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Current WWE Booking Threatens the Women's Revolution It Once Championed

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2021

Credit: WWE.com

The Women's Revolution that WWE heralded with the arrival of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks to the main roster in 2015 and culminated in the first women's main event in WrestleMania history, is under attack from the same company's lackluster and uninspired booking of the division.

Sure, the company still books historic main events, and then spends months patting itself on the back for it, but the current usage of its female talent and effortless creative has created the impression that, maybe, the so-called revolution it worked so hard to instigate is no longer a priority.

How so?

Look no further than a nonexistent tag team division, a half-assed Queen's Crown tournament and the undeveloped roster beyond those same three women who have dominated the scene for the last six years.

         

Queen's Crown Farce

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There was reason to be concerned about the state of women's wrestling in WWE before the Queen's Crown kicked off last Friday night on SmackDown, but the execution of what should be a rather significant tournament has exacerbated the issue instead.

Through the first round of competition, which featured four matches, the company allotted the women involved just eight minutes, 15 seconds of ring time. The longest match (Natalya vs. Doudrop) came in at just 3:00, while the shortest (Shayna Baszler vs. Dana Brooke) was an insulting 1:25. 

This is the tournament that is supposed to crown the first Queen of the Ring, a moment WWE would have hyped and promoted ad nauseam while touting the history around it and its continued efforts to promote women's wrestling on a grand scale.

Instead of booking it like a big deal and really putting women's wrestling at the forefront of its programming, though, it reduced it to a 180-second afterthought at best. 

By comparison, every match of the men's tournament except Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn (8:00), eclipsed the total amount of time given to the entire women's bracket. 

It is insulting to the female wrestlers who have worked hard to get to the point they are in their careers, and to the fans who trust the company to be the premier source for women's wrestling on a grand scale.

We really should have seen it coming, though.

        

What Tag Team Division?

In February 2019, WWE crowned its first women's tag team champions in over 30 years when Bayley and Sasha Banks won the titles inside the Elimination Chamber. Since then, those belts have become the cuckoo in the nest of the division.

For the most part, they have been thrown on two mismatched singles competitors, with no real rhyme or reason why. Sure, there was the underrated Kabuki Warriors run and a solid feud with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, but even the latter pairing was put together out of a lack of anything else better for them.

The current champions, the newly rebranded Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley, are former singles champions who are outside of that title picture so WWE threw the belts on them to keep them busy.

That the company continuously splits up tag teams, be it The Riott Squad, Natalya and Tamina or Shotzi and Nox, only further illustrates how little it cares about those titles or values the actual concept of women's tag teams.

It is yet another indication that the effort and attention that went into the Women's Revolution, when the company was gung-ho about pushing the art form to its fans with WrestleMania main events and all-women pay-per-views, has been diverted elsewhere.

        

How Does WWE Fix It?

First, it can start by relaxing the focus on the same handful of competitors.

We get it: Lynch, Flair and Banks are the pillars of the division. They are the stars, they win the championships and headline the PPVs. They are only as good as the talent around them, though, and failing to put the effort into building an undercard only risks staleness.

Look how over Bianca Belair is. The company made a concentrated effort to get behind her from the Royal Rumble onward, and she has developed into one of its biggest stars.

Not everyone is The EST of WWE, though. She possesses rare charisma, athleticism and confidence. She belongs in that spot, she knows it and the crowd buys into her there.

Imagine what a bit of effort could do for Liv Morgan, though. Or Toni Storm. Or Zelina Vega. How about Naomi, who has repeatedly proved herself, only to have her pushes disintegrate as a result of the company's erratic booking.

The talent is there. WWE has spent years amassing a roster that is nearly unrivaled in the industry. Unfortunately, it took its foot off the pedal, satisfied with promoting the same handful of performers in repetitive matches and segments. It has halted the momentum of women's wrestling in its own company by refusing to see those couple of stars and rightly faces criticism for not evolving.

The company has spent the last decade relying heavily on its stars and half-assing any booking beyond its main event, so it really shouldn't be a surprise that the women's division finds itself in a similar position.

The difference is women's wrestling has not always been an easy sell to the masses. It took a ton of work by all involved to get the Evolution PPV on air; and to get Lynch, Flair and Ronda Rousey to the main event of WrestleMania 35. 

Just because it lucked its way into a megastar in the form of Lynch does not mean the company can rest easy now. It must refocus on the rest of the roster, giving its female members time to develop their in-ring game, on-screen personas and characters.

Otherwise, the company fails its roster, fans and most importantly, itself. If it doesn't develop female talent, someone else will.

There are options and not just All Elite Wrestling.

Impact Wrestling has one of the deepest, most diverse and interesting women's divisions in the world, headed by one of the best wrestlers on the planet (and WWE cast-off) Deonna Purrazzo. Major League Wrestling is comprising its division. There is also Shimmer, home to so many women now competing on TV for major promotions.

WWE once championed women's wrestling on a grand scale, but it's currently failing it. Someone better refocus Vince McMahon and the rest of the creative team because, just like the rest of the industry has, women's wrestling is ready to pass him by. 

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