Pocket Volcano: Kill the Divas division

Okay, who amongst us believes that WWE takes their women seriously? Raise your hand. I’ll wait.

No hands? Okay, is there anyone out there who believes WWE has any interest in promoting serious female wrestling? Show of hands.

No hands again. This is good. Lets see if we can go three for three. Who believes that the women’s division is an interesting, captivating part of WWE? Hands please.

As I suspected. Much like myself, few of us have any faith in WWE anymore when it comes to their women’s division. If they want to see great female wrestling, they know to go outside the company. The question is, what should be done about it? My solution is this:

Get rid of the Divas division. Have no female wrestling on any of the shows or cards. Retire the Divas Championship. Let Beth Phoenix be the last holder of that meaningless belt.

Extreme? Absolutely. However, there are precedents, albeit usually when the current holder of the title leaves WWE under less than pleasant circumstances. In 1990, then-champion Rockin’ Robin left the company without dropping the belt. The title was deactivated until 1993, when Alundra Blayze won a tournament to crown a new women’s champion. We know what happened with her in early 1996. Again, the title was deactivated until 1998, when it was Jacqueline who won the belt. Lastly, in 2001 when Chyna was the champion, she left the company without dropping it. However, given the talent in the division, it was quickly reactivated in November of that same year.

Having no female wrestling division in WWE has been done before. Let us be honest, how much of an impact does a 2 minute match on RAW have on your basic fan? If anything, it gives the fan in the audience a chance to relieve their bladder or buy some merchandise. It gives the fan at home a chance to get a beverage or a snack. Except for those die-hard Diva fans, those 2 minute matches mean nothing. (Is it even fair to call it a ‘match’?) Eliminating it would not diminish ticket sales, DVD sales or anything else money-wise.

Am I calling for all the women in the company to be fired? No, I am not. There are some women who have great personalities and, if anything, competing in the Divas division is not giving them a chance to show their character and charisma. The solution to this is obvious – transition some of them into manager or valet roles. You may be wondering if I have certain names in mind. As a matter of fact, I do. Read on…

AJ Lee

Come on, she’s an authentic geek that is cute as a button. She has personality even when she doesn’t speak, which is a great asset. Plus, a good manager does what she can to make sure her charge wins the match. She could easily get in there and fire off a missle dropkick when the referees’ back is turned. Pairing her up with Daniel Bryan feels like it could work. Michael Cole is forever saying Bryan is a geek – well, now he’s dating a hot geek apparently (that is, if they follow up on that kiss; given how storylines are dropped on a whim in WWE, by the time this article is published, AJ and Bryan could be feuding). Birds of a feather and all that. AJ is a woman who appeals to men and girls looking for someone to look up to. Definitely a keeper. If the Bryan angle does not work out, she could go for a more traditional role of manager, aligning with someone to watch their back, like Lita was with the Hardy Boyz at the start.

Kelly Kelly

The fact she is the most popular woman in WWE can’t be overlooked. Traditionally, she has done very well when partnered with a male – Balls Mahoney, Drew McIntyre, Edge. More people were interested in the former two when she was in an angle with them, and she actually defended the latter’s World Heavyweight title in a mixed tag match, which boosted her. I think Kelly would be an ideal valet, along the lines of Miss Elizabeth - not really interfering in the match, rather cheering on her man from the side lines. With her, a partnership that is built up into a relationship, like Elizabeth with Randy Savage, would be the best way to go. Being a valet would also help her flesh out her character, and perhaps give a shine to possibly an under-to-midcard talent. It was certainly helping Drew McIntyre before he was consigned to the abyss.

Maxine

To be fair, I have not seen any of this season’s NXT, therefore I have not seen Maxine’s work. However, going back to the “infamous” Season 3, Maxine was decent on the mic. From all that I have read, she looks to have improved and made a partnership with Derrick Bateman that has allowed both to shine. She strikes me as an old school type of manager, like Marlena (Terri Runnels) – loud and willing to distract whenever necessary. Whenever she makes the move from NXT to either Smackdown or Raw, if Derrick isn’t with her, I would put her with a man who doesn’t have the necessary mic skills but can get the job done in the ring. Tyson Kidd comes to mind.

Kaitlyn

She has a charisma that needs to be nutured and cultivated. Since it looks like the Chickbusters are no more, what better way to bring it out than to put her with someone who could compliment her? Plus, with the fact that she has a great physique and was a power lifter, Kaitlyn could easily fit in the mold of Chyna. When she first came into the WWF, Chyna didn’t speak – she let her actions speak for her. Given the proper build up, the “hybrid Diva” could become an intimidating force. So much the better if she does develop matching mic skills. I feel there is potential in Kaitlyn, but with the way things are now, she is lost in the shuffle.

Beth Phoenix

She is the second most over woman in the company, and despite her mic skills being fair to decent, she has an appeal and a charisma all her own. When she was paired with Santino Marella, it was an interesting combination that boosted him and made her look even more formidible. We got to see some of the comedic side of Beth, which if you saw her in SHIMMER you got a taste of. She is capable of playing more than just the strong, silent type but that part of her personality has been stifled in WWE. Partnering her with someone like Santino (stronger on the mic than in the ring) would be a good fit. Sure, it would be a waste of her in-ring skills but lets be honest – in the last year or so, the women she has faced aren’t exactly up to the level of competition she’s faced in years past (Mickie James, Victoria, Melina). Bring out the other parts of her character by turning her into a manager.

The rest of the women aren’t all that impressive as characters. You may feel I’m being harsh on Natalya, as she is undoubtedly a great in-ring competitor but aside from feuding with Beth, there is no one on her level. As of now, she’s stuck being the jobber in her partnership with Phoenix. Plus, her promos have been less than stellar. She’s a worker, not a speaker. Nattie is being wasted. As for the Bellas, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Eve Torres – none of them stand out. None of them have made any sort of impact that would be remembered a year later if they were released tomorrow.

End the pain. End the Divas division, WWE, and bring it back when you actually give a damn about promoting great female wrestling.

- Jennifer Logsdon

Agree or disagree with what I’ve written? leave your thoughts and comments below!

Sym says:

On a purely selfish level, yes. But I’d go the whole way – no women at all. Having them there, just as valets/managers would be worse than having none of theme there at all, imo.

If there’s one thing worse than seeing a talented wrestler being wasted in a 2 minute match, it’s seeing ‘em as pointless arm-candy for the blokes in the ring. And seriously, having Beth Phoenix on a wrestling show and not wrestling would be like having a Bugatti Veyron and using it as a chicken coop.

Even having women like Kelly Kelly in that role just seems so… Victorian! She’s a woman, so her role is by a man’s side. Urgh.

So have no women at all in the WWE. For the fans, it’d be the ideal situation. Cos with no WWE stripping the indies of its talent, those women would be back at Shimmer, WSU, Eve, etc and we’d get to see them doing what they do in proper, lengthy, fantastic matches.

But that IS the selfish viewpoint. It comes down to the same frustration whenever the WWE do sign a talented wrestler. Cos as fans, we know that they’re gonna be wasted, misused, not used, etc… BUT, at the end of the day, if those women have signed on the dotted line, it’s what THEY want.

Bottom line, working for the WWE means that these women get to showcase their abilities (sometimes) to television audiences all over the world and to huge arena crowds. And the financial benefits can’t be overlooked either.

For now, working for the WWE is a dichotemy for any woman in the business. Cos it’s the best place for them to work… but the worst place for them to wrestle.

Jennifer says:

Your last two sentences are spot on. And again, you’re right – they know what they’re signing up for. I always hope things will improve, but at the same time, I’m not holding my breath. In any event, any woman that is there even for a few months can add “former WWE Diva” to their resume and that makes them worth more. So even being employed there for a short amount of time is a bonus.

Mike Johns says:

I think the problem with outright killing the division is the whole “you can’t unring a bell” deal. We’re in an age where the wrestling fanbase, mainstream and otherwise, has been trained to accept that a women’s division exists and serves some purpose. While it’d behoove WWE’s current desires to just be rid of the division, as they have no interest in it anyway, I also think that they know better than to just be rid of it. This is becoming a more necessary element of the entire wrestling genre outside of WWE, as TNA and several Independents have been able to expand their business by giving women a more prominent role. Of course, because TNA are idiots, they kill all their momentium at Hulk Hogan’s beck and call. But you’ve even written recently about companies like CHIKARA and ACW who’s drawn a lot of interest because of their use of female talent.

The problem with WWE, i think, is that they realize that the women’s division is a valuable enough asset that they ought to have one, but not a valueable enough commidity to actually invest in. In other words, the Divas are to WWE as TNA is to Panda Energy and Dixie Carter – something you play with for a while, then get bored with and toss in a tox box. Sadly, TNA, instead of leading, is following.

Gabby says:

I dunno if I want to see no Divas in the WWE?
For me being a hardcore Diva fan at heart I have to love the women in the WWE. I still feel like the only person on earth that believes their is potential in the women’s divsion in the WWE.
I’ll admit I like nothing that the WWE management or creative team has done to their women, it seems like the Knockouts had a better year then the Divas.

jhonmarco says:

Nice read, but I think Kharma is the last saving hope for the division. I PRAY she does return, as this the only thing that coudl save the divas. It’s a shame, granted the girls are models (msotly) just about all, except Rosa have something to offer & aren’t hopeless. Eve Torres has tons of potiential, as does someone like Katilyn & for me I want that divas title around just to see AJ win it. Love her.

Dave Muscarella says:

I dunno. I loved what they were doing with Kharma, but it seems when she left to have her kid, they completely just stopped thinking about any decent plans for the divas. If they had big plans for the division with Kharma in it, I don’t see why they couldn’t keep it going until she got back.

I rather not have it at all than have it be what it is now. Its not fair to the women and to their fans. Its just insulting.

Dave Muscarella says:

I agree with this article. Ideally, dump the the divas division and retire that god awful title. However, I would have Nattie and Beth still compete in the ring as a tag team and wrestle the men. Take a page out of CHIKARA’s book and give those two ladies a chance to prove themselves against the boys. They’ve done it in the past with Chyna. And Beth had wrestled Santino and been in the Royal Rumble against guys, so its not completely unprecedented.

I think Beth would be wasted as a manager or valet, but I would be quite intrigued seeing her complete as an equal with the guys.