Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are the Women of Honor Finally Ready to Be a Regular Thing?

Veda Scott is ready to be the anchor; will ROH let her efforts mean something?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Ring of Honor in many ways has historically been at the vanguard of American professional wrestling over the last 12 or so years, but one place where it has always lagged, even behind WWE and TNA, has been in presentation of women's wrestling. Whereas WWE and TNA have always had problems with misogyny, both companies have had women's divisions and at least some representation. ROH's problems with misogyny are well-documented, and they've come without any steady booking of women to mollify it. The Women of Honor division has been promised for a long time, but each time ROH has tried to jump-start it, the initiatives have failed.

ROH has really no excuse not to have female representation in the ring. In the past, it has had access to a wide, deep roster of unsigned women that was unmatched in quality until NXT started getting serious. Right now, it has arguably the most charismatic female performer on the scene in Veda Scott with no outlet to utilize her talents outside of managing male wrestlers. The current Women of Honor initiative seems to rightly center around her, as she wrote a blog about building it.

Scott mentioned Sumie Sakai, Kelly Klein (aka Mary Elizabeth Monroe), and Taeler Hendrix as the first building blocks. ROH also has had ODB under contract, and both Mandy Leon and Deonna Purrazo have wrestled as testers for the division. I could think of better names to launch a division, but I could also think of a lot worse. The problem won't be the talent. I have no doubt that women, especially ones who have been given WWE tryouts and not offered contracts and those who may not be on WWE's radar at all but are stellar performers regardless, will want to work for the company.

The leading factor will be the faith put behind the division by Ring of Honor. For a company that has been a creative leader at times in its tenure of operation, it is lagging embarrassingly behind the field in terms of female representation. It has the funding from Sinclair Broadcasting Group. It has the roster. It has the infrastructure. Now all it needs to do is give these women a chance to shine, or else it will not only be under direct business attack from WWE, it will be losing on a key front in the culture war as well.