Where Are The Women: What Is Happening To WWE's Female Roster? | Smark Out Moment

Where Are The Women: What Is Happening To WWE's Female Roster?

Posted by Steph Maxwell-Kavanagh Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The subtitle for this article is "Will The Men I Work With Please Stop Asking Me Why I Think Natalya Is Being So Heavily Featured", but that wouldn't fit in the title bar, and besides, we've got rules against overlong article headings that I have to abide by.

Firstly, of course Natalya is being heavily featured at the moment; she's the most experienced woman in the company by far, even beating out Asuka, who started wrestling in 2004. Nattie started in 2001, so she's got fifteen years of strong experience under her belt, and she knows how to tell a story. Secondly, just because we're both women, both blonde, and have both had streaks of pink in our hair at some point doesn't mean we're telepathically connected or that she calls me up to let me know how WWE are utilizing her at the moment. If she did, I think I'd write a lot more in-depth articles about the women's roster.

WWE Superstar Nattie With Colored Hair
Any similarities are purely coincidental.
The women's division has been plagued by injuries and the company isn't doing itself any favors in keeping some of the stars out of the ring right now, either. If we look at the old teams, plus the new women who have come in since then, we can see a scary pattern.

Team Bella: Nikki Bella (injured), Brie Bella (retired), Alicia Fox (???)

Team B.A.D.: Sasha Banks (injured), Tamina (injured), Naomi (just cleared to come back from injury)

Team PCB: Paige (demoted to Superstars), Charlotte (active), Becky (active)

We can add in Lana (wrestling strictly on house shows), Summer Rae (somewhere?), Emma (injured), and Dana Brooke (active).

The women's roster right now consists of five blondes, a redhead, and possibly Naomi, although we're yet to see her make her return. How the hell did we go from fourteen women down to seven?

Women's Wrestling Roster Depleted Through Injury
From left to right: active, cleared to return, released, maternity leave, active, not wrestling on TV, demoted to superstars, vanished. Bottom row: not wrestling on TV, injured, retired, injured, vanished, injured, active, injured.
All these just serve to make the questions about Nattie facing off against the champion to be even more ridiculous. With only six women on the active roster—as it's hard to count Naomi until she returns—and two of those laughably inexperienced, she's the right choice to face Charlotte. Putting Summer Rae or Lana in an in-ring feud with Charlotte would be ridiculous, as neither woman can match up to the champion's skills, and all three women are supposed to be heels at the moment. Making the main feud Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch would mean having both women the crowds are most interested in being part of one match, and any other feuds would be sidelined due to that.

In structuring the card the way they have, Charlotte and Natalya both look like credible threats, and we let Charlotte play out her family drama while using Nattie's acting ability to help her. Charlotte is sometimes wooden, which is why having her play the heel is a good move; it looks like bitchiness instead of poor acting, and Natalya's storytelling gift and mic skills help with that.

Women's Wrestling At Extreme Rules Ends In Figure Eight
I don't care what you think - this is NOT poor storytelling, or a weak feud.

At the same time, Becky gets to emote in a grudge match—something that isn't about titles, just good vs. bad in a simple story that she can sell very well. We like listening to her talk, and we enjoy seeing her wrestle, so she can help some of the women coming up from NXT take their work to the next level, just like Nattie does with Charlotte. What we get as an audience is two feuds that work independently, showcase the four women we have who reliably wrestle on TV. Dana becoming part of the Charlotte/Ric issue was a little confusing, but as WWE fans, we're pretty used to our storylines refusing to make sense, right?

So, guys at work, this is why Nattie's being so heavily featured. It structures the card well, it helps push heel Charlotte, she's the most experienced woman WWE have, it results in (mostly) good matches, and it means Becky is freed up to have a different feud, instead of locked into fighting one of her best friends forever. Can you stop asking me now?

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