If you would have asked me this question last year, I would have told you there is no way we could get to this point. But here we are a year later, and I think it is seriously time to start asking this question.
The WWE loves to tout their women’s revolution that has been going on now for the better part of the last six years. And there is no denying the growth the women’s division has made over that time. The women went from getting five minutes on PPV in the early 2010s to main eventing them over the last few years. The growth of the WWE’s women’s division has been a positive development for the company and produced numerous great matches over this time.
But two years after the women main evented Wrestlemania, and Becky Lynch was the hottest act in the WWE and maybe pro wrestling, the WWE is struggling to put together a competent women’s division or storyline.
A good amount of this just goes into the WWE’s booking in general. RAW is completely unwatchable at this point. I’m to the point where it is noting but background noise for me and I am in bed by the time the third hour is starting, barely paying attention. I never thought I would get to that point in my wrestling fandom but here we are.
Smackdown is a bit better. It helps when you have Roman Reigns, the best act in pro wrestling at the moment, taking up the majority of the show. It also helps that the show is only two hours long and flows much better than RAW. Despite that, Smackdown rarely if ever has more than one women’s segment on the show. And I am not talking about a match/in ring promo and a backstage interview. I am talking about two segments or matches set apart. In fact, this thread on Reddit points out the lack of women’s wrestling that has been on Smackdown lately. And given how much of a future star I believe Bianca Belair will be, it is highly disappointing.
Even the Bianca Belair/Sasha Banks build struggled a bit, with both women taking the DISTRACTION ROLLUP OF DEATH pinfalls during the build. The storyline for the match between Asuka and Rhea Ripley at Wrestlemania was even worse. Rhea just coming out and pointing at the Wrestlemania sign was as lazy as it could be. Now yes, maybe plans changed with whatever was going on with Charlotte Flair at the time. But there were much better ways this could have been done.
Looking back at last year’s Wrestlemania, there were multiple women’s storylines being tied into the show. You had the Becky Lynch/Shayna Baszler storyline. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, while not having a match, had a storyline that played out on the show. There was a story in the Smackdown women’s match with Sasha Banks and Bayley and they tied in the other women involved. Even the Women’s tag title match had a bit of build to it as well. A complete difference from what happened with the women’s matches this year.
Part of the WWE’s problem is that they can’t utilize the potential of the women they have or had on the roster. There are plenty of talented women on the roster and plenty of time on these shows to come up with multiple storylines for these women. But for some reason, and I won’t speculate on why, the WWE doesn’t like to let these women get any chance to have TV time to develop stories.
How about the recently released women? Mickie James and Chelsea Green appeared to be building up some kind of storyline on Twitter last month before their releases. There were rumors last year about a possible angle involving the two where this time it would be Chelsea stalking Mickie, similar to what Mickie did to Trish Stratus when she debuted. That’s something that could have been fun to play out on TV.
Or how about one last run to the top for Mickie James? For some reason the WWE never treated her like one of the best women of her era, which she absolutely was. I don’t know where Mickie is in her life as far as wanting to continue to wrestle. But how about starting a story where Mickie says she wants to make one last run at the RAW or Smackdown Women’s Championship? Have her pick up some wins to get there. Build it up over a few months and it culminates at a major PPV. Easy TV and a great legend who the fans like that they will get behind.
And then there is the IIconics. Oh don’t get me started. First they break them up, FOR NO GOOD REASON. The belief was they saw something in Peyton Royce and wanted to push her as a singles star. The funny thing is that Billie Kay ended up getting more over of the two. At my Wrestlemania watch party this year, my non-wrestling fans that watched with us loved her. They wanted to see more of her. But then she is gone. I thought Peyton Royce had potential too, as evidence by this promo she did on RAW Talk. But nope, gone in a month. The WWE’s own incompetence when it came to long term booking caused this. A reuniting of these two after Mania and a run back to the tag titles would have made so much sense.
Speaking of the tag titles, the WWE really devalued those. I really think they could have used a spell on NXT instead of NXT getting their own titles. How cool would it have been if Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai beat Nia Jax and Shayna. And Dakota was walking around with two titles just like Diesel back in the day? Instead we get the same tag team combinations in matches every week. The same combos week after week make things less interesting by the week.
But lets take a look at the current storylines on RAW involving the women. The main point of the women’s tag titles is Nia Jax slipping and falling all the time, and now appears to be ready to get into a love triangle with Angel Garza and Reginald. Lets not forget to that her culprits, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, willingly took a loss against the tag champs a few weeks ago. How exactly is this bringing prestige to the tag titles? Meanwhile the best wrestler involved in this, Shayna Baszler, is the one taking the pinfalls to protect Nia. All I’ll say is that I am not really a big fan of Nia, and this story isn’t helping the tag titles.
Another question: When did Rhea Ripley turn heel? I still don’t know. But all of the sudden she is one.
Then there is the Charlotte Flair storyline. Let me say this about Charlotte: she is one of the best women’s wrestlers in North America. Every time she does media or interviews outside of WWE she carries herself like a star. But at some point it is okay to not put her in a main event storyline. She’s the opportunity now? What does that mean? To me it doesn’t mean much unless she is feuding with women who could use the rub of having a long term storyline with her and going over in the end. Someone like a Liv Morgan or Nikki Cross (who happens to be MIA).
All of this is happening with Asuka just hanging out in the background, not getting the attention she deserves even during her title run.
Then on Smackdown Bayley was just given a title shot at Bianca Belair at the next PPV. I absolutely hate that, unless you are using a rankings system that justifies it. The WWE doesn’t. Meanwhile Carmella has not been seen with Wrestlemania. She’s given a new character and is pushed aside after her title matches. The Riott Squad have a unique look but have yet to grab the women’s titles. I don’t understand that. I might be a little bias as I am an unashamed Liv Morgan mark. I think she has plenty of potential. But the WWE once again pulled the rug out from under her.
NXT has no problem weaving in multiple women’s storylines into their show every week. For some reason, RAW and Smackdown have that issue. Just look at all the women I listed in my last few paragraphs! And if they had kept the women around they released there could have been plenty of storylines to involve all of these women in the WWE!
There is plenty of talent in the WWE’s women’s division. But for some reason here we are pretty much back to square one with the women when the revolution started. What is it going to take for the WWE to start caring again about the stories in their women’s division? What will it take for the women to get more time to wrestle on RAW and Smackdown?
I’m not sure what the answer. But the WWE is reaching a point where they need to care more about the women’s division. Or they risk causing the fans to get back to the point about not caring at all.