Monday, July 13, 2015

Instant Feedback: Who Run the World?

A melange of submissions washed away any flaws the layout of the NXT women's debuts could have ever had
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The negatives of the NXT women debuting on RAW tonight were numerous. For one, anytime Stephanie McMahon interacts with another woman, the result is death. She was superfluous in the grand scheme of things. Did she really need to be the one to usher in three-quarters of the Horsewomen as members of their respective cliques rather than letting Paige and Naomi do the deeds themselves? The progression of the segment smacked of the same "bitches be crazy" MO that WWE's main roster women have adhered to since the reinstitution of the WWE Women's Championship after the belt was retrieved from that trashcan on the Nitro set. The actual brawling felt meandering with no real script other than "uh, hey, do stuff?"

But sometimes, a segment that has so much anticipation behind it, and sometimes the brightest, shiningest apogee blinds out the deficiencies. Seeing Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte lock in their submission holds on each of the members of Team Bella tonight felt like a seminal moment, like something important. Nothing else could really wash its sheen away, and in that one instant, the promise of a better tomorrow was tangible.

And in the aftermath, roles were reversed. When Divas matches used to be canvases for ignorance, it was the men whose work in the ring went ignored as Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton kept buzzing about the newest debuts on commentary. Of course, one could point out how problematic it was that all six men in the ring were persons of color, and obviously, WWE has its own fatally plagued history when dealing with African-Americans (or any racial minority). Still, in years, hell, in days past, the dudes with dicks, no matter what color, would have held sway. Tonight was not a night that held tradition.

The follow-up will be important, for sure. Beth Phoenix and Nattie Neidhart can probably speak at length about how promise for women can evaporate into the aether, especially when Kevin Dunn and his punchable little rat face hold such influence. But something felt so right about how things played out, even if the timespan was fraught with so many errors. The comfort that those performers and fans (of which I am included) can take is that outside of the Kevin Owens/Cesaro/Rusev triple threat match, nothing on this episode of RAW was laid out particularly well. The flagship is such a shitshow nowadays that it'd be a surprise if the showrunners could lay out two out of three hours in a coherent fashion without needing Cesaro to wrestle for 90 minutes of that time. Note, I would love to see Vince McMahon and his writers and planners allow Cesaro to wrestle for 90 minutes. Please make this happen.

Then again, true equality is allowing the women to fail the same as the men and get the same opportunities to dive into a pile of shit and pull out the random diamond, just as the men. Tonight's introduction of Banks, Charlotte, and Lynch felt like it meant something more than an advertisement for Total Divas. That has to mean something going forward. The Twitter reactions and the "This Is Awesome1" chants have to mean something. For once, women meant something on RAW, and for once, they felt like they carried the show, at least from a "things happening" standpoint. That's a big win from where I sit.

1 - Yes, I know, "This is awesome" doesn't mean anything anymore because it gets chanted at everyone. Or does it? Did R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett get one of those chants? Hell, did Stardust vs. Neville get one of those? Chants like that mean more than what anyone thinks they do.