Three months ago, WWE promised a “Divas Revolution” with the main roster call-ups of Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks. And — for a short time — things seemed bright with extended matches, a fresh storyline and more emphasis on the women’s division.
Fast forward to the present day and what do we have? A huge let down.
Fans have criticized the route WWE’s “Divas Revolution” has taken due to several blatant detours. The most obvious came on last week’s episode of Raw:
WWE showed a video package praising the NXT TakeOver: Respect main event between Sasha Banks and Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship. It was a match JBL credited as “raising the bar not only in the women’s division, but also sports entertainment.”
And what followed that? A Nikki Bella vs. Naomi match. In Chicago, one of the smarkiest wrestling cities — which lacked its charm on Monday given the Cubs’ first home playoff game at Wrigley Field since 2003 took place that same night — WWE decided it was a good idea to say, “Hey, isn’t Sasha Banks incredible? Well we hope you enjoy her standing ringside as a sidekick to her less appealing teammate.”
Seriously, this is exactly what happened. So unsurprisingly, the Chicago crowd showered the bout with “We Want Sasha” chants, which have been present in lackluster divas matches since SummerSlam.
And the lack of “The Boss” isn’t the only problem. What about Becky Lynch?
How did she go from Lass Kicker to Charlotte’s sidekick? When Paige ran down the entire Divas division via promo — which has been forgotten due to her own poor booking — she called Lynch the “most irrelevant [diva] of any of us.”
Where is the payoff? Are we supposed to believe that she is in fact the most irrelevant diva and won’t seek vengeance?
And, of course, we have Team Bella. Because, according to Michael Cole, this whole thing started with the Bella Twins.
Yes, the revolution of women’s — er, I mean “DIVAS” wrestling took place when Nikki Bella defeated A.J. Lee and eventually whitewashed her title reign from the record books.
In no way is the Bellas’ dominance different than anything we’ve seen in the division this past decade. So how is it the dawning of a revolution?
This also explains the biggest flaw of the angle: too many tag-team matches. While WWE tried to make its new talent look strong, it put even greater emphasis on protecting Nikki Bella as Divas Champion as she approached Lee’s record.
So what was the answer to this dilemma? Tag-team matches! And lots of them!
Basically, every match was either an exact copy or slight variation of what was shown the previous week. If it wasn’t Team Bella vs. Team PCB, it was Brie Bella and Alicia Fox vs. Charlotte and Paige or the Bella Twins vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte.
You know, as exciting as that sounds, I’d rather get to the payoff. And we finally got one when Charlotte captured the Divas Championship at Night of Champions, was embraced by her father, Ric Flair, and pointed up to the heavens with tears in her eyes in honor of her late brother, Reid.
Yes, that was the highlight of the angle, but now we’re right back to where we started. Banks is still playing second fiddle to Naomi. The Bellas remain the center of the storyline — forcing tension between both opposing groups and winning both matches on Raw — and we still have the unexplained rivalries based solely cattiness and the “just because they’re angry, jealous Divas” booking that has been prominent for several years.
If you’re optimistic, you likely assume that this whole angle is a slow burn that is about to heat up. Team B.A.D. will see a rift due to Banks’ popularity. Lynch will get her revenge on Paige and eventually see a bigger role than “Charlotte’s best friend.”
Somehow Paige and Natalya will have more involvement than the Bella Twins and there will be a core of five capable women’s wrestlers competing in singles action for the championship.
However, this may just be wishful thinking. From the very beginning there was both excitement and skepticism of the NXT women’s call-ups.
It was obvious that Charlotte would be protected, which based on talent and pedigree is deserved. But in the cases of Banks and Lynch, the move from being showcased weekly in NXT matches with Sara Del Rey’s coaching to Kevin Dunn-produced WWE television hasn’t been the best transition.
NXT continues to flourish even without the likes of Banks, Charlotte and Lynch. Bayley is now the center of the women’s division and several new challengers are emerging for her title including Alexa Bliss, international superstar Asuka, Emma and even an improved Dana Brooke. Aside from the forced Eva Marie project, the developmental roster seems to be putting on consistently better matches than the main roster.
Both Raw and SmackDown lack the presence of Del Rey, the platform to allow longer matches higher on the card and still has considerably less talented “veterans” to water down matches.
But there is no excuse for how WWE has dropped the ball with the Divas Revolution angle. There’s still time to finish with a big payoff, however, we’ll have to see if fans get the change they’d hoped for or more of the same as time rolls on.