Nobody can deny the Divas Revolution in WWE is well and truly overdue.
The Divas division, especially since the departure of A.J. Lee, quickly became all about Nikki Bella, with the rest of the females on the roster simply playing second fiddle to the walking advertisement for Total Divas.
With very little air time for character and rivalry development given to the Divas and matches only lasting two to five minutes, the Divas division had become arguably as insignificant as it had ever been.
Thankfully, a large section of the WWE Universe voiced their displeasure on Twitter through the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance, sick of the blatant disrespect shown for the female role models on the roster.
After publicly acknowledging the concern, WWE responded by sparking what was dubbed the Divas Revolution, promoting a number of NXT females to the main roster, increasing promo and match time, and generally treating the Divas as more than glorified eye candy whose segments could double as pee breaks.
Although the change in direction from WWE is positive, there are a number of ways the company could and should have gone rather than the path chosen when it comes to the Divas Revolution.
Anything is an improvement on the state of the division beforehand, but you can’t help but think how big the division could be had WWE taken more time to carefully plot the revolution rather than taking the easy option.
The booking isn’t the only issue, however, as the representation of all on-screen females is heavily impacting those genuinely fighting for greater opportunities for the Divas.
These are 15 ways WWE messed up the Divas Revolution.
As Paige put it, “Natalya, do you even work here anymore?” It’s a good point – Natalya, who is a stalwart in the Divas division and is part of a long family wrestling lineage, was completely unseen and unheard until recently, and now she is serving as the same pawn she was before the revolution began. Natalya has all the tools to be leading the revolution, but instead is jobbing to those who arguably don’t deserve their place. WWE really needs to make a call: push her like she should pushed or stop using the Hart family ties as a way to get others over.
14. Same Old Matches
Despite the increased size of the Divas roster, episodes of RAW and SmackDown seem to serve up the same matches over and over again. Either it’s this stable vs that stable, someone vs Brie Bella or the blatant favouritism of Charlotte being pitted against anyone, you’d think WWE could book something other than the same old stuff. There are enough potential match-ups to last months to come – let’s see them.
13. Dull Commentary
One of the issues that sparked the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag on Twitter was the constant lack of interest shown by commentators during the two-minute periods allowed to the Divas. Although the air time has increased significantly, it seems the only commentator who makes a significant effort to learn the Divas’ move sets, signature moves and general facts is John Bradshaw Layfield. Very basic marketing teaches you that nobody is going to be interested in your product unless you are interested yourself. Kick the enthusiasm up a notch, please.
12. No New Talent
You’d think a revolution would be a great chance to introduce a new female competitor straight into the main roster, but nope. It’s great to see Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch take their places, but there really is nothing new to see. Most dedicated fans who tune into RAW already watch NXT, where all three have been on the roster for years. Rather than cramming a bunch of stables together, something fresh would have been the perfect way to push the revolution in the right direction.
11. Too Much Bickering
The Divas Revolution is supposedly about proving that women are more than a sideshow and they can perform at a level that is on par to the men. Instead, the way WWE has booked the revolution has been centred on bitching and bickering over who started the revolution, who is the best, who deserves what etc. For the love of God, just give them the opportunity to take advantage of the growing interest in the women’s division by putting them in great matches, rather than trying to make every angle a cross-promotion for Total Divas.
10. Stables for the Sake of Stables
It would be impossible to push nine Divas as singles competitors all at once, but having three stables is complete overkill and reeks of laziness. You often see one or more members of a stable be overshadowed, so when you’ve got three stables all vying for supremacy, there are a lot of casualties. Tamina, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox all serve little to no purpose and having them included for the sake of including them makes the whole revolution harder to follow. Follow the old KISS method: keep it simple, stupid.
9. All About the Flairs
While it was touching to see Charlotte and Ric Flair embrace after Charlotte ended Nikki Bella’s 301-day run with the Divas Championship, it became too much about the Flairs. When WWE pushes Charlotte as a character that is making it on her own terms rather than due to her name, but gives her entrance music that is a remix of her daddy’s song and has her mimicking the moves and quirks that made Ric so popular, it comes off as WWE having an agenda. That agenda isn’t to push the Divas, but to push the Flairs.
8. Becky Lynch
In less than a month after debuting her new steampunk look, Becky Lynch made her main roster debut on RAW and, to nobody’s surprise, has been completely overlooked. It’s clear WWE wanted a third female to come up from NXT to go along with Charlotte and Sasha Banks, and while Bayley was out due to injury, Lynch was next in line. However, it’s clear she was undercooked when it comes to getting over with the fans as a stand-alone character in NXT and her promotion to the main roster has seen her be completely overshadowed.
7. Lack of Established NXT Females
While it’s excellent to see Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch be promoted to the main roster, it’s at a detriment to the NXT ranks which has spurred on the Divas Revolution in the first place. Although Banks is continuing to perform in NXT and Bayley has well and truly earned her place at the top of the division, the lack of established names will end up hurting the brand in the long run.
6. Jerry Lawler
Although Jerry Lawler has made significantly less WWE television appearances since the Divas Revolution began, especially on RAW, it’s clear Lawler simply cannot have anything to do with the female competitors again. Although the revolution is in full swing, Lawler can’t help but make awkward comments that he clearly feels are both necessary and acceptable, yet WWE continues to keep him working these matches and hurting the division.
In many ways, Tamina personifies what the Divas Revolution should be all about. To state the obvious, Tamina isn’t the kind of Diva who is going to show off her body in order to gain recognition – and that’s awesome. However, it’s because of that she will never receive the recognition she deserves as a singles competitor, constantly performing as the second banana, currently to Naomi and previously to A.J. Lee. WWE could have easily pitted Tamina by herself, as she is clearly the strongest Diva on the roster on first impressions. Instead, she continues to wallow away in the background.
The timing of the Divas Revolution couldn’t have been any worse for Naomi, who appeared to be heading for a Divas Championship run after her heel turn took her down a completely different path. Instead of flourishing at the top of the division, the former Funkadactyl became part of the Beautiful and Dangerous stable that has very much been in the shadows during the revolution. The heel turn hasn’t been capitalised on at all and now that the smoke has settled, herself and Sasha Banka find themselves at the back of the line despite being genuine title-caliber competitors.
While WWE executives are patting each other on the back for the fine job they’ve done, they have done little to abolish the negative portrayal of women in the female division. The female talents are referred to as ‘Divas’, which effectively means women who are overly temperamental or entitled, while the male performers fall under the title of ‘superstars’. There’s no reason why WWE can’t take a page out of NXT’s book and simply refer to the women’s division as exactly that, rather than placing a title on the women that isn’t necessary. But then again, Total Women probably isn’t going to get picked up by E! any time soon.
2. Butterfly Title
To be blunt, the butterfly is stupid and demeaning. Not only is it out-dated, it looks ridiculous. It’s understandable that WWE wants to have a women’s championship that was established within the company, rather than the previous Women’s Championship, but it’s impossible to take the title seriously when it looks like little more than a giant earing. A complete title makeover is well and truly overdue to go hand-in-hand with changes occurring in the division.
1. Lana and Summer Rae
Tip, WWE, when you’re shouting from the rooftops that you’re going to “give Divas a chance” and allow them to flourish as genuine competitors rather than arm candy or a sideshow that isn’t worth more than a few minutes of planning, don’t roll with a storyline that features Lana and Summer Rae slapping and clawing at each other at the same time. It completely contradicts all the positive work that is being done to heighten the women’s division’s reputation, and makes the company look exceptionally hypocritical.
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