Top 5 Things WWE Can Do to Immediately Improve the Divas Division
The Divas division is in an interesting state right now.
AJ Lee had held the WWE Divas Championship for 295 days when a debuting Paige took it from her on the post-WrestleMania episode of Raw. It was a dramatic moment that renewed interest in female wrestling at a time when poor booking had rendered it stagnant.
Unfortunately, the planned renaissance doesn't seem to have occurred. Divas matches are still regarded by many as the right time for a toilet break. It seems unlikely that anything worthwhile will happen in the division until AJ Lee returns.
However, there are a number of things the WWE could do immediately to make Divas matches worth watching.
5. Stop Using Divas as Damsels in Distress
Few would consider Brie Bella's involvement in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship storyline to be a success.
In fact, were it not for her awesome slap to Stephanie McMahon's face at Payback, she would essentially be a spare part to the whole thing. She has spent most of the last few months screaming unconvincingly whenever Kane appears.
Booking Divas in this way, as the classic damsels in distress, is detrimental both to the male feuds in which they appear and to the career of the Divas themselves. It would be hard to believe in Brie Bella as a valid contender for the WWE Divas Championship when the only thing she seems to do is follow her husband around. She is much better than that and deserves recognition for her skills.
Unfortunately, she and her fellow Divas will not get that recognition if they are simply used as currency to rile the male characters.
4. Stop Taking Storylines from Total Divas
The influence of the Total Divas reality programme is a real thorn in the side of the Divas division.
At least once a week, a meaningless match between two Divas plays out solely in order to promote the programme.
Recent bouts involving Natalya, an excellent in-ring worker, have been motivated by a vapid storyline about some bad paintings. There is at least a chance that this could result in a heel turn for Natalya, which could go some way towards solving the inherent problem with having a female roster made up almost entirely of babyfaces with no heel champion.
Total Divas is the reality show. Raw and SmackDown are the wrestling shows. As soon as the company realises this, the better it will be for everyone.
3. Craft Lengthy, Meaningful Feuds
Many of the most dramatic moments in professional wrestling come about as a result of long-running feuds. The Divas division is no exception to that rule.
Trish Stratus and Lita had a rivalry strong enough to headline Raw. The former also engaged in a very memorable feud with Mickie James, based around Mickie being a slightly creepy and obsessed fan of Trish.
WWE Creative simply is not willing to put that much effort into a Divas feud any more. Presumably some effort will be made to construct something with Paige when AJ Lee returns, but there's no reason it can't happen now with someone like Tamina, Alicia Fox or former foe Emma.
Paige has defended her title at both pay-per-view events since WrestleMania, but in both cases the rivalry has ended immediately after that match. Her rivalry with Alicia Fox could easily have been developed beyond Payback, but it seems that the WWE has pushed that angle away in favour of mounting an angle involving Cameron.
One of the easiest ways to inject some fun into the Divas division would be to give Divas a reason to fight each other beyond championship gold.
2. Give Divas Some Mic Time
This has been one of the biggest problems plaguing the Divas division in recent months.
On the male roster, time on the mic is a valuable commodity in terms of constructing a character and being able to get that character over with the fans. Divas are very rarely given any opportunity to talk, which means that they have far less time to create an interesting persona.
It isn't enough to give Alicia Fox five minutes of tantrum after a match. That's only about 50 percent of a character.
Fans of NXT have seen that Paige is very capable on the mic, but she has hardly been given a chance to open her mouth since her debut. If there's one thing the absence of AJ Lee has illustrated, it's that she was literally the only Diva the company was willing to hand a microphone.
Characters can grow and develop on the mic. With more time, this could really benefit the Divas division.
1. Make Divas Matches Longer
The biggest problem for Divas in the WWE is that they simply aren't given enough time in the ring.
When asked to name the best Divas matches of the last few years, a lot of people would likely mention Paige vs. Emma from NXT Arrival and Charlotte vs. Natalya from NXT Takeover. Both of these matches were lengthy, technical bouts that were not scheduled as a buffer between matches deemed more important by Creative. They were marquee fights featuring hugely talented competitors.
Short matches could even be to blame for the fact that Paige's star has waned rather quickly after some strong booking in her early main-roster career. The brief amount of time her matches are given only really allows for one basic narrative. It seems like every week she takes a beating and then stages a plucky comeback.
Paige, Natalya, Emma and many other Divas on the roster have shown that they are capable of shining in longer matches. The WWE would be able to add real prestige to the Divas belt if they were willing to give their characters more time between the ropes.
After all, no one's going to mourn a Hornswoggle vs. El Torito segment.