Notes from a Fangirl: WWE's Divas Division Needs Demolition for Redemption
When I was five years old I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My mom was working two jobs, my dad was trying to stay sober and figure life out, and my sister was too cool to hang around her nerdy younger sister. Yes, I was a nerd at five but that is neither here nor there.
My grandfather was a tobacco-chewing, curse-word-slinging, John Wayne fan and I was a pro-wrestling-loving, barbie-feet-chewing, little ball of energy but we did have some common ground. We both enjoyed late-night cowboy movies and the San Diego Chargers. He was a longtime season ticket holder and I was just getting into the excitement of the game.
When I was old enough to have decent control of my bladder, he took me to my first game at Jack Murphy Stadium (now known as Qualcomm). The stadium was beat up, run down, but felt like the coolest place in the world at the time. Eventually the stadium was sold but never really got the face-lift it needed. The Chargers want a new stadium and Charger fans want them to have it. Have you seen Qualcomm on television lately? It is embarrassing.
So what does this have to do with pro wrestling? The reason Qualcomm hasn't gotten a face-lift is because it would be cheaper, faster and more effective to just build another one. Leaky ceilings, faded blue plastic seats, etc. all need to be replaced not just repaired. I feel the current state of the divas division is headed in the same direction. In order to build the divas back up to their former glory, this newer, more sparkly butterfly belt division needs to be demolished.
It is no secret that a lot of fans have a problem with the divas. If you click on numerous articles on this very site about the divas and scroll down to the comment thread, you will see many either stating that a divas match is a perfect time for going to the restroom or fast-forwarding to skip it altogether. Even the crowd can be seen getting up to use the bathroom or buy some nachos and barely give the girls a pop when they come out.
This hasn't always been the case. Back before the ridiculous Divas Championship, LayCool and The Bella Twins, we had the Women's Championship. A belt that mimicked the men's and stood strong to represent the past women who had held it and the women who competed for it. This belt had a history and an impressive list of champions: The Fabulous Moolah, Wendi Richter, Sensational Sherri, Alundra Blayze, Sable, Lita, Victoria, Trish, Chyna, Molly Holly, etc.
These women built up the division and made the fans take notice. They commanded respect and the audience's attention. This was evident on December 6, 2004. For the first, and only, time in WWE history, two women, Lita and Trish, main-evented Monday Night Raw.
For me, this was a great time in the division. Lita and Trish were fierce competitors. They brought it 100 percent every time and they were in good company. Molly Holly, Jaqueline, Victoria, etc. were all women who went as hard as they did, so no matter who was facing who, you knew you were going to get a quality match.
In the seven years since, the division has had a roller coaster ride, with very few highs and many lows. Perhaps the lowest being in 2010 when the belt died, with Layla as the official last women's champ, unifying it with the Divas Championship belt. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin.
Since then the talent-to-sex-appeal ratio has been off-kilter. Are the current divas hot? Definitely. Are they sexy and edgy? Of course. Can they bring it in the ring? Not all of them. The few women who can actually wrestle have either been future endeavored or are misused. The fact that WWE let Mickie James and Gail Kim go shows you that the divas just aren't a priority.
If that does not spell it out for you, chew on this: The current divas champion wrestles like a noodle but because she is squeaky-clean, blonde and stacked—i.e. marketable—we get her as the champion.
Beth Phoenix and Natalya can actually work, but even they cannot carry the other divas and instead of pushing the other girls to grow more in the ring, WWE has tried to make Phoenix and Natalya more like the other Divas with skimpier, shinier ring attire. Those two are beasts in the ring but when put in the mix with Kelly Kelly and Eve, it isn't their skill that is left shining bright, it is their loud makeup and cheetah-print granny panties.
There is little WWE can do to actually salvage the current diva division. Aside from some fairy dust falling on Kelly Kelly, Eve, The Bella Twins, etc. and magically giving them in-ring ability, the only real solution is getting rid of it completely and building it back up at a later date—a date when there is time, energy and talent development invested into making it a quality product.
I have no problem with having a squeaky-clean, All-American for champ if she can bring it in the ring but as long Playboy-type looks come first and in-ring ability second, there is no hope. Though I have been a long-time supporter of the divas, even I am rolling my eyes and skipping their matches these days.
I would rather have no divas at all than continue to be subjected to these lackluster matches.
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