As the Sole Survivor from Survivor Series, Lana was sitting on cloud nine heading into tonight’s RAW. She would be interviewed backstage in regards to perhaps a reward for her winning the traditional Survivor Series match. The men earlier in the night received a reward for all five of them winning in a clean sweep. They all had matches in order to get them to a number one contender match. Naturally, shouldn’t Lana receive a title match herself?
Lana didn’t feel as though that was important at the moment. She was just thankful for her big win. Asuka would approach Lana later and assumed that she had challenged her for the title. Lana would try to assure Asuka that wasn’t the case at all. However, The Empress is always ready for a challenge so the match was booked for later in the night.
Asuka vs. Lana – RAW Women’s Championship match ends in DQ
The match would start out promising, but with the Women’s Tag Team Champions on commentary, the match didn’t last long. A furious Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler were reeling from their eliminations at Survivor Series. Once Asuka found herself at ringside by the announce table, she exchanged words with the tag champs. Jax and Baszler were mocking that Asuka hasn’t already put Lana away to secure a victory.
Asuka used a water bottle to toss water all over them which promoted them to get physical with the RAW Women’s Champion. This caused the disqualification. Jax and Baszler would continue to team up to attack Asuka as Lana looked on from the ring. Jax had Asuka up to put her through the announce table. Lana came in for the save and the two retreated to the other side of the ring.
This then prompted for a tag team match between Lana & Asuka vs. Jax & Baszler.
Asuka & Lana defeated Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax in a non-title match
The tag team match had a lot of the same when it comes to Lana. Baszler & Jax spent a lot of time isolating her from getting in a tag to Asuka. Offering very little offense, Lana would eventually tag in Asuka who would go back and forth with Baszler. When it came time for Lana to tag back in, Jax pulled her off the apron. Of course, Jax would have one thing in mind which is to put Lana through the announce table for the tenth time. Instead of what usually happens, Lana fights back.
Jax becomes even more enraged that Lana fought out of her usual predicament. So enraged that she runs full force at Lana who avoids her which sends Jax flying over the announce table. Lana backs herself up to the ring apron which gave the opportunity for Baszler to put her in the Kirifuda Clutch. The referee repeatedly let Baszler know that Asuka was the legal competitor in the match, not Lana.
Asuka took advantage of this misguided moment and stacked up Baszler to get the pin and the win for her team. Lana then took off up the ramp (most likely to avoid being put through the announce table) to celebrate her ring as Asuka celebrated at the bottom of the ramp.
The next women’s match of the night was the advertised match between Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss. The friendship that once was has all but deteriorated. Cross has tried all she can do to try and get her friend back but it just hasn’t worked. Now she will try to “Beat The Fiend” out of her former tag team partner.
There was a Firefly Funhouse that showed Bliss destroying the Friendship Frog which was an example of what Bliss was going to do to Cross during their match.
Alexa Bliss defeats Nikki Cross
In a great moment of storytelling, Bliss tricked Cross into thinking that the old Bliss was emerging. Through the first part of the match, no matter what Cross did to Bliss, she would laugh and provide her sadistic smile. This would go away towards the end of the match as she pleaded with Cross to stop and started to cry. She would ask for Cross’ help and apologize for her actions.
As Cross gave into the thought of her former friend being who she once was, the two went for an embrace. Bliss would then show that it was all a way to trick Cross as she takes her down to the mat.
Bliss would then cover Cross with her sadistic smile across her face.
Lastly, there was a WWE Network Exclusive that showed Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans. Evans brought Royce a present to celebrate their team win at Survivor Series. Evans called Royce the weakest link in the match and then proceeded to tell her that she needs to start taking advantage of her opportunities.
Evans mocked the friendship/team that Royce had with Billie Kay as The IIconics. The present she gave her was an exact outfit that Evans had on. However, the outfit appeared to be too large for Royce.
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers of the week:
WINNER: Alexa Bliss
Alexa continues to absolutely excel in this role and as it keeps going further it bodes well for her. I am glad they finally are getting her and Nikki in the ring. My hope is that hopefully, this will continue and perhaps eventually pull out the Nikki that we saw with Sanity. I would love to see more development from Nikki as well, but the slow burn of this is making me want to see more.
WINNER: Nikki Cross
Nikki definitely deserves her applause for how well she is acting in this storyline. I do want more to come from it though. I know she can do great promos and those need to continue. I just want Sanity Nikki to show more. However, with that new music of hers, it doesn’t sound like it.
LOSERS: Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans
I am not sure what is going on here, but I still don’t like it. Granted this was a Network Exclusive, it still doesn’t give me any hope for either a Peyton singles push or any validation on why The IIconics broke up in the first place. Just because there are a few women out on the red brand doesn’t mean that we just slap together the two who are left.
They toy around too much with Lacey in a tag team and it never pans out. The only one I was gunning for was her and Charlotte which never amounted to much.
As for Asuka, Lana, Shayna, and Nia – I feel they all played the parts they should have played this week. It is clear these four are going to be involved with the upcoming TLC pay-per-view. For some reason, I can see it being Asuka and Lana vs. Shayna and Nia in a Winners Take All TLC match. Or it could just be Lana vs. Nia in a tables match.
Lana being put through a table each week was really becoming exhausting. However, they are continuing with the momentum of Lana and I see an even bigger pay off for her. One where she gets full revenge and possibly the tag titles.
I also think we tend to forget one possible big factor in all of this and that is Charlotte Flair. She most likely will be returning I would think by Royal Rumble. If they book this correctly, she will be returning to seek vengeance against Nia. So Charlotte could very well be a catalyst in helping Lana out in the end.
What I do keep saying all of the time though I still find to be true. We need to have about 2 more women on the RAW brand at the moment. I don’t like how the RAW Women’s Title and the Tag Titles are grouped into the same storyline. With Naomi, Charlotte, Dana Brooke, and Mandy Rose out, the red brand needs a couple more women to escalate it. Let’s also not forget we have no idea what they are doing with Mickie. They could bring Rhea Ripley over for starters.
What did you think of this week’s RAW? Who were your Winners & Losers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!!