Nia Jax and Charlotte attack Sasha Banks and Bayley.
Sasha and Bayley appeal to Stephanie McMahon.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Charlotte & Nia Jax
Winners: Charlotte & Nia Jax
Alicia Fox gives Noam Dar a big damn kiss!
Raw had quite a lot going on this week. It’s noted that the WWE product always takes an upsurge in quality around the time the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ begins – and that’s recognised as the build-up to the Royal Rumble. Last week we saw two feuds combined into the one segment, and this week continued that. Charlotte and Nia vs Sasha and Bayley was a logical next step, and I really enjoyed the match. The added element of Sasha’s injured knee helped make things feel a little less paint-by-numbers – and all the women in the match used some great acting and psychology to really sell that story. It’s just odd that the one story that was built into the match – Charlotte and Nia not being allies – didn’t get touched on at all. Despite Nia shoving Charlotte backstage, they co-existed just fine in the match. They even used teamwork to get Nia a dirty win. I wouldn’t get hung up on Nia pinning Bayley – especially since it was Charlotte who caused the distraction. And they do still need to preserve Bayley’s underdog status. The real story to come out of this is actually the Bayley/Sasha stuff. We can see that WWE are definitely laying the groundwork for a program between them. Whether Bayley will relieve Charlotte of the title at the Rumble and feud with Sasha into Mania – or they’ll be the big summer feud – we don’t know. But it’s definitely something to take note of. And yay for Alicia getting into memorable backstage segments this time. Hopefully memorable matches follow.
Nikki Bella prepares for her match with Natalya
Nikki Bella vs Natalya
Carmella vs CJ Lunde
Daniel Bryan announces Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch for the Women’s Championship next week – inside a steel cage!
In contrast to Carmella’s match against Aliyah, this one didn’t exactly light the world on fire. But it was to be expected, since it’s a squash against a local competitor. What was interesting is how in the post match segment, Carmella avoided going in for a kiss. Does she have an ulterior motive? Is there more on her mind than just hooking up with James Ellsworth? I’m happy that Carmella may have a storyline instead of just being put randomly with this guy. She’s shown that she can be aggressive in her feud with Nikki. Now let’s see her devious side.
Speaking of Nikki, what a brawl between her and Natalya! I loved it. This was exactly what I’d wanted from the Nattie/Becky stuff over the summer. This type of aggression. This type of intensity. Natalya has come a long way and improved her heel character a lot – and she’s finally making the most of the attention she’s getting. I loved Nikki’s aggression too. And the way she refused to tap out of the Sharpshooter just solidified her as the valiant babyface. This feud started off with a bit of a whimper but it has really kicked into gear now. Nikki and Nattie are giving us so much, and getting the fans so excited for their eventual grudge match.
Speaking of exciting grudge matches, how about a steel cage for the Women’s Championship? I loved how this segment played out, and it’s a real testament to Alexa and Becky’s work that they’ve been rewarded with such a match. And you know that La Luchadora will appear at some point. Good job, Smackdown!
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