Get it? Get it? …awful puns are just my way of seeing if Becky Lynch will find this and read it.
Welcome to My Pinterest Is Piledrivers. I’m James A. Sawyer, and I’ve been gone a bit but will be back tentatively for the next three weeks to wrap things up here in the 2015. We didn’t get any hovering skateboards… but we did get an insane pumpkin-faced megalomaniac as a potential presidential candidate, so… yay?
In the first part of my typed-out trilogy, I wanted to focus on the (sigh) Divas. I used to be what I imagine a lot of the audience was, which is someone who would wear out the FF button on the remote when it was time for a women’s match. However, after seeing The Boss and The Lass Kicker absolutely tear each other up and have the best match on the card at an NXT event in May, I was born again. Funny how things work, in that you give talented and hungry people an opportunity and they end up proving themselves. Crazy. So women’s wrestling is important to me, I know how uphill their climb is and how precarious their position is.
Let me start with the good. It would be churlish to complain about any opportunity to see three Horsewomen on TV with regularity. I mean, they’re not all wrestling per se, but they are technically on TV. And Charlotte is the current champ? That’s cool, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a brand-new champion for once. They could’ve just had Sheamus take it. And both Charlotte and Sasha have been very vocal about bringing back the women’s championship, presumably followed shortly by throwing the Diva’s Claire Accessories belt in the trash like Madusa.
But the #DivasRevolution is not without its controversy.
The new wrestlers fell into a numerically-consistent faction grouping. Becky, Charlotte and Paige were the obvious babyfaces in the Submission Sorority (NSFW) later changed to Team PCB. Because initials. Sasha joined Naomi and Tamina in Team B.A.D. which is also the name of my screenplay about martial arts streetfighters in the 1980s, and The Bellas and Alicia stayed in Team Bella-oh-and-Alicia. Team Bella and Team B.A.D. were both heels. Or tweeners. Or faces, sometimes. Which was odd because Team Bella made a regular habit before the #DivasRevolution of being openly bullying and picking on Paige at every opportunity. But the one is married to Daniel Bryan so make sure to chant “Yes!” whenever she does her version of his kicks. And Team B.A.D. were portrayed as heels, despite the gigantic popularity of Sasha and the fact that Naomi had very real issues with Team Bella.
There’s only just now been an attempt to break the factions up, but Team Bella is on hiatus while Nikki is injured, and Paige turned on Team PCB by being completely accurate about Charlotte’s intentions. So of course she’s a heel. More on this later.
Sasha is the obvious rock star and one of the most over people in the entire company, so she doesn’t wrestle that much. Becky has the most experience of anyone in the women’s division, so she loses a lot by having the attention span of a teenager on speed and getting rolled up. Seriously, that happened like three matches in a row recently.
But there’s a chance now, a new hope, if you will (Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theatres now) that they could be starting something more interesting in the division.
Charlotte won the Divas championship at Night Of Champions fairly recently in September. It was a big moment, a new face vanquishing a “heel” (she’s a heel, despite odd booking and acting) who had a chokehold on the title for over a year. But just a couple of months later, Charlotte is doing things a little dirtier now. Using her old man as a distraction. Cheap rollups. We’re getting the first turn of the call-ups, and it’s been a long time coming. Charlotte works best either as a heel, or a tweener, so we’re finally getting her character at her best incarnation.
So where does that leave Paige? Well, Paige technically was completely right. Charlotte was laying it on thick at her championship celebration, and Becky has been kind of superfluous (through no fault of her own). Nevertheless, she was kind of a jerk about it. It seems Paige will be kind of a shit-stirrer, like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, loyal ultimately to nothing and no one. I dig it. She’s not a natural babyface.
But what about Becky? The thinking online in some places is that basically they’re doing a main roster version of the Bayley story, but with Becky. The plucky underdog babyface who gets beaten and betrayed and abused so that the audience forms such an emotional attachment they support her when she finally breaks, beating the vicious bully Paige, beating the arrogant and delusional Charlotte and winning her first WWE and NXT title. Think about it, Paige and Charlotte are too nasty to be faces, Team B.A.D. has a pretty big clue as to their allegiance in their name, and Brie and Alicia are jobbers. Becky is the lone natural heroine in the division. The sidekick, the forgotten one, the weirdo who was shuffled off to the side for so long is now the main female protagonist in the WWE.
Of course, I don’t want to give too much credit backstage, as this might not even be what they’re doing, and even if it is what they’re doing, it does have some issues (and I’m saying this as a massive Lynch lover).
For one, so… what happens when Bayley is called up? Her current character has some of the most potential as far as being a perma-face like Mysterio and Steamboat, and being child(and thus merch)-friendly to boot. But she faces a lot of resistance in not ending up becoming basically “female Eugene.” You can’t re-do a storyline a year after you just did it, and the “bullied underdog learns to believe in herself and accomplishes her goals” is the most natural one for Bayley.
Also, why is Team B.A.D. still together? Sasha’s clearly the most talented one, out of almost everyone. And it doesn’t even make a ton of sense story-wise. As soon as one of them were to win the championship, how soon can they be expected to still be supportive? The championship should be the end goal for almost all wrestlers. It doesn’t make sense for, say, Naomi to win it, and have Sasha come out every week dancing and making jokes, especially with her established character. Sasha looks out for only one person, and that’s Sasha. If Naomi won the title on a Sunday, her edges would be snatched by Monday.
Furthermore it’d be nice to have Summer Rae and Natalya involved more. Also, they’re running into an odd problem. Basically, they have a growing division with several potential big stars, or already established names (Becky, Sasha, Charlotte, Nikki, Paige). They have to protect those wrestlers somewhat, and not have them job out too much, particularly the newer ones. But, they don’t have too many jobbers. The men’s division has Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, Fandango, R-Truth, Bo Dallas and even Stardust, Mark Henry and King Barrett to an extent to function as pin eaters. The women have Brie and Alicia. Nattie doesn’t wrestle as much for… some reason, Tamina doesn’t either and they seem to want to protect Naomi despite her being athletic, but not necessarily future-championworthy. So that leads to some awkwardness like Becky eating rollups like a rookie.
Basically coming in it was a mixed bag, and it’s still a mixed bag, for different reasons. It’s great that they’re starting to give some of the wrestlers individual personalities, but they could still use more match and mic time. Just a reminder, RAW is three hours. You probably don’t need a reminder if you’ve ever sat through three hours of RAW. It leaves an imprint on your soul.
Follow me on Twitter @todaysjimsawyer.
Tags: alicia fox, bayley, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, divas, Madusa, naomi, Nikki Bella, NXT, Paige, Ric Flair, sasha banks, Sheamus, Tamina Snuka, Team BAD, Team Bella, Team PCB