No Revolution in WWE Evolution Submitted by LoneLee on 09/16/2018 at 05:09 PM
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No Revolution in Evolution
By LoneLee (Garrett Hernandez)
When Stephanie McMahon broke the news (and broke kayfabe as she has done so many confusing times) of an all-women’s PPV, she declared that WWE can now provide a platform to show that women can "do anything and be anything they want to be." A giant step forward in the female empowering movement in the juggernaut of a company. Or is it? The problem with her statement lies in lack of opportunities in the women's division. While I won't argue that it is an excellent chance to showcase the true potential and allure of all aspects in said division, I can say that a great deal hasn't changed since its dropping of the Divas name back in 2016. It has succumbed to the same traits of its male division counterpart and has become a victim of the critical microscope in these scrutinizing times.
WWE will always gravitate to push forward a name or personality that has a higher popularity value over in-ring work rate. This can be exemplified in the supposed leaked full card for the upcoming Evolution PPV with a scheduled main event of Ronda Rousey vs Nikki Bella. I have nothing against these women but when I think of the future of the division it's neither of these two. I see a reality star and a former UFC champion with a handful of matches under her rushed belt. Although it's a long road ahead, Ronda has proven to be a delightful surprise in the ring and on the stick, eager and learning as she continues to grow as a performer. She may be the most notorious name on the card to the masses but gives nothing back in facing a name like Nikki Bella whose best days are far behind her. This would have been a great chance to dethrone or humble the Rowdy one to a legit competitor like Asuka if the hype had been properly built.
Sadly, Asuka is also a victim of the direct contrast in Stephanie's statement. While the ladies come in the broadest of all backgrounds, sizes, and styles in the company’s history, they are now martyrs of Vince McMahon's famous "glass ceiling" in the championship picture. When it comes down to it, WWE has proven to use championships to elevate underwhelming talent rather than rewarding them to the workhorses. Asuka’s failure to connect with the fans due to the language barrier quickly left her in the dust behind the likes of Charlotte and Carmella. Yet another two prime examples of the predominantly blonde run division. Find it odd that since the end of August 2017, apart from Nia Jax for 70 days, both shows title holders have been blonde? That's two shows, two separate championships for over a year! These are stigmas that ROH broke with its inaugural women's champion in 46-year old Sumie Sakai, still reigning 8 months later.
Other promotions have not only beat WWE to the punch in promoting women on a higher platform, they've capitalized on areas WWE continue to ignore or simply cannot touch. Impact/TNA has been a home for competitive women's matches since a few years after the company’s birth. Despite a hiccup during the Hogan era, Impact truly continues to break the mold on how a woman is viewed in professional wrestling. In a PG strained era that must adhere to networks and sponsors, WWE discarded the fact that women can be presented as sex symbols. Gone are the days of Sable, Sunny, bra & panties matches, and bikini contests. I'm not complaining about that, but a gimmick or personality like that of a Scarlett Bordeaux or Beautiful People can give off a sexual representation just as well without taking extreme measures.
Technically, it can even be said that Impact was the first wrestling company to hold an all-female PPV in the form of a One Night Only event. Another "first ever" claim by WWE with an asterisk. Let's look back at some of those first ever women's matches since the women's revolution in WWE began. Elimination Chamber: Won by 5ft Alexa Bliss. MITB Ladder match: Won by James Ellsworth. Royal Rumble: Won by Asuka, overshadowed by Ronda Rousey debut with no pay off or feud. Ahh but Hell in a Cell: Won by Charlotte in an outstanding match. No convoluted BS, simply a match where both women could perform like they should be allowed. Could there be hope?
I believe that WWE will use the Evolution PPV as another PR move to exemplify the equality and empowerment of women in the workplace rather than a showcase of their true talents and hindered personalities like it should be. They will ultimately use the PPV as a strategic chess piece and present it to the Saudi Arabian government in attempt to feature the ladies on the card for the first time. WWE's vision of evolution will always be what makes the its partners happy rather than its fanbase. It'll continue to subjugate its own agendas over the artform that is professional wrestling, and now the women are a part of it.