WWE Divas: Evaluating Candidates to Step Up with Eve Torres Gone
With Eve Torres' highly publicized departure from WWE this week, the depleted Divas division is in more of a terrible state than ever.
The company will miss her. The talented Torres was a massively under-rated performer: She could wrestle, she could talk and she just brimmed with personality and charisma. Indeed, her obnoxious, two-faced heel character has been a highlight of WWE TV for the past year.
She'll be difficult to replace, that's for sure.
But who is up for the job of carrying the division with Torres gone? Well, there are a few candidates both on the main roster and in developmental. No doubt these girls would love the chance to step up, if only the company would let them.
With this in mind, let's evaluate their suitability for the role of top Diva...
With her good looks and sultry charisma, Lithuanian Diva Aksana will likely always get some sort of a push in WWE.
But is she fit to carry the division as Divas champion?
In a word, no.
Sure, she has the personality, photogenic appearance and marketability, but the woman is, quite simply, an awful wrestler. Despite being under contract since 2009, and therefore having years to have learned her craft, she's still as terrible and botch-prone as ever.
It's hard to pinpoint one match specifically that perfectly highlights her incompetence as a performer (there have been so many), but her woeful bout with Kaitlyn on last month's SmackDown may be the most glaring example.
Hey, have you ever seen anyone apply a headlock for 90 percent of a match, like Aksana did there? Heck, even Randy Orton, back in his heel days, drew the line at that.
Can the star be an asset to WWE in the future? Of course. She's a great manager, for instance. But to step up in Eve's absence? Absolutely not.
Funkadactyl Naomi is undoubtedly one of the most under-rated performers in the company. During her stint on NXT two years ago, the former cheerleader showcased a jaw-dropping athleticism rarely seen in WWE Divas. She looked to have the potential to really go places.
Sadly, after the contest ended, WWE decided not to capitalize on her skills, instead sending her back to developmental for a while before calling her up last year as a back up dancer to Brodus Clay.
While this role is perfectly fine, it's a waste of her considerable talents. She should be wrestling, not dancing as part of some mid-card comedy gimmick.
It also makes you wonder what the company is thinking when they choose to keep her on the sidelines, but give the likes of Aksana and Rosa Mendes regular in-ring time.
Is it any wonder the division is in such a state?
Of course, even if WWE did decide to separate her from Brodus and Cameron and push her as the next big women's wrestler soon, there would still be problems.
As we saw from her clunky bout with Eve at the TLC pay-per-view (her only match on the main roster to date), she suffers from a fair amount of ring rust and looks a little lost in there at points. Oh sure, the talent is still there, but she needs to wrestle a whole lot more to get the experience needed.
Naomi can almost certainly be a player one day. It will just take some time and patience. But for all her potential, she's simply not fit to carry the division right now.
OK, so third-generation Diva Natalya has the wrestling skills. She has the charisma. She has the famous name. She is also exceptionally pretty, something that should be an asset in the image-obsessed WWE.
So, why on earth doesn't she get a better push? Why does she get stuck with one awful storyline after another? A romance angle with The Great Khali? To quote The Miz, "Really?" "Really?"
Sadly, at this point it is possible that Natalya has been treated a joke for so long that fans would refuse to accept her in the role of a serious wrestler ever again, even if the company made the effort with her again.
With her wrestling ability and promo skills, former WWE Divas champion Layla El has all the talent needed to replace Eve.
Layla is also, it has to be said, far better in the role of the catty, snotty heel. As a babyface, she's rather bland and doesn't seem like as much of a star. No wonder her profile over the past year has plummeted (can anyone remember the last time she was on TV, anyway?)
Ideally, WWE will rectify their mistake and turn her heel on route to her winning the Championship again. And hopefully they will do this before the fans forget about her entirely.
Out of all the women we've seen on NXT, British Diva Paige (AKA Britini Knight) has, by far, the most potential. In fact, despite being a relative newcomer to the business, her in-ring efforts are notably superior to many of the women on Raw and SmackDown right now.
Of course, while she thrives on the developmental show, in remains to be seen how she would fare on the main roster. What if she gets called up and burdened with an awful gimmick? (Natalya could tell her a thing or two about that). What if she struggles to get a good match out of some of the more clueless wrestlers in the division and comes off looking bad herself?
Paige has potential, sure. But we'll have to see how she copes after a few months on the main roster before deeming her fit to carry the division.
With Eve gone, A.J. Lee is now the only woman that is still booked like, and treated as, a genuine star by WWE.
With this in mind, inserting her back into the Divas division seems like a good idea. She can help make the division seem relevant again. She's a decent wrestler and talker, and positively emanates a crazy, quirky charisma .
What's more, with her recent heel turn, and aligning herself with Dolph Ziggler, she is guaranteed to get a strong reaction from the crowds in the arenas. This would make a refreshing change from the silence that usually greets most women's matches in WWE.
Of course, the company seems reluctant to use A.J. in the women's division (maybe they feel it's a comedown), so there remains the question of whether she will ever even get the chance of showing off what she can do in the ring.
Per the storyline, Kaitlyn sent Eve packing this week, defeating her on Raw for the Divas Championship and sending the star into such a rage she ended up quitting.
Their match was, by current Diva standards, actually pretty good, with Kaitlyn entering a spirited and gutsy performance. The crowd went crazy for it, too. This was easily the best bout of her patchy WWE career.
Of course, then the company unwisely decided to put her against Aksana, again, on SmackDown this week. Their bout was, predictably, terrible. Who in WWE thinks putting these two against each other, time and time again, is a good idea? And why is this person still employed?
It remains to be seen if Kaitlyn can be the top star the company clearly wants her to be.
OK, she has the marketable looks and she's over, to an extent. But her in-ring skills are still lacking. On the bright side, if her terrific brawl with Eve is any indication, she is slowly getting better. Who knows? Maybe she can turn into a great wrestler some time soon? The potential is there, surely.
But please, WWE. Just keep her away from Aksana.