Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Raw Redux (March 7th, 2016): Charlotte and Lana Stand Tall

The Road to WrestleMania has been filled with two-match shows each and every week, with this week’s being no different. Summer Rae and Brie Bella square off in a singles match whilst Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks team up to tackle Naomi and Tamina in a Fastlane rematch. Throw in notable appearances from Stephanie McMahon, Lana and the WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and you have quite the solid show!

A major LOL moment occurs in our first Divas sighting of the night, a backstage verbal throwdown between Dolph Ziggler and Stephanie McMahon (skip to 11:35 in the video below):

Firstly, LOL at Zack Ryder just walking off from his boss as the segment began. Poor Zack isn’t even relevant enough to stand in the presence of Steph for a backstage segment.

Dolph says that he wants to take Stephanie back to the last time he was relevant Survivor Series, when he more or less single-handedly sent The Authority packing from WWE. He asks Stephanie if she remembers and she is totally oblivious – hilarious! Steph says that what she does remember is that she is his boss. Dolph says that Shane O’Mac will beat Undertaker at WrestleMania, meaning history will repeat itself once more and she will be out of a job. Funnily enough, Steph has jobbing on her mind too as she puts Dolph in a 3-on-1 elimination match later in the night. Womp womp.

Immediately after Steph delivers that bad news to Dolph and his big mouth, it’s time for our first Divas match of the night! Brie Bella is set to square off against Summer Rae:

No Alicia at ringside with her. Team Bella definitely isn’t a thing anymore. Hilariously on Main Event last week, Greg Hamilton announced Brie as a Team Bella member… and she didn’t even team with Alicia for the six Diva tag! Speaking of that match, kudos for the announce team for failing to mention that whatsoever. Good job guys.

Summer is the aggressor early on, taking Brie down with her float-over DDT. Brie locks in a single leg to rebound back nicely but Summer drapes her on the middle rope to shut her down again. Summer thrashes at Brie with some really hard looking stomps, before sticking her knee into her back and pulling at her arms. Brie isn’t stuck in the submission predicament for long, getting to her feet and taking Summer off of hers!

Brie then catches Summer in the midst of a spin kick, tripping her to the mat. She blasts NXT’s First Lady with the Yes Kicks, strikes she follows up with a dropkick and running knee. Brie ascends to the middle rope to hit a missle dropkick, but her momentum stops sharply when Summer avoids contact. Things go from bad to worse for Brie next as none other than Lana interrupts! The Ravishing Russian is for some reason wearing the style of clothing she wore when she was affiliated with Dolph Ziggler; are those her ‘street clothes’? I know this isn’t a Hardcore match or anything but it’s rather confusing to see her dressed like that.

Wardrobe is the last thing on Brie’s mind right now as Summer rolls her up for the win in a shocking upset! Brie is beside herself as Lana whips off her heels and attacks her! Lana floors Brie with a Bella Buster, rubbing salt into Brie’s wounds. The commentary team actually do a nice job of speculating why Lana is all of a sudden targeting Brie, and I hope that WWE actually expand on that. It’d be ace to know Lana’s motivation and not just have a random (although appreciated) feud!

We had backstage to check in with Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks:

Although opponents at Mania, they are teaming up again tonight and need to let bygones be bygones. Sasha is still annoyed that Becky is involved in the WrestleMania match, calling her a leprechaun wannabe. She also says Ric Flair is like Hugh Hefner. Don’t start giving Naitch any ideas, we don’t need to see him accompany Charlotte in a dressing gown.

Becky tells Sasha to drop the Nicki Minaj attitude because they need to focus on giving Naomina an Irish Lass Kicking tonight. That marks the first time Becky has referred to her self as an “Irish Lass Kicker” instead of just Lass Kicker. Now I can’t get annoyed when the commentators call her a self-proclaimed Irish Lass Kicker as she never made a big deal of letting everyone know she was Irish… not that we ever needed reminding thanks to Michael Cole! Let’s get into the match before I write Lass Kicker yet again. Just typed that way too many times! XD

Tamina roughs Becky up to start the match, throwing her across the ring. She then knocks Sasha off of the apron, allowing for the referee to deal with her whilst Naomina assault Becky illegally. Naomi clocked Bex with a nasty kick to the face at one point, a result of great UNIIIITTTTTYY!

We see Charlotte and Ric at ringside as we see Tamina hit headbutts and corner splashes on Becky within the ring. A second splash for Tameezus misses and she then turns around into a springboard kick from Lynch. Both girls make the tag to their fresh partners, but of course, it is the baddest Diva in all of WWE who gets the upper hand. After all, she is the Boss.

Sasha sends Naomi crashing to the mat with clotheslines and hits Tamina from the apron to the arena floor. A knee to the face and double knees later and Naomi is in serious trouble. Tamina is late to break up the pin but Naomi kicks out anyway. Becky chucks Tamina outside but the latter performs some throwing of her too. Tamina trips Becky up, yanks her to the outside and ragdolls her into the barricade. Whilst this is going on, Tamina somehow doesn’t think to check what is going on in the ring, which she probably should have! Sasha reverses Naomi’s corner bulldog into a lovely corner climbing transition into the Bank Statement, getting the win for her and her frenemy!

Lilian Garcia doesn’t have chance to finish the match announcement because Charlotte savagely attacks Sasha and Becky. Her attack is reminiscent of what happened on SmackDown (because WWE like regurgitating the same stuff), with her hitting an Xploder suplex on one of her WrestleMania opponents, whilst tackling the other and delivering stiff, abrasive fists to the face. Charlotte may have gotten the upper hand from behind twice, but when she is staring Bex and Banks square in the face, well, that may be an entirely different story.

Finally, catch Stephanie talking to Vince McMahon backstage:

Whilst Vince assures her that her future at the helm of Raw is all under control, she isn’t so sure.

Thoughts: Whilst this week’s matches were way too short, the stories were the main focus of the booking this week, and I’m pleased to see two stories being built up. Funny that Hugh Hefner was mentioned, because for the first time ever, we could see two women’s matches on a WrestleMania card in. which one of them is not a bloody Playboy/lingerie pillow fight!

Lana and Brie’s story progressed nicely this week, Lana taking Brie out with her own finisher being a nice touch. Due to Lana not having her own finisher yet, this plays up to her patronizing nature. Like how the commentary team pointed out though, the feud needs fleshing out to take it to the next level. Why is Lana targeting Brie? Why has Lana now decided to step between the ropes? Now Lana has gotten physical, we need to get the story behind her mental – what her motives are for targeting Brie.

Speaking of Brie, where the hell is Alicia Fox? Some explanation of where she was would be nice. Did she quit on the app again? A quick backstage moment with her and Brie, or a backstage interview with Brie explaining she’s going to go it alone would be cool, just to tie up any loose ends.

The tag match was fun in parts, especially Sasha’s stunning way of getting into position for the Bank Statement. The only negative I can point out is the ending. I love Tamina but where was she to stop the Bank Statement? We saw her take Becky out and then what, she just stood and had a chin wag with Lilian? I know we have to suspend reality with wrestling anyway but this was just a small example of stretching too far.

As for Charlotte, she looked great. An extra spear and Natural Selection wouldn’t have gone a miss to differentiate this beatdown to the one from SmackDown, but she looked dominant. Ric was just there to give exposure and not take anything away from Charlotte, so he was perfectly booked.

What role will the Divas play at Roadblock this week? How about Brie and Becky vs Sasha and Charlotte? Lana can get involved to, combing both feuds. That would be fresh and Sasha could even leave Charlotte, allowing Becky to get a pinfall or submission win. Despite being named Roadblock, I think that show has major potential to add an extra element to our blossoming stories.

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