Picture this. Two women are gearing up for the match of their careers. It could very well be the match of the year; most definitely the match of the year candidate for the main roster Diva’s Division. It’s certainly the most anticipated. There is a lot of pressure on both sides, and it’s being shown as the lead up. Charlotte has her father there, has her teammates, has everyone asking her about her legacy and about the revolution and about Nikki beating the record and about how she is not only going to make history for herself, but how she’ll be stopping history for someone else – the actual reason that the “Divas Revolution” even started in the first place. There’s threat of interference, from Team Bella, but also Team BAD, who have been threatening it for awhile. They still don’t understand why Team PCB, namely Charlotte, got a title shot in the first place (though it’s been pointed out that it was because PCB won the match at SummerSlam, and that was their reward). And then there is Nikki. She’s confident, but you can tell, she’s finally nervous. She has almost reached her goal of becoming the longest reigning Diva’s champion in history, and solidifying her name in the record books, as well as her and her sister’s legacy as the leaders of the Diva’s Division and the most dominant divas around, and everyone’s eyes are on her. But Charlotte is finally the competitor that she’s threatened by. This is what she has been worried about for months. She could actually lose this title. Her dreams could actually be cut short right then and there, in front of thousands and thousands of people.
The match starts, and the clock on the Bellatron has twenty minutes left by the time the bell rings. Charlotte had done her best to push that match back in the show as much as she could, and now she needs to do her best to beat Nikki before it runs out. Both teams are on the sidelines, but Becky and Paige (mostly Becky, because Paige’s heel turn has been teased a lot and she’s doing her best to seem a little apathetic) are doing their best to keep Alicia Fox and Brie Bella away from the ring. The match is a knock out, drag out battle between the two women. Both are showcased as strong, both are showcased as real competitors. The audience can see why Nikki has made it as far as she has, but they can also see why Charlotte is finally the one that may beat her. The two of them go at it, and you can see it’s really wearing on both girls. Near fall after near fall, the women grow increasingly frustrated. So do the women on the sidelines. Brie starts to freak out, trying to interfere. Becky stops her. Alicia tries, Paige stops her. The girls fight up the ramp, and maybe, Tamina, Naomi and Sasha come out. Paige and Sasha get into a brawl, going into the backstage. Refs come out to stop the other girls. Maybe Brie gets to the ring, desperately trying to help her sister, but the ref catches her. Nikki tries just as desperately to roll up Charlotte, maybe even tries to grab the belt or something to hit her with while her sister works on the distraction, but Charlotte manages to get her into the Figure Four, first, before turning it into the Figure-Eight. And Nikki is trying so hard to get out of it. Struggling, screaming, maybe even barely gets out the first time and tries to reverse it but Charlotte gets her again. And then you see her, looking up at the Bellatron, watching as the seconds tick by. Charlotte is applying that submission hard, but Nikki is hanging on – barely, but hanging on. Sixty seconds, fifty seconds, twenty-five seconds. The crowd is screaming, chanting. Charlotte is yelling at her to tap. Over and over. TAP! TAP! TAP! The clock gets to ten seconds, nine..eight..seven.. Finally, the clock runs out, the buzzer sounds, the entire ticker goes to zero. She has beaten the record, but she can’t hang on anymore. Nikki taps, frantically, to get Charlotte to let her go. The referee rings the bell, the match ends. The crowd goes nuts. Charlotte is the new Diva’s Champion, and she cries, holding up the belt as her father runs to the ring, in tears, to celebrate with his daughter. Nikki is left in tears of her own; she has beaten the record, and will go down in history as the longest reigning Diva’s Champion, but she has lost the belt. Brie limps to the ring and pulls her sister out, both of them devastated that their celebration has been ruined, but a new celebration has started. Becky and Paige run back, looking disheveled from their own battle, to hold up the hands of their teammate, their new champion, proud to resent the WWE Universe with the new face of the Diva’s Division.
That would have been awesome, right? It would have told an amazing story, one of the best so far in the division. And finally, too. It would have been surprising, since most people expected Nikki to retain. It would have given the WWE exactly what they wanted – someone to beat AJ’s reign and solidifying the Bella’s at the top – but it also would have given us something fresh, something new. Nikki and Brie could have taken some time off; mainly, Nikki, nursing an “injury” from the match, and it could have given something for Nikki to come back to in a few weeks, months. That could have even brought out a new story line for Brie, one where she is in the forefront and no longer in the shadow of her sister, where she tries to avenge Nikki, to “make things right”. It could have shifted the attention now to the new champ and a new competitor, perhaps Naomi, with Tamina and Becky battling on behalf of their respective friends, and both Sasha and Paige clamoring for a shot at the title but also trying to divert one another from getting a shot. There you get a fighting champion defending her title, and women actually going for it, and a few other story lines intertwining. You’d get direction. Meaning. Actual, real matches that have people interested, which is exactly what we had been wanting since the very beginning.
But did that happen? Of course not. The complete opposite of anything close to that happened last night. A big ol’ lugie in the face to the division, the title, and the women wrestlers. We got the same old, tired finish that we saw four, maybe five pay per views ago. Twin Magic. Again. Which, to be honest, completely insults the intelligence of the referees, the wrestlers, and the audience. It ruined the moment, and it showed that Nikki, this wrestler that is supposed to be the “Greatest Diva’s Champion Ever”, not only couldn’t win on her own (AGAIN), but was perfectly fine with cheating to win. And she will be celebrated. She was rewarded, even after it was pointed out that she cheated, by getting to keep the belt and keep the record, despite the only silver lining of Stephanie pointing out that no matter what, on Sunday, she loses that belt if she loses the match. And there she was, at the feet of a devastated Charlotte, Ric Flair, and Becky Lynch, celebrating with her sister and Alicia Fox as if she was so proud of her non-accomplishment.
Now, I’m more than well aware that this was, and has been all along, mega-heel tactics. Seth Rollins gets away with things like this all the time. He won the title in the most slippery, slimy way, and he almost always ends up retaining the same way. And after it, he celebrates it, as if he had just accomplished the greatest thing in the world and deserves all of the glory. That’s what a heel does. And a good heel makes you hate them, which is what Nikki did last night. She made most of us hate her. She made most of us very angry.
Except the WWE isn’t making that clear, at all. With Seth Rollins, someone like John Cena is allowed to come out and deliver a twenty minute promo about how Rollins is the worst champion in the world, how he doesn’t deserve to have his name in the records with some of the most well known legends, how he doesn’t even deserve to hold the title. It’s almost always pointed out how unfair it was that he won, and how snaky he is. And Seth never agrees, he always has a rebuttal, but it’s put out there for the fans to notice, if they haven’t already, that something was definitely wrong there. A “champion” shouldn’t win by cheating. A “champion” should be something more. We deserve more.
We absolutely deserve more.
The WWE did not give us that with Nikki, with the match last night, with the divas at all. In fact, after Nikki continued celebrating and was rewarded for her slimy efforts, we watched a vignette package where Nikki, Brie and Alicia met sick kids at a children’s hospital alongside The Authority’s own Stephanie McMahon. Just like Super Cena, and Roman Reigns, and Natalya and other “good guys”, Nikki and Brie are seen as these good people, as role models for young girls and young boys and other fans around the world. Look at how happy they are to meet their fans! Look how sweet it is! Okay…that’s fine, sure, maybe it was outside of kayfabe, but do they even realize what they just did? They showed children, who probably still believe in kayfabe and don’t even realize that there is a separation between real life and ring life, that this woman that holds the most prestigious title in the women’s division, who is perceived as a good person, could achieve her dreams by bullying, by cheating, by getting the very sister she wished dead just barely a year ago to cheat for her and give her the win with little to no benefit of her own. A woman that insults others because they don’t look like her, a woman that calls others that challenge her jealous, that starts petty fights within the division for her own personal gain, is seen as some sort of hero. That is not a character you want to emulate. That is not a character you want to see succeed, that’s a character you want to see fail.
You don’t ever see, on Raw, a video of Bray Wyatt meeting sick children. Or Seth Rollins. They didn’t even show Stardust presenting the check to the children’s hospital along with Stephen Amell over the weekend on the show last night (which, honestly would have made a little more sense). And why is that? Because they are heels. They’re supposed to be disliked. Hated. Feared. Not admired for how good they are to other people. I mean, we watched Seth Rollins threaten to kill a guy! How would that make sense?
THAT is the problem that the divas division has. Sure, The Bellas are clearly heels, but do people realize that? Nikki Bella fans are constantly calling those that are anti-Nikki “haters”, but they don’t even realize why people aren’t fans actually have such an issue with her and her sister. They don’t even realize what it is that they, by being the “faces” of the division, are doing to the division itself. They’ve made the characters of Nikki and Brie Bella into bullies, but they have never separated their characters from their real life personas. That is also the problem with Total Divas. The line is completely blurred where “Nikki Bella” ends and “Nicole Garcia-Colace” begins. Because her and her sister fight bitterly on their reality show, they fight with other girls, and then they come onto Raw and Smackdown and just up that ten fold and make it that much worse. And so these little girls and boys proudly wearing their merch sit there and cheer them on, but why?? Why are they being allowed to applaud women that have done nothing to earn that applause? It’s not the fans cheering for the heels like they do for Seth, for Kevin Owens, or even for Bray Wyatt. It’s young fans that more than likely don’t know better being tricked into thinking that The Bellas are who the ones you’re supposed to idolize, supposed to look up to, and want to be like.
And in the process, we’re completely losing these new girls that should be idolized, that should be looked up to. Girls that have put their blood, sweat and tears into the business since they were young teens, that watched the product from before they could even remember and dreamed of one day making it and making a difference. Girls like Sasha Banks who watched the WWE when she was a kid and knew, more than likely, she would have to be competing in bra and panties matches, but pursued wrestling despite that because it was what she wanted to do, and decided to change the game by pushing the envelope of what it meant to be a Diva. Girls like Becky Lynch who have traveled the world at a young age, achieving more than some of the older male legends have, who knew this was their dream and yet still accomplished so much more before coming back to her first love. Girls who were told that they wouldn’t be able to do this because they were girls, or because they weren’t good looking, or were going to live in the shadows of their fathers, brothers, cousins. The WWE’s Divas Division is literally crawling with girls that could easily be the new faces, the new top earners, merch sellers, and amazing role models for every age and every gender, and yet…this is what we’re given. A mess, a sham, and a frustrating, poorly written product that feels like a slap in the face rather than a fresh breath of air that the Diva’s Division should have been.
Now, excuse me, but it’s a total load of crap if anyone tries to say that the WWE isn’t capable of writing a good story line for the main roster divas. Because in just a few weeks, we’re going to watch the second installment of an absolutely incredible story between Bayley and Sasha, which will give us a thirty minute Ironman match (THIRTY. MINUTES. That’s like nine, ten Diva’s matches!) as the MAIN EVENT for the NXT Takeover pay per view. It will more than likely blow their first match from Takeover: Brooklyn out of the water, and probably solidify itself in the history books as one of the best matches of all time. Their first one in Brooklyn already did. And it’s not the first time that they’ve done it. Sasha and Becky did it at the Takeover before that. Charlotte and Sasha have done it multiple times. Bayley, Sasha, Charlotte and Becky did it all together. Charlotte and Natty, Emma and Paige. It’s all been done before. They’re all extremely talked back matches that will forever be in the memories of the IRC, of the WWE universe, and it’s all happened within the last few years, right there on NXT. So do NOT tell me that it cannot be done on the main roster. Do NOT tell me that it can’t be on the same show as one of John Cena’s or Seth Rollins’ or Kevin Owens’ or Cesaro’s match of the year contenders. These NXT girls are literally handing you the opportunity to write them something amazing. They’ve done it on your developmental show, they can absolutely do it on Raw. Paige is more than capable. Let Naomi be herself and she can, too. All of them, given the chance, can. You just have to let them.
It is extremely, EXTREMELY frustrating as a wrestling fan to watch the travesty that is this division and this “revolution”. We went from “THIS IS AWESOME!” that very first night, a moment that brought me to tears, that gave me chills, to a moment that had many people turning off their televisions, going back to Monday Night Football, or just yelling from their couches in disgust. And countless moments similar to that since the “revolution” started. On top of the fact that we’ve never even been given a clear reason as to why this is a revolution, or what they’re trying to accomplish, we’ve just been given a clusterfuck of multiple-girl matches and shoddy finishes and messes all around. Honestly, Nikki and Brie deserve better, if they really are the women they portray themselves as outside that love this company and love what they do and want to put out a great product for the fans. The other girls deserve better than to get buried underneath such crap that makes it hard to watch. And we deserve better, as wrestling fans that actually want to see the girls succeed and want to see amazing matches all across the board, whether it’s one on one, tag team, men, women, or intergender. We want this to be incredible. We will get behind it, we promise.
One thing I wanted to point out was the one person that they keep mentioning while talking about the “Divas Revolution”, that isn’t even part of the WWE: Ronda Rousey. The last match that she was in told a better story than any of the Divas matches over the last few months, and no one even wrote it for her. In just a few seconds, she gave us more emotion and more story than the match last night with Charlotte and Nikki did in a twenty minute segment. It gave us a hero to root for, and a villain to hate, and we knew why we were doing it. It’s literally THAT simple, WWE. You don’t need to pin women against one another for no reason. Give us reasons for your rivalries. Some of these girls come with already built in story lines, so expand on it. Just GIVE US SOMETHING! Please! We’re begging for it!
Just don’t give us what you did last night. That was a shame. It was awful. Sure, things could turn around from here. Things can happen on Smackdown and on Sunday that point us in the right direction of the revolution we’ve been wanting all along, but honestly, who knows at this point. There’s a reason I went into last night’s Raw expecting the worst, and that’s what I was given. Yet, I was still angry and disappointed.
You let me down, WWE, but you don’t have to do it again.