There was once a time where pro wrestling was only a man's sport. For two people to get into a ring and compete in grueling, physical competition is just not ladylike. However, as time progressed, women began to hold bigger parts in the sport which included a lot more than accompanying a man to the ring.
In 1983, the late Fabulous Moolah defected to the WWE from NWA, where she reigned as their Women's Champion. Upon her arrival to the WWE, she was recognized as the first Women's Champion. During this time, the WWE brought in more women such as Sensational Sherri, Wendi Richter and Miss Elizabeth. However, the WWE deactivated the division in 1990 with Rockin' Robin as the final champion.
The WWE reinstated the division in the mid-90's with Divas such as Sunny, Sable, Chyna and Marlena (Terri Runnels). This worked well in the WWE's "Attitude Era," as the women were as risque as possible, which pleased the mostly-male audience.
Fast forward to the early 2000's. Here, we saw a new breed of women enter the WWE in Lita, Molly Holly, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus. However, of all the women that came into the WWE during that time, it was a man who made all the difference in the division.
Dave "Fit" Finlay gained recognition in the mid-90's while wrestling for the now-defunct WCW. He was a rough brawler who ended up in mid-card obscurity. Vince McMahon's purchase of WCW left many of his former competitor's wrestlers wondering what they would end up doing. Many ended up being left in the dust. However, a lucky few were brought to WWE, and fortunately for Finlay, he was one of them.
Unlike most wrestlers who were brought in from WCW, Finlay didn't gain an immediate on-screen role. Instead, he was hired as a trainer for WWE. It was no coincidence that this was arguably the best time for women's wrestling as well.
Finlay has trained numerous former Women's and Divas Champions such as Molly Holly, Gail Kim and Trish Stratus. Unfortunately, in 2006, Stratus retired, Holly had left the WWE and Kim went to TNA. However, Finlay remained a trainer for the Divas division.
Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool and Melina began a new generation of Divas in the WWE. Finlay had a big hand in the matches these Divas took part in, and the WWE fans were enticed. These Divas competed throughout the rest of the decade until suddenly, things took a turn for the worse.
In March of 2011, Finlay was released for authorizing a segment in which The Miz interrupted the National Anthem at a house show to the dismay of several National Gaurd members in attendance. The man who had worked hardest for the Divas division for the past 10 years was now gone from the company.
Since Finlay's departure, the WWE has seemed to lose interest in the Divas. There are few women with actual wrestling ability such as Phoenix, Natalya and Tamina Snuka, but they don't get nearly enough TV time. In all fairness, though, there isn't enough talent to put on quality matches.
It seems as though there aren't any trainers who have the interest in developing the declining division like Finlay. While he was working for the company, Stratus, Lita, Ivory, Victoria and Mickie James were giving the fans some of the best women's matches in wrestling history. The biggest reason fans don't show much of an interest in the Divas is because they're into quality wrestling. The current so-called wrestlers are not that. They are exactly what the WWE has trademarked them as: Divas.
Can Kharma save the WWE Divas division?
Many people are expecting Kharma's return to be the saving grace for the Divas division. However, it's going to take a lot more than that. Without a quality trainer such as Finlay who helped develop the division, the WWE is not going to show an interest in giving anymore hype to the women of the company. Unfortunately, Finlay has just signed on with ROH, so there's little hope of him returning to his backstage role in the WWE anytime soon.
It's unfortunate to see the work that so many women and one very dedicated man go to waste. It's hard to imagine anyone ever doing or even having the ability to do what Finlay did. Although nobody expects to see him in the WWE anytime soon or for things to improve in the Divas division, you never say never.
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