Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Raw Redux (March 28th, 2016): Eva Evens the Odds and Charlotte Gains the Edge

We are just 5 days away from WrestleMania and Raw delivered big time last night. Congrats if you got the WrestleMania 22 reference there.

Last night’s Raw featured two Divas matches, the first of which was Charlotte vs Becky Lynch. Ric Flair and Sasha Banks were also at ringside, ensuring shenanigans from the outside were a certainty.

In addition to a handful of backseat appearances from Stephanie McMahon, Paige squared off with her NXT rival Emma. Their respective teammates for WrestleMania – Alicia Fox, Brie Bella and Natalya for Paige, and Lana, Naomi, Summer Rae and Tamina for Emma – flanked behind, ensuring shenanigans from the outside were a certainty. Again. I have a feeling you’re going to like this week’s Raw guys!

Up first tonight, it’s our first Divas match, pitting former besties turned bitter enemies Charlotte and Becky Lynch against one another.

Becky makes the best of the early going with some neat, deep armdrags. Charlote fights back not too long later, reversing an Irish whip cleaner than a whistle by vaulting over the top rope. She then grabs Becky by the hair, sending her crashing to the mat. She’s not the Dirtiest Lady in The Game for nothing!

Back from the commercial break and Charlotte is rallying knee after knee into Becky’s face. Becky hits back with some tough clotheslines, the adrenaline learly fueling Becky at this point. The crowd are loving it as Becky decks Charlotte with a jumping calf kick, sending more pain her way with a running forearm shortly afterward. The crowd are up in arms when Charlotte kicks out of a Bexplex, with the champ showing more of her resolve next. She hits a schoolgirl for two before kneeing Becky twice in the face, bashes she follows up with a stiff knife-edge chop.

Bex rebounds with a springboard kick, sending Charlotte to the outside and into the path of Sasha! Sadly, physicality is only teased, as Charlotte cowardly runs away from the situation. The Divas Champ gets back into the ring whilst Ric interferes, grabbing Becky’s leg. Becky kicks Ric off, bur runs right into a ferocious big boot. A Natural Selection later and Becky is pinned. The crafty champ makes up for her loss on SmackDown with a devious win!

Becky reacted to the loss on Raw Fallout:

Stephanie McMahon is up next, supporting her husband, the WWE Champion, Triple H:

Steph rightfully let Hunter lead this one, explaining that Roman Reigns has helped him reignite his passion for becoming a champion and holding onto that very title. Stephanie says that Sunday night isn’t about unicorn horns or street fights, it is about the prestige of the WWE Title, a belt that he will keep around his waist. Roman Reigns interrupts Stephanie (like we haven’t seen that before!) and then things get physical. While Steph didn’t get her hands dirty last night, here’s hoping she dishes a slap or two out at Mania. Hopefully during Triple H and Shane’s matches!

We next turn our attention to the Divas match on the WrestleMania pre-show, the 10 Diva tag… which at the point of chronological recap, only had nine women confirmed. Oh how that quickly changed with a wave of negativity. More on that later though.

Paige is squaring off against Emma, the latter representing the newly named B.A.D. & Blonde. Love it. I love those names that will only last for a hot minute. Remember Submission Sorority? Also, I loved both of those entrances. Seeing Emma doing her poses on the main roster to quite a good reaction was awesome.

Emma clubs at Paige to start off the match, taking her down with a snapmare soon after. Following a kick to the back, Emma pulls at Paige’s hair on the mat, and then between the ropes, ripping out those roots. That’s got to hurt. Thank god I don’t know what that feels like! Emma then hits that lightning quick basement dropkick of hers to net a two count. The Australian then stomps at Paige in the corner, choking her out with her foot for good measure. Nattie gets the crowd going as Emma collapses Paige’s lungs with the move formerly known as the Emmamite Sandwich – perhaps that should get a new name?!

Out of nowhere, Paige rebounds with a trio of thrust kicks before yelling her trademark catchphrase. The two-time Divas Champion then hits successive running knee strikes, keeping the Diva in blue down for two. Emma fights back with fists, but then gets flopped and flattened with a fall away slam. Lana and Tamina re seen whispering on the outside, and it seems they have a plan in the works. Tamina gets Paige’s attention on the apron, and then all of the Divas on the outside start arguing, Back in the ring, Emma hits a jawbreaker on Paige just before Lana darts into the ring. She decks Paige with her signature kick, allowing Emma to pick up the win.

After the match, Emma continues to assault Paige, with Brie coming in to tackle Lana. Summer then dashes to grab Brie as Tamina and Nattie clash and Alicia has her hands full with Naomi. Just as Lana looks super pleased with herself that her problems are solved – and she’s barely had to lift a finger – none other than EVA MARIE enters the arena! This reaction video posted by Diva Dirt’s Josue from the arena tells the story.

LOL. Eva poses on the ramp before sprinting to the ring! I was so scared Eva was going to trip or tear her quads, but she did neither, taking Lana out by yanking at her hair. A basic move, but well, if you were secretly in cahoots with someone, you wouldn’t want to hurt them too hard, right? Team Total Divas look shocked and disgusted as Lana raises her new teammates’ hands. Oh dear. Talk about strange bedfellows!

On Raw Fallout, Brie made it clear that she doesn’t trust her newest teammate:

Finally, the Authority are in the ring… again, to have a confrontation with Roman Reigns… again:

Not to mention, Triple H attacked Roman backstage in between the two in-ring segments. Talk about overload! Although we saw a lot of Roman and Hunter, this last segment showed more of Steph’s wicked tongue, and Roman delivered quite the impressive dive onto much of the roster who tried to break him and Triple H apart.

Thoughts: Once again, the Divas received some fantastic treatment on the road to this year’s WrestleMania. Whilst the storylines haven’t been as fleshed out or as deep as I would have liked, we’ve seen competent action and at least stories are in fact being told. You couldn’t say that for some Manias gone by.

The triple threat is being treated as one of WrestleMania’s main events, and rightly so. I thought it was interesting to see Becky lose last night. Sasha got to have a win over Charlotte but not Becky? Whilst WWE are having us think Sasha or Charlotte are the strongest candidates going in to the Grandest Stage of Them All, I 100% don’t say either of them winning. Becky’s underdog story is going to culminate at Mania, with her capturing the Divas Championship. She can make Charlotte submit, allowing Sasha to keep her undefeated streak. One thing is for sure in my opinion, Sunday will be Becky’s night.

Although if Sasha does indeed win, I wouldn’t be mad at that at all!

As for Charlotte and Becky’s match, it was on the shorter side but it felt much longer than it was. It was one of those matches where the commercial break didn’t damage it at all. I liked the unique way of Becky springboard kicking Charlotte to the outside, which we haven’t seen before. Becky actually getting physical with Ric was interesting too, as that shows the lengths Becky is willing to go to to try and win. Instead of shoving him off like last night, maybe she’ll take his arm at Mania?

I also liked how the Bexplex is becoming an established name too. Well done Mauro Ranello! Michael Cole did well to actually listen to his more talented colleague and pick up on that new name. He actually called it a Beckplex twice but at least he realized his mistake before the match was over.

Looking to the 10-Diva tag, my god did Eva get a reaction. It may not have been the one WWE wanted, but any reaction is a good reaction right? People actually care about this match thanks to the interesting build and inclusion of dark horses like Emma, Lana and now Eva. This could have had clusterf**k written all over it but it is far from it. Great work from WWE. It is just a shame that whilst Summer’s inclusion was developed and explained, Lana’s beef with Brie wasn’t. You can’t have it all though.

Will Eva turn on her team to allow Lana to pick up the win? It looks that way to me! Her team are uneasy with her siding with them, and it would be absolutely ridiculous for WWE to ignore Eva on NXT. Eva will want all of the attention for herself, and what better way to steal the spotlight than a WrestleMania back stabbing? All eyes will be on Eva at the Show of Shows.

I was a big fan of WWE giving Emma the win and a chance to reestablish herself, especially considering she returned on Main Event, which isn’t even on the WWE Network. It was a smart move to revisit Emma and Paige’s NXT rivalry. CONTINUE

What an exciting weekend ahead. We have a blockbuster bout between Asuka and Bayley on Saturday, and two mega matches at Mania. Thank the lord that WWE is now serious about women’s wrestling!

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