If you ever wanted proof that WWE thinks they’re women are Superstars, look no further than this match. After all, they’re using both Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox as draws to help bring the casual fans of the WWE Universe into this match to help showcase the male talent from 205 Live. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (despite what many in the internet community will tell you). Somewhere in the past few years, people seem to forget that part of the responsibility of bigger name talent (i.e. Sasha Banks) is to help build new stars by working with them in believable ways – that is, appearing concerned enough by the threat to consider these new faces equal or serious threats. It’s easy to dismiss it as a “demotion”, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The actual end goal is to elevate the lesser known faces, and that’s exactly what this match is going to do.
This entire story is a continuing part of the long love story between “The Scottish Supernova” Noam Dar and the beautiful Alicia Fawwwwwwwwwx. After Fox dumped Cedric Alexander for Dar and turned heel, Alicia has become the dominant one in the duo, carrying their story into more prominence on Raw. For much of the past few months, the real focus of this rivalry hasn’t been about the male counterparts at all, but the increasing rivalry between between Alicia Fox and former Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. With the two trading victories against each other, it was only a matter of time before a PPV match was needed to let the two really go all out with each other.
Rich Swann entered the picture a few weeks back when, in an attempt to get revenge for his friend Cedric Alexander, tried to break up the duo of Fox and Dar. It backfired and the two remained together – but the two began to target Swann for interfering where he shouldn’t have and attacking him after his own matches.
With Sasha and Swann sharing a mutual annoyance – the Fox-Dar couple – the friend of thy enemy becomes thine friend and thus an alliance was formed to take the two meddling love birds out of action once and for all.
Alicia Fox is finally getting a singles push again after years of languishing as a lackey (in Team Bella) or as an enhancement talent to other women on the rise. Her work in the original Cedric Alexander – Noam Dar angle on 205 Live helped, but it’s her own willingness to take the angle and work it to the most of her ability that has resulted in the spot she’s in now. Many forget that Alicia Fox is a former Champion herself – she won the WWE Divas Championship back in 2010.
And while she’s been booked to look weak on more occasions than not the past few years, Fox is a vastly underrated performer. It’s funny that just months ago, many on the internet were screaming blue murder than Alicia Fox was being underutilized as a valet to “nobodies” in the Cruiserweight Division and deserved a better storyline and now that she’s in a program with Sasha Banks, the same voices are saying that Sasha Banks has been demoted. Fox is finally getting an opponent that will help keep some eyes on her match in the ultra popular Banks.
Speaking of Banks, Sasha is still trying to find her groove back after the injury from her exhausting feud with Charlotte for much of 2016 and her brief feud with Nia Jax. Her heel turn on Bayley has been in the works for months now and it’s obvious it’s coming, but most likely it will have to wait until Bayley’s current program with Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss runs it’s course (perhaps at Sunday as well). Until then, working on elevating another star like Alicia Fox back up to a competitive level is just what the Raw Women’s Division needs. After all, the biggest complaint for 2016 was that beyond Charlotte and Banks, no one else seemed credible. In order to build that credibility, the bigger stars – such as Banks – need to compete against (and lose) to these new stars in order for them to appear to gain any momentum or confidence.
Rich Swann is another guy from 205 Live who needs a soft reboot. He came out hot as 205 Live began, winning the Cruiserweight Championship to a great reaction, but an untimely injury slowed down his momentum. Being given the chance to shine in a more high profile match involving Sasha Banks will regain some of that spotlight and working with Noam Dar should give him plenty of opportunity to showcase the skills that won over the WWE Universe a few months back.
Noam Dar is still criminally underutilized in the WWE, although his time is coming. More of a comedic act than a serious grappler (which he’s undoubtedly showcased in his past matches for ICW, PROGRESS and other UK indies), Dar has only shown glimpses of what he’s capable of. This marks Dar’s third PPV for the WWE (he was on the pre-show 6-man tag match at Survivor Series ’16 and teamed with Brian Kendrick against Akira Tozawa and his opponent on Sunday, Rich Swann, at Fastlane ’17 in March, also on the pre-show), but this is his first real PPV match that is the proper result of his storyline.
THE MATCH UP
While there is a story heading into this match-up, chances are it’s a quick ending with the four moving on to other storylines. Cedric Alexander is back from his own injury and he could be gunning for Noam Dar to finish the story they both started months previously. Sasha Banks is most likely moving on to Bayley after this, and Rich Swann will be heading more towards the winner of the Cruiserweight Championship match.
The best possible outcome would be for Alicia Fox to score the win, perhaps against a distracted Sasha Banks. Banks will recover from the loss to most of the casual fans – she’s too huge for it to remain a stain (although the IWC will claim it buried her). But the momentum victory for Alicia Fox could push her into stronger feuds on Raw down the line and help raising her to a more competitive level.
Main Photo: WWE