One doesn't have to look far or very hard to see the numerous problems facing women's wrestling in the modern era.
It used to be that you had two schools of thought with regards to women's wrestling: The approach that the WWE has been using since (pretty much the end of the 'Attitude' era), and the approach that TNA used to use.
Just what were these approaches you might ask?
Well, turn on Monday Night RAW or Smackdown, and you'll see where WWE stands on the issue.
Step one: Take a model or supermodel (usually off the radar) looking for their 'big break" or what not, or find someone who fits the physical profile of a model.
Step two: Toss them in a skimpy outfit and throw them out in the ring.
Note: Don't bother teaching them an actual wrestling move set. Really, all they need to do is jump around, and throw a few kicks. Screaming a lot helps too, but their basic job is to look pretty.
Step three: If you have a woman wrestler that actually has talent (Mickie James, Beth Phoenix or Natayla), bury them in the roster or encourage them to leave the company.
Meanwhile, the ones without much talent (Michelle McCool, a Eve, a Kelly Kelly, a Layla), get the spotlight as long as they want it.
If the above formula irked you as much as it has me, it was okay, because you had options.
You used to be able to go over to good ol' TNA, and watch women with talent get into the ring to mix it up, and show what they could do.
With a talent line up that included women such as Daffney, Alissa Flash (Aka Cheerleader Melissa), Roxxi, Awesome Kong, Hamada, and recent additions such as Tara and Mickie James, TNA really put up a great show and closed the distance between American wrestling and wrestling in places such as Japan, where women's wrestling is not only taken seriously.
However, it is not uncommon for a woman to challenge and even beat a male wrestler. (A feat Hamada has done a few times.)
Sadly, as soon as Eric Bischoff came to TNA, that started to change, mostly due to Eric's complete and utter lack of respect for women's wrestling.
His blind adherence to the "Sex Sells" mentality helped one forget that a woman can be sexy as hell and still kick some ass.
This led to what I like to term the "exodus from TNA".
Awesome Kong, Alissa Flash, Roxxi, Daffney, ODB, Hamada, and Taylor Wylde are a few who either left on their own or were fired, released from their contract, not being re-signed, or who have just disappeared from television appearances.
In exchange for these talented women, TNA has gained Lacey Von Erich (who later left the company, despite improving her wrestling skills during her tenure), Mickie James, and Tara.
The trade offs seem to be a bit lop-sided.
TNA is losing more women's wrestlers than its receiving—a trend that is sure to continue as long TNA management continues to drop the ball with storylines.
So what is so horrible about TNA's knockout storylines?
For starters, there is no real storyline to speak of.
Currently, you have Madison Rayne, the knockouts "champion" (and I use that term in the the weakest definition one can possibly use) who "won" the belt when Tara laid down for her.
It was a bad idea when Kevin Nash did it for Hulk Hogan in WCW, and it was a bad idea when TNA brought it back.
It's a bad idea since to keep the belt, Rayne and TNA have relied on the same, tired old formula: Mickie James gets title match, Tara interferes with match, Rayne uses loaded glove and knocks Mickie James out.
The process weakens James. It weakens Rayne. It weakens the Knockout's title.
However, when you think of women's wrestling like Eric Bischoff does, such petty stuff doesn'treally seem to matter.
Never mind the years and years of hard work these women have spent to get where they are today.
Sadly, the problems are not limited to the Knockout title, which would be bad enough and alone could cripple a division.
I present as example two, the "feud" between Velvet Sky and Sarita.
With Velvet Sky and Sarita, there is no doubt at all.
You just know that Sarita will win, usually by via various shenanigans.
At the end of the day, Velvet Sky, who has shown frequently in the indies (and at times in TNA when they let her) just how talented a wrestler she actually is, is forced to job to Sarita in a manner that doesn't achieve anything.
TNA wants to push Sarita, and I get that. But her complete and utter lack of ability to deliver anything resembling a promo or a segment really hampers that.
It also does not help that this feud is currently DOA.
TNA, you want a feud. You want fans to pay attention to this?
You have to find a way to give Velvet a win, and more than one. Usually pay per views are great places to do this, but sometime soon, you need to give Velvet Sky some momentum.
So what to do to fix it?
Simple. Realize what TNA in the pre-Bischoff era knew.
1. Women can look sexy AND kick ass at the same time.
2. Let women showcase their skills, and show what they can do.
3. Let some of the still-active pioneers of women's wrestling do what they do best: break through to new ground and new areas.
4. Let women's wrestling be actual, honest-to-God wrestling, instead of models jumping around and cat fighting to appeal to the old, outdated modes.
Women's wrestling in WWE doesn't draw viewing or interest.
It serves as a time to hit the bathroom and concession stand. If TNA doesn't get back to what they used to do with women's wrestling, they will end up in the same spot.
Just relax, take a deep breath, and let the women wrestle.
Let them learn their art and craft and show what they can do. Continue booking an awesome match idea such as Tara vs Mickie James in the steel cage, or do another last knockout standing match, only a bit better this time.
Better yet, look at recent developments of ODB's rumored return, the pretty solid tryout match Isis the Amazon and Leva Bates had against each other this past Tuesday.
Use them and the current knockouts to help rebuild the division.
Women's wrestling is one part of the original TNA that must make a comeback if TNA plans to survive.
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