There’s no shortage of intrigue surrounding the WWE’ women’s division. Since the Women’s Revolution branding got started in 2015 with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch moving up to the main roster and being slotted into featured roles, WWE has taken its female roster more seriously. In 2016, we got the first women’s PPV main event and first women’s Hell in a Cell match in one shot as Banks and Flair waged war inside one of WWE’s most iconic structures. 2017 saw the first women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. 2018 has seen the women get their own Royal Rumble and their own Elimination Chamber. Moreover, the debut of Ronda Rousey, and the fact that she actually looked quite good her first time in the ring at WrestleMania has opened additional possibilities.
Might 2019 see the first women’s main event at WrestleMania, with some permutation of Ronda Rousey facing Flair, Asuka, Banks, Alexa Bliss, or more than one opponent? Moreover, may we see WWE launch a women’s tag team division soon? Might the second iteration of the Mae Young Classic introduce some special new talents, or have more than bragging rights and a surefire spot on the NXT roster attached to it?
For all of the intriguing and quite arguably positive rumors around female talent and WWE’s plans for them, the rumors aren’t all positive. Indeed, whether it’s by the company’s designs or individual choices, there is some troubling speculation making its way around to hardcore fans. This article takes a look at fifteen particularly upsetting recent rumors about WWE’s women’s division and its stars.
20 Upsetting: Alexa Bliss Was Pressured To Get Work Done
Alexa Bliss dropped the Raw Women’s Championship to Nia Jax at WrestleMania 34. From there, the Goddess was conspicuous by her absence. Though she was booked into a title rematch for Backlash, she didn’t wrestle on TV in between those matches.
Bliss hinted at enlargement surgery on social media, including photos of her lounging in a bikini top. She was good to go in time for Backlash, and though the commentary team didn’t mention them, she did appear to have undergone successful surgery.
It’s not so unusual for celebrities to choose a cosmetic surgery of this ilk, and naturally it is fine if it was Bliss’s choice to do so. However, in this era of women’s empowerment in WWE, it would seem problematic for the company to encourage a top talent to undergo this kind of change.
19 Upsetting: Ronda Rousey Is Only On Board For One Year
Ronda Rousey has been a force since her first appearance with WWE at the Royal Rumble, attracting mass media attention and capturing the imagination of the wrestling community. By excelling in her first actual match at WrestleMania, the wheels started turning about her future in the squared circle. Those rumors extended as far as the first women’s main event at a WrestleMania.
While Rousey getting transitioned into a title feud with Nia Jax as soon as Money in the Bank read as impatience on the part of WWE management, the latest rumors suggest another major factor at play. Rousey’s contract may only go for one year.
Rather than looking at Rousey as a cornerstone of the women’s division, then, Rousey may well be an electric performer WWE has less than a year left to make the most of before she refocuses on Hollywood, or conceivably heading back to MMA.
18 Upsetting: WWE Drove A Wedge Between Carmella And Big Cass
Carmella and Big Cass were a pair of stars who looked like they had an upward trajectory. They came up in NXT together, and though they were called up to the main roster at different times and to different shows, they looked like a couple of the future.
Carmella opened up about their break up in her visit to Lillian Garcia’s podcast, and in other interviews. While some of the dissolution of their relationship came down to personalities (called into focus by buying a house together), their WWE careers played a role. Not being on the same show meant less time together, besides which Cass injuring his knee and missing the better part of a year—particularly while Carmella’s star rose with a Money in the Bank contract win—added tension to their relationship.
17 Encouraging: WrestleMania 35 Will Be Headlined By Women's Championship Match
It's been a long time coming that WWE finally set their female stars up to be on equal footing to the men and the final step for this to be cemented would be a WrestleMania main event for the Women's Championship. Some of the WWE's biggest stars are now on the women's side of the roster and with the starpower they have with Ronda Rousey signed on, it would only make sense for a match like Charlotte Flair vs Rousey or a triple threat involving Asuka to close the show at WrestleMania 35 next April. This has been up in the air since the announcement for WrestleMania 35's venue was made and it'd be a welcome change of pace for the 'Mania main event scene.
16 Upsetting: Management Has No Faith In Bayley
Bayley was a big star for the NXT brand. She progressed nicely as a featured face character, culminating in a heated feud with Sasha Banks that captured the imagination of fans. From there, Bayley remained with NXT while the rest of her cohort of performers advanced to the main roster, ostensibly to anchor the women’s division in developmental.
Bayley got off to a reasonable enough start on the main roster, including ending Charlotte Flair’s PPV undefeated streak, winning the Raw Women’s Championship, and even successfully defending it at WrestleMania 33. She has since been relegated to a supporting role. Rumor has it that management doesn’t think she can connect with fans on a main roster level. While a heel turn or major story could change her fortunes, for now, she seems dead in the water as a women’s mid card act.
15 Upsetting: Nia Jax Got Her Title Reign As A Token Win
Nia Jax is a unique talent for WWE—the division’s only true heavyweight star with a distinctive look, not to mention a family pedigree that connects her to stars like The Rock and Roman Reigns.
For all of her special qualities, WWE didn’t seem to know what to do with her throughout her time in NXT and her first year plus on the main roster.
The build to WrestleMania 34 saw Jax turn face, leading to a solid enough revenge story of her coming after former friend Alexa Bliss who’d been making fun of her behind her back. However, once Jax was done with Bliss, she transitioned to a program with Ronda Rousey. Not only did Jax immediately show heel leanings again, but she now lost her title to Alexa in a MITB cash in, which may lead to a prolonged feud with Alexa.
14 Upsetting: WWE Doesn’t See Natalya As A Star
2017 saw an unexpected turn as Natalya wound up taking the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Naomi. The win came for a veteran most fans presumed was spinning her wheels at that point, and generally came across like a lifetime achievement award.
When Natalya turned face upon her move to Raw this spring, and WWE played up a friendship between her and Ronda Rousey, it seemed to suggest Natalya would have one more big run. As Rousey’s ally, she’d have a featured position in tag team matches and as a gatekeeper. From there, there was the likelihood of her eventually turning on Rousey.
While parts of this story may still play out, the story of Rousey and Natalya is no longer situated front and center as Rousey jumped ahead to enter the Raw Women’s Championship picture without this stepping stone along the way.
13 Encouraging: There Are Big Plans For Ember Moon
Although it may not seem like it now, with how quickly Ember Moon has gotten lost in the shuffle in a crowded RAW Women's division, rumors are that WWE does indeed see a lot of potential in Moon as a top babyface. She definitely has a cool look and fans are behind her, but with Ronda Rousey being positioned as the top face on RAW, fans may just have to be patient with Moon's eventual rise to the championship picture. Moon was one of the early favorites to win the Women's MITB match this year. While she came up short in that match, we should see Moon begin to ascend in the division at some point in the summer.
12 Upsetting: Lana Is In Line For A Push
Rumor has it that Lana will be the beneficiary of a big push in the months ahead, quite possibly in conjunction with Rusev—her real life husband, whom WWE has recently put her back together with on screen.
While Lana is a beautiful woman with a reasonable wrestling persona, she has in no way proven herself as an in ring performer.
The SmackDown women’s roster alone includes Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Becky Lynch, and Naomi, not to mention that Sasha Banks and Bayley are largely lost in the shuffle on Raw. With Carmella arguably already a stretch as SmackDown Women’s Champion, there’s no room for Lana to get extra opportunities.
11 Upsetting: Carmella And John Cena Dated Soon After Breakup With Nikki Bella
The cross section of wrestling and pop culture enthusiasts was rocked with the news that John Cena and Nikki Bell had called off their wedding. There’s a lot we don’t know, with some suggesting that the drama was staged for the sake of reality TV, and with more recent word that the star couple is back together. Another rumor circulated as well, though, in the weeks to follow the apparent breakup. The rumor mostly seemed to come out of thin air, and its legitimacy is highly questionable.
The word was that Carmella was dating Cena. It’s the kind of news that no one would be particularly happy about. For Cena-Bella loyalists, it was heartbreaking to see Cena move on so quickly. Meanwhile, it’s not even as though a darling of the hardcore fan base might benefit from the affiliation with Cena, but rather a less than stellar all around talent, still proving herself.
10 Encouraging: Bellas To Feud With The IIconics
While some fans may be groaning at the prospect of the Bella Twins returning to television, this is one program where they could actually add to WWE programming. Over the past few months, The IIconics have surpassed WWE's expectations as they have sold a lot more merchandise than expected and their work has earned the praise of WWE management. A program where the Bellas can put over The IIconics as the new dominant duo of WWE's women's division would do wonders in continuing to set Billie Kay and Peyton Royce up as rising stars in the division. It'd also be an appropriate final sendoff for the Bellas.
9 Upsetting: Becky Lynch Got Buried For Her Accent
From their time together in NXT to their first year on the main roster, the so called Four Horsewomen—backstage friends and featured performers Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch have been largely celebrated by fans and WWE alike. Lynch in particular has had uneven luck, though. She’s the only one of the four to never capture the NXT or Raw Women’s Championship. Though she was the first SmackDown Women’s Champion, she also lost that title in short order, and hasn’t been booked as a threat since.
While we don’t know the exact rationale, for Lynch’s limited success, one rumor has Kevin Dunn in particular against her. Word is that he not only doesn’t like her accent, but has gone so far as to make fun of her in front of crowds backstage each time she gets on the mic.
8 Upsetting: WWE Is Hesitant About A Heel Turn For Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks had a truly remarkable run in NXT as a heel Women’s Champion. The run included her unseating Charlotte Flair for the title, successfully defending it in an TakeOver classic against Becky Lynch, and ultimately putting over Bayley in two great TakeOver matches at the end of her run in developmental.
While Banks debuted on the main roster as a heel, she turned face quickly, and worked her most prominent matches as a face from that point forward, including her series opposite Flair.
There have been hints at her edging heel since, including a budding rivalry with Bayley, and conducting herself heelishly during the women’s Royal Rumble match. However, WWE hasn’t pulled the trigger on The Boss turning. It feels like a major misuse of resources, given Banks is so sharp in the heel persona she hasn’t gotten a chance to use yet on Raw.
7 Upsetting: Stephanie McMahon Is Seen As A Top Women’s Division Draw
When Ronda Rousey needed an enemy for her in ring debut, WWE didn’t turn to one of its top workers like Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, or Asuka, nor send her straight into a title match against someone like Alexa Bliss. Instead, they pitted her against Stephanie McMahon.
Not unlike the SummerSlam 2014 program between Stephanie and Brie Bella, WWE seems intent on treating Stephanie like a top draw. To be fair, she has held up her end of the bargain in each of her high profile matches from recent years, and she is one of the most famous women in WWE. Just the same, she’s hardly a credible in ring performer, and it’s a shame to see her so heavily featured in spots that might otherwise go to full time talents.
6 Upsetting: Vince McMahon Doesn’t See Asuka As A Big Deal
Asuka had a historic undefeated streak. She went unbeaten throughout her NXT run, which included holding the Women’s Championship there for over a year. From there, no one was ready for her on the main roster, and she even went unbeaten in the first women’s Royal Rumble and the Mixed Match Challenge. Particularly when she started using an armbar finisher, rumors arose that WWE was setting her up for an eventual feud with Ronda Rousey.
However, in the lead up to WrestleMania 34, Asuka reverted to her old Asuka Lock finisher, and wound up tapping out cleanly to Charlotte Flair at ‘Mania.
While The Empress has been booked toward the top of SmackDown’s women’s division since, her special aura is gone.
Rumor has it, that’s due to Vince McMahon just not seeing her as a star, or at least not one to be pushed at the top of her division.
5 Encouraging: Paige Has Earned Praise For GM Role
Paige was forced to retire from in-ring action earlier this year due to neck injuries, but thankfully, WWE decided to keep her in the fold and made her the GM of SmackDown Live. Upon her first few weeks as GM, reports began to surface that Paige has earned the trust and confidence of the powers that be backstage in her current role. It's good to see that Paige will remain employed with the WWE for the foreseeable future, as she's only 25 years old and still has a lot to offer the company, whether it be as a UK ambassador or perhaps as an NXT trainer in the future.
4 Upsetting: Toni Storm May Be Used Only For WWE’s UK Brand
One of the most clear cut fan favorites and emerging stars of the original Mae Young Classic was young Toni Storm—a then 21-year-old native of New Zealand many picked as an early favorite to go all the way in the tournament. While no one was surprised to see finalists Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane get NXT deals, Toni Storm was one of the most surprising women not to surface in developmental after the tournament.
Storm was recently announced for an appearance at WWE’s summer United Kingdom Championship Tournament event. Rumor has it that, rather than a WWE or even WWE developmental deal, she has a UK deal. It’s a non-exclusive contract that reserves her for when WWE needs her for shows across the pond. Hopefully, this will one day lead to a more full time arrangement with WWE, but for now it looks like she’ll mostly stay out of the States.
3 Upsetting: Maryse Will Get A Push When She Returns To TV
From 2016 to 2018, The Miz positioned himself as one of the hottest heels in the company. Some of his success can be attributed to having his real life wife Maryse as his manager—adding eye candy, an extra mechanism through which to cheat, and an additional aura of The Miz being a big time player. Maryse left TV when she got pregnant, and has most recently made headlines for an impending reality TV series featuring her and her husband—Miz and Mrs.
WWE notoriously loves its mainstream crossovers.
Though Maryse isn’t as polished of an in ring worker as many of today’s female stars, and hasn’t had continuity to her WWE run we may well see her pushed ahead of other female talents for the benefit of the show.
2 Upsetting: The Four Horsewomen Of MMA May Run Wild
The Four Horsewomen of MMA—real life friends Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir—have all made the leap to WWE. Rousey is on the cusp of reaching the top of the business with a Raw Women’s Championship program opposite Nia Jax. Baszler reigns as the bully heel champion of NXT, and wouldn’t be out of place moving up to the main roster whenever WWE wants her to. Duke and Shafir are less proven commodities, but were conspicuously signed to developmental deals at the same time very recently.
Some of Duke and Shafir signing may demonstrate Rousey’s stroke, but it also suggests the potential for the foursome to do business together on the main roster. There are a number of intriguing possibilities, though one of the less satisfying rumors would see them use Rousey’s clout to leapfrog roster mainstays, and all four dominate the women’s division.
1 Encouraging: Ellsworth's Return Means Longer Reign For Carmella
While Carmella has done some excellent work as a heel in her championship reign, there are plenty still upset at the fact that Carmella's in-ring work isn't at the level of the Asukas and Charlotte Flairs of the women's division. With Carmella having now defeated both, albeit with a little help from Ellsworth, an extended reign for Carmella will make her eventual dethroning all that much more meaningful for whichever babyface ends up doing it. With Ellsworth now back in the fold, an extended reign for Carmella makes more sense and should make the rest of it all the more entertaining.