Road To The Divas Revolution
By Andreas Georgiou
Posted On 02-09-2015 17:31 GMT
Tags: WWE, NXT, Divas

The internet has been overrun with columns and blogs about the ‘Diva’s Revolution’ in recent weeks.

Despite glimmers of excellence; and a somewhat stench of tedium, it seems that the newly injected main roster of women performers are more than capable of living up to the moniker given to them by Stephanie McMahon.

Alas, it has been the execution that has remained the major thorn in the so-called revolution, with an over saturated Diva’s division which has yet to create any new storylines or rivalries since its inception on the July 13 edition of Monday Night Raw.

Team B.A.D vs. Team Bella vs. Team P.C.B, with the highlight of the entire run so far being that the fat cats in WWE Creative briefly named the latter after a naughty, naughty, very naughty adult website.

To think, it only took the crowd just over a month to go from elatedly chanting “this is awesome” all the way to “boring.”

In hindsight, creative issues aren’t just exclusive to WWE. TNA Impact Wrestling have had a long history of under-booking their Knockouts, despite having a talent rich roster of women.

However, with TNA, to give them some credit, we’ve seen portions of decent booking and creative genius. Gail Kim vs. Taryn Tarrell at Slammiversary 2013 was a fantastic match, and Mickie James and Tara had moments of brilliance.

Breaking it down, to some extent the three WWE factions have all show a promise for something exciting down the line. Naomi and (even more so) Sasha Banks have a deep palette of charisma, Nikki Bella is a modern day incarnation of X-Pac and Becky Lynch is probably more over with the fans than any of her Irish counterparts (Poor Sheamus, he just wants to be loved).

Tamina and Brie are lost hopes and seem to be there to pad the division, and in the case of the Brie, to ride the coattails of her husband Daniel Bryan. Naomi has a tonne of promise but still needs to refine her in-ring work, conversely Paige still needs to solidify her mic skills, and Charlotte needs to find a personality which isn’t just a monotone, less excessive version of her father, Ric Flair. 

Equally, this Diva’s Revolution actually began long before NXT’s rise to importance over the past year, and you can track back over two decades ago for the start of the re-imagining of women’s pro wrestling.

The Sherriff of Parts Unknown; WTTV’s own, is always promoting how women’s wrestling was revolutionised through its Joshi predecessors in the 1990s. First in All Japan Wrestling and then GAEA, the likes of Aja Kong, Manami Toyota, Toshiyo Yamada and The Crush Girls were all influential on brining Joshi to national prominence, and more importantly, keeping it there.

This led; albeit not subsequently, to the restoration of the women’s division in the WWE (at that time the WWF) in the late 90s. Though, after Alundra Blayze (Madusa) famously canned the WWF women’s title live on the December 18, 1995 edition of WCW Monday Nitro, she single handily managed not only kill her own career, but to pretty much nix women’s wrestling in North America as a whole.

I mean you only have to look at the train wreck that was the WCW women’s championship - and the women’s Cruiserweight version - in 1996-97, which was actually featured more in GAEA Japan than it ever was in WCW, with neither belt every being held by a gaijin.

The WWE would consequently reactivate their women’s title in 1998, and the likes of Chyna, Ivory, Jazz, and later Trish Stratus & Lita, did a virtuous job at bringing their niche back into the spotlight. In fact, Stratus and Lita pretty much defined the early to mid-noughties with their feud, headlining WWE Raw and consistently putting on fantastic matches.

Coincidently, what would follow over the next ten or so years in ‘The E’, was actually rather dull. Stalkers, bullies, Diva Searches, and Playboy, nothing would quite cut the mustard for WWE until Michelle McCool and Layla would form LayCool in 2010, and even that was pretty shabbily booked.

Although, this can’t be said for women’s wrestling as a whole in North America at this point. Shimmer Women Athletes were coming to prominence at this time, with Shine soon to follow. The success of these two promotions can be attributed to its homage to the Joshi style, whilst embracing a modern day edge.

Only over the past year or two have we seen the WWE, trying (yes they try so hard) to actually get women’s wrestling over. AJ Lee and Paige have done a very good job at keeping the women’s division afloat. But with AJ’s retirement, and the WWE putting the belt on Nikki, it highlighted the fact it has all been done for the complete wrong reason.

Total Divas. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones. That’s if of course if the show (SPOILER ALERT) focused every single episode on the death of John Snow; sorry not sorry. It is painstaking TV that somehow makes you take similar shows like Jersey Shore for granted. 

So, you could say that women’s wrestling has been on a rocky path over the past 25 years, from humble beginnings in Japan to main event calibre match ups in NXT. The likes of Banks, Charlotte, Lynch, Bayley and the often forgotten Emma have stolen the show recently, and I guess the WWE thought that would immediately translate over to their main product. How wrong they were.

This can be highlighted by what many considered the WWE Match of the Year between Banks and Bayley at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. No we’re not overrating it, it was actually that damn good. Storytelling, timing, two women who actually understand match dynamics, what wasn’t there to love?

This was unfortunately followed by two nights of complete anti-climax. A nine person tag, a six person tag, then a who even cares anymore tag. This has Teddy Long written all over it, playa.

The NXT Women’s division, although not perfect in its own right, is at a much better standard to that of its Monday and Thursday counterparts. This may have a lot to do with WWE Performance Centre Assistant Head Coach Sara Del Ray, a legend of the women’s scene around the world. Del Ray has always been a wrestler who seemingly understood delivery and storytelling down to a tee, and without a doubt that has been showcased over the past year in some absolutely fantastic matches. As well, due to the Performance Centre, and the NXT wrestlers spending a lot more time together than the often travelling Diva’s on the main roster, in-ring chemistry and psychology seemed so much more crucial in match-ups, and that can only be recognised down to how much time these women spent training, living and working together.

In my eyes, a great way to have kick started this new era of the Divas, would have been to have The NXT Four Horsewomen debut in WWE and run riot. Have them take the WWE hostage and proclaim they had come to the main roster to cleanse the show of everything Total Divas. Sounds pretty cool right?

Well, they didn’t do that, and instead we seem to be stuck in this infinite loop of faction warfare. Interesting enough, everything is currently circulating around Nikki Bella breaking AJ Lee’s record of 295 days for the longest title reign, something which she will have surpassed by the time Night of Champions arrives.

It has been confirmed that it will be either Paige, Lynch or Charlotte who will face her at NOC; hopefully either of the latter, and for the Diva’s Revolution to return from the abyss of bottomless snoozes, a new champion must be crowned, and new stories must emerge. Only then, can the revolution truly begin.

Tags: WWE, NXT, Divas

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