Just four months ago, if you were a female wrestler in the WWE and you wanted to be a champion, you had to wrestle on RAW. All well and good if your name was Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Melina, or Candice Michelle, but for the girls on SmackDown, well they had to make do with the odd two minute match just to pad the show, none of them meaning anything.
Since the creation of the Divas Title at the Great American Bash in July, the SmackDown Divas division has improved tremendously, despite their silly reliance on Star on a Pole and Furry Dice on a Pole matches, to get to within a shade of the TNA Knockouts division, but still way behind the very competitive RAW Divas division, where Beth Phoenix currently has three legit contenders for her title.
SmackDown could have been like this as well, had it not been for the woman on top.
Michelle McCool came into the company via the 2004 Diva Search, and for about a couple of years after that, was mainly a valet for various wrestlers. After a spell in OVW, McCool returned and started wrestling regularly, getting involved in a feud with Victoria. She was then involved in the feud between Chuck Palumbo and Jamie Noble, which helped her gain some attention.
Around this time, reports on the internet linked McCool to a backstage relationship with The Undertaker, a relationship which has not publicly been acknowledged by either party. Since then, many have noticed The Undertaker's influence on McCool's work, both in the ring with McCool using submission holds such as the Brazilian Heel Hook, and outside the ring, which appears to have earned McCool some bad headlines.
In recent weeks, it had been reported that McCool had fallen out with several other WWE Divas, most notably Maryse and Natalya, who McCool accused of not knowing how to work WWE style, despite Natalya's vast wrestling experience and heritage, and McCool having only been in the business for four years.
Since these reports emerged, both Natalya and Maryse's pushes have been reduced, with Natalya now in a comedy tag team with Victoria, and Maryse taken off TV after having beaten McCool in a non-title match, allegedly working stiff on her in the process.
In fact, on the debut edition of SmackDown on MyNetworkTV, McCool faced Beth Phoenix in a Champion vs. Champion match, and the match ended with Phoenix giving McCool the Glamslam unprotected, suggesting that even Phoenix has issues with McCool's backstage attitude.
In recent weeks, McCool has worked a programme with Maria, suggesting initially that McCool was to turn heel, with her making various comments about Maria's lack of intelligence and other facets of Maria's personality. This all built up to a Divas Title match on last night's SmackDown, which many thought would either lead to Maria winning the title, or McCool turning heel.
Instead, McCool dominated Maria in two minutes, and submitted her to the Brazilian Heel Hook. This only served to make Maria look weak, and in a division where Natalya and Maryse have had their pushes stalled, and Victoria has been a Jobber to the Stars for the past two years, now only the Bella Twins serve as a viable threat to McCool, and their characters haven't fully been established yet.
This may prove that knowing a sure fire Hall of Famer intimately makes you untouchable in your field, and for all we know, WWE could well place Gail Kim on SmackDown to feud with McCool, but for the time being, with all her rivals being held down for one reason or another, Michelle McCool appears to have made the SmackDown Divas division as dull as dishwater.
Unless they're planning on having the Bellas feud with her, it may take Gail Kim or next year's draft with Melina or Mickie James moving over to make SmackDown worth watching again as far as the Divas are concerned. Until then, may the SmackDown Divas, as McCool's "friend" may say, REST IN PEACE.