Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Raw Redux (May 25th, 2015): Paige Hits a Tamina-Sized Roadblock

Howdy everyone and welcome to this week’s Raw Redux! Raw’s match this week was certainly an international affair as the pride of Britain Paige clashed with the Samoan splasher herself, Tamina Snuka. Paige has beaten Tamina numerous times in the past and following Paige’s controversial comments about her on SmackDown, Tamina will surely have a score to settle!

In addition to our only match of the night featuring the women, we also got a glimpse of Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Emma, Layla, Lana, Naomi, Natalya, WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella, Renee Young, Stephanie McMahon and Summer Rae – quite the docket last night!

Queen Stephanie McMahon opens up Raw this week alongside The Authority and they address the fact the Dean Ambrose has until the end of the night to make his title shot for Elimination Chamber a reality by signing the contract that is in their grasp. Stephanie mocks him and Roman Reigns before making the main event match.

Renee Young is our next notable lady as she interviews Dean Ambrose. Chaos soon ensues when Dean has a fight with J&J Security. In the melee, Dean punches a cameraman and is arrested. Somewhere Renee is crying off-screen I’m sure.

The Ravishing Russian Lana is the next Diva in the spotlight and she confronts Rusev after he pleads for her to come out to the ring. He says that all will be ok… if she takes his hand. Rusev is willing to forgive and forget as he knows she was only looking out for his best interests. Lana embraces Rusev and the pair are seemingly on the same page once more.

That is until Rusev says that he wants Lana to admit that she was wrong, and his losses to John Cena have all been her fault. Lana’s smile is turned upside down and she says NO! Rusev goes ballistic, saying that he tried to be nice yet now he is going to put her in her place. He tells her to stand with him and do as she is told – NOW! Lana says that Rusev is a liar and that he does not own her. She is her own woman.

Lana tells Rusev that she is not his victim and won’t put up with his cruel, caveman, brutish, thick-headed, moronic self ever again! *Drops mic* Lana is no longer with Rusev and hopefully she can ditch her bad ‘Ravishing Russian’ nickname soon too!

Lana walks up the ramp and Dolph Ziggler‘s music hits to a major reaction. The pair enjoy a passionate kiss as Rusev throws a passionate hissy fit!

Stephanie is back again alongside Triple H and they confirm that Dean is in the process of being locked up for the night. Maybe Renee Young will bail him out? They are happily interrupted by the cast of Entourage who are guest starring tonight. Stephanie kisses one guy and leaves the other three smoochless. I guess we know who the bigger star on that show is then! Anyway, the segment reeks of small talk between the characters and they basically plug some film no-one wants to see. Stephanie is hilarious to me anyway as it is pretty obvious she and Trips are lying and can’t wait for these guys to get out of their sight. They have them around for the money! Their fake smiles soon turn to frowns too when one actor mentions Ronda Rousey! *Gulp*

The cast of Entourage are back again (yay!) and this time, they come across some of our fave Divas. And no, I don’t mean Eden. Alicia Fox, Emma, Layla and Summer Rae basically kiss these guys’ asses, despite the fact they are all heels, apparently. Other than Summer or maybe Layla, why would they care about these D-listers? The girls may as well of had no clothes on laid on a platter. The booking here was just degrading to be honest.

Lana is back on our screens next as she is seen chatting and laughing with Dolph Ziggler backstage. This is slightly different from the last segment yet not a lot. I’m still unsure on what is happening here and whether I like it!

After Dolph’s match with Sheamus, Rusev attacks him and Lana is at ringside to watch. Rusev locks Dolph in The Accolade and asks if Lana wants to kiss him now. Great segment here! Is Lana really into Ziggler though? I’m intrigued to see how this one works out. I won’t judge it just yet.

Stephanie and Renee Young cross paths in another backstage segment when Renee asks for an update on her other half Dean Ambrose. Take a look above:

Waiting until hour three for a match? Never!

It is match time now and out first our the guest commentators for the match, Brie and Nikki Bella. Brie is back from counseling and there is not a Dr. Shelby in sight – I am gutted! Following Tamina’s jobber entrance complete with her tribal music, Paige enters the arena to a massive reception, definitely one of the loudest for her this year!

Tamina gets the early advantage by shoving Paige away when she tries to take her down, yet Paige retaliates with a major shot to the jaw. Paige then kicks a riled up Tamina in the knee. Speaking of knees, Paige utilises hers to whack Tamina around.

The camera stupidly misses Tamina completely as she takes advantage of Paige, knocking her from the apron. Tameezus headbutts Paige before locking in a really nasty looking vice-type lock on Paige’s head, twice. Paige eventually breaks free and her and Tamina engage in a 100% slugfest. Seriously, Nikki must have said 100% about 100 times. Paige then avoids being the victim of a distraction caused by Naomi and she rolls Tamina up with a schoolgirl for a two count.

Paige yells that this is her house before knocking Tamina all over the aforementioned dwelling of hers. Tamina is tumbling all of the shop as Paige kicks her in face and clotheslines her across the ring. Paige then flies from the apron and she drops Tamina with a really neat flipping senton. A definite high spot of the match. What was most certainly not a high spot was the terrible botch leading to the referee clearly witnessing a punch from Naomi to Paige that he was clearly not meant to see. That was either down to bad positioning from Tamina or poor timing from Naomi I think. Maybe Paige was meant to crawl nearer to Naomi? I don’t know what went wrong yet Tamina then seals the deal, hitting a Samoan Drop for the win.

Natalya was also spotted last night. She was the right hand dominatrix alongside Tyson Kidd and Cesaro for an unprecedented 10-on-3 handicap match! The three of them stood tall to end the segment too!

Stephanie McMessiah started the show and she also ends it too. With the rest of The Authority in tow, she addresses the fact that Dean Ambrose accidently struck a cameraman. Of course, Stephanie says that he did it on purpose and has no respect for WWE’s crew who work tirelessly. Oh and by the way, the crew member was a father to newly-born triplets. Just rub it in Steph, rub it in.

Sidenote: If the camera guy was father to newborn triplets, wouldn’t he be on paternity leave?

Stephanie says that it is her duty to create a safe, kind and nurturing environment for all of her employees… LOL *cough* yet it is ok for her to physically and mentally torture people and abuse her position *cough* I love the blatant hypocrisy that is laid on thick!

The Authority are then interrupted by Roman Reigns and he is viciously assaulted. Stephanie says for them to “put him down like the dog he is”. Don’t hold back or anything Steph! Following his ‘arrest’ earlier in the night, Dean Ambrose then makes the save in a cop van of all vehicles and he cleans house! He signs the contract and the Elimination Chamber main event is official. Amazing way to end RAW!

Thoughts: In the immortal words of Terri, let’s talk about the match!

It stunk.

I’ve been giving Tamina the benefit of the doubt following her roughness in her last few matches yet she was way off the mark last night. Her selling was far too sloppy in parts and her timing was all wrong. For example, Paige’s connecting clotheslines were a mess because of Tamina. Even if Tamina had forgotten that Paige’s clothesline were to be connected, you would think that having watched the division’s matches whilst on the shelf, you would think that her mind would have been triggered. Sadly not.

I did quite enjoy Tamina’s really harsh looking vice submission on Paige’s neck and Paige’s really net senton from the apron yet everything else just didn’t work. Tamina running at Paige whilst still taking her hair bobble out was absolutely laughable, as was the terrible botch where Naomi hit Paige clearly in-front of the referee. That moment was nearly as cringe-worthy as Gail Kim and Mickie James‘ notorious Divas Championship match on Raw a few years ago. Nikki bringing it up on commentary only made it even worse! All-in-all, not a good week for the Divas within the ring.

I would also argue that Paige winning by DQ would have been a better result. Should she be losing – albeit because of outside interference – in the week that she gets a title shot? Although last week’s match ended in DQ, Tamina would have still been protected. As Tamina isn’t in this feud and is only a side-piece, I probably wouldn’t have had her get the win. I see why WWE did it to put Naomi over, yet I question have a secondary character winning in the go-home week. On the flip side, the result was unpredictable to me, so I’ll give WWE credit for that.

Another thing I didn’t like was Brie’s commentary. The less said about it the better. She is great in the ring yet she just cannot hold my attention on the mic whatsoever. Part of it is down to the writers though, as they just use her as a tool to talk about Daniel Bryan 24/7. I sometimes would like to see Nikki and John Cena paired together on TV yet times like this mean I am really glad that their relationship is not addressed on screen.

Speaking of not being addressed on screen, why has everything that happened on SmackDown seemingly forgotten about? Commentary didn’t address it, video replays didn’t address it. Whilst many people didn’t like some of the dialogue on SmackDown, overall it was a great segment in my opinion. Why ignore it? Nikki got the upper hand and I definitely thought she would have addressed it. Instead, she couldn’t speak as the announcers kept wanting to talk about Daniel Bryan.

Now, I would have been a big fan of seeing Alicia, Cameron, Layla and Summer utilised backstage, that’s if they weren’t booked to look like girls who just want to get into bed with some D-list actors. I am all for the Divas being seen in smaller roles too and getting some TV time. Lets be real, more people will have seen this Alicia sighting compared to her match against Summer on Superstars. I also think utilising guest stars in smaller, less meaningful segments is a great idea too, just not when the Divas are booked to kiss up to them. The guests were booked well, the girls not so much.

It is good in a way that WWE gave these girls a spot, yet would Alicia (who is meant to be a loose cannon with bipolar) care about interest from some random actors? I doubt it. I can see Summer and kind of Layla’s characters being suitable for this type of segment, yet definitely not Alicia or Emma. I’m very mixed on what I thought of this. What do you guys think?

Now onto the positives. How amazing did Nikki look? Bel-ectable! Oh, I am so punny.

Stephanie was, like always, outstanding on the microphone. When was the last time she performed underwhelming? Oh yeah, never. Her hypocritical, self-righteousness will never get old to me!

Finally, let’s talk about Lana, who once again gave a really, really strong performance. Rusev kissing up to her before telling her to “known your place woman” was absolutely amazing. Her comeback was also solidly delivered. I would have loved for Lana’s killer line ending it all with Rusev to have a killer slap following it up, yet maybe Lana getting physical is being saved for a later date. Maybe inside the Chamber? Only time will tell!

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