Friday, July 1, 2022

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Raw Redux (October 12th, 2015): Storyline Dropping and Ringside Distracting

The Divas Revolution may not have been perfect so far, yet the recent winds of change have been a breath of fresh air for the most part. Unfortunately that air has become polluted because most of last night’s Raw stunk. This was our comedown sadly. However, through all of the darkness, there was one shining light that goes by the name of Summer Rae. She has been given absolute dross to work with but has pulled it off. You can’t turn a turd into gold yet Summer has sprinkled a hell of a lot of glitter onto it.

Our first Divas segment of the night is one of two matches on the card. This one is a singles bout featuring Naomi and Nikki Bella. When I first started typing this out, I was thinking it was a rematch from last week’s WWE Main Event featuring Paige and Naomi and then I realised my mistake. It goes to show how memorable this match was in that I had forgotten who was even in it hours later.

Nikki is strutting her hot-pink self to the ring accompanied of course by Alicia Fox and Brie Bella as commercials roll. Back from the break and Naomi’s entrance has been cut and the bell has tolled.

“We Want Sasha!” chants erupt as the girl’s lock up, with Nikki getting the better of the tussle. She hits shoulder thrusts in the corner before getting distracted when talking to The Boss… and Tamina. Naomi takes advantage by jiggling her ass in Naomi’s face (can she remove this from her moveset?!) before hitting a sloppy set of double knees to the chest. Naomi vaults to the apron and clocks Nikki with a stunning high kick. A sunset flip follows that yet Naomi is unable to make a cover. She definitely won’t be making for a while after the next move – a sharp spinebuster from the longest reigning Divas Champion.

Nikki takes a bow before standing on Naomi’s hair, ripping it at the roots. A snap suplex and more shoulder thrusts later, Nikki hits a snapmare and then kicks Naomi in the back. Total disrespect is being shown here, a precursor to the total boredom of the rest hold applied next. Do they really need a rest already? Thankfully, Nikki doesn’t have Naomi down for the long, and it is the former flat on her back soon after when Naomi utilises a scoop slam. The tide turns again however when Naomi missed a leg drop. Nikki goes back to the suplex well one more time and then locks in another submission.

Like the last one, Naomi isn’t down for long and she fires back in feisty fashion. Naomi bombards Nikki with a series of stuff kicks and then a picture-perfect dropkick. A rough encounter later and it looks like Nikki may gain control but Naomi sends her to the outside. She then flies over the top rope, taking both Nikki and Foxy out with a plancha. Things seem to be going Naomi’s way until Brie grabs a microphone and begins to mirror the crowd by chanting “WE WANT SASHA!” Perhaps the crowd are less monotone though.

Naomi is initially undeterred by Brie’s antics yet ends up caught up in the distraction. Sasha trips Brie from the announce table and she takes a nasty fall! Whilst Team B.A.D have outside of the under control, Team Bella dominate in the ring. Nikki blasts Naomi like a sister she “wished had died in the womb” and then hits a Rack Attack for the win.

Our next sighting is a pretty cringeworthy one involves Paige and Byron Saxton promoting some candy bar that is the sponsor of Monday Night Raw this week. The backstory of this interview was that earlier in the day, Byron interviewed members of the WWE Universe to ask them who the most unconventional Superstar or Diva is. Many said Dean Ambrose yet WWE editing means that they probably showed more clips of Paige fans and she is voted most unconventional.

The Anti Diva is amusingly sarcastic in the interview that followed, explaining that it is nice to get recognition in some way considering the fans don’t respect that she orchestrated the Divas Revolution. She then started pulling on Byron’s jacket and discovered the chocolate candy bar in his pocket. She takes that as an extra win for her today before leaving. Thankfully, this was nowhere near as bad as promoting a stupid guest star as seen in years gone by and at least Paige mentioned her storyline. Phew.

It is a seasonal paradox next as Summertime is still very much a thing this Fall. Following Rusev‘s loss to Ryback, more vomit-worthy happenings take place. WWE decide to acknowledge Rusev and Lana‘s real-life engagement, completely dropping his storyline with Summer in the process. Go on WWE, just take a shit all over your recent product!

Thankfully, Summer can handle the crap and she delivers once heck of a promo. She says that she cannot believe Rusev didn’t have the decency to tell her in private before his engagement was announced on TMZ. She says that despite the fans thinking he is a dominating force of nature, he is nothing but a whipped little boy. She is not going to waste anymore of her time on a “narcissistic, self-centred, egotistical, jealous, lying, cheating BASTARD!!” Oh my god, the B word! Summer then issues Rusev with a monumental slap before strutting up the ramp like the fierce femme fatale that she is. I absolutely loved that promo. Who knew something so good could come from such garbage?

Following the sheer brilliance of Summer Rae, it is now time for the second and final match of the night, a tag team match between Becky Lynch and WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and their opponents, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. Let’s hope Brie’s back has recovered! Nikki and Natalya are also at ringside for this one whilst Paige is on commentary. Thankfully, there’s not a dumb piece of confectionary in sight.

All entrances are sadly cut due to commercials but I am just thankful I didn’t have to see Charlotte woo 457 times during her walk down the ramp.

Becky and Brie exchange waistlocks as Paige calls Nattie a “has been” on commentary. Nattie “has been” a good owner to her cats so I assume that is what Paige meant. Becky works over Brie’s arm before hitting successive arm drags. Becky keeps the momentum going with a springboard kick and judo-style throw before tagging in Charlotte. The pair wrench Brie’s arms before hitting tandem leg drops onto them too.

Charlotte continues to work over Brie’s upper limbs until Brie kicks Charlotte on the thigh mid-submission attempt. Brie uses that bit of breathing space to smash Becky from the apron but it doesn’t prove to be a wise move. Waiting behind her is Charlotte who lashes out with chops, a spinning neckbreaker and a spear. Some dodgy interference Charlotte more or less ignores somehow leads to Brie hitting a small package for a close call.

The unplanned awkwardness is thankfully over and pre-planned miscommunication ensues. Natalya faces off with Nikki and Brie, only for Paige to then dash from the announce desk and get in her face as well! The pair engage in a shoving match until Brie kicks Natalya in the back of the head. Brie turns around into a big boot but she manages to distract the ref as actual interference that makes sense takes place. Nikki hits Charlotte with her forearm shot leading to Brie hitting a “BRRRIIIIIEEE MODE!” missile dropkick for the win. It has been a good night for Team Bella’s win column!

Thoughts: Summer Rae, Summer Rae, Summer Rae! Her promo was flawless quite frankly. I cannot fault it whatsoever. It is a shame however that the storyline here isn’t so fantastic. Rusev going back to Lana was seemingly always the plan, yet doing it so suddenly is atrocious. Most elements of this love square have been poor at best and it has felt like WWE have been making it up as they went along, planning the latest development ten minutes before.

Where was Dolph Ziggler here, or Lana? I know Lana is injured yet surely she can take a slap to the face with a broken wrist? Her and Dolph’s lack of presence in this segment was strange and ensured that this ‘story’ has fallen even flatter than what it had already. Whilst I do feel that rushing the story is bad for the tale they were telling, thank god it is seemingly over. It was getting so, so boring. Borderline unwatchable. Haphazard angles (the wet fish anyone?), Ziggler’s movie filming, the ruining of Rusev’s character and Lana’s injury all plagued this and it is for the best that it is over.

Where does Summer go from here? Should she have gotten rusty in the ring, I’d enjoy seeing her do an Emma and go back to NXT for a while. There are not many top heels in NXT to challenge Bayley, so why not through a summer in the works?

Paige’s character evolution (or could that be devolution?) and Natalya’s mini feud with her were also nicely continued. Whilst Paige’s backstage Payday segment was cheesy as hell, it served its purpose of furthering her cause and promoting the product. Her getting into it with Natalya whilst not getting physical with Charlotte and Becky also strengthened Paige’s deluded nature. Paige did well on commentary too. I like her as a face yet she is definitely more comfortable as a heel. One with a few issues too!

The rest sadly isn’t worth talking about. The tag match was pointless. Becky was overlooked whilst Foxy was drastically overlooked, she didn’t even tag in. The match was way too short and the dodgy non-interference earlier on was weak. I did like Paige and Nattie’s shoving yet Brie’s kick to the latter looked pitiful. That kick would not realistically have taken Natalya out like that.

Nikki and Naomi’s match wasn’t much better either. Nikki’s spinebuster and Naomi’s dive to the outside were excellent, as was Sasha pulling Brie from the announce table. The rest? I don’t remember any of it. Nikki and Naomi don’t have the best chemistry together sadly.

A final positive to end on would be that it made sense for Team Bella to gain some momentum. They have lost a few times recently, especially Nikki who is meant to be a dominant title contender. Getting some of their mojo back through devilish team tactics made total sense.

It was most definitely a rough night for the Divas yet at least there was some smooth. Will Summer get another chance to shine on the mic come SmackDown? Maybe she will wrestle and put another X in Paige’s loss column? As long as WWE don’t drop the ball with Summer, then I’m happy with whatever their plans are. Let’s just hope they actually have one. They seemingly don’t have one for the Divas Champion!

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