it’s check-mate! but i’m not sure who won

I feel like I need a good rant.  And since this is the only blog I’m using at the moment, you get to be at the business end of my pent up personal frustration. You should brag to your friends about how lucky you are! I could rant about the fact that my good iPod earphones have a loose wire and the left ear no longer plays properly.

I knew the tape wouldn't work. But I tried is anyway.

I knew the tape wouldn't work. But I tried it anyway.

Or I could whine about the fact that I bought the new Rolling Stone today and Megan Fox’s cover shot made me feel sub-human.

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But neither of those things would be very interesting on a wrestling blog. Actually, they wouldn’t be interesting on any blog. So I’ll rant briefly about a wrestling topic.

On last night’s Raw a Diva draft was set in motion. Again. We  had the main annual draft in April (good times), we had an additional bit of personnel shuffling at the end of June (neutral times) and now we have another run of Diva movement (bad times). Let me just say, my exasperation has nothing to do with the fact that I’m annoyed I won’t now be able to marvel at Mickie James at the Raw house show in Cardiff next month. Alright, it might have a little bit to do with it. But my main beef is with the women’s division as a whole.

The lacklustre WWE women’s division is no secret. In fact, it has become a standing joke. When Trish Stratus returned as guest host of Raw a few weeks ago it only seemed to highlight how the profile of the division has slowly fallen following Trish’s departure. This is in no way a slight on the ladies’ in-ring talent. True, there are some who are still in the developmental stage and some who have limited roles as wrestlers. That is nothing new. But there are a handful of excellent workers who, when they’re given TV/mic time and their matches aren’t rushed through, pull off some very good matches. What’s sorely lacking is creative input. Instead of investing in its women’s division and capitalising on the talent they have on the payroll, the WWE seem more than happy to allow the female roster to languish in a town called mediocrity.

I struggle to watch TNA. Half the crowd appear to be British tourists in regional football shirts with no clue what they’re watching. And at times the quality of the production makes me bite down on a cushion. It may be a collection of has-beens and wannabes, but we’ve all got to start and end somewhere. Oh, and its women’s division just happens to be brilliant.

I am increasingly willing to spend my time watching a show which sets my teeth on edge purely to see some decent female characterisation.  They’re cashing in on the trick the WWE fail to acknowledge. And that’s why this latest Diva draft frustrates me so much. It’s the equivalent of sitting down to a game of chess without knowing how to play or what to do with each piece. Each piece moves in a different way and has its own specific attributes. You can move those pieces from one square to another as much as you like, but if you don’t do anything deliberate and clever with them, you lose. In this case, we lose too.

Divas can flit from Smackdown to ECW to Raw as many times as creative feel like picking them up and placing them down again. But if reaching the WWE is supposed to be pinnacle of a professional wrestler’s career, it must surely be an anti-climax for the women who sign WWE contracts. Or at least those who were already wrestling with other companies. It’s as if they’re trying to give each brand the perfect mix of women, because once they crack that tricky combination lock everything will be ok. I wouldn’t even mind if they just tried to give the ladies some storylines. Somehow, indifference is even more offensive than writing poor feuds.

So, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix go to Smackdown, Melina, Eve and The Bella Twins go to Raw and Rosa Mendes heads off to ECW. Of course, it means absolutely nothing unless the creative team have some interesting feuds and well thought out plans for each ‘character’ in the office filing cabinet. Each shake-up seems to promise so much and deliver so little. I would very much like to be proven wrong on this occasion.

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4 thoughts on “it’s check-mate! but i’m not sure who won

  1. I’m worried about the state of women’s wrestling as a whole because very shortly I will begin training at a wrestling school in florida. I think my worst fear about getting into the WWE is they saddle me with a rediculous gimmick and then let me go because I dont draw. With men, if they have a bad gimmick it seems as though they can change it easily (like Nikky from the Spirit Squad becoming Dolph Ziggler) but its rare to see a woman recover from a stupid character.

    • The problem is not that the women have stupuid characters. Characters are easily changed for men and women. But it’s that they have no substance. Without some kind of hook to draw the audience in to the story, nobody really cares. WWE then uses the audience’s lack of enthusiasm as an excuse to do nothing.

      As I told you via email, I wish you the best of luck! You shoudl blog your experiences at wrestling school. Could be very interesting to see how you progress and how you feel about the business as you go through your training.

  2. I think they should unify the women’s belts and let them wrestle across brands.

    Put it this way… as an amateur video game booker (Fire Pro Wrestling Returns), I wrote a storyline that saw the introduction of Awesome Kong to the WWE who went on a tear through the division and ultimately led to Beth Phoenix becoming a face (she slew the all-destroying beast after Kong took out a few of the male wrestlers).

    I mean, if I can do it, how can they not come up with interesting storylines?

    • But that’s just the point, it’s not difficult to come up with even some basic storylines. The fact of the matter is that they don’t actually care about raising the profile of the women’s division. If they did they’d go ahead and do it.

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