Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey & Natalya def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey & Natalya def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

A last-minute switcheroo was no trouble for Ronda Rousey & Natalya, who prevailed against Alexa Bliss & Mickie James on Raw despite The Goddess’ last-ditch attempt to throw her opponents off with a sub (her original scheduled partner was Alicia Fox until less than an hour before Raw began). But despite the victory, the effects of the match might leave Rousey at a surprising disadvantage going into her Raw Women's Title defense against Bliss at WWE Hell in a Cell.

Team Alexa’s strategy, unsurprisingly, revolved around keeping Rousey out of the ring at all costs. Team Ronda’s strategy, unsurprisingly, revolved around getting Rousey into the ring with the woman she savaged at SummerSlam. Thanks to some tag team chemistry (they broke out the Hart Attack in tribute to Natalya’s late father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) and some grit from Natalya, they got Alexa where they wanted her, but The Goddess proved a greater threat to Rousey than anticipated.

Playing off Ronda’s single-minded aggression, Alexa lured the champion outside the ring and went to work on her already-tenderized ribs, throwing Rousey torso-first into the barricade and apron. Rousey fought through the pain to submit Mickie with the Armbar, but she tellingly had to fight through a lot of pain to do it. And given that Alexa landed one more cheap shot that brought the champion to her knees, it’s clear she’s banking on a less-than-100 percent Rousey this Sunday. She just might get it.

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