Like so many other forms of entertainment and sports, wrestling can go up and down at the drop of a foam finger. Sometimes things are working out rather well and sometimes it is a chore to make it to the first commercial. Unfortunately we have been in the latter area for quite a long time now in WWE and a lot of that comes from one division in particular, which was on full display this week.
To put it mildly, the Monday Night Raw women’s division is a complete black hole of awful the likes of which it could take months if not more for WWE to recover from. The division has gotten so terrible that it is dragging down the rest of the company with it, yet for some reason we are still stuck with the whole thing and running in the opposite direction of anything good.
Now to make this completely clear, this is NOT the talent’s fault. The wrestlers are doing everything they can and are every bit as talented as they were when things were going well for the division. There are all kinds of great wrestlers in the division, all of whom could be a top star for a long time to come. It is NOT an issue with the wrestlers themselves, but rather…well just about everything else.
Looking at anything in the division during this week’s Monday Night Raw, I’m really struggling to come up with something that worked. There are currently three stories involving the women’s division and there is a grand total of nothing actually good taking place. It is a mixture of different things taking place, but I can’t remember how long it has been since things have been this bad. We’re going to look at all of these things this week and how each one is just missing.
First up we have something that isn’t even there yet, with Eva Marie and the Eva-Lution. You can make your own jokes for why this return might not be the best idea WWE has had in a long time (and fair enough), but one way or another, this is taking place on next week’s show. Eva Marie is going to be back and she is going to be…..and I’m not sure what is supposed to fill in that spot.
What exactly is the Eva-Lution? Aside from being another idea that sounds like it took the creative department all of four seconds to come up with, it is a rather vague concept. From what you can pick up from the promos, seems to involve Eva Marie being some kind of celebrity who now wants to give back to the women’s division because it helped her get here? Eva Marie is now some kind of role model and influencer who can boost up the division?
In theory, that is not the worst idea in the world as Eva Marie certainly does have a star power and aura to her. She makes herself seem like a more important deal and that could be given to a few other people, all of whom could use the attention. That being said, it’s still Eva Marie, who was little more than a joke for a long time. Somehow though, the potential alone is enough to make this possibly the best thing going in the division today.
Next up you have Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley for Ripley’s Raw Women’s Title and the wheels start to come off here. I’m not exactly sure what ti is they are going for with this weird heel vs. heel story, though that pales in comparison to trying to figure out the Nikki Cross aspect. For some reason, the big story building to a rematch from last year’s WrestleMania is Ripley, who won the title at this year’s WrestleMania, and Charlotte, to lose (Kind of?) to Cross in a pair of two minute matches, followed by Cross pinning Ripley this week.
That might be able to go somewhere, but it doesn’t help that Cross isn’t getting anything out of this but some TV time. Unless I’m missing something here, I have no idea what the point is in having Ripley and Cross look like they’re chasing someone around for two minutes and getting frustrated when they can’t catch her. It’s two skilled women fighting for a title in a WrestleMania rematch. Why is this such a complicated problem?
Oh wait though, because we had one of WWE’s favorite ways to move a story forward: put the two people fighting each other into a team for a one off match and then sit back while they get in a big argument because THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. Charlotte and Ripley teaming together and then getting in a fight is the most WWE thing in a good while and that is not exactly inspiring. They have turned what should have been a huge match into one of their standard booking tropes, albeit with a two minute loss each thrown in. What a great way to present someone who should be a big part of the division’s future.
Finally…..ok you know where we’re going here. For reasons that I can only assume are the result of “Vince McMahon likes it”, we have Shayna Baszler, the former unstoppable NXT Women’s Champion and I believe the only person to eliminated five people in an Elimination Chamber match, running from a doll. Why you ask? Well because the doll has demonic powers.
This is the segment that I had in mind when I was talking about how it wasn’t the wrestlers’ fault. Think about what I just said and try to imagine anyone outside of Lucha Underground being able to make it work. This isn’t a good wrestling angle. It’s a bunch of people trying to put on a horror movie for a college film class with a budget. Given what we have seen so far, they might want to take in a few more classes first.
This week’s Monday Night Raw ended with Baszler stacking up furniture in front of a door like Shaggy and Scooby-Doo and then screaming at a broken mirror (kind of) like in the end of I Know What You Did Last Summer. This isn’t something that is supposed to work as a wrestling angle and believe it or not, IT ISN’T WORKING AS A WRESTLING ANGLE. Trish Stratus and Lita in their primes couldn’t make this work and now it is getting the final slot on one of the main shows. I don’t know if this is supposed to lead up to something with the Fiend or whatever else, but I know I don’t really care what happens to any of these people.
I don’t think it’s any secret to say that women’s wrestling can work as a top draw in WWE. You might remember two years ago when the Raw Women’s Title headlined (Or is it co-headlined?) WrestleMania 35. There is value in what can be done with the title and the wrestlers involved, but somewhere between that actually historic moment, things have come crashing back down to earth for everyone involved and it is just sad to see these days.
The Monday Night Raw women’s division is a total wreck right now, with the impending return of Eva Marie of all things being the high spot. As has been the case with so many other things in WWE over the last several months, it feels like the company has just stopped caring about what happens with the division and if people care or not, it makes no difference. Does WWE really think that having fans come back next month is going to make all of this better? The big story at the moment is a skilled MMA fighter running away from an evil doll. Do better than this, because the only division now is people’s eyes from the show.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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