Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dispatches from the Lake: Ranting on a Revolution

Is the revolution really a revolution?
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A little over six months ago, #givedivasachance trended for nearly two days. You may remember the match that resulted in that hashtag. It stands as a footnote to what Stephanie McMahon dubbed the "Divas’ Revolution." It took five months for McMahon to come out to the ring and offer the Bella Twins and Alicia Fox some competition. It took WWE brass five months to figure out how to try to make the women’s division on their main roster matter.

I think you can make the argument that it still doesn’t. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t enjoyed the resulting matches from this alleged revolution. Seeing Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch fighting the good fight up on the main roster is awesome. Being allowed to watch a women’s match that lasts multiple segments on RAW is something that I honestly never thought I would see. I’m not here to shit in the cereal of this resurgence of women’s wrestling on Monday nights. I just wish that WWE cared about it more.

I believe it was Bryon Saxton on Monday night that said something to the effect of women athletes are just now becoming real. That they don’t have silicon parts anymore or some such garbage. I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but it made me plenty mad. Throwing shade at someone for having plastic surgery is fucking stupid, especially when the current champion and the on-screen part owner have fake boobs. Speaking of McMahon, she did something similar when she said there was a revolution going on now in women’s sports.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but women have been kicking ass in sports for a hot god damn minute, unless I’m misremembering the domination of the Williams sisters in tennis over the last fifteen years, the US Women’s Soccer team’s excellence, the US women’s gymnastics gold in 2012, etc. And that’s just what I can come up with off the top of my head from here in the States. Just because Ronda Rousey likes wrestling doesn’t mean you can suddenly start acknowledging women being badasses in sports when you’ve all but ignored it for the better part of a decade. If WWE is looking for a pat on the back for this, they won’t be getting it from me.

I might give them a pat on the back when Sasha Banks comes down to the ring on RAW carrying her NXT WOMEN’S Championship belt. Kevin Owens was able to proudly wear the NXT Championship during his appearances on the main roster. Why the hell can’t Banks? Is it really because her title says "Women's" on it?

I could also be persuaded into giving them a pat on the back if they actually built up to a Champion vs. Champion match with the gravitas is deserves. But "Why?" asks WWE. You mean putting a women’s match that should be a showcase bout before BROCK LESNAR appears in his home town is a bad idea? One can hardly blame Minneapolis for chanting for Lesnar during the match. 

Remember a few weeks ago when Seth Rollins issued an open challenge for his title that Neville came out to accept? Remember how into that the crowd was? Why not have Nikki Bella put her title on the line against Banks? Why not tell us a story during the match? Why not try to make the crowd, which WWE has trained for the last years to treat these matches as a bathroom break, give a shit about two women who are busting their asses to entertain them.

Has anything really changed in the women’s division on the main roster? It would be asinine to say no. We are getting at least two women’s matches on RAW every Monday since the NXT Three have been brought up. These matches are ending decisively by pin fall or submission. The distraction roll up that plagued the division lo these many years has largely vanished. And the matches have been good! But what is it all leading to? Team B.A.D, Team Bella, and Team PCB are slated for an elimination tag match for SummerSlam, but what’s the end game? Since Nikki Bella is working hurt, I wouldn’t expect a title match any time soon, though that really should be the goal of the competition within the division. If wrestlers don’t want the title, then what’s the point of even having it?

The division needs stakes. Like I mentioned above, watching Neville take Rollins to the limit for the title brought the crowd alive. It doesn’t take much. Just put in a little effort, and not the usual garbage ‘plot points’ about all women hating each other and/or are jealous bitches. That might be too much to ask for though. We can’t have solid wrestling AND coherent storylines, now can we? The men don’t even get that.