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WWE's Divas division unfairly treated?

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I am writing this based on a request on Twitter. At first I was sceptical to tackle the subject of WWE’s Divas division (due to my lack of interest in it in today’s WWE) but I decided it might be worth taking a crack at it.

It also came to my attention that my lack of interest and the occasional insult and comparison towards it might be useful tools in offering a sustainable argument as to why the divas are seemingly mistreated and almost irrelevant nowadays.

The main points I’m looking to mention are the fact that there is no such thing as an intriguing diva storyline, and the fact that the current crop of divas are very limited in terms of their in-ring work (or the work that we’re allowed to see).

Lack of on-screen time

After something like three-five years, it seems like a moot point when I say that the reason the WWE divas get very little respect from myself and many other fans is that we don’t get the chance to gain any respect for them. For as long as I can remember in the ‘PG era’ (I’m not so sure this is the PG era anymore, so much as it is a slow revolution into pure wrestling just waiting for John Cena to step aside and let technicians have the main event spots) the divas are given all of five minutes to put on a decent match and show us why we should look to them for our women’s wrestling, and this includes the entrances.

I personally do not feel like I’m obligated to sit through yet another Beth Phoenix versus Layla match (whilst they have put on some great divas matches on recent pay-per-views, they simply do not get a chance to shine on Raw or SmackDown).

The main reason for this is the same as the reason why people are saying that Daniel Bryan versus CM Punk doesn’t sell PPVs – we see it week in/week out and therefore have no reason to pay for that privilege.

My point here is that the divas, as talented as they (potentially) are, do not get a chance to build any real intriguing rivalries for the fans to invest in. it is more likely that they are there to cater to the minority of female WWE fans, to fail to compete with the TNA Knockouts (the only area where TNA has any edge over the WWE product in my opinion), and to provide some eye candy for the male demographic.

Looks over ability

Whilst it is only a recent move in terms of moulding WWE, in-ring ability is becoming the greatest measuring stick in the company in terms of who holds the biggest titles (say what you will about Sheamus and him being a ‘fighter’ and not a wrestler, but he has in-ring ability) and who gets the biggest storylines with the most time.

It seems like this move has eclipsed the divas to the point where they have no real purpose. Kelly Kelly is the key example to this point. The fact that WWE chose to put her at the top of the mountain, overcoming Beth Phoenix and Natalya (two proven women’s wrestlers), was a nail in the coffin of the divas for me.

Whilst she is clearly an attractive woman (I’m pretty sure it is now a minimal requirement to be a diva today), her wrestling ability is limited. Whilst Trish Stratus (to me one of two of WWE’s greatest divas along with Lita) was a terrible wrestler when she first stepped into the ring alongside T&A (that’s Test and Albert for those who missed the attitude era), she improved. This is something that I have failed to see from Kelly Kelly in her four-plus years with WWE, and if she has WWE hasn’t allowed her the time to show us such improvements.

Comparisons to Trish Stratus and Lita

I’ll be the first to slate a current WWE diva for their lack of intrigue in comparison to the days of Trish and Lita, and I have no shame in it. I will admit that it is a harsh comparison to make, however.

The landscape of today and yesteryear are very different. Whilst Trish and Lita earned their way into an eventual Raw main event, they were allowed the time to build to an intriguing rivalry which eventually became the centrepiece of both divas’ careers. On top of that, the limitations on what they could do to entice a predominantly male fan base were loose and occasionally non-existent – Trish acting as a (lack of a better word) ‘slut’, and the infamous ‘walking kiss of death’ are both things which I could no longer imagine a WWE diva doing today.

Whether that is a good or bad thing is all down to the individual, and considering the key audience is children now it is probably a good thing.

The WWE divas get a lot of criticism from me and others alike, but it is never without reason. WWE seems to treat the divas worse than they have the Tag Team Championships over the last three years, and for that the divas cannot be blamed. Whether it is limited TV time, the repetitive nature of the matches we do occasionally see, or the stigma that the current crop has in that they aren’t as entertaining or interesting as the divas of old, the actual divas cannot be blamed.

Where I will place blame is on the lack of effort many of them have made to show us what they can do with the time they are given. There was once a time when superstars like Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit could barely get five minutes in the ring themselves, but they chose their best spots and grabbed that brass ring and eventually made it big. This is what the WWE divas need to do in order to be taken seriously in a toned-down WWE.

Where they are limited in character development, they need to show us what they can do technically.

Perhaps we are seeing a couple of divas do this in Layla and Beth Phoenix?

Thank you for reading this effort at a diva-themed blog, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter (@SpringerAJ) for more nonsensical views on WWE, and to request other topics you would like to read my views on.

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Updated 06-26-2012 at 03:43 PM by Frank

Tags: divas, wwe
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Comments

  1. Guest's Avatar
    Hi SpringerAJ, great read and I can only agree with you on this. Only creative can make the division better, hiring the best veterans in the wrestling biz won't get fans interested. Even MsChif and Sara Del Rey didn't put on a good 2 minute match. Torrie Wilson said when there are time constraints and time needs to be cut from a segment, it's the Divas first. Gail Kim also said the Divas movesets are limited to prevent them 'upstaging' the guys.
  2. OneTimePosterShorry's Avatar
    They're "treated" just the way they should be.

    In the WWE, it's important to be able to connect with your audience. If you get pops or heat when you're supposed to, they know what you're doing works. Getting over is of utmost importance, because if you are over, you make the crowds exciting, you make the shows exciting, and you give those at home a reason to watch every week. But most importantly, if you get over, WWE considers promoting your character; getting you name and face more out there.

    The Divas, since say about 2009 or so have not by any means been consider over, or a reason to watch RAW. The "era" they are in have nothing to so with it. It's all based on whether or not the live crowds and viewers want to see the Divas. In recent years we have been introduced to women such as Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Gail Kim, Mickie James, and Laycool, among others. Out of all these women in modern day WWE there have been very very few that the crowds shown interest in. If fans show no interest in the Divas, then why should WWE keep showing them off in a moderate capacity? The fans have shown that they aren't interested in the Divas; they don't cheer, they're always quiet. If WWE kept booking them for these quiet crowds, it would hurt the mood of their show, and obviously their ratings.

    Hardly any of these women, talented or not, have ever got over. The only women that have are Kelly Kelly, Kharma, and AJ. In Spring 2011, they pushed Kelly. Does she suck? Somewhat, yes. But they had no alternatives because it's not like they have any other women who were over. I do not question their decision at all to push her. They pushed Tamina earlier this year, but they stopped after Elimination Chamber because nobody at all cheered for her, which is pretty rotten if you ask me. If you want "unfair", that was it.

    AJ on the other hand is getting an old fashioned push; she's been attached to main eventers to help get her over. You see more of her because she's got relationships with Punk and Bryan, guys that many fans care about. All of a sudden fans have an interest in AJ because they want to know what she says about these guys or does to them. Because heaven forbid, if she wrestled in Divas matches, nobody would pay attention to her at all. She would not be a key player on RAW if she did. Similarly you had Eve with Zack Ryder and John Cena. There was a lot of attention on Eve and she didn't wrestle because nobody would be interested in it.

    The answer is no. It is not WWE's fault the Divas are booked badly. You just can't expect them to book them in better ways if there is no demand. And by "demand", I mean crowd noise, viewership, interest, actual product investment where you are understood the most. Not blogs, not Tweets, not comments where WWE doesn't see them. WWE needs to know that they can make a profit on the Divas, and for now they can't.

    But hey, there's more to being a wrestler for the WWE than just the TV shows. The Divas still wrestle long matches on NXT, Superstars, house shows, and PPVs because there's no way for them to fail to draw. WWE has made all the money they could for these events.
    Updated 06-26-2012 at 09:38 PM by OneTimePosterShorry

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