Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Raw Redux (November 30th, 2015): Is Reuniting the Dynasty Becky’s Destiny?

Thumbs up to the WWE on a big improvement from last week’s Raw. Whilst not everything we were treated to on Raw last night was brilliant (that Miz TV segment – yikes) it was a major step up. I’m not going to lie, last night’s Raw was very weird in regards to the booking of various Diva characters, but WWE seemingly was testing the water and/or foreshadowing future events on live TV.

The notable Divas on the docket last night include: Alicia Fox, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella, WWE Divas Champion Charlotte, Lana, Lilian Garcia, Naomi, Paige, Sasha Banks, Stephanie McMahon, Summer Rae and Tamina Snuka. We were treated to absolute gold from Stephanie and Tamina last night as far as I’m concerned. How’s that for appetite whetting?

In a segment on the Raw Pre-Show, Becky is seen looking stunning arriving into the arena, a.k.a walking around the backstage area with an empty suitcase that is a prop:

Paige gets into Becky’s head a little, saying that Charlotte is “the #1 Diva” with the title and then there’s Becky. She departs after saying “But I’m just the backstabber, so what would I know?” Oh Paige, you devilish seed planter you.

Stephanie McMahon is first up on the actual show. She and HHH interrupt Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos who are discussing Roman stealing the WWE Title away from Sheamus moments earlier:

When Roman jokes about not giving the belt back, Steph tells him to cut the crap. There is some of that classic Steph venom!

The Authority announce that Sheamus doesn’t want to wait until TLC to defend his title, he wants to do it tonight. However, Roman must win in a quicker time than his title reign of five minutes and fifteen seconds! Whilst Roman may still get a shot at TLC should he lose, what we didn’t know yet is that this cunning plan from Hunter and Steph was all about hitting Roman where it hurts… his friends and family. Get your minds out of the gutter, guys!

Summer Rae is on screen next, as she accompanies Tyler Breeze for his match Survivor Series rematch against Dolph Ziggler:

And Tyler lost. Yet another wasted opportunity regarding an NXT call-up.

Lana and Rusev sit down with The Miz next for another “riveting” edition of Miz TV:

Rusev and Miz are in the ring to start off the segment. The crowd chants “We Want Lana” and Rusev barks back, telling that she is his so they need to shut up! Rusev gets all lovey dovey before introducing Lana, who is back in her business suits!

Lana says that as soon as Rusev proposed, she knew she had to throw all of their troubles aside and make it work. He is the man for her apparently. She says they got a taste of what else was out there, but that made them realise they needed each other more than ever. Lana sets the record straight with Dolph too, stating she didn’t go all the way. Rusev he didn’t either with Summer. LOL.

The pair then snog until Ryback interrupts. You know something is uncomfortable if you are glad to see Ryback.

He and Rusev then have a match, which Ryback wins via count-out. Rusev didn’t make the 10 count as he was tending to Lana, who was knocked down. Interesting direction to take here, but why? Rusev shouldn’t be sensitive. He is the Bulgarian Brute not the Bulgarian Teddy Bear!

We’re set for another backstage segment next as a peppy Becky Lynch chats with Charlotte backstage:

Her earlier encounter with Paige on the pre-show got her thinking, how about she and Charlotte have some fun tonight and face off in a one-on-one title match and showcase how good they really are? Charlotte is unsure at first but agrees as long as Ric Flair can accompany her to the ring. WE GET IT.

Before that match can take place, Stephanie has matters to take care of:

She talks with The Usos and Lucha Dragons backstage and addresses both of their claims to face off for the tag team titles. She books a Triple Threat tag team match for TLC. Everyone is happy as Larries until Steph drops a bombshell on Jimmy and Jey. Like how HHH told Dean Ambrose earlier, should Roman not win the title tonight, he costs The Usos a match as TLC. Stephanie says that Roman’s choices have consequences, and he needs to learn that. Her delivery here was so bloody perfect.

Immediately following, the announce team hype Sasha and Brie’s recent war of words on Twitter, which leads to a match between the two.

Brie roughs Sasha up to start off the match, dropping her with a picture-perfect fireman’s carry takeover. She then locks an armbar in until Sasha shrugs her off and takes her down. Sasha steals Brie’s headband and mocks her, shouting “BRIE MODE!” and performing Brie’s signature ‘Generic Taunt 07’ pose. Sasha catapults the headwear at Alicia, who then jolts to the apron. This provides an opening for the rest of Team B.A.D. to attack. Naomi grabs Alicia and throws her into the path of a Tamina superkick. Like always, Alicia sells this perfectly, and a referee helps her to the back.

After an awkward spell of Sasha not initially capitalising on this distraction, she then takes control by lashing Brie’s face off of the turnbuckle. Sasha piles on pressure with stomps as Brie sees Alicia get taken away by the official. Sasha kicks Brie in the head a few times in the corner before charging into her knees first. Following that, Sasha utilises a submission of hers we haven’t seen for a while, the straight jacket. After a clothesline, Sasha locks the submission in again as Team B.A.D. shout a flurry of insults at Brie.

The jibes spur Brie on, who soon makes a comeback. I like that the comeback wasn’t as clichéd as reversing a few punches followed by some clotheslines too. Brie brutalises Sasha with a combo of kicks that should be renamed to “Shades of Her Husband” before hitting a dropkick. Team B.A.D. interfere yet again but don’t get physical so Sasha is not disqualified. The shenanigans allow Sasha to hit the Bank Statement on Brie, and Mrs Danielson is forced to tap out.

Before our final match tonight, shoutout to Lilian Garcia for ‘Best Unimpressed Face of the Year’ for her reaction to Sheamus being all up in her George Foreman:

It is now time for the featured Divas match of the evening, and Paige is present at ringside as the segment begins:

I love the way Paige shades Byron. As Charlotte and Ric make their entrances, Paige calls Ric “a bad rash” and says “we get it, she’s your daughter”. LOL.

After complimenting Becky’s theme music, the match begins. Chain wrestling mania ensues right off the bat, with the pair exchanging arm and wrist-based submission. A highlight is the bridging hammerlock from Becky – stunning. Becky bridges from a pin attempt from Charlotte shortly after, and then the two block each other’s hip toss attempts. Charlotte tries for that finishing move her Dad does, the name of which escapes me (sarcasm) but Becky counters.

Paige’s amazing commentary overshadows more chain wrestling, as she is annoyed at Ric Flair’s presence. She asks why her Dad can’t accompany her to the ring if Ric can be there. Love it. Paige then calls out Charlotte for using Ric’s status and copying him. Great heel work.

Charlotte showcases great work of her own with her figure four neck roll sequence which she follows up with a spinning neckbreaker. Successive chops later and Lynch fights back with European uppercuts and a springboard kick. The back-and-forth nature continues with a Charlotte’s Web and then Becky immediately retaliates with deep arm drags.

When back to her feet, Becky whips Charlotte into the corner. The Queen City native appears to land awkwardly and Becky and Ric look concerned. Ric climbs to the apron to talk to Becky, only for Charlotte to nip up and get a roll-up victory. Talk about playing dirty!

Backstage after the bout, Becky is perplexed that Charlotte cheated in their match:

Charlotte said she didn’t cheat and that it was strategy to help teach Becky a lesson. Let’s be real, Becky has been wrestling since she was 14 Charlotte and you’ve only been wrestling since you turned 34. Wait, she’s only 29? Oops. The two seem to make up before Paige swans back into the picture. She says that she is sorry about what happened in the match, but her and Charlotte are still friends right?

Thoughts: What a bizarre evening all round. The two matches we witnessed were quite entertaining, both showcasing good chemistry between all four combatants (especially Becky and Charlotte). We also got great mic work from Paige on commentary and Stephanie backstage, both of whom were hilarious. Becky Lynch also excelled in her backstage segments. Overall, the positives outweighed the negatives and the downright confusing, but the strange elements of the night really got me thinking!

Pinpointing the negatives individually first, should Lana and Rusev really be coming across so goofy? Whilst I was entertained by Rusev discussing chocolate-covered strawberries and calling The Miz “Michael”, should we be laughing at him? The same can be said for Lana. She was the Ice Queen before her love affair with Ziggler, so shouldn’t she go back to that? If WWE is pulling the trigger completely in acting like the love rectangle of the summer didn’t happen, shouldn’t Lana be berating the crowd and not talking about “going all the way” with Dolph?

I enjoyed the segment but I’m not sure if how the happy couple were portrayed tonight should be how they are put across. I suppose this is something I’m confused about but I’m more negatively confused about it rather than thinking it could lead to something decent like the other unexpected elements of the night.

One thing I do think is negative though is the booking of Charlotte. WWE haven’t got a clue what to do with her. They have Paige’s insult her dead brother to try and get sympathy, just to have her cheat to win two weeks later? Annoying. Ric Flair being there as well was just excruciating to watch if she is to remain as a face. If being a big key word.

In regards to positives, thankfull we had an abundance of them. Let’s start with Brie vs Sasha. Whilst the match wasn’t exactly a mat classic, this was really all about the story here. The outside interference was perfection and the segment did what it needed to do, put Team B.A.D. over as a cohesive unit. WWE has never booked them as tight as they are at the moment. Alicia’s selling of the superkick was simply stunning. She really is one of the best in the business.

The backstage segment between Becky and Charlotte was another positive. Their friendship does come across as really genuine, and Becky is such a fantastic face character. I normally prefer wrestlers are heels but she is someone who I truly believe excels as a babyface. She is charming, wacky and comedic but not in a joke character kind of way. She is likeable and quite relatable actually. I really, really like her. You could see the concern in Charlotte too that perhaps what Paige had said earlier was poisoning Becky’s mindset, but of course, she would eventually dig her own hole in regards to that. I really enjoyed this moment.

Becky and Charlotte also showcased tremendous chemistry inside the ring too. Whilst their match was short, it was totally sweet. People voiced their opinions last week about me being too harsh on Paige and Charlotte for a lack of chemistry but it just shows you what can happen when you are paired with someone else. Both Paige and Charlotte are great wrestlers, but both have better chemistry with Becky. It is just one of those things. Here’s hoping after tonight’s teasing, Becky may be get interjected into a match at TLC so that Paige and Charlotte can take advantage of their own chemistry with Becky.

Speaking of Paige, she was really good on the mic this week. Her comments to Becky backstage after Charlotte won were sarcastic salt into Becky’s wounds, and the look she gave Becky afterwards was awesome. She was also great on commentary. Although a heel, she was saying what we were all thinking – stop banging on about your Dad all the time Charlotte!

My penultimate positive was Stephanie McMahon. She was an early Christmas gift. Hilarious as always. She always delivers and I wish she was involved in more segments with the Divas to be honest. An absolute gem of the wrestling industry.

Whilst I didn’t like how WWE booked Charlotte, I would like if if she was a heel. Actually, I would love it if she was. Imagine her tooting her own horn each and every week as this cocky, dastardly egomaniac with Ric as her manager? I enjoy both separately as heels but cringeworthy together as faces. WWE teased what could be in the future and I would love to see that. At the moment, Charlotte comes across as lame and the constant references to Ric Flair are so annoying… and they aren’t meant to be. If she was a heel and they were meant to be irritating, I would be all for it. Make it happen, WWE.

Now onto my confusion that doesn’t necessarily have either negative or positive connotations. First off, Lana. What will her (and Zeb Colter’s) role in the League of Nations? With The Authority behind the team, will Lana (and Zeb) join them? I am intrigued to see where she (and Zeb) fit into that puzzle.

Random negative, Del Rio being in LoN makes no sense whatsoever. Isn’t the MexAmerica thing only for Mexicans and Americans to stick together, not the rest of the world? If WWE continues the MexAmerica garbage, then Alberto in this team is wrong.

Random positive, MexAmerica makes no sense anyway so I hope they have dropped it. I am gutted Del Rio went from being a captivating babyface in Lucha Underground to a dull as dishwater heel in WWE. He’s another one better as a face like Becky Lynch. And with that, we’re back to our Divas.

Sticking with Becky, I am confused at WWE spotlighting her so much this week. What is it with WWE highlighting people moreso than those in the title picture? When it was Charlotte vs Nikki, it was all about Paige. Now that we’re seeing Charlotte vs Paige, it has become all about Becky. I bloody love Becky so I like what I saw, but I’m just confused by WWE’s timing of more or less everything on the main roster.

But as I was saying, is Becky going to be added to a match at TLC? If not, what was the point of this? If she is turning heel, why wouldn’t they do it weeks ago when they had the chance before? Why would they have Charlotte act heelish as a way of helping Becky turn heel only to keep Charlotte as a babyface? If Becky turns and joins Paige, doesn’t that go against Paige’s beliefs that you shouldn’t have friends if you are bothered about being a champion? Why does Becky also think blind siding someone is wrong if she did when she attacked Bayley from behind on NXT? IF Becky is so against cheating, why wasn’t she upset at herself for grabbing Paige’s tights to win three weeks ago? Why would Becky turn on a woman who cheated to beat her in a competitive match to join someone who physically abused her on an announce table and called her “irrelevant”?

My brain is absolutely fried thinking about this. Whilst I would love to see the Knight Dynasty together in WWE, it makes no sense at the moment. I see all of this as Paige’s plan to have Charlotte occupied with tension with Becky so that she can face off against Charlotte who hasn’t got her head completely in the game. Both are pawns in her little game of chess. If so, that allows Becky and Charlotte to make up and remain pals but not besties when all is said and done. They can then be completely split and packaged as separate characters, which I’m sure WWE will want at some point.

Charlotte faking injury to win could be viewed as a one-off (and a totally contrived plot device to cause tension as part of Paige’s plan) if WWE keeps her as a face, but I’d like to see her transition to a heel at this point. If she stays as a face, she could say that it was her Dad’s idea to cheat, and that whilst she respects him (with all of the incessant wooing), she won’t let him control her career, “I’m an independent woman, etc” but I would rather she turned heel with the dirtiest player in the game at her side.

Finally, is Brie Bella set for another spell of mega babyface glory? Having her left alone only to be massively cheered on by the WWE Universe made me think so. Only time will tell. Team Bella have been tweeners from time to time since they were established, so I’d like to see them as faces again as a fresh direction. Why not throw in WWE TV allegiances with Daniel and John too to skyrocket their popularity even further?

Well, I hope I have given you all food for thought regarding what WWE may have up their sleeves. Last week, I couldn’t have given a rat’s arse about where the title picture story was headed, and whilst I haven’t been completely blown away with happiness at what happened last night, WWE certainly have sewn some interesting seeds. Let’s see how they sprout and if they bloom.

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