When Paige made her triumphant return to WWE Raw in late 2017, she was shockingly joined by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, in a group named Absolution. The next night, Ruby Riott showed up on Smackdown with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in tow as The Riott Squad. Many dismissed the debuts, other than Paige, as fodder for a then-yet-to-be-announced Women’s Royal Rumble, with the assumption that the ladies would be back to NXT (or the independent scene) after the historic Rumble. However, the results have exceeded nearly every expectation.
And the one woman standing out above the rest? Sonya Deville.
Like most of the recent call-ups, Sonya Deville has an uninspiring run through NXT. She spent some time associated with Iconic, but that program fizzled out, victims of the company’s over-pushing of Asuka at the expense of the rest of the division. It wasn’t until after her Raw debut that things picked up for Deville, defeating Ruby Riot(t) en route to a shot at Ember Moon’s NXT women’s Champoinship. Although unsuccessful, Deville was showing early signs of a promising WWE career ahead.
Much like Alexa Bliss before her, Deville has had more success on the main roster than in NXT. The early association with Paige definitely helped, but of the five new call-ups, Deville has been protected the most.
Need proof? She has yet to eat a fall on television since her debut! Her only losses have come via disqualification, followed by a tag team loss where Mandy Rose tapped out to Sasha Banks’ Bank Statement. That last part is quite important to this hypothesis.
— WWE (@WWE) January 9, 2018
Since their December debut, Absolution has seen tremendous success over the more established members of the women’s roster, but their biggest win came during Monday’s Raw. Who achieved this singles win?
You guessed it: Sonya Deville!
Sonya didn’t just get Absolution’s first (non-Paige) singles win, she won clean. And who did she beat? The woman who made Mandy Rose tap out last week on Raw–Sasha Banks.
From Monday’s WWE Raw Report, courtesy of Steven Mitchell:
“Sasha throws hands, then forearms, runs and into a tilt-o-whirl headscissors. She dropkicks Sonya down, Sonya ends up in a corner. Sasha runs in with double knees and then again, she climbs up but Sonya is ready to roundhouse her out of the sky! Cover, Sonya WINS! The Gladiator shocks The Boss, can she and Absolution shock the world at the Rumble?”
— WWE (@WWE) January 16, 2018
Sasha Banks boasts five WWE title runs to her credit: four Raw Women’s Champonship reigns with another Women’s Championship in NXT. For Sonya Deville, still relatively unknown to the casual WWE Universe, to get this big win on Raw, speaks to the credibility the WWE is giving her quite early into her run. While this she may be doing this as a replacement for Paige, she’s proving to be ready.
Deville is also positioned very well for the WWE in many areas. First off, she can serve as an opponent for Ronda Rousey down the line. While not nearly as decorated as Rousey, Sonya Deville does hold a 2-1 MMA record, with her lone loss coming via decision and her two victories coming via stoppage and submission.
Deville is also the first openly lesbian member of WWE’s main roster, which can garner mainstream media attention from many corners, something WWE covets.
It’s easy to say that Sonya Deville is lucky, being that she likely got called up to populate the roster for the 30-woman Royal Rumble, and then got more chances due to the injury to Paige. But the old saying claims that luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.
It seems obvious to me that Sonya Deville is getting that opportunity, and she is more than prepared.
You want a BOLD Prediction? Sonya Deville will hold a main roster women’s championship before the end of 2018.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/20/19)
Big night on Raw — who stood out?
WWE Raw returned stateside this week, and we got ourselves a new championship. Who stood out?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman knows how to deliver, and he delivered big time during Raw. He made the show feel like a big deal, and it did. He made both champions feel important, but put Brock Lesnar over in the process. Lesnar is so much more comfortable with Paul Heyman around, and the job done to make this briefcase situation feel unique was really solidified by Paul Heyman. Plus, his line about Rollins sitting through 7 hours of WrestleMania waiting for his girlfriend to main event the show he’s always dreamed of main eventing was clutch.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
The Second Star: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce really are national treasures. America, Australia, it doesn’t matter. They are the best, and they’ve crafted characters that don’t need to win or lose, they just need to perform their act. That’s what it takes in WWE, regardless of what we want it to be. Their promo during A Moment Of Bliss (full of people perfectly playing their characters, by the way), was outstanding. Hats off to both ladies for getting themselves to this place.
Honorable Mention: Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, the entire 24/7 crew, The Usos, The Revival, Baron Corbin (yup), Bobby Lashley (I miss Lio), Drew McIntyre, and Shane McMahon
So many great performances tonight, and I am positive I’m leaving deserving folks out.
The First Star for WWE Raw: The Miz
The Miz is on fire right now, and it comes at a time where both world champions are babyfaces. He’s world champion caliber, and needs something to sink his teeth into if the issue with Shane truly is done. Drew McIntyre is a fine option, but I really want a top flight program for Miz. Maybe he’s the guy to elevate Drew? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like we turn Miz, but the best options for him (to me) are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.