Continuing on with the theme of more women in sports……
One industry which is extremely macho is the professional wrestling industry. It has always been the case, it will probably always be the case. Let’s face it, nobody, or rather hardly anybody wants to see an exclusively women’s wrestling company.
Its not a slight at women, its just that after decades of training and by virtue of being – in general – faster and stronger than women, the men are able to put on more fascinating and entertaining matches.
That being said when the wrestling is good, nobody minds women’s matches either.
Just for example, last week there was a match between Charlotte Flair (Rick Flair’s daughter) and Sasha Banks on NXT. Both girls performed splendidly. It was an intriguing action packed match. Just proves that given a chance talented people will perform well.
And its not just them – the main roster is full of talented girls like AJ Lee, Paige, Summer Rae, Natalya, Naomi, Alicia Fox and the Bella twins.
Give them a good storyline and some time in the ring and all of them are capable of putting on decent matches.
The problem here is Mr. Vince McMahon. I think it was Cm Punk (Phil Brooks) who once said that Mr. McMahon is a millionaire who should have been a billionaire. Mr. McMahon does not like change. He has a template, a formula, which he thinks the audience likes, and he sticks by it.
It a simple template based on superheroes (and heroines)
Throughout the 1980s he put all his eggs in the baskets of Hulk Hogan (and Ultimate warrior for a couple of years). The blueprint was simple – there would be a procession of villanious individuals hell bent on destroying the alpha wrestler, but in the end the alpha wrestler superhero will triumph against the odds.
It was very popular in the 1980s and made wrestling immensely popular.
And that made Mr. McMahon set in his ways.
He tried to replicate the Hogan formula in the early 90s with Lex Luger – it failed; and the Rock in the late 90s. We all know what happened to the Rock.
The late 90s also saw the emergence of anti-establishment wrestlers so to speak – Stone Cold Steve Austin and anti-establishment stable – Degeneration X. Both became tremendously popular and the wrestling industry reached its zenith.
So Vince had a choice – a lot of good female wrestlers were coming. They needed a theme – he could go either the superman route or the anti establishment. route.
He chose the former and made Trish Stratus the postergirl. And this despite the fact that Amy Duams (Lita), Lisa Moretti (Ivory), Gail KIm, Mickey James and Lisa Marie Vonn (Victoria) were better wrestlers. But at least all of them could wrestle and put on excellent matches and late 90s to early noughties were women’s wrestling’s’ heyday.
So far so good….but then all of them retired/went away.
And the women’s division became full of non-athletes like Torrie Wilson, Stacey Kibbler, Dawn Marie, Candice Michelle etc.
These women weren’t trained wrestler, and naturally the matches weren’t up to the mark.
Interest started dwindling, so Vince had a brainwave of repackaging the thing – he came up with the concept of Divas.
Out went wrestling, in came models and reality tv people.
The focus went on beauty rather than on athleticism and we had to endure Aksana, Eva Marie, Jojo, The Bella twins (before their training), Rosa Mendez, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres despite there being some good wrestlers such as Kaitlyn, Beth Phoenix, Natalaya Neidhart and AJ Lee.
The wrestling crowd aren’t a bunch of numpties, they became sick and tired of watching professional wrestling women lose matches to the models. They voiced their displeasure and the ladies matches became nothing other than a glorified bathroom break.
And that is not a good thing to happen.
Paul (HHH) Levesque had started the NXT program to train future stars and for the last 4,5 years, it has given us a procession of fantastic performers – Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Regins, Wade Bad News Barrett, Darren Young, Ryback, Luke Harper, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Titus ONeill Fandango and of course Bray Wyatt.
It has also brought forth AJ Lee, Paige, Kaitlyn, Summer Rae, Emma, Naomi, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bailey – all of whom are fantastic wrestlers.
But people have already lost interest and have moved on – they just aren’t interested in the matches anymore.
Which is a shame.
These bunch of girls are extremely hard working and talented and deserve their moment in the spotlight.
So come on Vince McMahon, give them some good storylines, give them some good promos, give them the adequate time to put on good matches (Raw is for 3 hrs, Smackdown for 2, Main Event for 1 – women can easily put on at least 3,4 matches of around 10 minutes each in all that time)
Give them a chance.