MAGIC, MEMORIES AND MANIA: The Women’s “Revolution,” the Worst Booked Division in Wrestling History

By Shawn Valentino, PWTorch Specialist

Charlotte (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


Stephanie McMahon has proudly boasted that the WWE Women’s Division has been “revolutionized.” When Charlotte and Sasha Banks were brought to the main roster in 2015, they brought with them a reputation of having tremendous matches in NXT. They did not have the traditional model look of sex symbols like Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus in the past. Their athletic physiques and focus on their in-ring action supposedly ushered in a new era in women’s wrestling.

The “Divas Revolution” as it was hyped at the time was largely a farce. . They should have been brought up as individual stars looking to change the industry, but instead it was an endless series of bad segments and stereotypical promos of catty behavior and excess crying. In 2016, improvements started including changing the name to the Women’s Division and a very good match at Wrestlemania that rose above the traditional bathroom break filler that the Divas matches were in years past.

Sadly, in the past six months, the booking of the Women’s Division has made the atrocious Shane McMahon versus Undertaker story look like Shakespearean drama in his prime. Ironically this decline began after the introduction of Bayley, the woman that would supposedly be a hero for little girls everywhere. The writing of her character has been so abysmal that it would even make porn screenwriters shudder. Here are five reasons I believe that the Women’s Division may be the worst booked division in wrestling history.

The Championship has changed hands way too frequently

The devaluation of championships has been a company wide issue for WWE, but the astronomical amount of times the Women’s Championship has been changed has rendered title wins meaningless. At this rate, Charlotte will defeat Ric Flair’s world title record by the end of the year.  When Big E got in trouble for saying she would break her father’s record by the next month, it may have been the one genuinely funny moment in modern day minstrel show New Day history.

There are too many meta moments

I am not a fan of insider “meta” moments in wrestling unless they effectively enhance the storytelling and character development. When characters are saying that they are going to revolutionize the division, it just comes across as preachy. The contrived emotion of ladies crying and hugging their archrivals after main matches is embarrassing.

There is too much breaking character on social media

Not only is there too much character inconsistency on television, even worse is some of the unnecessary breaking of character on social media, and this is also an issue across the company. It is no surprise with a leader in Stephanie bragging that she is a brand ambassador that plays a villain on television.  Moments like Charlotte wishing her best friend Banks a happy birthday on Twitter are cringe-worthy. Check out my proposal for a WWE Social Media Policy here. (LINK ARTICLE)

The three main characters are all horribly presented

Sasha Banks is supposed to The Boss. In NXT, she was arguably the coolest character in all of WWE. Unfortunately, on the main roster, she has been watered down to a lame overemotional stereotype that would not be out of place in a Twilight film. How many times did we hear that she was so excited just to be there? I felt that Banks should have been introduced as a sexy heel with a bad attitude. Instead, for months she was presented like a teenage girl who just made the cheerleading team. She did improve, but WWE has yet to recapture the magic she had as The Boss.

Charlotte is supposed to be the Queen of PPV, but if you put her “athlete’s journey” in a sports context, she should not even receive these live special opportunities. I cannot count how many times she loses on the weekly show. Why would she even be given championship matches on big events? She is undoubtedly a tremendous performer that has showcased her dad’s charisma much more than David ever did, but the booking of her character has been ridiculous. Imagine the New England Patriots going 6 and 10 and then winning the Super Bowl? After all of that hype of her streak, they got absolutely no equity out of it as she lost on a throwaway PPV after already losing her championship in fluke fashion weeks prior.

Worst of all, by far, has been the booking of Bayley. Whoever has been in charge of her character should be banned from working in television the rest of their existence. This was the easiest character to get right as she has a very down to earth presence and genuine likeability that we rarely see in WWE’s female characters. In NXT, she was the ultimate underdog and the perfect candidate for the classic Joseph Campbell hero’s journey after reaching the main roster.

Instead, she beats the champion Charlotte in one of her first appearances in a match with no hype on national television. It has been an utter disaster ever since. Her road should have been a rocky climb to the Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. Instead she beat the champion in numerous non-title matches, one of my pet peeves in wrestling. Then she won her first championship in underhanded fashion and expressed no regrets afterword. The scripting and booking of her character makes Kevin Nash in WCW look like the Creative Genius of the Century.

The storytelling has been baffling

If any of you can make sense of the inane plot development in the Women’s Division in recent months they should be hired as the WWE Head of Creative. Please tweet me if you can answer the following questions.

Why has the championship switched hands like the gravy bowl at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

Why have there been so many non-title matches where the challenger won making the inevitable title change weeks later impotent?

Why did Bayley suddenly win the Women’s Championship out of nowhere just months before WrestleMania?

Why did Charlotte suddenly lose her PPV streak on a pretty meaningless show?

What is so revolutionary about a division with painfully bad booking, erratic characters and zero sense of logic or consistency?

I have been watching “sports entertainment” for decades, but this may be the worst booked division in wrestling history. You want a revolution?  Bring back the gorgeous models and let us see who can win 17 Lingerie Pillow Fight World Championships.

(Send questions, comments, and feedback on Twitter @shawnvalentino)

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