I recognize the headline of this article will immediately turn some people off. I can already feel the swarm of commenters ready to line up to say "women deserve equal time in WWE" and "what do you know about women's wrestling?" Well let me save you the trouble by saying I wholeheartedly agree that the women's division has been horribly mishandled.
I'm of the belief that women's wrestling can and should be just as compelling as the work done by the men. While some argue that they lack the explosive power and speed, they can easily compensate through their flexibility and technical prowess. Female wrestlers sell submission holds better than most male wrestlers could even dream of.
Plus, there have been consistently strong demonstrations of women's wrestling outside of WWE. One of TNA's biggest selling points when it was still relevant and marginally successful was the strength of their Knockout's division, promoting strong wrestling and given decent time to perform on shows. Currently in Lucha Underground, names like Ivelisse, Sexy Star and Taya are treated as equal threats to the men, and Caterina a vindictive puppet master to the dominant Mil Muertes.
Then at the far ends of the WWE umbrella is NXT, which was the starting point for the fabled 'Women's Revolution'. Originated in great bouts like Paige vs Emma and Charlotte vs Natalya, the unbelievable work of the Four Horsewomen demonstrated that quality women's wrestling could appeal to the masses. WWE had no excuse anymore, because Bayley and Sasha Banks put on two of the best matches in all of wrestling in 2015, and Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka were not far behind in terms of performance.
But, after what I saw on Monday's edition of Raw and what I expect to see at Money in the Bank, I've officially lost faith. There might be some people behind the scenes championing the cause of the women, but they're clearly not loud enough, or drowned out by a wave of old men stuck in the past.
For those that blinked and therefore may have missed it, Paige defeated Women's Champion Charlotte in a three-minute match, where both competitors received jobber entrances. Becky Lynch and Natalya got a couple of minutes to blandly talk on commentary, but were otherwise ignored. Paige gets the shock victory over the supposed queen of the division, but this will be swept under the rug and forgotten immediately.
It is plain to see that when it comes to the women's division, the writing team can only think half a step at a time. You have three hours of television time to work with, and you can only find three minutes for the entire collection of women on your roster.
They have Sasha Banks—the performer that was putting on Match of the Year contenders with Bayley last year—making just seven appearances on Raw in 2016.
They have the standard bearer of the division, Charlotte, getting verbally humiliated by Stephanie McMahon backstage, before losing a meaningless match to Paige in the build towards an equally pointless tag team match at Money in the Bank.
I've officially checked out. And it has NOTHING to do with the women themselves—apart from Stephanie, who's proving a spotlight-stealing cancer on television. Some will say they've squandered the opportunities given to them, but what are these opportunities? The chance to be berated by a non-wrestler, to go out in the ring with only enough time to pull out a dozen moves, sitting on commentary for five minutes and try to get a word in edgeways.
There are such talented women's wrestlers currently employed by WWE, and if used correctly, they could really shine on Raw and SmackDown. I know because they were given that opportunity on NXT and knocked it out of the park most of the time. The developmental territory has remained strong with Asuka leading Bayley, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Nia Jax and more.
On the flip side, the main roster women's division has been spinning its wheels for years and years, occasionally inching forward only to be slammed into reverse soon after. So, I think the only right thing they can do is kill off the Women's Division and admit they can't do anything with it. The writers and bookers should march down to the ring, officially end their association with women's wrestling, and announce that they never put the effort into it in the first place.
The Women's Division is just as much as an afterthought as the prior Divas Division, only given a less embarrassing name in the hopes of legitimizing it. Sadly, it takes more than that you lazy troglodytes, and people do notice that the writers probably spend more time writing crappy jokes for Bob Backlund and the Golden Truth than on the entire women's division.
So do the right thing, hold your hands up, and GIVE UP. Either that or hire some people that will take the job seriously. Because whether certain people backstage are willing to accept this or not, your women wrestlers deserve your attention.
They're not a novelty act. They're not sex objects. They're not an afterthought.
They are world class athletes and entertainers, and deserve to be treated as such.