Indy wrestling right now is under a huge surge in popularity. There are more wrestlers, more talent, more promotions, and enough TV time to drown in. Wrestling is coming back in a big way.
The affect that this has had on the WWE is huge. Not only can WWE essentially snare ready-made talent with a good start of drawing power but those WWE talents who get lost in the shuffle have a legitimate avenue of escape. WWE might give you drawing power but the room at the top isn’t infinite. Three members of the class of 2002, the continual returns of the Rock, even names such as Kurt Angle now are being used in favoured spots because they make money.
What they don’t make is new stars and this is where other federations stand to gain from the WWE’s business model. I’ve got fourteen names, two of which are tag teams and I’m going to run them down one a week because I believe that these are people who would do better outside of the WWE.
I’m Tom Colohue and this is Winner Leaves Town.
Might as well start with something topical, right?
Saying “Emma was botched” is something of a disservice to both WWE and Emma in my eyes, but there are certainly a lot of elements beyond her control that worked against her during her WWE run. For all of Emma’s talent and her unique move set, Emma was hamstrung by a failure to translate on to the main roster, a run of injuries, and an almost instant set of replacements coming up right behind her.
I’m going to visit the problem of over saturation a lot in these articles; trust me.
The problem with Emma, as much as anything, was that she was always number five or six in the list of women being pushed and with the women’s divisions generally getting one or two segments at most a week Emma really didn’t have anywhere to go.
Upon debuting in NXT, Emma essentially walked into a show dominated by the anti-Diva Paige. This being NXT the push system was delightfully simple at the time. Push someone, have them beat everyone, put them on the main roster and then push someone else.
Unfortunately for Emma, behind Paige you had Sasha Banks already established, Summer Rae competing if not a strong competitor, Bayley’s debut about to happen, and Charlotte and Becky Lynch both in the back waiting for their moment. That said, Emma definitely had opportunities.
The big downside for Emma wasn’t so much anyone’s fault; everyone was emerging at the same time. Near the end of her time in NXT Asuka also began to emerge as a legitimate star and now, not long before her release, WWE picked up a whole load of cheap, young talent via the Mae Young Classic.
Simply put, there’s too much talent in the women’s division and Emma, despite being able to rightly claim a part in the Women’s Revolution, was a victim of cost cutting and long term decision making.
Emma’s time on the main roster was a precursor to Bayley’s – another person who might well be looking over her shoulder right now – in that she was secondary to other pushes. Maybe it might have been different had she spent some time on Total Divas? Who knows, but the simple fact is that even before her release Emma could definitely have done better elsewhere.
At the time of her release, Emma’s push was finally beginning. Unfortunately while some people were singing the praises of this decision, others were furious that Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax were being pushed harder than Emma. With a fledgling push for Alicia Fox and Mickie James as well there was really no room in the Women’s Division for any further pushes. Banks and Bayley were essentially playing the jobbers at the time and Asuka had just debuted.
Thankfully, WWE has essentially done Emma a favor – pushing her to prominence in a way that advertised what she could do and how valuable she could be to a different company if given the opportunity.
WWE likes to take credit for the Women’s Revolution, but women’s wrestling has been on the up for a while now, since well before A.J. Lee ran down the cast of Total Divas and essentially kicked off an age of serious wrestling for women. There’s a reason that WWE was able to find so much female talent for a 32 woman tournament. The talent is out there and the talent is getting pushed.
While there are a lot of smaller indy feds which would build a division around, Emma, Shimmer, Melbourne City Wrestlin,g and so on, women’s wrestling is particularly strong over in TNA right now. Obviously we all know that TNA – if that is indeed their name today – is in a bit of an unstable patch right now but Emma is a well known and popular figure who could go a long way to righting that ship.
The departure of Gail Kim from TNA robs us of what could have been a great match, but it also leaves room at the top and with Allie, Sienna, Rosemary, and the like already established and in place, TNA could provide Emma with a real platform to come from.
Emma’s current persona lends itself well to an “I’m too good for TNA” sort of character arc. Coming from the big leagues, so to speak, and running down current talent in an NWO style would allow Emma to take her place at the very top of the division, giving a little time for someone like Allie to develop as a sympathetic face to take the title back for TNA.
TNA doesn’t have much right now, but there is still some brand loyalty. Emma might be the perfect heel to work on that.
I do wish Emma all the best in the future, where she is very unlikely to be permitted use of the name Emma. Perhaps even her hand movements will be subject to a cease and desist but I’m confident that she will be able to forge a long, successful career without WWE.
CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: Colohue Dogma – Ranking the Nine WWE Championships Post-Summerslam 2017