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Raw Redux (November 16th, 2015): The Revolution Just Got Personal

Holy Tameezus. Last night’s episode of Raw was TV that you firmly watched behind your hands, but not because it is was so cringe-worthy it was laughable. It was cringe-worthy for all of the right reasons. WWE pulled the personal plug necessary to really elevate the rivalry between WWE Divas Champion, Charlotte and Paige and I was thrilled. Not to mention, the girls were in the main event segment. In the go-home show before a pay-per-view. Survivor Series no less.

Quite frankly, Monday Night Raw was incredible for the Divas.

Before we get to the absolute brilliance of our main event contract signing between Charlotte and Paige, we first have time to check in on Summer Rae:

She was looking as good as usual, pouting for her selfies with her man, “Prince Pretty”, Tyler Breeze. The pair weren’t pouting with unhappiness after the match like last week either, as Tyler picked up his first main roster win against R-Flop. Hopefully we’re back on the right track with these two.

After around 6467937 previous mentions of it earlier in the night (which is phenomenal), the Divas Championship contract signing takes place in the main event segment. It has been over a year since a segment of this magnitude featured in the main event slot (Brie and Stephanie‘s contract signing) but this is the first not to feature an authority figure as a powerful entity to get over. WWE have gave these two a massive opportunity!

After Charlotte does the classic Jeremy Kyle Show tactic of moving her chair even further away from Paige’s, Michael Cole takes to the mic as Chair of the proceedings. He says he was present for both of their tryouts (most likely a total lie) and says that they have become the best of friends. Again, a lie. More like people one another mutually respected. There really is no need to try and shove some supposed friendship down our throats. Should we forget the fact Charlotte beat Paige on an episode of NXT and there was definitely no friendship then? I guess we should.

Sidenote: Despite Michael Cole being unbearably annoying, having him chair this instead of a non-entity like Byron Saxton or a total buffoon in Jerry Lawler is a nice touch that definitely adds prestige. I would have preferred Triple H 9Steph is away or she would have been cool too) but you can’t have it all.

Hell in Boots gets on the mic and defiantly signs the contract. Paige says that there are no such things as friendships when it comes to winning a WWE championship, and she taught Charlotte that the hard way. The Queen City native responds by calling Paige angry and bitter, blasting her for changing who she was. When she first got into the business, Charlotte said she wanted to be like Paige. She was naive whilst Paige was a British badass.

Charlotte talks about them coming from similar backgrounds, as both of them were raised in wrestling families. Charlotte says their parents were both on TV night after night and they both watched that. Paige definitely watched her parents in person as they sadly weren’t on TV, but we get the point. Apparently Ricky and Saraya cared about WWE nearly as much as they did Paige too. Is Charlotte forgetting neither were employed by WWE? Although she could have, I like that Charlotte didn’t take the bitchy route that WWE would have most girls take.

Charlotte begins to tear up as she discusses her late brother. She says Paige helped console her when he tragically died, and if it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t be here now. She is living his dream. Shouldn’t this be her own too? Another slight writing faux-pas from the team.

Paige says that it doesn’t matter what she once said or did, she has been using Charlotte since Day One. Charlotte retaliates with a zinger, saying how that didn’t turn out too good considering she was the one who won the title. Charlotte says that it is about people having your back, and Team PCB could have lived up to the likes of Team Extreme and DX. Unintentional comedy value there.

More comedy comes in the form of a massively long pause as Charlotte definitely forgot her lines. The intensity here is good though so we can let it slide! But it was still very funny. That was the only laughable cringe-worthy element. Here comes the brutal phase of the war of words.

Paige says that she thinks she may have a tear in her eye.. oh no wait, it’s confidence. She brands Charlotte so naive that it makes her sick. Paige says Charlotte is embarrassing, and her talk about people having her back is a “bunch of bull”. Not even her little Daddy will able to help her out. Paige asks where that “old fart” is, but Charlotte shouts at Paige, telling her to shut up. Charlotte says she will continue to fight each and every day, just like her Dad and just like her brother.

Paige blurts major abuse back, telling Charlotte that her little baby brother didn’t have much fight in him, did he? Ouch. That made “I wish you had died in the womb” sound like a line from a nursery rhyme. Uncomfortable but not in a bad way in my opinion.

Charlotte is seething and she beats the crap out of Paige. She spears her into the barricade before throwing her over the announce table, followed by a rugby tackle on the arena floor. The pair scrap some more in the ring until Charlotte stands tall in the ring.

On Raw Fallout, Charlotte finally signed the contract, staying mum on the rest of the segment:

Thoughts: That was tough to watch. And for all the right reasons. WWE really upped the anti when it came to making this feud personal. I have to congratulate them, and both Paige and especially Charlotte for delivering in such a nerve-wracking and emotionally raw segment.

Whilst it wasn’t perfect (the force feeding of an inorganic friendship between Charlotte and Paige, some dialogue for Charlotte that made her look dumb and that far too noticeable awkward pause when Charlotte fluffed her lines), this was a massive step in the right direction. Us Diva fans have been calling for an enhanced personal nature in our storylines, some substance to the feuds we’re watching. Not every story has to be and should be about wanting the other’s title and hating them from that reason alone. We got that last night.

This story is about one woman cutting all ties with recently close allies and life-long associates (the latter referring to Becky Lynch) and over-stepping a boundary to personally attack someone for her own advantage. Whilst Paige didn’t murder anyone, she did the unthinkable and made such an irredeemable comment, perfect for transitioning her to a mega heel character.

The best characters are always the ones who go that extra mile to make their opponents suffer; the likes of Randy Orton, Edge, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Mickie James all come to mind. They kissed other men’s wives, trespassed parents’ homes, punched other men’s wives, threatened other people’s children and kidnapped boyfriends to get what they wanted. Actions that are borderline unforgivable. Paige’s insult to Reid was up there with those.

If people want to dwell on the long pause, then more fool them. With the pressure of the opportunity given, I thought Charlotte handled the promo excellently. I bought into her emotion, and most of her dialogue made me root for her as a character. The lack of character development for her since she transitioned to the main roster has been a nightmare, but we got to see a little more about Charlotte and what drives her to succeed. Whilst I wish not everything about her was surrounding her lineage, at least this again, was more substantial and meaningful than the superficial wooing.

The segment to me saw Charlotte come across as a headstrong, classy character all about her family values and respect. She had one or two catty jibes at Paige but she came across as domineering and dignified and not just another bitch character. Paige didn’t come across like that either; she was self-absorbed, sarcastic and vulgar, three excellent heel traits.

The brawl was fine to me too. If someone had just insulted your dead brother, the aftermath wouldn’t exactly look pretty and perfectly executed, would it? The fight was rough, heated and totally messy, but then so it should have been.

Kudos to WWE for allowing the girls to have the spot they got and to both of the Divas for developing their characters, raising the personal stakes and getting many, many people talking about this upcoming match. Whether you liked it or loathed it, you have been talking about it, which means it served its purpose perfectly.

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