In 2006, one of the greatest WRESTLERS of all time retired and WWE lost a huge draw. That wrestler was Trish Stratus. Trish was a beautiful woman who was determined to prove that she wouldn’t get by on her looks. She trained in the ring, worked on cutting promos, and with Lita, became the first woman to headline Monday Night Raw.
Mickie James took a crazy psycho gimmick and turned it into one of the best runs in WWE History! She wasn’t a traditional diva by any far stretch of the imagination, but Mickie’s work in and out of the ring was extraordinary.
While I could run down a history of great WWE Divas, this isn’t that kind of article. This article is about the fact that the Diva’s Division is lackluster at best. Apparently, the WWE treats women and minorities like Civil Rights never existed.
Remember when the Diva’s division had storylines that you could sink your teeth into? Remember when there were heel Divas who actually got heat from the audience? For some of you, you’d have to stretch your minds back several years, and that is my problem.
Women in wrestling have always been eye candy, but even in the attitude era, there was more going on than bra and panties matches. It’s as if the WWE (primarily Vince McMahon) has no idea what to do with the Divas Division now that the company is in the “PG era”. In other words, now that you take sex out of the equation, WWE treats the Divas Division in the same way the WWE Universe reacts to a Big Show vs. Kane Main Event.
Total Divas on The E! Network seems to be a priority, as opposed to pushing the WWE Divas into compelling storylines for the live WWE audience and WRESTLING FANS.
If I were a Diva on the main WWE roster, I’d be pissed! No, you don’t have Jerry Lawler talking about your “puppies”, but you don’t have the audience talking about your matches or your storylines, primarily because they are nonexistent.
If I were a Diva on the main roster, I’d be upset that NXT Divas are running Rough shot over the industry. Sasha Banks, Bailey, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and even Carmella and a random jobber named “Blue Pants” get to show that their physical dominance, promo skills and the ability to carry on complicated story archs that last over time.
These NXT Divas are putting on matches that outshine men on BOTH ROSTERS. It’s a shame that Divas matches on the main roster average about 3 minutes. It’s not like AJ Lee, Layla, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Paige, Naomi and the Bellas (and the other Divas you barely see) aren’t capable of performing on all cylinders. It’s that there’s an OLD, TIRED, and ARCHAIC belief that women wrestlers are the stuff of a bygone era that including dwarfs and carnival barkers.
What’s the difference between the main roster and NXT? Triple H has complete autonomy over the product, from talent development to storylines. Vince doesn’t believe in the main roster talent enough to allow them to grow with their characters, to ad-lib their promos and CONNECT with the WWE Universe.
Instead, we get matches that are meant to coincide with events on Total Divas, which is usually shot 3 months prior. How stupid does the WWE think the fans are? We want to be able to feel about the Divas title (which is the dumbest looking belt in the world. A butterfly? Sexist, much?) the way we felt watching Sasha Banks claw, scratch and FIGHT her way to the NXT Women’s Championship.
We aren’t invested in the Divas because the WWE isn’t invested in the Divas. If WWE were smart, they would realize that they are sitting on an untapped gold mine in merchandise and DVD sales (and maybe more WWE Network sales) by pushing the Divas.
Conversely, are the Divas so hard up for a job that they forgot why they wanted to wrestle in the first place? Where’s the passion? Where’s the Heart? I think it’s there, but I think the fear of winding up being an outcast like Chyna outweighs any protest a Diva would want to make to Vince on behalf of themselves or the other Divas in the locker room.
If WWE isn’t careful, Divas matches that are broadcast on the main roster will remain things to fast forward through on our DVRs, or opportunities to utilize the bathroom when watching it live. Either way, we have gone far away from the days when the Divas gave us high quality entertainment and pure STRATUSFACTION.
Dave Anderson is an award winning journalist, author and businessman. He resides in the home of ECW, Philadelphia PA. Follow him on twitter @LikeAHater