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WWE Raw preview (December 14, 2015): Getting their groove back

WWE shocked the world and delivered a fun show with this year's TLC pay-per-view (PPV). The show-closing angle was so intriguing it deserves its own post, so here we'll look at another aspect of the show that seems to be heading in a different direction...and everything else you need to get ready for a big night in Philadelphia, PA.

Total Diva-ster

Everyone was thrilled when the news came down that we were getting a TakeOver: Unstoppable rematch between half of the four horsewomen of NXT on the Kickoff. And then the worst fears of everyone who criticized last Monday's alignment of Team B.A.D. with The New Day came true.

Sasha Banks, Naomi & Tamina worked through a "comedy" bit that managed to miss almost everything that makes the trio charming and/or enjoyable. Then, everyone from the announcers to the production truck seemed intent on proving to us that no one in power has any interest in women's wrestling, as Michael Cole incorrectly indentified both Sasha and Becky Lynchs finishers and the decent amount of time the match was given was broken up by a length commerical for new Network content.

The Boss picked up a dirty win at the end of a solid match, but the damage was done. It was a theme that would continue with the Divas title match. Placed immediately before the WWE championship (and, by the time that was done, no one would even remember Charlotte and Paige were out there at all). Their rematch from Survivor Series - and the following night's Raw - was technically sound. But with a lot of the focus being placed on the champ's father Ric Flair and how much she can act like him...not to mention the horribly muddles and, well, horrible storytelling that's made up their feud...this one just failed to connect on any level.

A more definitively heelish Charlotte defeated a still kind of heelish (?) Paige with her pops' cheating ways, and then creepily insisted that Lynch join them for father/daughter debauchery in Beantown. She didn't look sold, but Bex looked like she was going along for the ride.


What they should do: Yowza. Where to start?

The Nature Girl was at her best as a heel in NXT, yes, but making her out to be a female cover band version of her dad is not replicating what was happening down at Full Sail. Regardless of how you feel about Flair's increased presence on WWE television in 2015, Charlotte shined as a perfomer who honored her heritage rather than impersonated it.

If folks want to cheer Paige, so be it. That's easily accomplished by having him show some remorse for her own actions by assisting Becky in realizing that the champ is a bad person. Letting Lynch realize that she can be a face without being a sap - imagine something like the reverse of her NXT heel turn, combined with a Sami Zayn/Bayley redemption arc - puts her in a hot title feud that can build organic conflict out of the stinky ashes of Charlotte's angle with the Brit. The only price is that the Anti-Diva has to play second fiddle, but she has her E! spotlight set to return and should be fine with that.

Team B.A.D. is almost a bigger problem, but an easier fix. Ditch the comedy. We're not invested in it, and it's not like we're not used to start-stop booking from WWE. Get back to Sasha who had fans in Boston chanting for her before she started making Shop WWE sales pitches, with Naomi and Tamina as he henchwomen. There's a ready made program sitting there with Nikki Bella as soon as she returns, which can either be run heel vs heel (but the villainous kind, instead of the catty/crazy variety) or as a way to turn the Bellas face (again, in time for Total Divas return!).

Problem with all of this is that it's probably impossible as long as the men responsible for everything that's happened since that exciting July evening when we thought women's wrestling had come to Raw...

What we're afraid they'll do: Sasha dances! Charlotte cheats! Becky's naive! NikkiWinsLOL!

Sadly, afraid isn't the right word. Resigned to is more like it. Expect another couple of weeks of B.A.D. antics while they beat up Becky and the Naitches WOOO!

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Dean Ambrose is one step closer to becoming a WWE triple crown winner (and may already qualify if we count stolen belts) thanks to a surprisingly clean win in a plunder-free match to take the Intercontinental title from Kevin Owens. How will the Prizefighter respond to losing another prize? Why wasn't Dean at his brother's side when he was getting screwed again?

- We'll cover the man who lost the WWE title ladder match in another post coming your way shortly (be Excited & Afraid), but what's next for Sheamus and his League of Nations? It took nearly everything they had, except for King Barrett, to keep the belt with the Celtic Warrior. Does he have any hope of holding it past Royal Rumble?

- No other titles changed hands at TLC, but Lucha Dragons and The Usos may have impressed - and sacrificed enough years off their careers - to stay in the hunt for Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods' tag straps.

- Zeb Colter didn't factor into Alberto Del Rio's chair match victory over Jack Swagger to keep the United States championship. Does that mean the MexAmerica angle is done for, or do the reunited racists still need closure?

- Since her return, Lana is increasingly willing to take outlandish bumps to help her man win matches. Ryback has been the victim of this ploy multiple times now...what's next for he and Rusev?

- Our semi-annual rebuilding of the Wyatt Family is officially underway with their dismantling of the Dudleyz & friends last night. To where should we follow the buzzards next, Bray?

- Tyler Breeze and Dolph Ziggler got a rare night off from wrestling one another at the PPV. Will they be back at it tonight? What of Miz's recruitment of Neville, or Titus O'Neil's crashing of the star chamber to try and bring Cody Rhodes back?

It's the Fallout show from TLC!

What do you think they should, or are afraid they will, do on Raw tonight?

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