If you blinked or sneezed or checked your Facebook you probably missed it. Believe it or not there was a Diva’s match on last night’s Raw in Nashville, TN. Only in the technical sense of the word, though. Let me replay the series of events for you:
-Paige’s music hits and she comes down the ramp causing me to get a funny feeling; like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.
-After she enters the ring they cut to commercial.
-Return from commercial straight into a Sting promo recapping his time as the face of WCW, quick recap of his encounter with Triple H at Fastlane, announcement of Sting vs. Triple H @ Wrestlemania.
-Cut to the ring and now Emma is with Paige (where did she come from?!).
-Then the Bella’s music hits and the twins make their entrance.
Let’s stop here for a second. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this had to be some kind of scheduling error. It makes zero sense to have Paige come out before a commercial and a promo to wait around in the ring for the match to get underway. Even if Emma’s entrance was during the commercial both of them waiting around together just isn’t fluid. Emma has a cult following and, as weird as it is to me, some people get a kick out of her “dance”. To see her entrance completely cut from TV was a shame. Moving on…
-The bell rings with Emma and Brie in the ring and Nikki and Paige in their respective corners on the apron. Paige wanders towards the neutral corner (camera right) and accuses Nikki of being a cheater. Brie knocks Paige to the ground with a forearm shiver.
-Emma shoves Brie and turns to check on Paige through the ropes. When she turns around Brie kicks her in the stomach, hits the Bella Buster, and it’s 1-2-3 for the win. Paige then hops in the ring and Superkicks Brie in the face. Nikki rushes to the aide of her sister and nails Paige with a forearm shiver, grabs her belt, and holds it over Paige warning her to, “never touch my sister!” The entire match lasted around 30 seconds from bell to pin. It wasn’t a squash, it was extremely poor booking and honestly we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s come to this for the Divas.
During his interview on the Stone Cold Podcast several weeks ago Triple H was asked what would he change if he could change one thing about Monday Night Raw. After mentioning that he’d prefer it be cut to two hours (which I wholeheartedly agree with, but that’s a topic for another article) he says, “I would like to see the women get more time and dedication. They have a lot to offer, and we have a large fanbase of women who watch and they’re inspirational.”
Two weekends ago at Indianapolis Comic Con Nikki Bella is quoted as saying, “If I was in NXT I would not wanna come up to the main roster because you get so much time down there.” Her sister Brie commented that she felt it was silly for Total Divas storylines to be used as the show is filmed months in advance.
The writing has been on the wall even to people on the inside, especially as the last two NXT specials (R-Evolution and Rival) have featured amazing Divas matches (most notably the Fatal 4-Way at Rival which is probably in the conversation of top 5 matches of the year to this point). All of this lead to #Givedivasachance trending on Twitter last night, with many more people in the business getting in on the action as Renee Young, Mick Foley, and the Bellas themselves either favoriting or retweeting related tweets.
Hopefully we see a change like we did after the Royal Rumble controversy because main roster Diva matches have become a traveshamockery. Seeing talent like Paige, Natalya, Naomi, et al misused belittles the entire thing and fans of good wrestling are left wringing their hands and shouting at the screen. Even the Bellas who have largely been more about aesthetics than in-ring talent are improving. It’s long past time to kill the Divas Division and bring back the Women’s Title. The IWC is too smart and respects quality wrestling too much for the women to be used as one step above cheerleaders. We don’t want one-dimensional wrestlers at all, especially amongst the women. Being attractive is a bonus on top of athleticism and technical skill in The Reality Era.
My favorite part of this situation was right before the main event started I noticed for the first time a fan holding a sign that said, “I miss Lita.” I do, too. <sigh>
For more on the topic check out colleague Jamie Welton’s thoughts here.