The Monday, April 13th edition of Monday Night RAW featured the Superstars and Divas from the O2 Arena in London and there was definitely a hometown pop for the British stars of the WWE. The show opened with John Cena battling against Bad News Barrett in a hard fought contest that ultimately led to Cena’s victory. The Divas were in a Battle Royal for the number one contender spot for the Divas Championship and hometown hero, Paige, won—only to be interrupted during her promo thanking her home by a now-heel Naomi. Neville continued his rise on the RAW roster, having established himself as a star while on NXT and also suffered a loss, in his case at the hands of Dolph Ziggler.
While all of the matches featuring British members of the WWE roster were exciting, it was interesting that the three main faces spotlighted suffered negative fates—the men losing and even though Paige won, the beating Naomi gave her resulted in her needing immediate medical attention. It’s an interesting take on the hometown crowd. It’s not uncommon for a Superstar or Diva to go over, win, etc. when they are in their hometown. However, for storyline sake, perhaps it is also best to keep certain story lines at a certain pace as well as a Superstar’s momentum. Looking at Neville as an example, he has his whole career ahead of him to become a Superstar. Beating Dolph Ziggler, a top talent, easy may come off as unrealistic. In return, the fans were treated with an excellent match and display of Neville’s athletic ability, The same applies to the match between Bad News Barrett and Cena. If Barrett were to win, does he get a push. If he defeated the United States Champion, why would he go after the Intercontinental title? It gave an opening for Rusev to announce the type of match he would have with Cena at Extreme Rules and gave the pop and proper spotlight to Barrett for the UK audience at the same time, all while staying within the confines of the direction of the Intercontinental and United States championship storylines.
The biggest pop of the night easily went to Paige, who the UK audiences have seen grow up through the years as she comes from a historic British wrestling family. From the cheers of the audience when her music hit to her victory and awarded spot in the next pay-per-view event, Paige was the hero of the night. She was even given mic time with an in-ring interview with Byron Saxton. The fans were able to see their hometown Diva be victorious, demonstrate her excellent athletic skills, and listen to her personally thank them as she described her journey this past year as a 2-time Divas Champion with a WrestleMania victory added to her resume.
While Paige and the fans were able to be satisfied and Paige was able to say what she had to say, the story line was still able to progress with Naomi’s heel turn and subsequent beating of Paige. While Paige has been on the main roster for just over a year and has won the Divas Championship twice, Naomi has been on the main roster for years now and hasn’t received that opportunity. Especially with AJ Lee out of the picture, Naomi is capitalizing on this opportunity to finally get the gold, having beaten Divas Champion Nikki Bella twice already.
In the end, the hometown heroes were able to do what they do best in the ring, Paige receiving special emphasis with a promo and victory as being one of the most successful Divas ever to come from the UK, and story lines were able to advance while still satisfying the hometown audience.
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