Sunday, August 7, 2022

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RAW: 03/19/18 – No love for Bliss & the Boss-Hug Connection

We’re only a couple weeks away from WrestleMania 34 and following last week’s developments, all eyes are on Nia Jax to see how she will react! We learned last week that RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss will take on the Undefeated Empress of Tomorrow Asuka in a non-title match and we also have the friendship of the ‘Boss-Hug’ Connection between Sasha Banks and Bayley slowly dissolving in front of our eyes. With so much going on, let’s get straight to it and see what happened!

First up, is the aforementioned non-title match between RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka. Before the match, Alexa Bliss and her on/off bestie Mickie James discuss last week’s events, where Bliss unwittingly declared her disdain for former ‘Team Rude’ ally, Nia Jax. Contrary to popular belief, Bliss repeats and emphases her hurtful comments about Jax, refusing to apologize and claiming that she “lost 300lbs of the pathetic loser”.

Bliss turns her attention to Asuka’s streak, claiming that she’s going to defeat it tonight, causing her to come out. Interestingly, this match works with Bliss taking control and dominating throughout. Admittedly, it was weird to see Asuka being dominated by such a smaller opponent, in a way that opponents like Bayley, Banks and even Emma couldn’t do. The finish for this match is interesting, which Bliss rolling out of the ring after escaping an Ankle Lock. James and Bliss call it a night and decide to exit the ramp, giving Asuka the count-out victory.

As the duo make their way up the ramp, Jax’ music hits the system and boy she’s angry! She charges straight into James, then heads right for Bliss. After being snatched a couple times, Bliss manages to escape through the crowd while James is laid out by the new ring apron screens after being tossed into them by Jax.

Following the heated altercation, Bliss heads to RAW General Manager Kurt Angle, demanding that Jax is arrested for her actions! Instead, Angle calls up Bliss about her comments last week, stating that the Champion should be a role model and not a bully. Instead, Angle makes a match for WrestleMania – Alexa Bliss will be defending her RAW Women’s Championship against Nia Jax!

Elsewhere on RAW, the friction continued between long-time best friends, Sasha Banks and Bayley. The two finally had a chance to speak in the ring, with Banks telling Bayley that she’s been upset with Bayley’s actions. She also claims that she takes opportunities and hints that she wants to do at the WrestleMania Battle Royal… However, Bayley reminds Banks that she caused her elimination at the Elimination Chamber – and smiled while doing it!

Before they go any further, Paige and her Absolution lackeys Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose interrupt the proceedings. Sick of hearing Banks and Bayley bicker, Paige claims that her girls are going to show them how to handle their business properly. This match is much like the gazillion other tag matches we’ve seen between these four: Deville generally being the aggressor, Rose hitting her bicycle knee, Banks and Bayley having tag problems. Eventually, Bayley gets Deville into a backslide, but as the referee is too busy dealing with Rose and Banks, her pin goes unnoticed. Bayley yanks Banks from the corner and the two bicker, but this allows Deville to nail Bayley with her high kick. It’s another strong win for Absolution!

Once again, ‘Queen Rebecca’ aka. Reby Hardy made an appearance alongside real-life ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy in a promo for his Ultimate Deletion match against Bray Wyatt.

Following the uproar about the ‘Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal’ being named after The Fabulous Moolah, it seemed WWE were on hand with her damage control airing a promo celebrating Women’s History Month featuring women from all brands.

We’re also treated to some pre-rec footage of Ronda Rousey training with Kurt Angle, preparing for their match against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania. She describes the lows of her final UFC fight, but now claims that her sights are set on being at WrestleMania and coming out on top.

After the show, Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring for a exclusive! Before she could even address the crowd, she’s interrupted by Dana Brooke. Looks like Brooke has gained some guts out of nowhere, calling out Rousey by saying she doesn’t belong in the ring and telling her to get to the back of the line. She states that she can’t wait for Stephanie McMahon to make Rousey her property and threatens Rousey to get out of the ring! Oh dear Dana… she tries to strike Rousey, but she quite literally gets her ass tossed out of the ring. Looks like Rousey’s training with Kurt Angle is paying off!

So much going on with RAW and finally the triggers are being pulled for these women’s feuds heading into WrestleMania! Let’s kick things off with the RAW Women’s Title action and the announcement of Jax VS Bliss at WrestleMania.

Now, if you’ve read my reviews since their return, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of the fat-shaming in this feud. I saw the comments last week and some readers felt I was being ‘too sensitive’… but watch these promos again, they work just as well without the mention of Jax’ weight. Sure I get the emotional element, and the eventual comeuppance of the bully against the victim… but this was such a cop out and plain lazy. As I said last week, this feud could have been triggered about Jax losing all the time… it could have been Bliss bragging about winning 4 Championships and Jax having none… it could have even started with Bliss helping to eliminate Jax at the Royal Rumble! But no, they’ve got the fat route and what? Jax is going to win, squash the bully and we’re all meant to cheer… woo female empowerment right?

Tie in the fact that Bliss is someone who has openly spoken about her eating disorder. Tie in the fact that Mickie James was part of the ‘Piggie James’ angle and was the victim in that feud. Tie in the fact that frictions with Writing Teams could end up with a) not ending up on the stacked WrestleMania card or b) see the Emma treatment. It’s just a damn lazy feud, that really could have been handled more tastefully.

That all being said, I am enjoying the feud for the effort of the women involved. Bliss is a great heel and her actions tonight played perfectly towards her character. Jax has come on leaps and bounds and anyone who has read my reduxes over the years will know that I was never her biggest fan. However, I am both happy for these women and know that they are deserving of a big feud – especially with Jax probably getting the big win. I just find the feud distasteful, the only way I can describe my views with this feud is like loving a McDonald’s Big Mac, but knowing that an animal has been slaughtered. Again, if you disagree with me then I’m watching those comments!

Onto the Bayley/Banks feud and hmm… with Banks talking about the Battle Royal, many are speculating that they won’t get their own spot on the already jam-packed card. Honestly… I really hope they do because if Andre the Giant Battle Royals are anything to go by, this is definitely not the type of match to waste such a big feud on. It’s not even the type of feud to waste on a B-PPV. We know that these women can create magic, but the way they are moving so slowly with these feud is getting excruciating. It’s at that point where we need to see a turn or a climax, before we all switch off… if you haven’t already.

The plus side of their slow feud is that this is slowly bringing Absolution some slight credibility. They are slowly racking up wins and looking credible, Deville more than Rose, but it is what it is. I really do miss Paige and seeing her come out with the girls and unable to get involved tugs at my heart each week… but with news of Daniel Bryan getting the all clear, I’m hoping there is still some time for Paige. If not, then her Absolution team mates definitely have a good future for them coming up, they might not be top of the pecking order, but they’re certainly not where Dana Brooke is at.

Speaking of Dana Brooke, I for one loved her little altercation with Ronda Rousey. It was short, it was sweet, it made use of her Heath Slater-esque character and it helped Rousey look like a decent threat. It was very interesting to watch her promo, openly discussing how much her loss at UFC defeated her (and sure it was scripted), but it’s giving her more depth instead of this woman who just scowls.

Across the board, it was a fun showing from all the women, but I’m going to need things to step up over the next few weeks. Please no Absolution VS Banks/Bayley or Bliss taking on Asuka next week! Ps. Corey Graves – Gretchen, Karen and Regina are icons of course we remember them and your Mean Girls reference gets a yes from me!

How do you feel about the Nia VS Alexa feud? Are you looking forward to the RAW Title action or are you more interested in Asuka’s challenge against Charlotte? Do you think Bayley and Sasha will get a spot on the WrestleMania card? You know what to do in the comments!

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