Carmella's MITB Briefcase Has Crippled the WWE SmackDown's Women's Division

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

To say Carmella's Money in the Bank victory has adversely affected the women's division on SmackDown Live would be an understatement the size of her enormous personality.

Since she captured the coveted briefcase in June, the division has come to a screeching halt.

Talented individuals have been left directionless and storylines are nonexistent. There are matches for the sake of matches, no one ever really looks better than anyone else, and the WWE Universe is left perpetually awaiting the moment the attitudinal Superstar cashes in her guaranteed title shot.

Carmella's eventual ascension to the top of women's wrestling will help the division in the long run, but getting to that point has been tough sledding for the women of Tuesday nights.

          

Directionless Talent

The SmackDown Live women's division is made up of a wealth of talented individuals.

Charlotte is fresh off an incredible 2016 that saw her develop into the face of women's wrestling in WWE. She headlined pay-per-view, television and captured the women's title multiple times while making history with seemingly every performance.

Becky Lynch may be the best pure worker of all WWE's female performers and, as the Money in the Bank Ladder matches proved, the most beloved on the SmackDown women's roster.

Tamina has been a wrecking machine since re-emerging on Tuesday nights, while Naomi is a dynamic and athletic performer and Lana brings with her strong character work the likes of which her peers have trouble matching.

Unfortunately for all involved, they are directionless for the time being.

Even SmackDown women's champion Natalya has no apparent direction. She won the title at SummerSlam, but other than her interactions with Carmella, she has little direction or character development to speak of.

There is no forward momentum or end game for any of the talent involved. Instead, they are booked in matches each week to meet the female quota for the show. There is the obligatory tease of Carmella potentially cashing in her briefcase at any time, but that does not a quality division make.

We know Carmella can cash in whenever. Fans have been through the Money in the Bank shtick all too often. Sacrificing progression and evolution of every other woman on the roster because one Superstar might possibly cash in her title opportunity on an unsuspecting champion is detrimental to the growth of the division and negates the idea of a Women's Revolution.

That's primarily because WWE would then create the same issue that faced it in the past: the inability to develop characters and stories for its female talent beyond the title picture.

            

Nonexistent Stories

As of press time, the only story that exists in the SmackDown women's division is Lana's quest to light a fire within Tamina and guide her to the women's title.

On the September 5 episode, fans witnessed the latest chapter in Carmella's growing frustration with James Ellsworth, but, again, that all ties into the potential for a cash-in at any given time.

What about Charlotte and Becky Lynch? Why has Naomi been so OK with Natalya beating her at SummerSlam and taking her title? Speaking of The Queen of Harts, why has her title reign been defined (thus far) by a lack of readily apparent and relatable characteristics?

There is no storylines or arcs for fans to follow.

Lynch and Charlotte might team up one week to battle Natalya and Carmella, and they might win the match, but there is no advancement or follow up. They do not vow to regain championship gold or band together to conquer the division.

Instead, it is dropped in favor of refocusing on Carmella maybe, possibly, perhaps one day cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase.

Simply put, waiting for the impending cash-in has created a scenario where the entire division is on lockdown until that moment occurs. It is almost as if WWE Creative has put all of its eggs in that basket like it cannot bother to devote any time or attention to developing stories for women outside the title division.

We know it can create angles and programs for its male Superstars outside of the main title picture.

Look no further than Kevin Owens, who is gearing up for a significant rivalry with Shane McMahon, proving he can remain at the forefront of the brand without having a title around his waist or challenging for one.

Given the talent of the women the brand has at its disposal, there is absolutely no reason for any of them to go underutilized. Especially Charlotte, who was a star on par with any of her male counterparts on the Raw brand.

          

The Solution

Book the cash-in as soon as possible.

Everyone knows Carmella is getting the women's title sooner rather than later, so why not pull the proverbial Band-Aid off and get it over with. Take the self-imposed handcuffs off the creative team and let it get back to telling multiple stories.

Otherwise, it feels all too much like the company is biding time, going through the motions and devaluing its own female roster for the sake of executing the moment everyone already knows is coming.

SmackDown Live used to be home to multiple segments devoted to its female Superstars. Fans could tune in and see Naomi feuding with Alexa Bliss while Lynch waged war with Mickie James.

There were numerous stories, multiple segments and the sense that the blue brand actually valued the women's division to the point that it would be essential to its identity.

Since booking Carmella to win Money in the Bank, laziness and a lack of emphasis has doomed the division to mediocrity and crippled it creatively, leaving it a shell of its former self.

Related

    TNA Loses Its TV Deal in the UK

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    TNA Loses Its TV Deal in the UK

    Corey Jacobs
    via Wrestling News

    Twitter Reacts to Top Stars and Moments of Clash of Champions

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Twitter Reacts to Top Stars and Moments of Clash of Champions

    Erik Beaston
    via Bleacher Report

    Clash of Champions Highlights and Low Points

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Clash of Champions Highlights and Low Points

    Anthony Mango
    via Bleacher Report

    Biggest Stars of Clash of Champions

    Pro Wrestling logo
    Pro Wrestling

    Biggest Stars of Clash of Champions

    Kevin Wong
    via Bleacher Report