Monday, July 4, 2022

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Raw Redux (September 21st, 2015): Paige Throws Her Toys Out of the Pram

It is safe to say that Paige ruffled a few feathers last night!

Following Charlotte‘s Divas Championship win at Night of Champions, Paige had a hell of a lot to say about her (presumably now former) PCB teammate’s impact on the Divas division. Long story short, Paige was all for the revolution only if it resulted in her winning back the Divas Title. It didn’t, and now she is throwing her toys out of the pram and I am absolutely here for the self-indulgent, spoilt brat character. THIS IS HER PRAM!

An inconsequential Stephanie McMahon sighting starts off proceedings this week and she speaks with Triple H and Seth Rollins:

Seth spoke with Kane earlier and tells Stephanie that he isn’t happy that the Big Red Machine is back in a position of power. Everyone’s favourite power couple aren’t so sure about that. They tell Seth that they’ll handle Kane.

A graphic promoting Charlotte’s title celebration is aired before we cut to commercials; a small touch yet one I am thankful for. WWE may not be at the level of NXT’s bookers when it comes to the matches, yet at least they are pre-advertising and hyping segments involving the Divas.

Unlike the Bellas’ flop Bellabration from last week’s SmackDown, Charlotte’s celebration will be taking place in the ring, and none other than Ric Flair kicks it all off! What relation is he to Charlotte? I can’t quite remember but I think he may be her cousin’s step-mum’s horse’s former owner’s grandfather. I think.

Naitch says that there are moments in your career that you build up to and simply never forget, whether they be the first time you make your entrance or the first time you perform in-front of more than 10,000 people. Ric says that despite being proud of all of his championship wins over the years, he says that his proudest achievement was watching Charlotte capture the Divas Championship.

Following that, it all gets a bit emosh when Charlotte, Paige and Becky Lynch come out and Charlotte and Ric say how much they love each other. There’s a lot of tears, a lot of snot and a lot of wooing. Charlotte then turns her attention to her PCB cohorts. She says that Becky has been her rock, always ensuring to not take everything too seriously. Charlotte then says that Paige has led by example. She always wanted to be like her and emulate her success on the main roster, and now she has a little taste of that glory.

Paige tells Charlotte to stop, she is being way too nice. She says that whilst this celebration is all for Charlotte, people need to remember who brought this entire revolution on, Paige! Paige blasts Charlotte, mocking the constant referencing of who her Dad is and the fact like she sounds like she is reciting her Hall of Fame induction speech.

Hell in Boots continues telling Charlotte that her title win means nothing. She got the job done on her first night, whilst Charlotte will simply lose her rematch to Nikki Bella and her, her hippy sister and their third wheel will rule the roost once more. Paige believes that she is the only one to initiate some positive change it seems. Paige says that the Revolution doesn’t exist and that Charlotte is just a placeholder.

Paige then turns her attention to Becky, branding her the least relevant of all the Divas. Even less so than Rosa? Yikes. The insults don’t stop there as Paige brands Team B.A.D all flash and no substance (tell that to Sasha who has made you tap or pinned you five times in a row) and she says Lana and Summer are more interested in what men they can climb on instead of the division. Paige then focuses on Natalya, asking if she even works there anymore.

Back to women who are known for the men they are with, Paige says that Brie and Nikki are only where they are because of their respective gents. We’ve that before from AJ

Paige ends her rant by saying that Charlotte needs to stop acting like she is some special as she wouldn’t even be around if it wasn’t for her Dad’s influence. Woo! *mic drop*

Charlotte is absolutely livid but she has to deal with her next altercation coming up, a match against Brie Bella. Nikki takes to the mic with Brie and Foxy by her side before the match starts. She brands Paige “trashy” and says that Brie will defeat Charlotte tonight, just like how she will in her rematch.

The match begins with Brie on the offense, taking Charlotte down with a headlock takeover. She also hits a forearm block but Charlotte kips up even easier than she was knocked down. The new champion applies a front facelock yet it isn’t long before Brie is back in a dominant position. Brie Mode is engaged when Brie hits a missile dropkick from the top, a move she follows up by ramming Charlotte head first into the turnbuckle.

Charlotte avoids receiving that treatment twice and gives Brie a taste of her own medicine. Brie then tries to get out of the ring, despite the fact Charlotte has a full grip on her hair. We see why a few moments later as Brie dropkicks Charlotte leg into the steel steps, the same leg Nikki worked over at Night of Champions.

Back in the ring, Brie immobilizes Charlotte with four hard shoulder tackles to the gut before going back to the injured leg. Brie wraps the abused limb around the ropes before kicking it, kneeing it and causing more damage with a dragon screw leg whip. Brie dishes out more damage with a very, very basic hold before channelling her husband with some lightning quick kicks.

Brie’s onslaught continues thanks to rope utilization, a chop block and a wince-inducing single leg crab. Very effective looking yet a carbon copy of her sister’s offense from the night prior. Whether it is her husband or her sister, the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree for Brie!

Brie is soon toppling like a tree as Charlotte fights back with a backslide, a move that dazes Brie long enough for Charlotte to create space and deliver a chop fest! Brie does kick the knee once more to try and regain control, yet the tide is too strong and Charlotte leaves Brie looking washed up with a wave of offense. Her textbook spinning neckbreaker, spear and Figure 8 combo are enough to signal the end for Brie and she taps out.

Next on the agenda is Stephanie McMahon again, whom has a very awkward encounter with Kane.

Her and Triple H are perplexed at Kane and his newfound enthusiasm for his role as Director of Operations. They are probably perplexed by his hair too…

Kane plays dumb about his masked attack on Seth Rollins at Night of Champions, yet Stephanie says that he doesn’t play mind games with them. They then set Kane off on the weirdest round of Hide and Seek ever in an attempt to find his missing mask. Kane ended up finding it later, wearing it again to kick Seth Rollins’ ass after the main event. Nice to see The Authority playing happy families!

Immediately following that, we see Paige backstage with everyone’s favourite missing person, Natalya!

As if by magic, Paige mentions her once and she gets a backstage segment and gets a match! Please Paige, do not mention Dana Brooke or Aksana. I’m am not here for a debut or return of that kind!

Anywho, Paige questions if Nattie is about to lecture her, yet Tal agrees with Paige on some of her points. She does have beef with how Paige went about her frustration though. She says that Paige isn’t the first, nor will she be the last Diva to get annoyed at her position in the company. Nat says she knows all about being left out and shoved to the side, yet she wouldn’t ruin Charlotte’s moment like that. Natalya leaves but not before giving Paige some advice: “The only person standing in your way is you.” BOOM!

Summer Rae stands at ringside for a monumental six man tag match next:

Rusev manages to bag the win for him and his partners The New Day too. Sadly, a story element was missing for Summer this week, yet at least she got to be a part of such a huge match.

Natalya’s in-ring return is next, but before Dominattie can make her presence felt, Team B.A.D are on the scene. Naomi‘s theme is totally one of my favourite entrance themes. It is now on my iPod (iPod Classic for the win) and I definitely #BringItToTheFloor everywhere I go. “You ain’t ever seen no-one like me”…

I’ve never seen anyone like Natalya too, who looks utterly incredible. Dayum Nattie!

The match starts with a shove from Naomi and the two float over and under one-another until they reach a double dropkick stalemate. Natalya brings Naomi to the floor (see what I did there?) with a Russian leg sweep and then beats on her foe in the corner till the official breaks the scrap up.

From here, Naomi takes advantage in a major way. She moves to the apron before kicking Natalya in the side of the head and then a clean smack in the face follows right after. Ms Fatu slams Nattie on her skull to continue the head trauma and then locks in a submission. Whilst this short resthold takes place, we are treated to a shot of Paige watching on backstage – the best way to avoid watching a boring resthold right? Great idea to utilise a backstage camera shot for that purpose.

Nattie tries to mount a comeback, yet Naomi shrugs her punches off and levels her in the corner with a running bulldog. The ama-may-ay-ay-zing Diva’s showboating nearly costs her when Tal blasts her with an almighty slap yet she manages to keep the Dungeon Diva down with a flip clothesline which Nattie sells to complete perfection.

After the most random reference to Amy Weber (never thought I would be writing that!) from Michael Cole to JBL, Natalya is worn down further with a scoop slam and a leg drop. The crowd begin to chant for Natalya when Naomi chokes her on the middle rope, and the support spurs Nattie on to reverse Naomi’s second corner bulldog attempt and stage a fightback.

Natalya drops Naomi with a slingshot seated atomic drop before trampling over her and connecting with a wicked dropkick. I continue to be impressed as she then takes Naomi down with her patented discus clothesline which is as stunning as always. Noticing Naomi may be done for, Tamina jumps on the apron and starts yapping like a tropical bird of some sort yet Natalya avoids distraction. It is only until Sasha Banks sticks her nose in that Natalya takes her eye off the ball. She turns around into the Rear View and Naomi grabs her second win in five days!

Stephanie is the final lady in the limelight for Raw when she tells Seth Rollins that she feels Kane is fine to return to his corporate responsibilities:

Dragging Seth under the ring later will have definitely made Stephanie think again!

Thoughts: Last night’s Raw was rather juicy wasn’t it?! Before I get to all of the T being spilled, let’s address the few gripes I had with last night’s episode.

Charlotte vs Brie was boring in my opinion, although I did quite enjoy Brie’s sharp kick combo to Charlotte’s leg. This match sadly was a shorter and less entertaining version of Charlotte’s match with Nikki from Night of Champions. The rinse and repeat was topped off with Charlotte comeback that Brie didn’t even attempt to thwart really aside from a basic kick. Charlotte was wore down, only to then fight back easily and seal the win. Of course Charlotte needed to win, yet the spinning neckbreaker, spear, Figure 8 combo is a little stale, especially when Brie didn’t counter any of those moves and was made to look like a glorified jobber yet again.

The rest of the show got a thumbs up from me. First off, Summer Rae saving the trombone yet not Xavier Woods – brilliant! I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold-digger…

Paige’s heel turn was very unexpected to me. I expected her to turn heel, yet not in the way she did. I should have seen this coming though, as Paige letting her mouth get the best of her perfectly sums up her character right now. Before the Revolution began, Paige was all talk yet wasn’t getting the wins she needed. She won at WrestleMania yet AJ was the one to bag the submission win. After AJ departed, Paige was always so close yet never grabbed quite that cigar. Fast forward to now and Paige has lost to Sasha five times, not to mention Naomi beating her on last week’s SmackDown. Paige is all talk and no walk at the moment, so for her to bump her gums some more on Raw and not physically prove why she should be the champion was perfect.

As for the content of Paige’s outburst, I enjoyed it on the whole. Whilst it felt a little clichéd (The Bellas slept their way to the top, etc.) I did like Paige’s insults for Alicia and Brie. Her questioning whether Natalya was even still employed was hilarious too. Her berating of Team B.A.D was also quite interesting; she said they had no substance despite two of their members beating her last week. Was this lazy writing from WWE or them trying to showcase Paige’s character as a total hypocrite? I expect it is the former yet I’ll pretend it is the latter. Overall I was happy with it, and thankfully she didn’t call Tamina a man again. Poor Cameron being so irrelevant to not even warrant a mention.

Naomi and Natalya’s match was a nice juxtaposition to Paige’s decision to go it alone. This match proved that working together can prove dividends, as the numbers game was too much for Nattie to keep up with. Seeing Team B.A.D stick together as a strong unit was a real treat to see and it always nice to see Naomi get a win. Paige watching from backstage was intriguing too. She not only has interest in the title picture and I would like to find out her intentions there.

Natalya’s interjection into the Divas Revolution was a long time coming, and I wonder if it is setting her up to challenge Charlotte soon, or perhaps join PCB. Charlotte and Nattie have history from when Charlotte beat Nattie to become NXT Women’s Champion and their famous respective lineages is a self-made backstory. WWE don’t really like creating storylines either, so this would be a nice and lazy easy choice for them. There is no doubt the two could put on a clinic though so I am all for the feud. It would also be interesting to see Natalya ponder joining with Becky and Charlotte after being a victim of a three-on-one situation too. Lots of potential that I hope WWE follows up on.

Natalya’s influence in her backstage segment with Paige was also fantastic writing from WWE. I know, praising them is shocking to me too! Having a Diva who has been there, done that and got the t-shirt share some words of wisdom was great. Nattie was right though; the only reason Paige isn’t the champion right now is because she hasn’t got the job done. Typical of Paige’s great character that is developing though, she feels it easier to point blame elsewhere and preach about why she is so entitled. This character has huge potential.

Well done WWE, a decent night on the road to the live WWE Network special at Madison Square Garden. Will Nikki get her rematch their and Paige then gets a shot at Hell in a Cell? As long as there is more development of Paige’s self-praising persona, more Natalya and more Becky Lynch (I don’t want her being an afterthought!) then I have faith WWE can deliver the goods.

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