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RAW Redux (September 5th, 2016): September Swerves

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been a bit bored lately with the women’s division on RAW. Sure we’ve had Bayley’s debut, but it’s all been a bit predictable. Same faces, same people winning, same format… but don’t worry, it seems like the WWE have noticed and decided to swerve us so much that my head hurts – in a good way! So, get your snacks ready and join me on this week’s RAW Redux!

RAW immediately starts off with Commissioner Stephanie McMahon arranging a title celebration for the the new WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, until she’s stopped by General Manager Mick Foley. He confronts her to address last week’s shock surprise turn by Triple H against Seth Rollins. Foley recalls how he still sees Steph as ‘the young girl with the shy smile’ and asks her to swear that she has no involvement with Hunter’s switch up, making a teary eyed Steph promise that she didn’t know.

Next, we see the two in the ring as they bring down the new WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens among fireworks and balloons. It’s not long before Seth Rollins charges to the ring to confront Stephanie for last week’s events, who again tries to explain that she had nothing to do with the turn. Rollins and Owens brawl until Stephanie tries to indefinitely suspend Rollins, but SWERVE Foley steps up and shouts ‘NO HE’S NOT!’, instead offering him a rematch against Owens for WWE Clash of The Champions!

As expected, it’s not long before the Billion Dollar Princess confronts Mick Foley for undermining her decision and she reminds him who is really in charge.

First match of the night sees the WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte take on Bayley in a non-title match. A RAW Pre-Show clip shows Charlotte telling her protege Dana Brooke that she’s been failing lately, so this week she’s going to have to take a clipboard and pen to take notes to see how she ‘beats Bayley like a Queen’ and she pats Dana on the head!

The super popular Bayley comes to the ring and Michael Cole comments on her path for getting a chance at the “RAW Women’s Championship” (Yes Cole, we get the point that there may be a title name change!). Before the commercial, the action is evenly spread back and forth between the two, until Bayley goes for her outside running dropkick through the corner, which kind of gets botched as she catches her leg under the turnbuckle. It seems that they quickly pick up on this and start working on Bayley’s leg throughout the rest of the match. Near the end of the match, Dana pulls Charlotte away from an attack, allowing Charlotte to roll up Bayley, but she kicks out causing Charlotte to fly into Dana Brooke and then turn into a Bayley-to-Belly for the win over the (according to Cole) RAW Women’s Champion! A thrilled Bayley celebrates as she’s proved her dominance, while a peeved Charlotte clutches onto her title.

The RAW Fallout catches up with Bayley fresh off pinning the champion, detailing how in just three weeks she’s had an amazing time so far. Andrea DiMarco asks Bayley to address Charlotte’s comments about ‘not belonging’ on RAW, to which she replies that she does belong since she’s just pinned the Champion.

Backstage we see Charlotte berating her protege once again, slapping the clipboard out her her hands and shouting that she’s been embarrassed because the ‘Sesame Street kid’ just beat her. An apologetic Dana promises to make it up to Charlotte, but the Champ isn’t happy and gives Dana one of the best slaps I’ve seen in years! A tearful Dana looks on…

You know that girl who’s not like most girls? Well, Nia Jax is coming down the ring next to take on another local talent in Ann Esposito, otherwise known as Monica Passeri. They show a tweet which reveals that this week’s talent is a friend of the highly-missed Alicia Fox, saying that she’s happy to see her friend make her RAW debut. In similar fashion to all her other matches, Jax is quick to take control from the start, but for the first time one of her opponents is able to get some offence in as Esposito starts hitting low-kicks and applies a sleeper hold. However, it all leads to nothing as she easily throws her off and finishes her off with an overhead powerslam for another easy victory.

We’re backstage again where we see a concerned Alicia walking out from the Medical Training Room, who bumps into Nia Jax. A cocky Nia asks her how her ‘girl’ is doing, saying how things must have got too real for her old friend ‘ratchety Ann’, unlike a reality show like ‘Total Divas’. A plucky Fox agrees and tells Nia to get out of her face, but Jax stands firm… until SWERVE ‘you don’t wanna get out of my face!’ roars Alicia as she throws surgical gloves and other nearby boxes at Jax, who shoves Foxy back into the table. A frustrated Fox yells at Jax to ‘talk it out like REAL women’, so it looks like the crazy has been unleashed and this definitely won’t be the last we see of these two.

Throughout this week’s episode of RAW, the announcers have been talking about Sasha Banks, who tweeted earlier in the day that she would be appearing on RAW and will be addressing some ‘bad news’. Well, now is that time and we are all expecting the worst…

A reserved ‘Boss’ heads to the ring, no jacket, not rings, no shades… a clearly tearful Sasha heads to the ring and takes to the mic. She begins “There’s a saying, that every journey has an end and every story has a final chapter…” I think our hearts across the world sunk as we see a ‘Broken Boss’ talk about the progress of the women’s division since her debut. She refers to The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young, Alundra Blayze and Luna Vachon, Trish and Lita – women who broke the mould and wrote the pages of a revolution. No more bra and panties matches, no more butterfly title… she goes on to mention how each time she gets in the ring, it means everything to her and it’s why she goes so hard.

So now for the bit we were waiting for, she addresses her medical issues, stating that Charlotte pushed her past her limit and that’s she has news regarding a medical update. However, Dana Brooke makes her way out behind the curtain and states she’s going to use Banks and her ‘broken body’ to step her game up and finish what Charlotte started at Summerslam. Brooke makes her way into the ring and throws her microphone at Banks, however, SWERVE Banks switches it up and locks the Banks Statement on Dana! She grabs the microphone and reveals “Actually Miss Piggy, the bad news isn’t for you – it was for Charlotte, let her know at Clash of Champions, that title is coming back to ME!”. That’s RIGHT, the Boss is back, injury free and coming for that RAW Women’s Championship!

Thoughts: So SmackDown, you might have your pretty new title, but RAW has the star power and on this week’s RAW they showed why! I don’t know where to start this week, it was a good week overall for the women. Character development, a decent match and two well-thought and written segments.

I’ll start with Nia/Alicia since I wasn’t expecting it at all. I don’t know if Ann and Alicia are actually friends or if that was scripted for the storyline, but that’s the perfect way to bring Alicia back and finally get Nia involved with the roster. I think it’s pretty obvious that Foxy will be doing the job to put over Nia, but this was a good way to do it, to at least give some backstory and bring back Crazy Foxy! I do hope that this leads to a longer programme than just a match though.

My main ‘meh’ point was Bayley getting the win over Charlotte already. It was done believably, but her whole ‘schtick’ is that she’s an underdog and she’s coming off as a superstar already. What would have made more sense is if that ‘Fallout’ segment was aired, that’s the Bayley angle they need to go for – each week is a treat, a dream come true, she’s not used to it, a small fish in a big pond… instead they’ve had her go in guns blazing and made her the big fish. However, with the last swerve of the night, I think that underdog role may snugly fit her again since we now know that a certain Boss is back…

Sasha Banks stole the friggin’ show tonight. Yo, she had me almost close to tears thinking she was gonna retire, I was about to reach for the tissues and get a #ThankYouSasha trend starting. A lot of people have been getting at her mic work recently, but damn she turned that around. As well as the WWE using her tweet as a ‘second screen experience’, they kept building it up throughout the show that you felt the significance of the announcement. Even when Dana came out, I still thought Banks was going to take a hit and go out traditionally on her back… but alas, she flipped the script and showed us she’s back. Now, we have Sasha back with an edge and vying for Charlotte’s title just like Bayley – that’s gonna be amazing when the three collide!

Finally, let me show props to Ms. Dana Brooke! I’ve never been her biggest fan, but she’s improved in the ring loads, today was some of her strongest mic work and I finally have a reason to care about her character! Seeing Charlotte slap her, then seeing her come out to interrupt Sasha is the development she needed! She’s playing with the big girls now and needs to really take this opportunity, otherwise she’s forever going to be the weak link,

So now, we have Bayley and Sasha chasing Charlotte, Dana trying to impress her mentor and Nia unleashing the crazy in Alicia. I know I’m gonna have my usual commenters asking for Summer, but again I ask you, where would she have fit in this week?

Were you fooled initially by Sasha’s announcement? Do you think Charlotte and Dana’s partnership is going to end soon? Do you think Alicia will be the first to topple Nia? And finally would you rather see Bayley or Sasha take on Charlotte for the RAW Women’s Championship? Let us know in the comments below!

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