Thursday, October 6, 2022

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Raw Redux (March 24th, 2014): The More the Merrier?

Sorry for the delay, folks, but your Raw Redux is here! Think of it as fashionably late… Very fashionably late.

On this week’s Raw, we finally learned the WrestleMania 30 fate of the Divas Title, in that it actually has one. Yes, for the first time in the title’s existence, it will be defended at WrestleMania.

This was discovered after AJ Lee had a half hearted title defense against Naomi. Actually, it wasn’t announced as a title match, but at the end, AJ was announced as “still” being the Divas Champion, so who knows? Eh, just watch the match:

After her eye patch is mocked by AJ, Naomi takes her down with consecutive dropkicks. AJ reverses an Irish whip into the ropes, but Naomi slides out underneath the bottom rope, kicking AJ in the head when she charges towards her.

Naomi hops back into the ring and tries for a Rear View, but AJ telegraphs it and slips out of the ring. She starts yelling “I don’t need this!” and grabs the Divas Title, making an early exit as the referee counts her out and awards Naomi the DQ victory.

Before AJ can get away, though, Vickie Guerrero appears on the stage, mic in hand. This makes Michael Cole‘s handy SmackDown recap useful, because now we know that AJ had talked shit about her a few days ago. Didn’t see this coming whatsoever, since the commentators are always so helpfully on topic during Divas matches. I personally was not tipped off at all.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

Anyways, Vickie goes on to announce the “Vickie Guerrero Invitational”, in which AJ Lee will defended her title against the following Divas (and presumably more, since it’s an “invitational”): Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.

AJ feels like a trapped rat, screaming and clutching her title, sensing that the jig may finally be up.

On top of that, we got another bit of Summer, as she accompanied Fandango to the ring for his match against Cody Rhodes. Summer has a nice little dance-off with Goldust:

Stephanie McMahon also made an appearance, unfortunately sans power ponytail. She spoke in the ring with Batista and Randy Orton before slapping Batista so hard it rips out the crotch in his jeans:

Thoughts: To be honest, I’m relieved that we’re officially getting a Divas Title match. I’m not surprised, though, that every Diva on the roster is involved, because that’s often been the M.O. when it comes to WrestleMania. All of those Lumberjill matches, massive tag matches and Battle Royals prove that the WWE likes to give as many Divas as possible their WrestleMania payday. I can’t object to that, but it does take away some of the specialness of the match.

After all, we spent the last few weeks building up specific girls (Natalya, Nikki, Naomi and even Tamina), so it seems like a waste of time to just throw all of these other girls, who have not “earned” it, into the match. If this was the plan from the get-go, why not have AJ spend the last few weeks skipping out of matches, talking crap about Vickie (so people don’t need the commentary refresher seconds before the follow-up) and thumbing her nose at the powers that be? Surely it would have been more beneficial than having AJ be pinned cleanly over and over and over again.

Of course, the odds are that this wasn’t in the plans. Maybe a smaller match was planned, which I would have preferred. Still, after last year’s WrestleMania bait and switch, I can’t complain. A match is definitely happening, and the Divas Title will be on the line for the first time ever. That’s definitely a plus.

When it comes to Divas matches, rarely is it “the more the merrier”, especially when it’s one fall to a finish. Maybe they can pull out some sort of trickery to make it less clusterfucky. Maybe. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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