WrestleMania has come and gone with memorable & historical moments, highlight reel clips, a few head scratching outcomes and more. One match in particular covered nearly all those aforementioned bases: the three way for the WWE Divas/Women’s title between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks.
While the show’s main event went exactly as expected and was really just a formality, the women’s match was arguably the best on the show. The wrestling was solid and the crowd was clearly invested from start to finish. The match being for the new WWE Women’s Championship instantly made it feel more important and history making. It also wasn’t without its own memorable moments.
Banks won the “Best Entrance of the Night” award with WWE Hall of Fame inductee Snoop Dogg performing Banks’ entrance theme and accompanying her to the ring. And if that wasn’t “boss” enough for you, she debuted her Eddie Guerrero themed ring gear, and paid tribute to her all-time favourite wrestler by performing a frog splash during the match.
Many thought Mania was going to be Sasha’s night, but thanks to some classic Ric Flair hijinks, Charlotte ended the night #AndStill champion. It wasn’t a finish as incomprehensible as the IC title ladder match or AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho, but it did feel like Sasha’s time. But it was what it was, and while slightly deflating, I have a feeling it was for the greater good (if your mind just went to Hot Fuzz, you get all the points), and I’ll happily tell you why!
So we now have a reinvigorated WWE women’s division. The Divas are dead, and in their place are strong, talented, female athletes. So, what’s next? After failing to capture the title at Mania, I was expecting the Charlotte/Sasha feud to continue until perhaps the next pay per view, but that’s obviously being held off with Natalya now next in line for a shot. That seemed like an odd choice at first, but again, I have a feeling it’s for the greater good.
WWE has made it glaringly apparent that memorable, history making moments and breaking records are more imperative than logical booking and storyline consistency. Case in point: WrestleMania 32 and the post Mania Raw. However, when it comes to the women’s division, this may not be such bad thing after all.
I want to believe that WWE is holding off on Charlotte vs. Banks for a reason — a very good reason. My hope is that sometime in 2016, a WWE pay-per-view will be headlined for the first time ever by a WWE Women’s Championship match with the participants being Charlotte and Banks.
The idea of women headlining a WWE PPV has long been discussed, but often quickly dismissed. “Women don’t draw!” and “the women’s matches aren’t as good as the men’s!” and “f**k no!” are the standard arguments against. And in the past, some of those points weren’t completely wrong. Until quite recently, women’s matches were rarely very good with some exceptions. But more importantly, no one really cared about them. Now, thanks largely to the women’s division in NXT (and to a much, much lesser extent WWE’s “Divas Revolution”), that’s all changed.
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In fact, albeit on a much smaller scale, WWE has already proven that their female wrestlers can successfully headline a major event. After outshining everyone else on the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn card in August 2015, including headliners Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, Banks and Bailey were rewarded by being the first women to ever main event an NXT Takeover special.
At Takeover: Respect later that year, the two met again for a 30-minute Iron Man match. Not only was it the first time two women had headlined a major WWE show, it was also the first women’s Iron Man match (can we just say Iron Woman match?). And yeah, it was great!
The shift is happening. Traditional views of women’s wrestling are becoming obsolete. With the right wrestlers and a solid build, there is absolutely no reason two female “Superstars” can’t headline a WWE pay-per-view in 2016. And right now, those two look to be Charlotte and Sasha Banks.
Charlotte is on a hot heel run with daddy Flair in her corner. Her current feud with Natalya should not only produce some great wrestling, but also further solidify Charlotte as a top heel champion. Meanwhile, WWE needs to continue getting the fans riled up for a Banks title win by keeping her strong and always near title contention, and most importantly by avoiding that cursed 50/50 booking.
Preferably, I’d like such a historic match built up for a major event like Summerslam in August, but that gives WWE way too much time to screw everything up. Perhaps an upcoming show like Money in the Bank or Battleground might be better options. But I’m getting way too ahead of myself here.
There doesn’t need to be a ceiling on how far women get in professional wrestling, or in sports all together. Believing one exists in 2016 is antiquated thinking. UFC has proven that women can draw on top. Late last year, Princess KimberLee became the first female Chikara Grand Champion. Over in Japan, joshi promotions like Stardom are producing some of the best wrestling in the world with performers like Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo & Mayu Iwatani.
The point is WWE is finally doing something right. Despite years of programming their audience that women’s wrestling is inferior, the current roster of women have stepped up and proven themselves to be equals. But WWE can do more. Now is their chance to do something groundbreaking, something history making. They have the ability to take women’s wrestling to heights that no other promotion can.
The only thing in their way is themselves.