The announcement of the Women’s Royal Rumble match, while monumental, requires a bit of explanation.
It’s an announcement that many saw coming from miles away. Any fan who follows the day-to-day rumors of the WWE will know rumors of a Women’s Royal Rumble match have been circulating for months now. It makes sense too as the division has been knocking down firsts since 2016. The women’s division has been one of the most exciting parts of both Raw and SmackDown, and they’ve competed in matches that would have been unthinkable as far back as three years ago. These matches include an iron-woman match, a Hell in a Cell bout, more than one Raw main event, and two Money in the Bank ladder matches. A Rumble match was only a matter of time, and we’re just waiting for an all-female Elimination Chamber to round everything off.
So, when Stephanie McMahon appeared on Raw, many knew what was up. The next major event is the Royal Rumble, and McMahon seems to be the one to deliver the big news for the division. While many fans were critical on how the WWE trotted out the news that they will host the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, one can argue it’s historical significance deserved all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a McMahon appearance. And, quite frankly the weight of the announcement does make the whole situation proceeding it feel a lot more genuine.
Yet, when everything was said and done, it wasn’t the uncharacteristic coming together of the entire division that had us talking—it was the lack of a real explanation of what they’re fighting for. There was no mention of a championship opportunity at the end of the match or even a trophy like the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. There was just the announcement that the event will happen, but no explanation of why aside from the line about knocking down another first and proving the Women’s division is on par with the men’s.
Alexa Bliss was among the names in the ring during the announcement (she came out during the brawl to comfort Nia Jax after she was attacked), and she holds the Raw women’s championship. Generally, with a few exceptions, the Royal Rumble event works as a gateway to WrestleMania where a star wins and gets a shot at the championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All in the main event. For the women's Royal Rumble, that doesn’t seem to be the case. There was no mention of any prize really except for glory, but that doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
It’s true that the early incarnations of the Royal Rumble event didn’t have as much at stake, and in many ways, it’s a great way to give fans a bit of a surprise with returning stars and the like. But the match itself has become such an important story point in the most exciting part of WWE’s year that depriving the Women’s Royal Rumble of any stakes makes the event feel less special. That’s not to say it isn’t special—because it most certainly is—but McMahon’s speech about the women’s division being on par with the men's will feel a little less special because of it.
Still, there is plenty of time to explain what the women are competing for. An argument can be made that Bliss was in-ring during the announcement because it would feel strange to not have the woman who is the focal point of the show in the picture, but it does seem kind of confusing.
Hopefully, this issue is addressed in the coming weeks, and we have a clearer picture of what the women are fighting for. Anything less would feel almost like a missed opportunity. This is a chance for the WWE to truly do something special with the Women’s division, but they need something to compete for.