WWE's Rendezvous with the Real Deal: Neglecting of Divas—Whose Fault Is It?
"WWE Divas? Why Am I even investing all my time, my money, my cable, my eyesight, my breath, my energy on such women who don't intrigue me anymore, except for when they are NOT Wrestling?" - Fan 'X', who represents the opinion of the majority when it comes to the women of wrestling.
"WWE Divas? Their inability to wrestle like the divas of the past aside, can we at least give them some credit and stop blaming them for everything?" - Fan 'Y', who represents in the minority in the aforementioned debate
The state of women in wrestling has really declined. Women are no longer perceived as athletes who could take you down if they wanted to—instead, they're perceived as models who are better off NOT wrestling.
What is my opinion on divas in wrestling? Are they still relevant enough to talk about?
Their talent aside—which I feel is underrated—I believe their relevance as WRESTLERS is diminishing.
So, in this article, along with woman's wrestling enthusiast Mariah Hewitt, I explore the problems concerning the present state of wrestling's women.
Analyzing the Talent Which the Divas Possess
Before we start passing judgement, we need to correctly analyze the current state of the divas in WWE.
Whenever a diva match is on, fans generally ignore it. The small part of the Internet wrestling community that is genuinely concerned about wrestling—not the pomp and show—can tell you that divas can, in fact, wrestle—they just don't get their due.
For others, women's wrestling will be tough to appreciate. And I won't blame them—we hardly get to see actual wrestling from the divas.
I believe the divas are talented—they CAN WRESTLE—but because they don't get any time to show their skills, many of us dismiss their act.
Of course, when I compare them with wrestlers like Lita, who had a varied move set and was interesting to watch in the ring, today's divas won't necessarily measure up. But does that mean that they can't wrestle?
If the male wrestlers of today can't match up to the legends of the past, does that mean we should dismiss them, too?
To put forth my point that the divas can wrestle, but are just not allowed the time to show their skills, I will list a few good diva matches.
The most recent match was the Beth Phoenix-Eve match at Vengeance. The divas got a good time slot for their match—and the result was something worth watching.
Here are some others:
Alicia Fox vs. Eve (WWE Money In The Bank, 2010)
Alicia Fox vs Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix vs Gail Kim (WWE RAW 8/10/09)
Survivor Series Divas Elimination match 2009 (2009—the year the voices of the majority became popular)
Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool (WWE TLC, 2009)
Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool (WWE Extreme Rules, 2010)
Eve vs. Beth Phoenix (WWE Vengeance, 2011)
There are a handful of other matches which I did not include here. But if you find the time to watch these matches on YouTube, you will realize that all of them had some serious in-ring action.
As you can see, these divas surely can wrestle. All they need is some exposure. They may not measure up to the divas of the past, but if given time they could at least justify the five minutes of pure in-ring action they get, entrances and introductions inside.
The Web Woven by the WWE and the Fans
As I clearly mentioned in my last slide, the WWE Divas can, in fact, wrestle. Still, we need to analyze how the divas lost relevance in the span of four years.
There are two theories.
A) The fans, for whom the product is manipulated, might simply have given up on the divas.
B) The WWE, for the sake of fans, may have reduced the impetus on the divas.
A) The WWE, for some reason, may have stopped seeing the divas as commercially strong entities and may have reduced the impetus on them.
B) The fans, in return for a less seriously-pushed Divas division, lost their interest in the division.
Out of these two theories, the second sounds more apt to me. As fans, we wouldn't magically lose interest in something overnight.
Case in point—fans would never simply lose interest in the divas overnight and provoke the WWE to de-emphasize them. No fan could suddenly lose interest in a Trish Stratus-Lita storyline. Why would they, if the storyline is so captivating?
But what if the WWE barely gave the two divas the chance to make their cases—would the fans be intrigued? I don't think so. Theory B wins!
Once the WWE, for some reason, lost interest in the divas division and stopped pushing it as they pushed it in the past, what happened?
Continue for further explanation.
Reduced Focus, Leading to Lack of Seriousness Towards the Divas
Basing my opinion on the theory that the WWE is the root cause of the fans' disinterest in the divas division, I will now explain how the two points mentioned in the last slide are interlinked.
Once the WWE reduced their focus on the women of wrestling, they gradually started to scout for models who could be trained to wrestle a bit, rather than scouting for skilled and talented women who could be given a few lessons on dramatics to provide an intriguing storyline.
This need occurred because of the WWE's decision to reduce focus on them as wrestlers. Since the WWE decided not to entirely get rid of the division, they had to come up with a way to market the divas in a small time frame.
Enter Team Eye-Candy!
Now, I won't blame the hired models, for they too undergo some training before joining the main roster—and they do perform well enough for me to invest my time on them. But I'm a laid-out wrestling mark, not your next-door wrestling fan.
Once these trained divas show up in the main roster, the emphasis on their in-ring skills gradually decreases and the emphasis on their looks increases. This has resulted in the fans' altered view of them.
How does this happen? Read further.
Commentary, Marketing and Presentation of the Divas: Changed Emphasis
Japanese Women Wrestlers are wrestling in the ring, pulling moonsaults and DDT's on each other. The match goes on for a good twenty minutes. What do you expect the broadcasting to talk about?
The match and only the match.
In the present day, two recently trained models who are rarely made to wrestle have a match on RAW. They're jumping around the ring and making shrill noises—all they've mastered in three months with the company.
What would you expect the commentary team to talk about? They surely wouldn't recite the maneuvers used.
The commentary will shift from the in-ring action to the photo shoots which these divas are engaged in when they aren't wrestling. How do you expect the fans to take the divas seriously as wrestlers if the commentators themselves are barely concerned about what is going on in the match?
The commentators are talking about various magazine cover-conquests. A commentator like Jerry The King is giving us a hundred reasons why the concerned diva is hot and won't go out with him.
Is this really going to make the fans take the women seriously as wrestlers? No, it won't.
All this happens because the commentators are left to deal with new entrants into the WWE, who are still learning to wrestle. They are getting money for keeping the audience intrigued and what else can they talk about?
"WOW! Excellent shrill tone by Kelly-Kelly there."
"Mahn! Maryse sure can jump for no apparent reason."
Ultimately, one will be forced to talk about things outside the ring.
I don't fully blame the divas for the non-serious commentary—partly the commentators are at fault for being so casual when the women are wrestling—but once you replace trained athletes with people who are still learning to wrestle, such things are inevitable.
And this is exactly what has happened. The divas are gradually being marketed in such a way that the emphasis is more on their beauty than in-ring talent.
The Fans Compliment the WWE, Fully Well
Once the WWE stops seriously focusing on the divas and starts pushing them as models meant only for casual viewing, the fans follow suit.
They too, start to perceive the divas as models who occasionally wrestle.
In my opinion, we fans are puppets at the hands of the WWE. We have the tendency of eating out of their hands. The WWE puts their power to the best possible use.
Once the WWE starts presenting divas as non-serious athletes, we too, stop expecting much from them.
This is exactly what has given rise to the very famous IWC belief: that diva matches are bathroom breaks.
So the WWE's decision not to push the divas with the same amount of vigor gives rise to the fans' complete withdrawal of interest in divas as wrestlers.
Emphasis on divas as simply models.
But in this intricate web woven by the WWE and the fans, we've forgotten someone really important.
Who would that be? (The answer is in the next slide)
The Divas—Who Can Wrestle If Given a Chance
We've forgotten that the divas can, in fact, wrestle—which was our cry in the first place.
Before I go further, I would just like to highlight one thing. I mentioned in the fourth slide that the commentators don't get enough skilled in-ring action to talk about. I want to explain something here.
Here's what we've been left with:
Unsatisfied and skilled wrestlers leaving the company.
Models given barely enough training to sell a two-minute match.
A roster dominated with divas who might/might not be interested in wrestling, who are given two minutes all the same, regardless of their lack of talent.
And the result: IWC's proverbial pi**-breaks.
My question to these fans is: How can we be blame the divas when they are hardly given enough training and exposure to gain experience as wrestlers?
Like the men, these women are employed by the WWE and are pretty much on the road 250-350 days a year. The only difference is that, unlike the male wrestlers who spend much of their time wrestling, these divas rarely wrestle.
And when they do get to wrestle, they only get two minutes—not enough time to make their cases.
Give them some time in the ring to learn, and they could prove to be good wrestlers.
Simply stated: If the company wants you on tour as many days of the year as possible, and the amount of training time is negligible, you don't stand a chance to be taken seriously.
Women of Wrestling—Great Past, Bleak Future
WWE divas have had a great past. At present, they are shells of their former selves and need a revolutionary change to return to glory.
The future looks bleak, but the current Divas of Doom have provided me with hope.
This article is my offering to Women's Appreciation Week and I am signing off with the simple sentiment that "Divas can Wrestle—They just need a chance."
I will add nothing more. Thank you for being my audience.
* * *
Want to know what independent wrestler Bacardi thinks about the women of wrestling? Check out my interview with her from almost an year ago here.
Want to know what the Japanese women's wrestling legend, Manami Toyota, is all about? Check my article out on her here.
Also, check out the other articles written which celebrate women appreciation week here on bleacher report.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!