Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow & Russ Morgan
Like many, we were thrilled to see that the WWE Diva’s titled was retired at WrestleMania weekend and the Women’s title reinstated. In today’s Sunday Sermon we look at whether this is enough or do the WWE have to do even more to get fans to take the women’s product more seriously.
Craig: Undoubtedly this is a very positive step. As Jamie was saying to me just the other week, diva is such a terrible term to use to describe women in the WWE so it is certainly very good that the title is now the women’s title.
However, it should be the start of a change of focus but is not the only thing that is required. Now that the women’s title is there the WWE should start treating the women and their matches better. No longer should a women’s match on a PPV be seen as a chance for the fans in attendance to get their breath back after a previous match or for fans at home to have a cigarette break/fetch a new beer.
We’ve seen a batch of new women step up from NXT onto the main roster that are far more talented in-ring workers than the likes of the Bellas etc. That’s a good thing. Having those women work good matches, be given enough time to tell a story while fighting for a women’s title is a very good thing.
We’ve reason to be hopeful, right?
Brian: What a difference a new name and title make! I feel more confident that the women’s revolution will really start to take off now that they renamed the division and ditched the stupid Barbie doll championship belt. More so then when Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte debuted.
Oh sure, they are the main reasons why this revolution will succeed, but being called a ‘Diva’ and wearing a girly butterfly winged belt was just silly. How could you really take anybody seriously holding that belt?
Craig: That’s it exactly, what a difference a new title makes but it also gives the WWE that chance to continue to build. The likes of Charlotte, Banks and Lynch have to be front and centre of the
divas women’s revolution in the WWE. But there are others too. Natalya deserves a change of fortunes, I think Alicia Fox is vastly underrated and that’s before we discuss Bailey, Emma and new NXT women’s champion Asuka. It all bodes well eh?
Now the women’s division has a proper title that looks like something you believe someone would want to win and a division now packed full of competitors you actually want to see. The future is very bright indeed.
Jamie: It may seem arbitrary, but changing the physical title belt is a big deal. I think I made this point in a previous Sermon, but what do women’s boxing titles look like? Women’s UFC belts? Women’s Olympic medals? Women’s Oscars or Grammys? The answer is exactly the same as the men’s. Miesha Tate doesn’t rock about with a pink butterfly around her waist because that would be unbelievably patronising and insulting. While long overdue, a new belt and replacing the word “Diva” with “Superstar” is the first tangible evidence from on-high of this ‘revolution’ we’ve been hearing about.
I think we would also be doing the women in WWE a massive disservice if we did not mention the massive step taken by Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Beck Lynch last week though. The women’s triple threat was, in my opinion, easily the best match at Wrestlemania. It’s not even up for debate in my mind, it was very clearly the best WRESTLING match on the show.
Russ: For me, the term DIVA is a little disrespectful…
From the Oxford English Dictionary: Diva:- A self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please.
Craig: It certainly was the best match of Mania. And the best match on NXT Takeover was either Zayn vs. Nakamura or Bayley vs. Asuka.
I think the biggest difference really is that not only are all those in the women’s revolution naturals in the ring but they all bring something a wee bit different. They aren’t just stereotypical model-esque blonde bombshell.
If I can be slightly negative, we can just keep on seeing Charlotte, Becky and Sasha week in, week out though. Can’t imagine it’ll be long, though, till Bayley gets added to the mix eh?
Jamie: Yeah, the division needs to grow. It actually has started to grow in a subtle way with the long overdue recall of Emma and Lana starting to transition into an in-ring performer. WWE could do with sending a clear message by making an addition at the top of the division though. Everybody knows Bayley is good to go in every possible way, and having dropped the NXT Title and now faced everyone she can surely it can’t be long before she makes her main roster debut?
So yeah, some fans are ready for an influx of high quality female wrestlers, but I get that some are not. Credit to WWE for making changes gradually. That said, the belt change is overdue and the term ‘revolution’ doesn’t exactly fit the gradual change we are seeing.
Brian: I forgot about Emma returning to the main roster. It’s definitely a quiet upgrade indeed. Now that she is no longer the goofy girl popping bubbles and dancing with Santino Marella…I think she can be another great addition with the current crop of women wrestlers.
Jamie: Getting back to the original question raised in the Sermon and yeah, WWE could do more to push women’s wrestling as on a par with men’s. Problem is, WWE has spent, well, it’s entire existence really, conditioning fans to believe that women’s wrestling is inferior to men’s. While lots of fans do not need convincing, many still do. I know many casual fans who just don’t believe me that women’s wrestling is really good. WWE are literally attempting to push a low/mid-card act into an upper mid-card or even main event spot.
This doesn’t happen over night so I get why WWE are taking their time. The Rock, Austin, Cena, Triple H etc. all started at the bottom and worked their way up. It would appear that WWE have cleared a path for the women – just as they did for those gentlemen – but it will just take time for the low card stigma to wear off and for them to cement their spot as a serious fixture at all levels of the WWE ladder.
So there you have it. The change of the title from “diva’s” to “women’s” gives us a lot of hope and is certainly a good first step. But it definitely has to be a first step and quickly followed up with the women given more time to tell a story and a better story to tell in the ring. We can only see what happens. Think differently?
Leave your thoughts below.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.