RAW Deal: Missed opportunities with NXT Divas
ATLANTA, GA—The ladies who have torn the house down at NXT have arrived.
First of all, if you haven’t seen a single episode of NXT—the rebranded version, not the show where Daniel Bryan had to complete a bunch of challenges with his peers—yet, and you consider yourself a wrestling fan, you might want to reconsider that label. Even in its current overcrowded state, and even when guys like John Cena, Cesaro, and Kevin Owens are starting to push RAW to its limit, it still is the best wrestling product of the WWE.
And that’s thanks in part to the NXT Divas, who have been given the ball to run with because they take it to the endzone every time. It’s not just because they have the indy experience; you can’t say the same for Charlotte, Ric Flair’s daughter and one of the Divas who debuted on RAW this week, who’s only been wrestling for around two years. They just have the time, attention, and training the main roster Divas wish they had.
But while the schoolyard brawl moment was magical, it’s not without its problems.
I have such a huge problem with the way they were introduced. Actually, that’s the biggest problem—they were introduced. Stephanie McMahon, in a bizarre move that saw her essentially turning babyface against the villainous Bella Twins, stood behind Paige, who was trying to rally fellow Divas to help fight the Bellas. McMahon gifted Paige—as well as Naomi and Tamina—with new allies: Paige gets Charlotte and Irish superstar Becky Lynch, while Naomi and Tamina get current NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks.
That little move made it the whole thing look like mommy was giving her daughter new playmates to play with because the other kids in the playground wouldn’t play with her. I mean, really? Was it really too hard to play up the drama by having the Bellas beat Paige down, yet again, only for the NXT girls to come in and save her? Did they really think they needed to take great pains introducing new characters so that the audience would cheer for them?
Think of it this way: if the Shield debuted at Survivor Series 2012 by having Paul Heyman introduce the Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns one by one, would they have made the same impact they did that night?
It was a good thing, then, that the beatdown was well-executed and better-received. All 3 new characters ended up looking strong in front of the audience, ending the visual with their respective submission maneuvers.
That, at the very least, made it special. Good wrestling absolves a lot of sins. But let’s try not to push it.
- The 2015 John Cena Championship Classics Tour continues this week, and the amazing part is Cena didn’t even need to be physically involved in a match to have a classic. Finishes aside, the booking of Cena’s United States Championship run has been handled so well, with television matches so outstanding, that you wouldn’t have a hard time believing three guys could come out and nearly kill each other just for a shot at the United States Championship. The United States Championship. This time last year, Sheamus held the title and Rusev won it from him in a match that happened after RAW went off the air.
- Speaking of Cena, he excelled in the face champion role again. Not only was he a welcome addition to the commentary booth, as usual, he actually executed the entire psychology of a guy in his shoes at that situation really well. While we’ve known him to be Scumbag Cena, he was very sportsmanlike in his match vs. Rusev.
- Feel what you want to feel about the storylines surrounding Ryback, Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton, but that opening tag match was better than people are willing to give it credit for.
- And on that note, I’m really starting to like Flyin’ Ryan Reeves.
- STARDUST IS BACK! While the match versus Neville was run-of-the-mill and didn’t reach their potential, that taped backstage promo is a prime example of why Stardust still deserves to be Stardust. Better that Cody make his own name than use his father as a stepping stone to greatness.
- I’m not sure what to make of where Rollins/Lesnar is going. If you don’t already know, Undertaker is rumored to return at Battleground this Sunday, and while we’re not sure what he’s going to be doing, it’s going to be big, and it already looks that way due to the prominent Undertaker references that have been occurring lately. Add the fact that Kane just got taken out, too. Is Seth irredeemably heel? Is Kane turning face? Is this all part of Triple H’s test to see whether Seth really is the star he thinks he is? I’m not sure if this is good, but the story isn’t advanced enough for me to judge it as bad.
- Barrett/Truth is still happening. Nobody can figure out what to do with them. Why not pair Barrett with…
- …Dean Ambrose? Due to the crowding at the main event and the midcard, Ambrose has moved from having a hot championship match at Money in the Bank last month to having a mini-feud with Bo Dallas. There has to be a good story they can run with Ambrose, who needs forward momentum to keep going. And backing Roman Reigns versus Bray Wyatt doesn’t count.
- Speaking of, Reigns/Wyatt is losing some momentum because the feud is being booked as a long cat-and-mouse game. We know he’s not the best talker in the company, but without mic time, it’s going to be very hard for people to get behind Reigns. Why did you cut off his legs in the realest, closest-to-home storyline you’ve ever put him in, WWE?
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