RAW: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

LaToya Ferguson
Sasha Banks, Ronda Rousey (source: WWE)

After Braun Strowman defaced property and got on Mr. McMahon’s bad side, this week’s Monday Night RAW officially got going when Royal Rumble opponents Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks teamed up together for the first time ever. Their opponents? Nia Jax and Tamina, who still just know when to let a grudge die.

Ronda Rousey & Sasha Banks def. Nia Jax & Tamina

Sasha Banks started off the match against Nia Jax, but Nia decided she actually wanted to go head to head with the RAW Women’s Champion. But since “The Boss” wasn’t taking orders, Nia had to continue facing Sasha early on. Nia, of course, has the size and power advantage, but Banks was quick to use her speed and technical ability against her (and successfully).

Once Banks had the advantage though, she did make sure to tag in Ronda. Rousey actually would’ve put the match away early, but Nia was able to tag Tamina in pretty quickly, and with that, the momentum shifted for a bit. But unfortunately for Tamina, Ronda was able to get the armbar on her quick, which the only thing saving her from that fate again being Nia dragging her out of the ring and over to safety.

After that, Tamina and Nia decided to play some mind games, with Tamina refusing to get back into the ring on anything other than her own terms. But Banks took out Nia on the outside, that seemingly inspired Tamina to get back into the ring, where it was somehow safer.

Post-commercial, Nia was in control once more—courtesy of her and Tamina’s established teammate chemistry—with Sasha in a bearhug. Rousey was obviously desperate for Sasha to fight back and tag her, so when Tamina tagged back in, she made sure to hit Ronda with a cheap shot. But luckily for Sasha, she didn’t need even really the help, as she was able to force a miscommunication between the two opponents right before she tapped Tamina out to the Banks Statement.

Post-match, Charly Caruso interviewed Sasha Banks and Ronda Rousey about the teammate chemistry, especially with the Royal Rumble coming up, where they will be anything but teammates. Ronda had an answer for Charly:

“It’s easy to trust each other because we respect each other.”

But after that, Ronda also said that a victory over Sasha Banks would be her biggest accomplishment as the RAW Women’s Champion. Then she kind of buried herself even deeper, saying that she knows how big of a deal it will be when she taps Sasha out at the Royal Rumble. But then Sasha reminded Ronda—just like she reminded Nia last week and Tamina just now—that she’s not the only one here who can tap someone out. Sasha also promised she’d teach Ronda “how to lose with class.”

To that, Ronda forgot about respect for a moment:

“You can keep the title of the world’s classiest loser, because I don’t want it.”

“The Baddest Woman on the Planet” knew she had stepped in it when she said that, but she wasn’t able to stop Sasha from dwelling on the fact that she just called her a “loser.” Sasha then reminded Ronda that last week, she was calling Sasha “the best.” So she promised that the only loser at the Royal Rumble will be Ronda Rousey:

“And you can bank on that.”

With that, Sasha Banks left Ronda Rousey in the ring, but the champ followed her, trying to let her know she “didn’t mean it like that.” In fact, Ronda tried to remind her this is all about “respect,” but Sasha left, saying that this is her house and flashing the Four Horsewomen hand gesture on her way out.

That could have been the end of it, but Ronda chose to chase after Sasha, and later, Bayley and Natalya had to play backstage mediators to their respective best friends. While they were able to send Ronda and Sasha off to let cooler heads prevail, Natalya immediately told Bayley that Sasha needs “to learn how to control her emotions”… while Bayley pointed out that Ronda was talking out of both sides of her mouth when it came to talking about respecting Sasha while also calling her a loser. Looks like “respect” doesn’t quite extend to Bayley and Natalya in this particular case.


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