Ronda Rousey would have saved what was an otherwise-dull main event between Becky Lynch, Bayley and Shayna Baszler at Survivor Series last Sunday, but it was unfortunately not meant to be.
Since Rousey's departure from WWE following her loss of the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 35, WWE's women's division has fallen considerably from where it was one year ago. The Four Horsewomen (Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair) have done a decent job of keeping things afloat, but their rehashed rivalries haven't made up for Rousey's absence.
Lynch vs. Bayley vs. Baszler fell flat, and it illustrated how desperately WWE needs Rousey back to restore significance to the women's division. Without her, it hasn't been nearly exciting as it once was.
To be fair, the women's divisions on Raw and SmackDown should be about more than just one woman. Between the two brands, there is an abundance of exceptional talent, but the company has failed to make most of the talent matter over the course of 2019.
Ember Moon, Lacey Evans, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville also showed promise at various points but never amounted to much. Meanwhile, Bayley and Banks have been refreshing as heels recently, but not even their character work has been enough of a reason for fans to get invested in the SmackDown Women's Championship scene.
That isn't to say WWE's perception of women's wrestling in WWE would improve instantly with Rousey in the fold again, but there is zero question that she was the most dominant female performer they've had in years and played a pivotal role in the women headlining WrestleMania 35.
It's become painfully apparent that WWE has run out of fresh ideas for Lynch, who has reigned as the Raw Women's champion since defeating Rousey for the belt at The Show of Shows in early April.
She has knocked off all comers to her championship including Lacey Evans, Natalya and Sasha Banks. Although she was on the losing end of that Triple Threat at Survivor Series, she still found a way to end the show standing tall over her opponents.
That would have been as good a time as any for Rousey to resurface and rekindle her rivalry with The Man, but Rousey was nowhere to be seen. Of course, the decision to come back is up to her, but that doesn't mean WWE can't build up exciting opponents for her while she's away.
To Lynch's credit, she has done everything imaginable to remain relevant, but she's only as compelling as her next challenger. Outside of Baszler, there isn't anyone on the Raw roster who stands out as being on Lynch's level, meaning it may be many months before we finally see her lose that title.
Lynch vs. Rousey one-on-one is all but guaranteed for when the former UFC Women's Bantamweight champion returns and would indeed be worthy of the WrestleMania billing. However, nothing else comes close to feeling as special, a serious problem WWE must address.
After all the good Rousey did to elevate women's wrestling in WWE to heights it had never before reached, it seems as if the division has regressed with her gone. That can be blamed on the company putting all of their eggs in the Ronda Rousey basket and not giving other ladies an equal chance to break out.
Rousey's rookie year in WWE has to be considered among the best in company history, which started with her stealing the show at WrestleMania 34 and concluded with her main eventing it one year later. Lynch benefited from beating her (even if the finish came off awkwardly) but hasn't been as interesting without a strong heel to play off of such as Rousey.
She barely scratched the surface in wrestling and still has a lot left to accomplish inside the squared circle. No one knows for certain whether she'll ever compete again, but perhaps we'll get a better idea in the coming months as WrestleMania quickly approaches.
In the meantime, WWE should be making an extra effort to create new stars so they don't have to wait until notable names like Rousey and Trish Stratus come out of retirement to shine the spotlight on women's wrestling.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.