WWE Diva Debate No. 12

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

WWE Diva Debate No. 12

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    Welcome to the twelfth edition of Diva Debate!

    This week, the winner of the "Greatest Diva Ever!" tournament is revealed and profiled. Which Diva carried your votes to a victory? Find out inside.

    Also inside is a look at the current problem with the Divas division within World Wrestling Entertainment and why a pay-per-view title defense only magnifies the problem.

    As usual, the week that was in women's wrestling will be recapped and a brand new way for readers to get involved with Diva Debate will be announced.

    So, on the eve of the 2013 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, sit back, relax, and spend your Saturday afternoon with Diva Debate.

Thanks for Your Patience...

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    First things first:

    I want to take this opportunity to thank the Diva Debate readers that were more than patient with me last week. The scheduled Diva Debate article was not posted due to my third bout with bronchitis.

    Add to my illness the fact that women's wrestling in the two major North American companies was hard to come by and I did not feel as though there was ample content for last week's article.

    I apologize for any inconvenience.

The Greatest Diva Ever Is...

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    Over the last few weeks, Diva Debate readers cast their votes in the “Greatest Diva Ever” tournament in hopes of helping their favorite to victory. Lita and Mickie James withstood tough competition to make it to the finals and now, a winner has finally been declared. Your “Greatest Diva Ever” is...Lita!

    The fiery redhead made her debut in World Wrestling Entertainment in early-2000 as the manager of Essa Rios. She would help him to a Light Heavyweight Champion in his first appearance and would make a name for herself by emulating his high-flying offense, often times at the conclusion of one of his matches.

    After a loss to Matt Hardy, due in part to interference from Lita that backfired, Rios would assault his valet, delivering a vicious power bomb and moonsault to her before the Hardys made the save. From that point, Lita and the Hardys would be linked, in some fashion, for the next five years.

    As a part of “Team Extreme” Lita gained a fan following unmatched by any woman in wrestling history. She was sexy, athletic, and could do a number of the high-risk maneuvers the men did. Fans ate it all up and Lita became almost as over as even the top stars in the industry. She appeared in Rolling Stone magazine and in commercials.

    Lita was fresh and exciting, and fans reacted accordingly.

    The Hardys’ rivalry with Test and Albert in the summer of 2000 would prevent Lita with the rival she would forever be linked with. Trish Stratus was the complete opposite of Lita. She was a former fitness model with dyed blonde hair who, at the time, could not tell the difference between a wrist lock and a hamburger. The dichotomy between the two was an immediate hit, with fans desperately wanting to see Lita get their hands on the blonde bombshell from Toronto, only to be disappointed when she, somehow, escaped.

    The feud would lead to July’s Fully Loaded, where Lita and the Hardys would take on Trish and T&A. Lita stunned audiences by performing her signature moves on her male opponents before finishing off Trish with a moonsault. The win would not be the end of the rivalry. Instead, it was only the beginning of a feud that would run, on and off, for six years.

    Over those six years, they would engage in some of the greatest matches in the history of women’s wrestling, including a December 2004 match that was the main event of Raw and, arguably, their best together. In 2006, Trish wrestled her retirement match at Unforgiven, defeating Lita to win her final Women’s Championship.

    Together, Lita and Trish revolutionized women’s wrestling on the big stage of World Wrestling Entertainment and provided audiences with matches that will live forever in the company’s annals. With Trish’s Hall of Fame induction nearing, it is only a matter of time before Lita takes her place amongst the sport’s all-time greats.

    At the height of her popularity with the Hardys, Lita was offered the opportunity to guest star in Fox’s Dark Angel program, which starred Jessica Alba. It was a big step for her as it proved there was interest in her outside of professional wrestling. Unfortunately, during the filming of the show, she attempted a hurricanrana and landed awkwardly on her neck, breaking it.

    The injury would put her out of action for over a year.

    During her time away from the ring, Lita stayed present on WWE television, working as a commentator on Sunday Night Heat. She did a decent job for someone with no broadcasting skills prior but it was evident that she did not have the passion for it that she did for wrestling. In September of 2003, she returned from her injury, saving Trish Stratus from a beat down at the hands of Molly Holly and Gail Kim, setting up a match between the two teams at Unforgiven.

    In December of 2003, Lita and Trish continued their teaming ways, meeting Chris Jericho and Christian in the first, and only, “Battle of the Sexes” at Armageddon. The product of an ill-advised bet between the men, the match featured Lita and Trish taking out their frustration on their Canadian opposition, only to fall short of pulling off the tremendous upset.

    Skipping a over a very awkward on-air relationship with Kane that lasted a number of months, a very real situation that had made headlines outside of sports-entertainment bled into World Wrestling Entertainment television.

    An affair between Lita and Edge created a heated triangle between them and Matt Hardy, one that saw Hardy make threats that, ultimately, got him fired from the company. Unable to deny the chants by an audience who had been made aware of the Lita’s fling with Edge off-screen, the company made a risky move and turned their most popular female figure heel.

    Lita added a new dimension to the self-proclaimed “Rated R Superstar”. She was the sex-kitten that someone claiming to be sexually explicit and violent, as Edge and his awesome t-shirt needed to reach the next level. Edge on his own was incredibly talented and entertaining but add Lita to the mix, giving him a pawn he can use to manipulate any situation or match.

    In the fall of 2006, Lita’s contract with World Wrestling Entertainment was coming to a close and she made the decision to step away from the company after six very successful years. At the Survivor Series, she defended the Women’s Championship against Mickie James. Passing the torch to the future of the Divas division, Lita unceremoniously rode off into the sunset after being poked fun at by fan-favorite tag team, Cryme Tyme.

    In the years that have passed, she has made several one-off appearances on Monday Night Raw, as well as on a few DVD releases.

    One of the most influential women in sports-entertainment history, Lita made women’s wrestling cool again. She single-handedly put an emphasis back on what a woman could do between the ropes, all the while remaining a sex symbol for a new generation. Her accomplishments are many and her influence is strong.

    And now, she is Diva Debate’s “Greatest Diva Ever!”

Addition of Divas Title Match Magnifies Problem with Women's Wrestling in WWE

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    Earlier this week, it was announced that Kaitlyn versus Tamina for the Divas Championship had been added to the Elimination Chamber card.

    Usually, this would be a major coup for the title and competitors. However, the impending match shows a much larger issue within the company.

    The match was added to the card with no build-up and, more damning, no appearance by either woman until the last Smackdown prior to the event. That’s right; despite “earning” a spot on Sunday’s pay-per-view card, neither Kaitlyn nor Tamina appeared on either Raw or Smackdown in the weeks following the Las Vegas showgirls debacle, outside of Tamina’s squash victory over Layla on Friday night.

    There has long been a belief that the Divas exist only to give fans a break between the more important main event competitors. They provide a buffer between the hottest matches on the card in an attempt to allow the audience to cool down from one match before the second huge contest gets underway.

    On the heels of a Kaitlyn-Eve rivalry that resulted in very good matches and crowd reaction that is typically missing from Diva matches, it is very disappointing that the company has somehow managed to allow the Divas to fall back into the same inconsequential spot they had been in prior to that feud.

    With Wrestlemania around the corner, there was reason to believe that the Divas would play less of a role, what with major returning Superstars starring on Raw and Smackdown. But the fact that they have been so inexcusably tossed aside, only to be pulled out of mothballs to fill a spot on a card that could have been given to the Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars match is ridiculous.

    How can any fan be expected to take anything Kaitlyn, Tamina, or the rest of the Divas are involved with seriously when the company in charge of promoting them does not?

    It remains a distinct possibility that Kaitlyn and Tamina have a tremendous match Sunday night at Elimination Chamber. But if a match happens, and no one (including management) cares, does it really even matter?

Week in Review: Gail Kim Wants a Title Shot...but She's Not the Only One

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    On Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, Knockouts Champion Tara teamed with Gail Kim and Jesse to meet the team of British Boot Camp standouts Marty Scrull and the Blossom Twins. The match was far more competitive than most probably imagined it would be, with the twins looking very impressive but, in the end, Gail secured the win for her team following Eat Defeat.

    After the match, she would get on the microphone and make her want for a Knockouts title match known. Brooke Hogan would then appear and announce a huge Fatal Four-Way elimination match featuring Tara defending her title against Gail, as well as Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher.

    The match will take place on this coming Thursday’s Impact Wrestling and should, finally, put some focus back on a Knockouts division that has struggled to gain momentum in 2013 after a disappointing 2012.

Week in Review: Tamina Is Dominant...Again

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    On Friday’s Smackdown, Tamina soundly defeated Layla for the second time in as many months. The win gives her momentum heading into Sunday’s Elimination Chamber title match against Divas Champion Kaitlyn.

    Whether or not the latest push, if you can even call it that, is the beginning of something big for the second-generation Diva as 2013 continues remains to be seen.

    Even though it is more likely that she is simply the challenger of the month.

Diva Debate Readers, It's Your Turn to Get Involved...Again

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    In Diva Debate No. 10, I mentioned that I would do a little “fantasy booking” and reveal to you my all-time card for a fictional “Diva Mania” event. After weeks of internal debate, I have decided to turn that topic over to you, the Diva Debate readers. So here is how this will work:

    You, the readers, can craft a six (6) match card in the comment section below. The card should use any of the Divas of today and the past and can feature any gimmick matches the women of WWE have ever competed in. They can be Triple Threat Matches, Fatal Four-Ways, Chicago Street Fights, Leather Strap Matches or they can be the more fan-friendly match types, such as Bra and Panties, bikini contests, etc. No woman should be used more than once on any given card.

    Beginning with next week’s article, and lasting until Wrestlemania 29 on April 7 (or as long as interest deems necessary) I will choose a given card from the comment section, give credit to its creator, and preview each card at the end of the article.

    It is a simple, yet fun, way for Diva Debate readers to stay involved with the article, all the while receiving recognition. If reader demand is great, the number of cards I randomly choose to feature in the article may double.

    If you would like to submit a card to be featured in a future edition of Diva Debate but do not have a Bleacher Report, you can submit them to me at my Twitter account. Send your card to @ErikBeaston. Be advised, however, you may have to send a number of Tweets to fit everything in.

    I look forward to reading through everyone’s proposed “dream card” and featuring them in the coming Diva Debate articles. As always, I thank you, the readers, for your continued support and reading.

Next Week

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    In next week's Diva Debate, we take a look back at the week that was in WWE and TNA. Who will leave Elimination Chamber with the WWE Divas Championship? Will Tara once again successfully retain her Knockouts title against the three top women in Impact Wrestling?

    Next week will also be the first time Diva Debate readers have the opportunity to have their dream "Diva Mania" cards selected for inclusion in the article. Make sure to get your cards submitted, either by the comment section below or at the Twitter account mentioned inside.

    Finally, in the first step of a countdown to this year's Wrestlemania, one of the great Divas matches from years past will be covered. Will it be the triple threat match featuring Trish, Jazz, and Victoria from Wrestlemania XIX? How about Victoria versus Molly from Wrestlemania XX? Find out inside Diva Debate 13.

    Until then, enjoy Sunday's pay-per-view event. We are officially on the road to Wrestlemania and it should be exciting to find out where your favorite Divas will factor in to the biggest show the sport has to offer.