Just over two weeks ago, Paige made her triumphant return to Raw and brought along two friends from NXT: Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Collectively, the trio is known as Absolution.
But then something interesting happened. The night after Paige’s big return, another faction of women debuted on SmackDown Live: Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. These three, we would learn, are the Riott Squad.
At first glance, the similarities between the two factions are almost comical: two pretty blondes, two tough brunettes, two raven-haired punk leaders. And I find it pretty hard to believe that those similarities are just coincidence.
Smackdown: "Can I copy your homework?"
Raw: "Sure just make sure it doesn't look obvious" pic.twitter.com/Oa620Pd4tm
— Wrestling ChristMemes (@Wrestling_Memes) November 22, 2017
But now that we’ve gotten to know Absolution and the Riott Squad a bit better, it’s clear that, despite their physical similarities, one of these things is not like the other.
First, let’s talk about motive. Right from the jump, Absolution made it clear that it’s their goal to restore Paige to the top of the mountain and reign supreme over Raw’s women’s division.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) December 5, 2017
It’s a pretty typical motive, but it also makes perfect sense for Paige who, despite being one of the first women to re-legitimize women’s wrestling in WWE, missed out on most of the women’s revolution thanks to injury and drama. Consider this: Alexa Bliss is a two-time Raw Women’s Champion AND a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion. Meanwhile, Paige is just a two-time Divas Champion.
Isn’t that insane? No wonder Paige has a chip on her shoulder.
The Riott Squad, on the other hand, has the same motive that every faction of debuting upstarts has: they just want to wreak havoc and prove that they’re better than everyone else.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) November 29, 2017
So both groups have typical M.O.s. But, at least in my humble opinion, Paige’s motivation is much more compelling than Riott’s.
Second, let’s talk about the women themselves. As far as wrestling ability goes, the Riott Squad has a slight edge over Absolution (despite that Morgan hasn’t quite sold me on her in-ring ability yet). But as for everything else, Absolution wins – and it’s not even close.
As a collective, Absolution just makes more sense than the Riott Squad. Paige has legitimate history with Rose and Deville: she worked with them on the last season of Tough Enough. So in a sense, Paige is the established veteran and Rose and Deville are her loyal pupils.
Meanwhile, the only thing Riott, Morgan, and Logan have in common is NXT – and as far as I can see none of them have even wrestled each other, at least not on TV. They’re a complete hodgepodge of personalities, and in all honestly I can’t imagine the three of them hanging out together. At all. Maybe that’s why their group promos thus far have been nothing short of cringeworthy.
And speaking of cringey mic work, WWE seriously needs to work on Logan’s gimmick. I get that she’s a rough and tumble country girl, but can’t WWE get that across without wading into stereotypical backwoods hick territory?
— Brandon Stroud (@MrBrandonStroud) December 6, 2017
In Conclusion, Absolution > The Riott Squad… For Now
The Riott Squad was working with a handicap right out of the gate simply because they look so ridiculously similar to Absolution, and it’s going to be difficult for them to overcome that. Further, as stated above, the alliance of Riott, Morgan, and Logan seems completely random compared to the alliance of Paige, Rose, and Deville, and, as of right now, I’m far more interested in Paige’s motivations than I am Riott’s. So, in conclusion, when it comes to Raw’s women’s trio vs. SmackDown’s, Raw wins – for now.
Do you agree with my assessment of Absolution and the Riott Squad? Or are you adamantly in the corner of Team Riott? share your thoughts and comments below!