Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dispatches from the Lake: Making History

Will they steal the show Sunday? Maybe, but they'll at least be given the chance
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WWE likes to throw around the idea that nearly episode of their programming is historic. Viewers tuning in to RAW or the monthly special events can hear Cole crow about it at least once a broadcast. If I may crib from Mr. Paul F. Thompkins, this is technically correct, since all of those events have happened in the past. But, gentle reader, as you know, WWE doesn't mean it that way. They want you to think that every second of their programming is important in the grand scheme somehow. For this to be true, there has to be a grand scheme, but that's a conversation for another day.

I don’t think I'm alone in my hope that the Diva's Revolution, cringeworthy though the execution was, would be an actual historic moment. It would mark the point in time that the WWE started valuing the wrestling ability of their female performers. We had already seen what the women could do on NXT, and hearing that Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks would be coming up to the main roster bolstered the hope for a paradigm shift. This weekend, there is an opportunity for that shift. It has nothing to do with a revolution. It has to do with three talented women being allowed the time to work magic in the ring.

On Twitter last week, I suggested that on a longer than four hour WrestleMania that the women's title match should get at least fifteen minutes. A few people suggested to me to now get my hopes up I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started pulling together the data on women's matches at WrestleMania. Better, I was definitely expecting better. I know we always joke and mourn (journ, if you will) that women's matches on WWE's main roster are barely minutes long, but I needed some hard data. I did a little research regarding the length of women's matches at WrestleMania.

Would you like to know the average time for a women's match at the Show of Shows? Care to take a guess first? Bell to bell, it's five minutes and two seconds. It was lower, but I decided against counting a women's match that happened on Sunday Night Heat before WrestleMania XV. That one was one minute and twenty three seconds. It dragged the average down by nine seconds to four minutes and 53 seconds. The longest match on the list was a match from WrestleMania XXII for the Women's Championship. That one was eight minutes and 48 seconds. We also got a two-fer that Mania. Not only was there a title match between Mickie James and Trish Stratus, but we were also treated to a barn burner of a Playboy Pillow Fight that pitted Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle. Oye.

While those are HIGH STANDARDS to live up to, I remember that Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and defending champion Charlotte step up when expectations are high. My heart warms when I remember Triple H talking to Banks, Charlotte, and Alexa Bliss backstage at WrestleMania XXX about how they'd be back to the big show. Two years later, and here they are. Well, not Bliss, but her time will come. I think of an idiot on Twitter last night that suggested I'd have to eat crow because the Divas won't 'steal' the show Sunday. Fuck that guy! Fuck the mindset that WWE fostered for years suggesting that the women's matches are bathroom breaks. FUCK ALL OF IT.

It was ten years ago at WrestleMania XXII that the women's title match went longer than eight minutes. Since then, the women's title, Diva or otherwise, has been defended twice, not including this year. WrestleMania's history includes a Playboy Evening Gown Match, a Playboy Pillow Fight, a Catfight, and whatever the shit a Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjill Match. I know I watched that match, but I couldn't tell you a damn thing about it.

For the love of all that is sacred and holy, WWE, please give the women's title match at WrestleMania the time it needs to breathe. Don't cut their time. Don't go half-assed on this. You want to make history? Actual history? Something people can point back to and cherish? Let Banks, Lynch, and Charlotte tear down Jerry World and leave the Universe wanting more.