Craig Wilson, John Carbery, Brian Damage and Russ Morgan
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and Smackdown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Summer Rae
Craig: An excellent choice, for the second consecutive week, by Brian for the Book or Cook, as we take a look at Summer Rae.
Straight off the bat, I have to say I had completely forgotten about her, which may be an indication of how this one will go. The former partner of Fandango was drafted as part of the Raw brand yet as we head to Survivor Series she is nowhere to be seen while Alicia Fox, no less, has made the cut for the female team Raw.
Although not the best female performer on the roster, she is certainly not the worst, which makes the time off the screen for her somewhat surprising, particularly with not much in the way of depth amongst female performers. Although we have learnt this week, and it was kept very quiet, about her injury.
So, is she hard done by or does she deserve to be cooked?
John: Ugh, I don’t feel one way or the other about Summer truth be told.
I didn’t even know she was still with the company. I’ll say straight away though there are plenty of talented women out there who would make better use of her spot.
I think women like Summer are a hold over from the companies previous hiring policy and slowly but surely we’ll see her ilk replaced with much more capable performers.
Brian: I think you guys are being a bit harsh on Summer Rae and underestimate her value. She isn’t the best wrestler but isn’t at all the worst. Keep in mind, she was a part of a faction with both Charlotte and Sasha Banks called the BFF’s down in NXT. She was actually the leader of the group if I am not mistaken and her matches were much better than they were up on the main roster.
I think Summer Rae got a raw (no pun intended) deal when Tyler Breeze was punished for leaving a show early. They broke up that tandem and she hasn’t been seen since. While Summer Rae isn’t on the level of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley or Sasha…she certainly is on the next tier down with people like Alicia Fox, Nikki Bella and Alexa Bliss, in my opinion.
John: The only thing is, the pressure to start selling tickets is now being put on women too. If WWE is going to put women in the main events of PPV’s again they really need top level talent and it’s debatable whether they have that now even. There’s only so many firsts they can do to draw a crowd.
I’m a big fan of a lot of women in WWE and think they’ve done very well for themselves and deserve their success but they’re really going to have to kick it into high gear if they’re going to carry the load like the guys, but I believe they can. However, I don’t think the likes of Summer are the answer to this. If she were to work heavily on her promo skills there would definitely be a place for her, promos are the big weakness of all three women’s divisions.
It’s bummed me out for quite a while that the best woman on the mic is Stephanie McMahon, who I hate to admit is an excellent promo. She really needs some competition and if there was a woman with the in-ring abilities of a Sasha Banks or a Becky Lynch with real main event mic skills WWE would really have a catalyst for something special. Sorry for going off topic, but I think promos could be a place for someone like Summer or any other woman in the big time to really carve a niche and get something going.
Brian: You do make an excellent point and while Summer Rae is average all the way around, there has to be some place on the roster for her no? She is a better option than Eva Marie…who by the way, seems like she will never come back from her suspension. Summer Rae does have charisma and some ability in the ring. The injury announcement has at least that explains her absence from the WWE. The question I guess now is: has the WWE women’s division passed her up since her injury or can she still fit in somewhere on either roster?
John: The women’s division in WWE right now presents three rather shallow pools. Neither NXT, Raw or Smackdown really have a great standalone division packed with talent, they could if all three were amalgamated and there was one single division across three brands but that isn’t going to happen.
This leaves room for anyone competent enough to be a part of the mid-card for the time being. Really, looking objectively there’s room for about five more women apiece on both RAW and Smackdown in the mean time though that probably means someone like Summer is essential to the WWE just to keep Monday and Tuesday nights populated with female talent.
WWE really need to consider starting a women’s tag division also and if they did there’d certainly be room for Summer there also. However as I mentioned before, I think the landscape is changing drastically and if any of the women and their division itself is to survive they really need to improve across the board. I hope they can pull it off.
Craig: I’m minded to agree, I think the women’s division has passed her by. The injury is, of course, unfortunate and we would all wish her a speedy recovery that sees her return to full health. However, there are numerous female performers that have eclipsed her in terms of in-ring talent and several more that have the potential to do so. It’s a cook from me.
Russ: I’m in agreement. The women’s division is very fractured. I’m actually all for putting the women on one show and let them all battle it out. I know this isn’t ideal or logical, but it would stop some of the long, drawn our feuds, plus mix it up. As for Summer, she is a decent enough wrestler. She is on Raw, so could easily have a meaningful story with someone like Bayley.
Brian: I say cook her as well, I really don’t see her doing much to elevate the division at this point.
While there is undoubtedly sympathy for the way that injuries have impacted on her career with the WWE, there’s also consensus that the women’s division has moved on in her absence. Got a different opinion? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.