First and foremost, I want to vent my frustration regarding the Diva Division in the WWE. It has nothing to do with how the talent is treated inferiorly, it has nothing to do with the decision to push a model over a wrestler and it has nothing to do with the lack of creativity and/or time placed into the division. The frustrating thing about the Diva Division is that it has so much unused potential. The aforementioned issues are indeed problems within the division but to an extent, each can be resolved.
WWE seemingly lost interest in female talent once Trish left and it has slowly delved into the horrible mess it is today. Women’s Wrestling has always been considered as a lesser form of wrestling, incapable of headlining a major PPV when compared to their male counterparts. However, as female stars of the past and female matches of the past have shown us, they are more then capable to be a great addition to any card and they are more then capable to headline a weekly show.
Wrestlemania 22. HBK took on Vince in a No Holds Bar Match that blew people away and the match ended up being one of the best matches of the year. Also that year, Edge defeated Mick Foley in a great Hardcore Match and Rey, Randy and Angle competed in a very good Triple Threat for the WHC. However, there was another match that stood out on that card – a match that fans were indeed looking forward to seeing and one that did not disappoint in any sense. I’m talking about the Trish Stratus and Mickie James bout for the Women’s Championship. The match was great and the crowd going crazy for Miss James and her antics.
Trish and James were given a reasonable amount of time for their match and their match was treated with respect, in that it was by no means seen as an inferior match on the card but rather a superior match for the division, capable of making a mark on an event that was filled with many highlights.
In terms of headlining a weekly show, matches like that of WM22 are more then capable of doing so because believe it or not, the crowd can care for female wrestlers. Another example is the crowd reaction to Lita in her Cage Match against Victoria. The crowd was going bonkers for Lita and the love she received was easily equal to the admiration we show our male stars.
I bring all this forward because after watching the Beth and Vickie interaction this past week on Smackdown, my instant response to Vickie telling Beth that she will be facing her next week in a match was ‘Damn, if only Vickie could wrestle’. Vickie draws as much heat as any other top heel in the company and if she were able to wrestle, I believe people would be very interested because everyone would want her to lose. Vickie has lost her step a tad within the WWE world, but she still remains to be one of the best personalities and one of the most hated personalities in the entire WWE. She is the only female in the company today who is capable of receiving such a response. Mickie James is still loved and cheered, but because the company has dropped the ball with the star on a regular basis, she doesn’t receive the reception she could get. People still want to cheer for James, but the WWE isn’t giving us a reason too.
Let us not forget our champions, Maryse and McCool. Neither woman is particularly great in the ring but they are capable of having a reasonable match when matched with better partners. Both however have improved significantly in the ring since their debut and a tad more training and some matches of reasonable length with said better performers could assist them in becoming quite good. Trish was by no means a great performer when she began to wrestle but after years of training and after she gained some reasonable match experience, she developed into one of the best the wrestling world has ever seen. Sadly, for the two champions, the WWE won’t give women the time these days so they’re restricted in regards to development. McCool is in the better position of the two in that she could pick up some tips from her dead man.
More importantly is that both champions have the right ingredients to be great heels in the business. Maryse (for me at least) is the most interesting female in the company, her cocky attitude works wonders and the fact that she is hot and she knows it makes her even more endearing, but it could still develop further. If handled correctly, Maryse has a character that could easily draw as much heat as Vickie and all it would take is a few tweaks to her attitude. If she were to come to the ring and undertake an attitude where she tells everyone that they could only ever dream of being with her or actually being her, the crowd would hate her. She could tell each crowd how disgusting the men are in comparison to the French or French-Canadian men and she could look down her nose at the women in the given location and tell them they are a far cry from perfection, unlike herself. It would get under the crowds skin by suggesting that the children are equally as disgusting and how her future child will be the picture of perfection, because it has come from a womb that exists within a woman of perfection. It’s that simple, and the WWE could have an immensely hated star that people would want to see beaten.
McCool could take a leaf from the Jericho playbook and suggest that she is best in the world at what she does, in a female environment that is. Luckily, she has been given the honour of being crowned the inaugural Diva’s Champion and also the first diva in history to hold both titles. So rather then acting like a prepubescent girl with Layla, why couldn’t she boast about how great she really is and how no woman can compare to her in any manner.
With that said, Serena could be a great champion whilst she rides off of Punk. I’d happily accept Serena having the strap and Punk declaring that she is the best woman in wrestling today because she is straight edge and therefore, better then everyone else. She could easily get a great reaction from the crowd based on the heat that Punk receives and with Punk and Gallows getting in on the action, the crowd would love to see a Mickie or Beth dethrone the straight edge competitor.
The problem with the Diva Division isn’t lack of talent or lack of possibilities but rather a lack of effort placed into the division by company heads and creative. The Bella Twins for instance, are well suited in their current role but they could benefit from more ring action. I like the idea of an ongoing partnership in the division and whilst I think they won’t go anywhere together, I think they could be good ongoing partners and assist another face on a regular basis. In saying that however, splitting them onto separate brands and having both twins dominant and eventually meeting to see who of the two is the better would be a nice little idea.
Gail Kim is a big waste of talent. Gail’s ring work could easily adhere to the fans and it has proven to do so in the past. However, at the moment she is suffers from both a lack of action and mic time. In some respect, so does Beth Phoenix – she is always getting mini pushes but they always drop the ball eventually in favour of crap like bikini contests. Every female star suffers from this to some extent – Mickie, Melina and even Jillian who has been reduced to a joke with her horrible gimmick. It’s quite disheartening because Jillian can work a good match but this gimmick has reduced her to the role of a jobber.
Layla, as a character had potential too. Her current role as McCool’s partner in crime is fine but Layla was at her best with Regal – she had an interesting aggressive streak like Regal himself. Like Jillian, it’s sad how the characteristic was dropped in favour of being a sidekick. Of course, she has always suffered from a lack of ability but like I said previously, Trish wasn’t the best when she first stepped through the ropes.
In the past two years, the WWE have released Candice and Maria. Candice was starting to look great in the ring and the crowd was warming to her with each passing week. Maria was arguably one of the most popular women on the roster and she was able to produce a better match then both Eve and Kelly Kelly, yet they release her. Candice and Maria were far better then Eve and Kelly but I suppose that is another issue in itself, in that the WWE prefer to push untalented models over an immensely superior star.
There are also rumours that Awesome Kong could be snatched up by WWE after departing TNA. Seriously? The WWE would kill Kong. Sure, they would push her at first but after she is defeated by another star (say a Mickie, Beth or Melina) and used to make them look great and then she would likely be dropped into a Snitsky or Mark Henry-like role and be used as a joke for backstage segments rather then a talented and dominant competitor. Then, it’s likely she’ll be released.
As I previously stated, the problem with the Diva Division isn’t the lack of talent or the lack of possibilities but rather a lack of effort placed into the division by company heads and creative. As I’ve highlighted, the division could be picked up in a matter of weeks and turned into a reasonable platform capable of producing good quality feuds and matches. At the moment, The Diva’s are not anywhere near the same league as the superior Knockout’s. It’s like the Diva’s are a conference team whilst the Knockout’s are of a premiership standard. It’s a shame because the ingredients are already there, but the recipe just needs a little tweaking for it to be a perfect understudy for the leads.
Until NXT time…..