Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I want to preface it by saying I am aware that I’m just “some fan”, and I know there are talents in the business who say that fans don’t know the entire story. I can agree with that, and I certainly don’t claim to know much of anything; especially anything “inside” the business. However, what I do have is 29 years as a wrestling enthusiast-transitioned-from-fandom. Sure, I am a fan, but I’m no one’s “fan boy”. I can see things on my TV screen and take them as they are, or I can peel back a layer or two and look a little deeper.
That being said, I am going to don my booking hat if only partially. I’m not here to write storylines and give them away for free. However, I will give some general direction ideas here, and this is what I think would help bring attention back to women’s wrestling in WWE – the good kind of attention. It’s not really good when your segments/matches are referred to as “bathroom breaks”; regardless of who is saying it. That should never be in the forefront of anyone’s mind.
Influx of Youth/New Talent
The first thing I would recommend doing (and I really hope this is part of the ‘plan’ for 2014), is to breathe some new life into the division by bringing in new women to infuse into weekly television. There are a handful of NXT Divas who could be brought up to television now; assuming Creative had something in mind for them. Paige, Emma, and Sasha are the first group that come to mind; Charlotte would be right after them (I’d find her a role if she wasn’t ring-ready yet). There are also established women on the Independent Circuit that deserve a shot at the WWE stage. Bringing up talent from NXT and signing new talent would do wonders for this division. Of course their success would mostly depend on …
Creative Writing Compelling Storylines
A big problem with the Divas division currently, is the lack of storylines in general, but especially concurrent storylines to the Diva’s Championship. It seems as though Creative can only write for the Champion and the “flavor-of-the-month” challenger. I say that because it seems like feuds don’t last longer than that. If you see a story on TV that doesn’t directly involve the Diva’s Champion, then it involves the Total Divas cast and those against the cast/show. That is what I like to call lazy booking.
With three hours every week on RAW, two hours on Smackdown, and one hour on Main Event and Superstars, there should be no reason there can’t be multiple storylines involving the women of the WWE. Your main storyline should include the Divas champion and her current challenger. The story just underneath that should be about maybe the next two contenders in line. Or perhaps a number one contender’s feud. Other Divas in the division should have more minor stories but stories nonetheless. If nothing else, character development promos or vignettes would suffice.
Give the WWE Universe Reasons to be Invested
Another one that isn’t really too complicated, yet it appears that way on TV. Personally, I enjoy storylines where the women are involved in some way with the male talent on the roster. As I write this, there is a storyline going on at Impact Wrestling involving Chris Sabin, Velvet Sky, and Austin Aries. Is the story perfect? No. Is it a little hokey? Sure. However, I’m invested in it, even though I’m not a religious TNA watcher. (Thank you YouTube.) Why am I invested? The point of the story is the face Knockout is being treated poorly by her heel boyfriend (and IRL boyfriend), and trying to be “rescued” by a popular male face character. Not complex booking, but it gives the audience a reason to be interested.
Part of the problem, is that even when new Divas debut, or new feuds begin, the audience isn’t given a reason to care. No one is featured (except the champ), and there is no backstory, no history, no reason to care. Thus, the audience doesn’t and that’s why there is so much apathy.
Bring Back Favorite Divas Who Can Still Contribute
I don’t know what the issue is, I don’t know what the disconnect is, I don’t know what the negotiations were/are… but the bottom line is this is an area where WWE has dragged their feet. Mickie James, Victoria, Maria, and Kharma are four women that come to mind, who could easily contribute to the Division and make it exciting. I’m not going to get into the reasons that these four are not in the WWE currently, but I will say that at least Mickie James has already spent a week at NXT training the up-and-coming ladies.
The reason they should be brought back? In the cases of Mickie James, Kharma and Victoria, they can wrestle. They are veterans, and would be able to anchor the Divas division. Yes, I am aware of their age. I’m not saying they should run the joint, but they would make a significant contribution and could teach along the way. While they are at it, putting Sara Del Rey on TV and in the ring wouldn’t hurt either. The reason I mention Mickie, Victoria, and SDR is because….
The Divas Division Benefits Most from Women Who Can Wrestle
Those who can wrestle can stay active wrestlers, and those who can’t and are being forced into the ring before they are ready (if ever), need to be reassigned another role on TV. There are plenty of roles for women outside of the ring. Backstage interviewer, color commentator, manager, valet, etc.
Those who make up the bulk of the division should be women who can wrestle, work a match, tell a story, and make the crowd buy-in. That way there are matches with less botches, and it would lend credibility to the matches, to the women, and make the audience tune in instead of change the channel, fast forward, to take the dreaded bathroom break.
If the WWE would just do something with the Divas that resembled any sense of anything I’ve outlined here, it would be a vast improvement. Leaps and bounds ahead of what we have now. Oh, and stop letting talented women ask for their release. Make them want to stay and be a part of the action.