That was the easy part.
Revolution is never as easy as actually maintaining widespread change. This Smarks Remarks will take a look at the past year of the Diva's Revolution, winners and losers, and what comes next.
Winners: The Four Horsewomen, collectively
There's no denying that these four are the main attraction of the Diva's Revolution. Whether you agree that they're the best the company has to offer or think there are others who deserve title runs first, they clearly represent this movement. Because of that, they haven't been bound by the rules of the past. Each have found their own success: Charlotte has been a great champion, Sasha's hype is unreal, Becky is poised to be the biggest face in the division, and Bayley's debut is well anticipated.
Losers: Natalya and Naomi
Despite Natalya being one of the best female wrestlers in the world, she's had trouble making an impact. Her most recent showcased that she was a master in the ring, but also that her character was just not nearly as interesting as Charlotte or Becky. Naomi got to take part in the Diva's Revolution, which looked at first like a beacon of hope for her. Unfortunately she was overshadowed by Sasha's incredible heel tactics and quickly returned to the back of the line once the story was over. Both of these ladies deserve more from the revolution.
Bonus: Winner and Loser: Paige?
Is she the standard barer of excellence in women's wrestling? Is she flash in the pan? Is she the female superstar who will lead the next generation of competitors into equality, or is she just the girl who peaked on her first day? It's harsh, but the lack of consistency in Paige's booking has put her in a weird limbo. Paige herself seems frustrated without a direction.
Where we started: There's a reason the Diva's Revolution was demanded in the first place. We trended #GiveDivasAChance after a tag team match between The Bellas and Paige and Emma, which lasted about 30 seconds bell-to-bell. Diva's Champion, Nikki Bella, did not defend her championship at WrestleMania, instead competing in a tag match against Paige and AJ Lee. I remember hoping every time a Diva's music played that this would be the match that turned things around. Instead, for months, I saw posts counting up total screen time for the week to less than ten minutes for all the women in the company.
Where we are now: First off, let's give credit where credit is due. Nikki lost the Diva's Championship in a match at Night Of Champions that made her and Charlotte both look like stars. Charlotte then defended that championship in a fiery feud against WWE's most fiery diva, Becky Lynch, and against Becky and Sasha in a massive WrestleMania moment. Since that incredible performance, however, there has been a bit of a slip back, with the Natalya/Charlotte feud struggling to ever heat up or find time to breathe. Hopefully, a feud between the Legit Boss and the Champ will elevate the division to where in should be.
Highlights: The obvious highlight here is WrestleMania 32. We began in the pre-show with a multi-women tag that wasn't exactly earth shattering, but displayed a lot of talent from the rest of the division (hello Summer Rae's roundhouse kick). Brie Bella might be no Sasha Banks, but her send off felt really good nonetheless. The reveal of the new belt, one that looks equal to the highest male title, kicked the monumental night in to top gear. Then there was the triple threat match. Spot after spot, near fall after near fall, to say it was an amazing match is a huge understatement. There are few moments in wrestling where you know that you're watching history. That was one of them.
Bummers: Despite the strong first segment, last summer saw a rocky start. Just one day after Sasha Banks and Bayley brought the house down at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, the big Diva's Revolution match fell short. The choice not to make it an elimination tag could've been saved by a good in-ring story. It wasn't. The lukewarm match could've been redeemed by team PCB struggling to figure out who would get the title shot afterwards. They didn't. The storytelling picked up when Charlotte and Nikki Bella feuded, and that momentum could've continued to the Paige feud. It stopped dead in its tracks at a very poor decision to bring Reid Flair into the story.
So what's next? In recent weeks I've seen a lot of articles questioning the commitment to the women's division. It's not undue, in comparison to what NXT gave us a taste of, there's still a lot of ground to cover. At the same time, I believe in the Diva's Revolution. Progress isn't always linear, sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back, but we're still moving. A year and a half ago, my biggest complaint about the division was that Paige was "feuding"(or rather, reenacting Mean Girls) with the Bellas over tanning habits. Today my biggest compliant is that Dana Brooke's work is a bit sloppy, and Natalya (though a technical master) has trouble maintaining interest in her character. Those are two completely different animals.
Now, I get the frustration. There are days that the ladies barely make it on screen, or I succumb to my Total Divas addiction, and I am reminded of how much we still have left to do. Then there are days like last week's Monday Night RAW, where Sasha Banks and Charlotte delivered that perfect story-furthering promo. Charlotte has a confidence that is fitting of a champion, and Sasha shows a realness that gives me chills. It wasn't as good as their work in NXT. It was better.
With the brand extension upon us, and it looking very likely that we'll see a new queen crowned at SummerSlam, it's time to dig our heels in and commit. WWE should bring up some extra talent from NXT and give the women the time to tell a compelling story on each show. Within a few months we could easily be looking at a female RAW or SmackDown main event.
This fight is far from over, and we have a lot of tough work ahead of us. There will be more set backs, but there will be more resounding victories. There will be a lot of disappointment, and a lot to celebrate. But this is history, it's supposed to be hard.
Are you still excited about the Divas Revolution? What's next for the women of WWE?