WWE RAW RESULTS: One Main Event Down….Two To Go? (June, 26th 2017)

Welcome to this weeks RAW Report, and after the RAW Women’s Division booking received some high criticism over lack of TV Time, seems things took a boost this week as not only were some unlikely names main eventing, but in a lengthy Gauntlet Match that would decide a new contender to Alexa Bliss’s RAW Women’s Championship. The names competing for that possible honor of becoming the possible next RAW Women’s Champion were Dana Brooke, Emma, Mickie James, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax.

Each competitor, minus Jax, are shown drawing a number in the backstage area throughout a show that would determine their place in the Gauntlet, though the actual received numbers wouldn’t be revealed until the match itself. Prior to the match itself, a most likely contender in Nia Jax just so happens to run into Alexa Bliss in the back. Trying to sugarcoat any fear of possibly combating Nia in the future, Alexa tries to get on Nia’s side. Alexa talks about how she’d been judged all her life, judged on whether she would make it in WWE, and she feels both of them are judged on looks and the judgments on them cant be easy for either. Regardless of Nia’s position, Alexa is graceful in giving Nia some props, that not one woman out there can drag Nia down tonight. Nia appreciates the kind words and Alexa gives her a wish of good luck, but Nia assures her she doesn’t need it, just as Bliss said beforehand. Nia assures Alexa she will be seeing her at the next Pay Per View, as well as that RAW Women’s Championship.

Right to the main event now, and Bayley is revealed as the first entrant in this Gauntlet, Nia as her opponent in second place. Nia gives Bayley some verbal smack to begin with, only urging Bayley to retaliate but physically which she does. After stomping at the foot, Bayley runs the ropes and delivers an elbow to Nia. Two more follow before Nia manages to fire back, smacking the face of Bayley into a corner turnbuckle after hauling her onto her shoulders. Bayley charges back to Nia once back on her feet, taken down very quickly by Nia’s clothesline. Despite Bayleys small attempt at retaliation, shes crushed against an opposite corner by shoulder blocks from Nia. Nia thrusts her hip into the jaw of Bayley before choking Bayley against the second rope. Bayley jabs the midsection with fists but Nia returns with tougher offense, in the form of a huge headbutt. Nia reverts back to the shoulder tackles, utilizing them against Bayley in an opposite corner. Nia gives the ref some lip before attempting to crush Bayley in the same corner again, only for Bayley to slip free. Bayley hits the apron and unleashes offense on Nia as she hangs on the middle rope. Bayley knocks Nia away from the rope and brings herself up the turnbuckles, connecting eventually with an elbow drop to Nia’s left shoulder. Bayley goes for her first pin attempt of the match but doesn’t pin Nia, only getting a near fall.

Bayley seizes Nia seconds later and delivers grounded forearms to the foe on the mat. Bayley utilizes as much offense as possible to try keep Nia on the mat, even targeting Nia’s left leg. A Kick from Nia sends Bayley crashing into the nearby corner, but Bayley soon musters the strength to kick back at Nia. Bayley begins to scale the turnbuckles, knocked down by Nia as she does so. Nia takes advantage of Bayleys nasty fall to bring her into the rings center, connecting with her finishing Samoan Drop to the former NXT Women’s Champion. Nia covers Bayley for the surprise three count and eliminates the fan favorite from the Gauntlet. Bayley has been eliminated.

Out as entry number three is Veteran Performer and a former WWE Women’s Champion, Mickie James. Their encounter has already begun when we return from the commercial break, as Nia utilizes her strength with ease as she ragdolls Mickie around the ring. If that wasn’t hard enough for Mickie to take, she soon feels Nia’s strong headbutt, then choked by Nia’s boot against a corner turnbuckle. Nia roughs her up as she brings her down to the bottom turnbuckle from the middle, scooping Mickie upward into a bear-hug after Mickie’s retaliating offense gives no effect. Mickie manages to get her feet to the mat and tries to break loose only to be scooped upward again but Mickie works cleverly in sending herself over the shoulders but not so much in trying to roll up the intimidating individual. This leads to Nia scooping her by her hair and bringing the veteran back into the bear-hug. Mickie attempts another escape, this time launching forearms directly at Nia. A Vicious slap is delivered from Mickie to Nia, and as Mickie slides under Nia to try and avoid her grip, its to no avail as Nia catches her again. Nia launches her upward but Mickie executes a dropkick midway, knocking Nia somewhat. Mickie knees and forearms away at Nia, but cannot whip Nia into a corner as shes too strong. Nia counters this, taking Mickie back first into an opposite corner, stomping over towards her to attempt the next attack only to be kicked away. Mickie connects with a seated senton from the top turnbuckle to bring Nia to the mat fully, but she doesn’t pin Nia, who escapes her attempted pin at two. Mickie connects with the Mick Kick and goes for the finish but is elevated by Nia and dropped on her knees. Nia charges towards Mickie, knocks her fully down with much power then takes advantage of the running splash to pin Mickie. Mickie has been eliminated.

Number four is a recent partner of Mickie’s, Dana Brooke. Face to Face with the opponent she had met some weeks ago on Main Event, Dana courageously charges to Nia, but is thrown into a corner. Nia tries to crush Dana in that same corner but Dana is quick to escape, cartwheeling towards her after only to be shoved midway with such force. Dana doesn’t even get the chance to make it to her feet, as Nia runs the ropes and connects with her leg drop to a defenseless Dana. Dana’s attempted momentum is already over, as Nia covers Dana for the quick three count. Dana has been eliminated.

Entry Number Five is the former comrade of Dana’s, the recently returned Emma. Emma has never faced Nia before, and already looks to avoid any contact as she tries to escape the ring seconds after entering, only for Nia to seize her by her long locks. Emma retaliates by snapping Nia’s jaw against the top rope, connecting with a dropkick also to Nia after running the ropes. Emma connects with one more dropkick then tries to capitalize on Nia’s fallen state to attempt to pin, but gets only a near fall to her dismay. Emma tries to continue her game plan as she heads to the turnbuckles, going for a crossbody within moments but caught by Nia. Emma is in a dangerous position and ends up taking the signature Samoan Drop by Nia for the three count, joining Dana in the quick elimination line. Emma has been eliminated.

Lastly stepping into the big gauntlet is someone who has had pins over the likes of Nia, Emma and Dana, that being former RAW Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. Sasha immediately brings the fight when in the ring, charging right at Nia and throwing some forearms, continuing to do so no matter how many times shes thrown back. Nia tries to block Sasha’s scissor slaps but becomes the target of a standing jawbreaker, and then a vicious slap. This sets off Nia’s frustration, but Sasha can see it coming, tugging at the ropes as Nia charges towards her, leading to Nia falling to the outside. Sasha isn’t waiting for her monstrous foe to climb back inside, going for a suicide dive and being caught by Nia mid execution. Sasha manages to slip free before Nia can ram her into the corner post, sending her there instead. Sasha isn’t done there, bringing Nia fully to the ground with diving double knees. Sasha is shown running back to the ring as we go to the newest commercial break.

When we return, things have very much changed regarding momentum, as Nia is back in the ring with Sasha, a side headlock applied by Nia to the former RAW Women’s Champion. Sasha takes a tumble to the outside courtesy of Nia following her chance to stomp on her feet to break from her grip. Sasha manages to make it back, instantly launched to a corner by Nia. As Nia attempts the next offense, she takes a hard kick to the side of the face from Sasha, and a second follows before Sasha makes a dash out of that corner to avoid being pummeled by a charging Nia. Sasha continually utilizes double knees for an attack on Nia in the corner, eventually caught again in Nia’s grip. Nia tosses Sasha to the ropes, clobbering her with a clothesline as she runs back. Nia looks for a hopeful finish there but only gets a near fall on Sasha Banks instead.

Nia throws Sasha to the outside after taking in the result, demanding the referee begins the count. Sasha rolls back in right at the count of eight, cancelling any hopes Nia has of a count-out victory. Sasha fast pounds at Nia but is brought to the mat as quick, feeling Nia’s boot pressed against the lower back as she lies against the mat in pain. Nia continues to work on hurting Sasha, slamming her against the mat, delivering a hard elbow drop toward the chest and taunting after doing such damage. Nia goes for the next pin attempt on Sasha, but the “Bo$$” stays resilient, kicking out to Nia’s dismay at two. This increases the fury of Nia Jax, as the dominant opposer tosses Sasha with much force to the outside again. Hoping much for victory, Nia demands once again for the count-out and the ref begins his official counting. Its another chance missed though for Nia as Sasha makes it back to the ring again, connecting with a jawbreaker to Nia along the way. Sasha is back with fiery forearms, but is ploughed down via Nia’s running splash. Sasha brings herself to the ropes, but any chance of resting and recovering is cancelled out as Sasha instead becomes the target of a running hip attack. Nia isn’t even done there, applying a chokehold to Sasha while stretching her against the bottom rope. Nia brings her away from the ropes to attempt one more pin but again Banks kicks out.

Nia starts to snap, unleashing one headbutt after another at Sasha. Nia then works on damaging the right leg of Sasha via a leg drop, rolling Sasha out of the ring after doing the work. Sasha makes it back for the count of seven, but only to be caught in Nia’s wicked grip again, seized in the same bear-hug Mickie was left to take earlier. Keeping the hold rather intact, Nia brings both of Sasha’s shoulders to the mat for a pin attempt, and after seeing Sasha escape at two, raises her back up and continues to put pressure on Sasha’s back via her bear-hug. Sasha reverses into a guillotine but only temporarily as Nia counters into a vertical suplex. Nia takes advantage of the big maneuver to try pin Sasha once more, but the “Bo$$” stays in it, kicking out once again at two.

Nia goes again for the suplex, but Sasha tries hard to stall. Just as Sasha’s feet take to the air, Sasha manages to maneuver herself and bring herself to the mat safely. Sasha has no power to try roll Nia over but has enough in her to move out of the way of a big leg drop. Sasha swoops over to Nia and connects with a shining wizard, leaving both down for a fair while, opening each’s chance to regroup. Sasha tries to continue momentum with a bank statement variation but is chucked by Nia. Nia floors Sasha with a Samoan Drop but the impact brings Sasha to the ropes. Nia needs to bring Sasha directly to the ring but as she tries getting a firm grip on Sasha, shes met with various knees. A Screeching Nia brings Sasha to her shoulders, going for a Samoan Drop but Sasha counters into another Bank Statement variation. After a fair bit of time, Nia starts to fade, brought onto her knees. Nia eventually surrenders and taps out, thus crowning Sasha the winner. Sasha wins the match, becoming the next contender to Bliss’s RAW Women’s Championship.

Banks gets a show of respect and solidarity from an approaching Kurt Angle after the match, but hes not the only to appear, as a smirking Alexa Bliss steps out from the back and confronts her newest enemy. Bliss flashes her title at Banks and takes a dropkick from the new challenger for it. Kicking Bliss from the ring, Sasha is shown flashing the title she once hold, and will challenge for again, to close the episode.

(Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax Backstage Segment; Bayley vs Nia Jax vs Mickie James vs Dana Brooke vs Emma vs Sasha Banks; Number One Contenders Gauntlet Match)

Thoughts On This Match:
First of all, its absolutely great to see the RAW Women awarded something much better after the weeks of minuscule TV Time, and to see women who you wouldn’t expect in the main event in the main event. However with it came some negatives, especially for Dana and Emma. Sure there’s some storytelling going on, showcasing Nia as the powerhouse by easily crushing opponents, but even though Dana’s still developing, did she need to be the sacrifice? Did Emma also need to be eliminated when her lack of momentum has been bad enough? Sure that may be the reason Emma could have taken an easy fall but This match was a chance for ALL Women to stand out and show themselves as equal performers so everyone can leave impressed with each woman’s performance but poor Emma and Dana were wasted here, Emma especially who had to take an unnecessary submission defeat to Sasha weeks ago then this, making this the worst return “momentum” shes ever had. Nia was indeed the standout of the match, not only lasting over 30 minutes but getting her longest match in what felt like her official breakout match on the main roster. However as hard as Sasha and Nia fought, the conclusion i cant agree with. Yes maybe this is Sasha’s reward for months of putting overs other and her being a great worker cant be denied, but this was Alexa and Nia’s storyline, but i guess it could be seen coming after Sasha’s sudden victories and insertion into the angle. So to see Nia tap in the end and for a Horsewoman to again win a RAW Main Event felt disheartening for me, because as much as i (again) respect Sasha, this was WWEs chance at doing Alexa vs a Non Horsewoman in the title picture for the first time, and not only was that taken away, but so was a chance at a fresh talent winning a main event, cancelling Nia’s chance to ascend to the highest ranks by finally getting a solo PPV championship match on the main roster. I hope Nia gets some payoff at Summerslam either with the predicted Alexa/Nia singles match that i don’t see happening because Sasha/Bayley might be back on, or in a four way mentioning the said latter with Nia picking up the victory. If Sasha vs Bayley becomes the main angle now instead of Mania i do fear for the momentum of the other women on RAW who should be showcased and treated as good as they have been, but lets hope Summerslam gives us something promising. Not that i aren’t excited for Sasha vs Alexa as there seems to be some realistic animosity and the promos could be absolutely amazing on top but if the outcome at GBOF leads to only two particular women ascending after, then i worry where Alexa, Nia, Emma, Mickie, Dana etc go from there, after all we saw how far Dana fell down as Charlotte’s Protege in terms of always taking the pins on a near weekly basis. Does she need anymore? Sure shes not at certain talents caliber, but too much damage cant be undone unless there’s some massive trigger or eye opening.

– Catherine


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