Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Raw Redux (October 19th, 2015): Listen, Sally Jessy Raphael…

Hey guys! It’s Kyle here, venturing from the Thursday night show to fill in for Jack. Last Thursday on SmackDown, Summer Rae cost Rusev his match with Dolph Ziggler as the special guest referee, Natalya and Paige made amends, Paige made the save for her PCB teammates following a victory in a tag team match and Nattie was attacked by a mystery person. All the suspense! Let’s see how the landscape of the Divas has changed on our last Raw before Hell in a Cell, where Nikki Bella gets her rematch for the Divas Championship with the champion Charlotte. Here we go!

After a blockbuster first couple of segments from the male Superstars, we are all set for a tag team match! Team Bella is ready to rock Dallas as Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox get ready for action (accompanied by Brie Bella). Their opponents are Sasha Banks and Naomi, who have Tamina Snuka leading them to the ring. The bell rings and here we go!

Alicia and Sasha start things off, Alicia opting to shove Sasha by the face before tying up. In the tie-up, Sasha backs Alicia into the ropes and back off, to the referee’s insistence. They tie up again, Alicia taking control with a side headlock. Sasha shoves Alicia off into the ropes, but is knocked to the mat on her return. Alicia runs the rope, but Sasha flattens out to avoid her attack and takes her down with a dropkick. She covers Alicia for the pin, but only earns a one count.

Sasha locks Alicia into a modified armbar, focusing on her left shoulder. She backs Alicia into her team’s corner and tags in Naomi, holding Alicia prone for Naomi’s leapfrop attack. Naomi covers Alicia for the pin, but she kicks out. As Naomi plots her next attack, we head to a commercial break.

When we return, Alicia throws Naomi to the ropes and hits her signature tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and goes for a cover. She only gets two. Naomi crawls to reach to Sasha but Alicia grabs her leg. Foxy drags her to the Bella corner and Nikki tags in. The two-thirds of Team Bella double suplex Naomi. Nikki attempts a pinfall but Naomi kicks out at two. Nikki locks in a chinlock submission. Naomi gets to her feet and tries to fight out, but Nikki keeps control, sending Naomi into the ropes. Naomi comes back with a kick, starting a series of blows that Nikki eventually halts, kicking Naomi and sending her to the mat. Nikki runs the ropes and hits a low dropkick on Naomi.

Nikki props up Naomi against the middle rope, choking her by grabbing the ropes backwards and leaning her backside against Naomi’s shoulder blades. She lets go after a few moments, and the referee scolds her, allowing Alicia to sneak in a slap on Naomi. Nikki tags in Alicia, who stomps on Naomi, snapmares her towards the center of the ring and latches on a submission, wrenching Naomi’s arms backwards. Naomi soon powers out, but Alicia still manages to send her into the corner.

Naomi counters Foxy’s charging attack and hits a top rope-assisted kick to the head. Both women are down and Alicia tags in Nikki. Nikki tries to cheap shot Sasha, but, Sasha ducks. Nikki rebounds with a clotheslines Naomi. The Fearless One tries to pick up Naomi but gets nailed with a jawbreaker. Naomi takes this chance to jump and tag in Sasha Banks!

The Boss is in and nails Nikki with a series of strikes and then hits a combination of knees to Nikki in the corner. Foxy tries to intervene but Sasha throws her out of the ring instead. Momentum is in Sasha’s favor and out of nowhere Brie climbs to the ring and distracts Sasha. This allows Nikki to forearm Sasha. Sasha finds recluse in the corner and tags Naomi in. The Amayayayazin’ Diva hits a crossbody from the top rope but Nikki rolls through gaining a near fall. Alicia climbs to the ring and gets hit by Nikki as Naomi goes for an O’Connor roll to only get a two-count.

Brie Mode gets on the apron again and Naomi scares her off, this allows Nikki to hit a very impressive spinebuster. She taunts and then suckerpunches Sasha who falls to the floor. Nikki goes for the Rack Attack but Naomi powers out. She goes for the corner bulldog but Nikki drives her into the turnbuckle. This allows Nikki to give Naomi the Rack Attack and she gets the pinfall victory!

Our next match is Brie Mode vs The Divas Champion Charlotte (woo!):

The two Divas lock up, and Charlotte pushes Brie to the mat, showing her strength. And Charlotte taunts Nikki who is over it. She then taunts with a “Wooo” (Woo Count: 1) and hits a series of leg-lock rolling suplexes on Brie. She kips up and Brie makes her way to the corner. Charlotte comes running to the corner when Brie kicks her. We see that Paige is watching this match backstage look very interested. Brie comes charging at Charlotte and gets a big boot to the face for her efforts. She goes for the cover and gets a near-fall.

Charlotte pulls Brie to her feet and tosses her out of the ring towards her Team Bella teammates. She takes this opportunity to taunt Nikki, inviting her into the ring and get their Hell in a Cell match over right now. Nikki’s not interested, though, and allows Brie to climb back onto the ring apron. Brie fend off Charlotte’s attacks with a kick climbs to the second rope. Just as she goes to hit her dropkick, Charlotte dashes up to Brie to give her a forearm. Charlotte climbs the rope and start a ten count of punches to Brie, when Nikki climbs the apron holding up the Divas Championship. The distraction allows Brie to flapjack Charlotte into the top turnbuckle.

Brie takes the moment to set Charlotte up on the ropes and kicks her several times. It’s time for “BRIEEEEEEEEE MOOOOOOODE” and she hits the knee. She attempts to pin Charlotte and only gets two. Brie grabs Charlotte by the head and slams her face-first onto the mat twice before locking in a chinlock submission, bending Charlotte’s back to add to her agony.

Charlotte manages to get to her feet, but Brie hops up on her back, tenacious. She takes back control and plants Charlotte with a bulldog. She goes for the pin, but Charlotte kicks out at two. Charlotte gets to her knees and Brie chokes her against the middle rope, a knee planted on her back of her neck. She then props Charlotte up in the corner and chokes her with a boot. Charlotte tries to battle back, but Brie maintains control, hitting her with another bulldog. Another pin attempt by Brie, another kickout by Charlotte.

Brie locks in another chinlock, this time planting both knees into Charlotte’s back. Before Charlotte can battle out, Brie slams her to the mat. When Charlotte gets to her knees, Brie goes on the attack, hitting her with a barrage of kicks. She continues her onslaught until Charlotte catches her boot and drops her to the mat. She allows Brie to get back on one foot before clotheslining her roughly. She hits more clotheslines and some vicious chops, punctuating it all by running the ropes and shoulderblocking Brie off of her feet.

Brie winds up in the corner and Charlotte makes her pay with a Stinger Splash and a neckbreaker. She follows it up with a spear and then locks in the Figure 8. Queen Brie has no choice but to tap out, Charlotte wins big heading into her first title defense.

Post-match, we see that Paige is joined backstage with Renee Young. Renee says that Paige made it abundantly clear that she wants nothing to do with PCB and then appeared to attack Natalya ringside last week.

Paige says the past few weeks have been rough for PCB fans but they’ve turned a corner in the past week. Renee asks Paige is she was the one attacked Nattie backstage bin the Divas locker room. Paige responds with “Oh, Renee….no” as she has a huge grin on her face. Renee gets into serious mode and says she was the last one around before Natalya got attacked and popular opinion is that Paige is the primary suspect.

Paige responds with that it is a long way to the top and she is trying to put the ugliness behind her. Renee turns up the spice and says she is still not answering the question. She says anyone could have a grudge against the Divas Division. She name-drops, Sasha, Naomi, Lana, Summer Rae. She says you could never know. She name checks Kaityln and Eve Torres (I may or may not have screamed). She goes on to name Trish Stratus or maybe even Lita. Her last suspect is WWE Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze, who she said was talking trash on social media (I may have sipped GALLON upon GALLONS of tea, I may have). Renee grills Paige, saying it could be one of those women but none of them have an issue with Nattie. Paige answers by calling Renee Sally Jessy Raphael and she needs to get her facts straight and stop throwing around allegations. She responds by throwing shade saying Renee Young is barely Erin Andrews (of ESPN) and not as cute.

Thoughts: This episode of Raw in so many ways mirrored the issues this Diva Revolution storyline has had. While the tag match was very fun to watch and the singles match had its moments, how exactly was their a hook to this Sunday’s match at Hell in a Cell? In many ways, this Divas Championship match is not about the two women wrestling.

Regarding the tag match, I thought Naomi looked the best. Her moves are so flashy and so fun to watch. I really hope she can find a way to gain some momentum and become a bigger deal. I think that it would be best for her to have a feud with Sasha and split Team B.A.D. up. As much as they are the best “Team”, I think that in storyline, Naomi may be exploited as the weakest link and can turn back babyface and Sasha can turn up the heat on her heel character after she gets tired of Naomi’ losing ways.

Brie vs Charlotte was a lot like some Charlotte matches I’ve seen. It’s getting very predictable and the ending sequence just makes the opponent was very weak. I think that the Bellas getting in the apron has become a heel trademark and that may have been a clue as to what will happen this Sunday’s title match.

I think that the strategy here with this storyline is that it will all come down to Paige’s involvement in the title match based on her heated exchange with Renee Young. Speaking of that promo, I thought that she did a great job and was a textbook heel. I loved that she avoided the question several times and then ultimately turned it around to insult Renee. That Sally Jessy Raphael line was HILARIOUS though. And the ending with the Erin Andrews insult was very clever and it seemed to kinda burn Renee a bit. This storyline reeks of  “Who Attacked Kaitlyn” in 2o12 but I hope it doesn’t even up that same way. But for now, the game of WhoDunIt has been fun so far.

Also the announcement of Summer Rae on MizTV on SmackDown sounds like a gift from Sweet Baby Jesus! I think that Summer is gonna be the winner of this feud with her amazing performances and promos. So excited to cover it!

Overall, this Raw did not hook me for this Sunday. It doesn’t feel unpredictable and it doesn’t feel like some major event will take place at Hell in a Cell. I expect a good match with a screwy finish. But what about you? How did you like the tag match? Or the singles match? Or Paige’s promo? How excited are you for Hell in a Cell? Tweet me your thoughts and keep the conversation going! Thanks for reading! See you at the SmackDown Redux!

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