This week on Raw: Beth Phoenix regained focus after an upset loss last week, scoring a win over Kelly Kelly and Candice Michelle with her partner Jillian. Plus in intergender action, the Burchills lost to Mickie James & Jamie Noble while Layla and King William Regal looked on.
Thoughts & Reactions
After a lackluster few weeks, things were a little better this week but not enough to make me that interested in this week’s Raw. I liked that Beth got an emphatic win this week, regaining her focus towards the Women’s Championship match at No Mercy. Her win killed two birds with one stone: A) it tied in with her ‘mini-feud’ with Kelly, who got a fluke win over her as Beth pinned Kelly and B) it sent a message to Candice ahead of their title match. I didn’t like that they had Beth and Candice start out the match straight away pretty much giving away their pay per view match, shouldn’t you try and keep them apart and have them get in a hot tag? The whole booking for this ‘feud’ has been lackluster, so why start making sense now! The work was fine for most of the match, but I really wasn’t into the first half of it, it just seemed to plod along between Candice and Beth then Candice and Jillian. Candice continues to look uncomfortable in the ring since her comeback, but she has never really had much ring presence if you ask me.
The interesting dynamic of this match was how would Kelly and Candice work together? Sufficiently, I would say. When the match was announced, I didn’t think this duo would work out, you’d need someone like Mickie to lead the tag team, both these Divas are still learning. They worked together well. One thing I observed which I certainly didn’t expect is that Kelly, who has had less opportunity in the ring than her partner, was the ‘Mickie figure’ in this match. The Diva who got the hot tag, fought off both the opponents etc. while Candice did most of the brunt work for most of the match as the ‘weaker Diva’. You would think, considering WWE considers Candice to be their top Diva, she’d be doing the superhero-like hot tag – especially considering the fact that she has a title match this Sunday. However, I think Kelly worked in the role very well and lit up a match that otherwise plodded along, when Kelly tagged in, things picked up in the way that they usually do when Mickie tags in. I would say Kelly has a certain quality about her and I really picked up on this last night, I can see this girl going really far. To me, she seems to be creeping up on Candice and outdoing her in terms of matches, fan response etc. even though Candice is the one WWE wants to push. I can definitely see Kelly continuing to grow and eventually become the top Diva to succeed Trish which is what Candice had been groomed for. Kelly got way bigger pops than Candice, I’m not usually one to go by the crowd, but it was really hard to miss on Raw last night – Candice even got some boos. Not a slight to Candice, but Kelly has more of a likability factor than the former Women’s Champ and is proving to be more well rounded. It’ll be interesting to see how Candice and Kelly’s careers intertwine and mould around each other, to say the least.
As for the intergender tag match, as always good fun. It was great to see Mickie back on Raw, though I’m happy for her to remain in the background and let other Divas get over. If and I mean only if WWE can somehow work her into this storyline with Jamie Noble and Layla, then I’m all for Mickie to come back as a full time character but after the past few months, I think Mickie has run her course and needs to make sporadic appearances and not be burned out completely. I wouldn’t mind seeing a tease of an eventual match between Noble & Mickie vs Regal & Layla. The three different couples on show during this match made me think I was watching some sort of swingers party lol! Layla and Regal looked really good in that throne =)
All in all, not a bad week for Raw. I do like that we got to see more utilisation of all the Divas, very SmackDown-esque but I don’t think Raw has fully redeemed itself in my eyes. We’ll see what happens at No Mercy and going forth.
In this portion we will look at each of the Divas individually and the role they played, adding more thoughts yadda yadda:
Beth Phoenix: Beth gained a lot of traction going into No Mercy.
Candice Michelle: For someone with a title shot in six days, I don’t think Candice is ready.
Jillian: Jillian should tape last night’s Raw and lock it in a vault, it may be one of her only wins ever.
Katie Lea: Katie is becoming Jillian #2 and it’s a shame, she has potential…
Kelly Kelly: I think Kelly has started a movement, the fans are behind her, she’s getting good. It’s only a matter of time before the Trish effect takes place. It’s happening slowly but surely which is what I like about it, WWE is still pushing Candice and have yet to realise that Kelly’s where the money is. As soon as they do, she’ll be pushed to the moon and back like many before her so I’m savouring this right now.
Layla: I love her, if nothing else.
Mickie James: Nice match, the crowd was into Mickie’s return too.
The Good: Layla looked divine. I kinda digged Kelly’s outfit on her.
The Bad: Candice.
The In-Between: Everyone else.
Digital Photos (Courtesy of WWE.com)
SANTINO (W/ BETH) VS. BATISTA