On last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, we got an impromptu match between the Iconics and the re-vamped Riott Squad. The match itself wasn’t anything to raise an eyebrow at Rock-style, but the stipulation caught everyone’s eye. During the night’s opening match between Dolph Ziggler and Keith Lee, the following image popped up:
A) This stipulation came out of nowhere. B) “losing team will be no more” is a weird way to phrase that the losing team must break up. Regardless, when the match started, everyone was expecting the Riott Squad to lose, but the Iconics lost! (You’ve got to be jokin’ me!). With this tag team breaking up and with Sasha Banks getting taken out by Bayley last Friday on SmackDown, I wanted to take a look at the Women’s Division on Raw and see how they can be used going forward.
Raw Women's Champion Asuka
All hail the Empress. Asuka won the title from Sasha Banks at SummerSlam, defended it at Payback, and is looking for her next victim. On last week’s Raw, she asked for a new challenger and was greeted by Mickie James. They were then interrupted by Lana and Natalya. Asuka wanted all the smoke and wanted to face all of them, but after some initial chaos, James picked up the win over Lana which sets up an intriguing title picture for Asuka if it is just going to be James and Asuka. Asuka needs a solid title defense after her many battles with Sasha Banks so why not get the first one over veteran Mickie James?
Returning to Raw in the past month, James showed up in a backstage interview, but was interrupted by Natalya and Lana. The next week she wrestled, but the match is notorious now for being one where Seth Rollins confronted the broadcasters and completely took the focus away from the match at hand. James defeated Lana in a singles match last week and figures to be in the title picture come Clash of Champions. I think fans would like to see James have one final title run as champ and a win over Asuka will help bring legitimacy to the title reign.
Hart Foundation 2020 (Lana and Natalya)
As mentioned earlier, this is the name given to Lana and Natalya by our own Stephen (@view_raw). Lana has had a dumpster fire of a year, but now she and Natalya are a team that is just better than you. Claiming themselves as BOATs (Best Of All Time), they basically just talk about their Tik Tok careers and other ways that they are better than those around them. With the break up of the Iconics this is one of the three remaining tag teams left on the brand. They haven’t had much build yet, but there is potential here and in a time where they are lacking good tag teams, may as well keep them together for now and see what happens.
Women's Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
Speaking of tag teams, the reigning Women’s Tag Team Champions are Raw Superstars. This Odd Couple is starting to garner intrigue. Both Baszler and Jax seem motivated to one-up the other in their matches. When they won the titles, Baszler used Sasha’s arm to submit Bayley and then on last Friday’s SmackDown, Nia took out both Sasha and Bayley with a crossbody from the top rope and pinned them both. I was completely against this team when it formed, but it is growing on me and there is a lot they can do with them.
The Riott Squad 2.0
Seemingly new number 1 contenders, the Riott Squad is finally getting some momentum under their belts after re-forming. I think that Baszler and Jax are more intriguing as champs at the moment, so unfortunately I don’t think that the Riott Squad will be victorious if this match does go down. There’s rumor that Liv Morgan may want out of the WWE, so this may be a final title run for her, but I still see the champs retaining in this one. If Morgan parts ways, Riott would almost assuredly need a new gimmick.
The Artists Formerly Known as The Iconics- Peyton Royce and Billie Kay
It still hasn’t set in that this team was broken up and so it still doesn’t feel like the right move. They added some great humor to the tag division and I think they are brilliant together. There seems to be more hope for a Peyton Royce singles run rather than a Billie Kay one, so we will have to wait and see how it all unfolds. If anything, it was humorous to see Royce shove Kay into the ring in Raw Underground last week.
I was glad to see Bianca get called up, but she was just teaming with Ruby Riott. Then when Liv re-joined Riott, Belair was mixed up in an angle between the Street Profits and Andrade and Garza that saw Belair taking on suspected poisoner Zelina Vega. Since then, we haven’t seen her in a role that has a clear path. Even though the storyline continued between the teams that they represent, Belair was noticeably absent last week. Hopefully she can secure her place in the Raw Women’s Championship picture after Asuka retains or she could be a good feud for Mickie James if she wins.
It seems that her role will still primarily be to manage Andrade and Garza, but there have been teases of her getting in the ring more consistently. She has competed against Belair as mentioned, but last week when Retribution attacked, she was cowering, shrugged her shoulders, and then started throwing hands. I don’t know what her in-ring ceiling could be, but she could at least throw something new into the mix with either singles competitions, finding a friend and forming a tag team, or by leading the charge against Retribution.
Honorable Mention: Bachelor Contestant Demi Burnett
Demi has been popping up providing another love interest for Angel Garza as well as Ivar from the Viking Raiders. On the most recent episode of Raw, when Retribution attacked, Garza hightailed it out of the arena with Demi in tow. Backstage, the pair came face to face with members of Retribution. Garza left Demi behind, and then when two members stepped closer, she also left the area. She isn’t an official Superstar yet, but she has gotten a lot of screen time so it felt like she needed to be mentioned here.
Dishonorable Mention- Retribution
While it has taken entirely too long for even just one member to be revealed from Retribution, I am going to assume that at least someone in the 10 people that showed up last week is a women’s wrestler. I don’t know if they are going to want to go after gold or even compete in actual sanctioned matches, but hopefully some of these new faces get revealed soon and can be used to shake-up the women’s division.
From the current roster, who would you like to see get a push? Any ideas for a new team to form to replace the Iconics? Tune in to Monday Night Raw tonight to see if there are any new changes coming to the Women’s division!
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