(1/3/17): “A New # 1 Contender is Crowned& Will We Ever Find Out the Identity of La Luchadora?”
-We were shown Stephanie McMahon backstage in her office, where Bayley interrupted her to ask why she would agree to let Dana Brooke be the special guest referee in Bayley’s match against Charlotte last week. Stephanie stated that Charlotte had some powerful lawyers and her hands had been tied. Stephanie also made it clear to Bayley that she never wanted her on Raw, that Mick Foley was the one that did. She explained that she doesn’t believe in Bayley and that Charlotte is a real champion. Bayley pointed out that she is just Bayley and that she’s proven that she deserves to be here. Stephanie said that if Bayley wanted to prove she deserved to be there and deserved to face Charlotte for the title then she’d have to win her match later in the night against Nia Jax.
-Charlotte was on commentary during Bayley and Nia’s match, obviously interested in finding out who would be the victor and who’d she’d have to face next for her Women’s Championship. Nia dominated most of this match, with Bayley desperately trying to get the upper hand on the dominate Nia. It looked like Nia had the match won, but instead of pinning Bayley, she decided to finish off the Huggable One with a move from the second rope. To Nia’s surprise, Sasha Banks music started playing and the Boss made her presence known. Bayley took advantage of Nia’s distraction and hit Nia with a Belly to Bayley from the second rope for the win. With that victory, Bayley became the new number one contender for Charlotte’s Women’s Championship.
-Carmella was shown stretching when James Ellsworth came up to her and tried to talk to her, but kept getting tongue tied. He then gave Carmella his shirt and she seemed reluctant to accept it, but then plastered on a smile and asked him to escort her to the ring for her match later in the night.
-Becky Lynch faced off against the mysterious La Luchadora. Becky was quick to go on the attack, obviously wanting to get revenge on the masked woman for costing her the Women’s Championship last week. At one point, La Luchadora went under the ring, then came out on the other side, went after Becky, and then set Becky up for the Twisted Bliss. She missed, then Becky took advantage, and made her tap out to the Dis-Arm-Her. After the match, Becky took off La Luchadora’s mask to reveal Alexa Bliss. The real La Luchadora attacked Becky from behind. The pair beat down Becky, then Alexa hit Becky with a nasty DDT. Alexa and the still unmasked La Luchadora, looking proud of their handy work, left the ring, and headed up the ramp.
-Maryse was shown walking around backstage, she spotted Renee Young, went up to her, and slapped her. She angrily told Renee that the slap was on behalf of her husband and that Renee better never touch her husband again.
-Carmella came out sporting an Ellsworth shirt and faced off against NXT Superstar Aliyah. Carmella took the early advantage, but Aliyah was able to get some offense in. Aliyah was about to do something off the ropes, but Ellsworth grabbed her foot to stop her. Since Aliyah was distracted, Carmella went on the attack and quickly locked Aliyah in the Code of Silence for the win.
-Nikki Bella and Natlaya were in the ring and Nikki stated that she wasn’t like Natalya. She didn’t despise Natalya, but she did point out how Natalya used her family name and history to get ahead in the WWE. Natalya argued that she didn’t need her family and that she was better then her uncle, Bret Hart. Natalya then brought up how her uncle had tweeted about Nikki and insuated that Nikki might have done “something” to get her uncle to tweet that Nikki was his favorite. Natalya then when on to rant about how Nikki is just a pretty face, and when that disappears so will John Cena, and Nikki will end up dying alone. Nikki, having heard enough, hit Natalya with a vicious forearm, knocking out the Queen of Harts.
The backstage segment between Bayley and Stephanie was good and bad. It was good because Bayley’s character works best when she’s the underdog and trying to prove herself to someone who doesn’t believe in her. It was bad for the simple fact that they literally don’t know what they’re doing with Stephanie anymore. There are some weeks where it seems like they want her to be a face, but then the next she’s back to being a heel. The flip flopping with Stephanie’s character is seriously hurting her and making it hard for me to believe anything she says.
The match with Nia was pretty predictable. Bayley was destroyed by Nia for pretty much the whole match and then she won out of nowhere. I wasn’t happy about Sasha coming out. I mean I understand why she did because they want to further her feud with Nia, but I really wanted Bayley to win this one on her own. The finish just left me really conflicted.
I will say that I am excited to see where Nia and Sasha goes from here because I feel like they’ll be able to deliver some solid matches. I’ve always been a fan of Nia, but her ring work has been pretty forgettable to me and then she had that match against Asuka in Osaka, which was amazing. So, if Nia and Sasha can somehow pull off the same kind of chemistry and storytelling that Nia and Asuka did, then this should be a fun feud.
Some other notes: Emma’s still “Premiering Soon”, much to the annoyance of everyone. Alicia is still being fought over and is also making Cedric lose matches. I want Emma to debut already and I’m still conflicted about Alicia’s storyline.
This storyline between the Miz, Maryse, Dean, and Renee is really interesting and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Now, as far as I know, Renee doesn’t wrestle and I don’t think she’s ever trained to get in the ring, but I’m wondering if that’s gonna change or if she’ll just be like Maryse and Lana. Where the most physical contact she’ll have is slapping men or other women. I liked that Maryse did go after Renee because that is her husband and I honestly expected the slap last week, but it was still good.
With Carmella and Ellsworth, I feel like I’m right in my assumption that Carmella is just using Ellsworth for her own personal gain, like she did tonight in her match with Aliyah. I’m not sure what it’s building to, but it’s still keeping me interested so we’ll have to wait and see. Also, loved seeing Aliyah on Smackdown. I’ve really become a fan of Aliyah so seeing her getting the opportunity to showcase her ability in the ring on Smackdown is awesome.
So, the identity of La Luchadora is still a mystery. Now, I am annoyed by this, but also I think it was the right decision. Hopefully, they won’t drag this out for too long because then it will get annoying and also when we do find out whose under the mask, it better be good and not a huge disappointment. I do wish we were seeing someone new for Alexa to feud with, but I understand why we haven’t moved on from Becky. The addition to La Luchadora does bring a new, fresh element to their feud, so I’m still okay with this feud continuing.
Then we have Natalya and Nikki. I’m still sick of WWE thinking the only way to for someone to feud with Nikki is for her opponent to bring up her looks, her relationship, or insinuate that she slept her way to the top. I was conflicted about Nikki bringing up Natalya’s family because while it was only fair for Nikki to say that Natalya only got to where she is in the company because of her family name, I still don’t like how these feuds are about tearing each other down by saying that someone doesn’t deserve their success and that they only got it because of other reasons besides their hard work. I guess I’ll just have to wait until next week to see where this feud goes next, but I’m conflicted about it.
Some other notes: Only one this week and it’s been the same for the past couple weeks, where the hell is Naomi? Seriously, Smackdown needs to fix this because I miss her and she should be on TV.
This Week’s Winner:
Honestly, the main reason that Smackdown won this week is because it actually used almost all of it’s women in good storylines that are progressing nicely each week. Raw only had two segments and in total only used four women. Raw needs to fix this because this week’s Raw felt repetitive.