In the WWE the divas division has become synonymous with bathroom break. . The divas are a shell of what once was a very innovative and compelling part of WWE programming. Long gone are the golden days of the fabulous Mula or the trail blazing tales of Trish and Lita. The divas are today are merely pretty faces with tights on to WWE. They are no longer looked at as members of the roster it seems and are merely filler to cool down the crowd. They aren’t too far-gone however; if WWE applies these simple steps they can have Divas worth seeing again.
- Let The Beat Build
If you were to blink during an episode of RAW and suddenly see a Divas’ hand being raised in victory, you would have probably just missed an average WWE Divas’ match. Along with the sudden realization that you’ve just missed a match you’d probably wonder if the crowd lost their voices because there is usually no reaction whatsoever. This is mainly due in part to the divas not being given anywhere near the time they need to tell a decent story in the ring. Whether it be on TV or PPV the divas always catch the short end of the stick. You cannot honestly expect the fans to care when they just saw a match that was shorter than the opening pyro. The reason that superstars get over more often than not when they aren’t given a push is because they still get time to show their skills in the ring. In what is almost the complete opposite of WWE at the moment, NXT is a perfect example of how divas can get the same reaction from fans as superstars if given enough time.
Paige vs. Emma from the first NXT takeover special was given over 12 minutes to show the fans exactly what they could do. The initial reaction to the match was the same as the usual divas match but by the 7 minute mark they had the fans cheering them both on. This formula was repeated at the following takeover special where each of the Women’s’ title matches were given 12 minutes or more. These matches have had full fan investment and praise due to the story being told in the ring, with the most recent bout featuring Charlotte taking on Sasha Banks drawing “This is awesome” chants from the live crowd. This goes to show that with proper time that the divas could actually draw interest from the crowd and while time may not be a problem in NXT, the thought of the ladies putting on classics being reduced to minute matches is just plain scary.
- Pass the mic Yo!
Another noticeable omission from the main roster divas that’s featured in NXT is that of promo and segment time being given to the divas. In NXT the divas are given both time and backstage segments to further advance their characters and storylines. This in turn gives fans more the reason to care about both the matches and the divas that are in them. Now if you look at the main roster there is hardly any example of this. Most women’s matches have zero build up, whether it be a title match or a supposed grudge match. The formula that seems to be used on the main roster is that the story is merely implied instead of clearly stated. Now remember that the divas are usually only featured for two minutes at a time, which should tell you all you need to know about the actual story progression of their rivalries. In the summer we were treated to AJ Lee feuding with Paige, however after a few voiceless segments and guests announce spots the story stalled. Neither diva ever clearly explained why the fans should cheer or boo either of them. This is a major mistake on the part of the WWE to muzzle the divas as it has been proven that when given a chance they can impress.
Case in point is the “Pipe Bombshell” promo delivered by Aj Lee, which gave a verbal beating to almost the entire divas division. This turned AJ into a massive rebellious baby-face in the same way that her husband’s “pipe-Bomb” promo did for him in 2011. She shined again when WWE took her muzzle off once more to address the Bella twins on the RAW after they cheated her out of the title. On the following Smackdown Nikki delivered what was said to be a heartfelt promo which caused the crowd to rally for her, so what did the WWE do? They edited the promo so much that it made zero sense and drew nearly no reaction. The WWE needs to allow these divas to let these women bark more, seeing as though they can barely nibble before they get sent back to the kennel.
- If I were a boy
One major trait if the WWE that it has been most criticized about is the fact that Randy Orton and John Cena are almost always booked in the main event picture. This was most evident during the 2014 Royal Rumble PPV when the live crowd completely turned against the match completely, showing their tire of Orton vs Cena bouts. This was one of the most embarrassing and damaging points in WWE history and if they are not careful it could happen once again, however this time it may be the divas that get fed to the fans.
Since 2013 Aj lee has been the rebellious face of the Diva’s division. She embarked on a 290+ title reign, during which she beat every diva on the roster. This could be compared to how John Cena has been booked every year since his first WWE title reign. After taking a brief sabbatical she returned and, in a very Cena style move, was immediately inserted into the title picture again. Now we can take a look at the Bella twins. The twins are what WWE wants us to love but we just simply do not. Their acting is simply atrocious and their ring work, while it has improved dramatically, still leaves something to be desired. Still the Bella’s have been featured prominently on WWE programming week after week since their return to the company. This is sort of how Orton is booked, not always in the title hunt but featured heavily. One notable difference is that while Cena and the Bella’s share the lacking skills on the mic and in the ring, Cena is always pushed toward the title. Similarly Aj lee and Orton are both considered the best in ring performers of their division’s, yet Orton is the one often used in non-title feuds. The big thing that they have in common with their male counterparts is that they always seem to find a way to go back to feuding with each other. This rivalry is simply becoming tiresome. Someone must let the WWE know that AJ is not the only baby face they have and the Bella’s are not the only heels.
- I’m sorry, this isn’t what I ordered.
Now WWE has given us some of the most memorable match-ups in history. They have given us stars that we could just simply get enough of time and time again. However this is not something that WWE always bats 100% at. They have gained the sad tendency to ignore who the fans cheer for and give us who they think we want. No matter how hard we cheer for a particular diva, they continue to give us the same 3 divas. This is especially sad because the divas division is probably at its highest it’s ever been since the attitude era when it comes to outright talent.
You have Natalya, the niece of Bret Hart. She is probably the best case to mention in this point as she has yet to receive a decent push since starting with the company. Back when she formed an alliance with Beth Phoenix fans were thrilled expecting the two best divas at the time to feud for the title after their inevitable split. Sadly this was not the case as after phoenix tore through the competition she randomly lost her title and they quietly disbanded. Then you have Paige, who we have had the pleasure of seeing set the bar for divas. She was featured prominently in a feud with AJ this summer and delivered some hard hitting matches that showed what we can expect from her during her career. Alicia Fox is another name that has constantly caught the short end of the stick by the powers that be. Clearly one of the most naturally talented divas on the roster, she is mainly regulated to squash matches. This summer she was fed to Paige after starting what many thought was a very entertaining take on the well-worn “unstable diva” gimmick. We also have the most recent diva to become lost in the shuffle despite being better than most divas WWE try to force us to love, Emma. Emma Is a very interesting story indeed as her debut and storyline that followed was hindered by a combination of WWE and just flat out bad luck. When she debuted with the fun dancing gimmick and very catchy theme music, the announcers tore her to shreds. Instead of commenting on how quirky or upbeat she was, they called her stupid. The announcers just did not put her over. This coupled with an unfortunate incident, which cause her to be released and then rehired after fan outrage, has caused her to be regulated to obscurity. There are more names that could be brought up here but the point has been proven. WWE you have the talent that we actually want to see, give it to us please.
- A path well-traveled is just….well boring
On the September 6th 1999 edition of RAW we witnessed Tori face Ivory what is now known as the first divas hardcore match. Years later in 2003 on the November 23rd edition of RAW we saw Lita face Victoria in the very first woman’s steel cage match. The following year in 2004 on the December 6th edition of Monday Night Raw we were treated to something that ill this day we have not seen, Lita took on Trish stratus for the Women’s Championship in the Main event of the show. Now if you look back at the matches mentioned you will see that they all have one thing in common. What is that one common denominator that these matches share? It’s quite simple; they are all the very first of its kind. These women broke barriers by showing that they could perform in just about any match that the men of the WWE could. These milestones in divas history helped elevate the division to the next level as a whole, sadly this seems to be where it stops.
These days the only matches you will see the divas in are battle royals, overcrowded tag matches, and a simple one on one. Even worse than the stale match types that are constantly being repeated are the fact that they all usually end with a roll up. Yes, a simple roll-up pin ends nearly every divas match on WWE TV. It would seem that the trailblazing days of the divas are over, yet there is still a chance of hope. Now it would be foolish to expect WWE to showcase something like a divas elimination chamber but there are some matches that we as fans would have thought would be checked off on the divas list by now. One of these matches is the TLC match. WWE has had ample chances to get this done and have chosen to take none of them. The most recent was the chance to have the AJ Lee and Nikki Bella vie for the title at TLC 2014. Given the long storied rivalry between the twins and AJ this one could have sold itself if it included all of the points mentioned prior. Another match that shockingly has had no diva contestants is the ironman match. Imagine putting AJ and Paige or Natalya and Charlotte in the ring with 30 minutes to just give it their all for the title. If the WWE were more willing to take chances like these and allow the divas to innovate instead of imitate then surely the division would become the RAW main event material itNow if WWE were to take all of these things and begin to apply them as soon as possible the fans would begin to become interested again. No longer would the fans groan when a divas theme song started up. Fans would stop using the divas bouts for bathroom breaks. The days of checking your messages when the divas enter the ring would cease and they would be compelled to cheer on the action in the ring. WWE you have the talent, you have the potential, and you have what you need to have a fully compelling addition to your programming. Now you just have to use it.