What's the Future of WWE Intergender Matches After Becky Lynch vs. Ellsworth?

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterNovember 8, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

Becky Lynch tore at James Ellsworth's arm with the Dis-arm-her, forcing Carmella's bootlicking lackey to tap out on Tuesday's WWE SmackDown.

Questions emerged after the bell. Was that man-against-woman clash an anomaly or a trendsetter? Was that foray into intergender wrestling a sign of things to come?

The tone of the bout and WWE's recent history suggest otherwise. As much as having its women collide with its men would expand the company's options and create some great moments along the way, WWE isn't likely to follow up on Lynch vs. Ellsworth.

It was easy to get psyched up for this match.

Lynch and Ellsworth had a good amount of bad blood between them, built up over several months. He has long been the pest buzzing in her ear, tugging on her cape just as she's set to soar into victory. The Irish Lass Kicker was able to serve up some comeuppance on Tuesday to capitalize on all that.


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It's hard to blame folks like ESPN.com's Tim Fiorvanti for getting hyped:

But the way the in-ring story played out hinted at this being a one-time dip into something different, not a precursor for a shift in accepting intergender wrestling. The bout was mostly played for laughs, for one.

As Kyle Decker of Cageside Seats noted: "The match was pretty much dumb fun. It was never going to be a serious exhibition. This is the most we're getting out of intergender matches in WWE."

In addition, so much of the pre-match narrative focused on their genders.

WWE dubbed this the Battle of the Sexes. Carmella's loyal sidekick spat out every misogynistic cliche one could think of. Ellsworth had his manliness questioned.

That hints at the WWE brass having a narrow view of what intergender wrestling can be.

It took the company until just three years ago to start truly showcasing its female Superstars. Regular intergender wrestling would be a huge step beyond that. Fans shouldn't expect that to happen anytime soon, if at all.

Becky Lynch hoists up James Ellsworth on Tuesday's SmackDown.
Becky Lynch hoists up James Ellsworth on Tuesday's SmackDown.Credit: WWE.com

The last WWE intergender match of note before Lynch vs. Ellsworth was back in 2003 when Stephanie McMahon went up against her father Vince McMahon. The company has since been far more protective of its image. It's tried to sell itself as family entertainment.

And judging by the lack of intergender wrestling since, WWE believes that to mean an avoidance of the image of a man and a woman beating each other up in the ring.

If fans want to see the full scope of the art of intergender wrestling and want to see women and men go at it regularly, WWE isn't going to be the place for it. One should instead go seek out Candice LeRae's work on the independent circuit or check out Lucha Underground.

As for WWE, intergender wrestling promises to be a novelty the company only rarely explores.

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