to come. A solid contest and one of the best for both girls on the main roster.

The brawl afterward, much like the backstage segment, was just long enough. PaiJ let their frustrations out and then had a spine-tingling staredown. The Road to WrestleMania has most certainly delivered!

Stay tuned to Diva Dirt for my WrestleMania prediction and those of the rest of the team later this week. A special WrestleMania Preview presentation of Diva Dirt Weekly will also air later this week so you may get to hear me on that too! We will also have representation at WrestleMania as well in the form of everyone’s favourite Pink Power Ranger, Jake Verterano. Who knows what treasures he may uncover for us all?!

Let’s hope WrestleMania is good to us! Until then, see you around on Twitter! *shameless plug*

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