Nikki Bella Tops PWI’s Female 50 List – Thoughts and Reactions

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here again to talk about the PWI Female 50 list. The 2015 edition has just came out as Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked the women of wrestling to see which one reigns supreme. Recently, Seth Rollins won the men’s PWI 500 list and rightfully so in my opinion. Seth’s been probably the hardest worker of the year in the wrestling industry, with a few close challengers. However, the winner of the PWI Female list has been very controversial as a lot of people feel she doesn’t deserve it. The #1 diva is not Paige, Sasha Banks, Bayley or Charlotte. The #1 diva is Nikki Bella.

I went on Twitter and wrestling websites with many fans arguing that Nikki doesn’t deserve this honour. For the record, I totally disagree with a lot of the criticism Nikki gets. It does kind of annoy me considering Nikki has come a long way since she first started in WWE. Watch her and Brie’s matches when they started at the company. She’s come a long way since those days and has certainly worked hard!

A lot of the fans wanted women like Sasha Banks and Paige to be the top diva on the list. Being huge fans of both those women, I can see why they’d believe that. Sasha’s had some of the best matches of the year and those matches even surpass a lot of the men’s top PPV matches! However, I can see why Nikki was chosen instead of those women. Allow me to play the devil’s advocate for those of you unsure about Nikki.

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Nikki’s actually probably been the most active in WWE throughout the year, which I think is the first reason for Nikki winning it. Any former WWE wrestler will tell you the struggles of working 300 days a year, travelling around the world. Nikki’s not really had long lengths of time out of WWE being involved in the Divas title picture for the majority of the last 12 months. That factors into her ranking because she’s had to work in high profile divas matches throughout the year, which plays a big role. Especially during a time where more time and attention is given to the women and there’s a lot more pressure on Nikki to perform with these other NXT stars that were just putting on great match after great match. Despite that, Nikki’s matches with the likes of Charlotte actually haven’t been that bad.

Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch have all had a lot of great matches during the year. However, keep in mind a lot of those matches happened in NXT. For the majority of the year, these women have wrestled at Full Sail University. Sasha, Charlotte and Becky are only just adjusting to a busy time on the road. Nikki’s had to just do it week in and week out for the last year, travelling around the world. That must come into play when making this list.

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With that being said, I know a lot of you will be thinking “How about Paige?” Paige has also been on the road throughout the year. Paige was off for a few weeks following Wrestlemania but she has been there throughout the year. As much as I love Paige, what gives Nikki the edge is that she knows exactly what her character is and is able to portray it. She is someone you are supposed to hate and she gets the heat she requires. For Paige, her character has been somewhat confusing during the year and it’s been difficult for her to maintain a substantial character.

It’s started off with Paige becoming a fan favourite again after helping Natalya but somewhat portraying an untrustworthy diva. Then she started becoming more like an agent of change, standing up against the supposed tyranny of the Bellas and being OK with doing it on her own. It then led to Team PCB being formed and Paige suddenly forming pinky swears with two women that didn’t really come off as believable friends. This then lead to the eventual break up, where Paige suddenly became that untrustworthy, selfish heel again.

On the other hand, Nikki’s character and portrayal has been pretty consistent… with the exception of that one month where she was a face. She’s clearly showcased as an egotistical heel with an apparent god-complex. Her kayfabe character is someone that is really not willing to work hard in order to achieve her goals and is reliant from the help of her sister and Alicia Fox. It’s very apparent that she’s a villain and the crowd reaction shows that she’s playing her character.

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Now obviously her crowd reaction being the closest to what it should be doesn’t mean that she should be #1 on this list. It’s about the total package. If it were me, I might have went a different way but I can still she why Nikki topped this list. She’s been one of the hardest workers for the WWE all year, forced to step up her game after seeing the bar being raised by the women of NXT. She’s doing her best. I may not have liked her matches with Charlotte at the last two PPVs but she’s still trying. Not only is she raising her game but she’s also been doing it while actually waiving the flag for the division as their Divas Champion. It’s a tall order to be a champion, particularly for how long Nikki held onto the belt. She may not have been the ultimate worker but this was quite a year for Nikki Bella.

Why Charlotte Should Not Win The Divas Championship At Night Of Champions

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Charlotte is undoubtedly one of the most gifted women in the WWE. She has the blood of one of the greatest wrestlers of all time running through her veins. When I saw her compete in NXT, I thought she was exceptional. She’s had some brilliant matches with Sasha Banks, Bayley and the rest of the women in the NXT roster. When I saw her debut on RAW in July, I was ecstatic. She’s got all the tools needed to be a huge star. With that being said… I don’t think Charlotte should win the Divas Championship in her title match against champion Nikki Bella at Night of Champions.

Pitchforks down please! I’m not entirely endorsing Nikki Bella’s reign as Divas Champion to continue either. However if you’re going to build up a new top face in the Divas Division, then the build up to their title victory is crucial. Look at Bayley’s title win at NXT TakeOver. Bayley had been struggling for a year or so to capture the NXT Women’s Championship. Bayley mentioned that her family was at everyone of her title matches. Her family has been through thick and thin with Bayley en route to her glorious moment in Brooklyn. When Sasha Banks injured her arm during TakeOver and the odds were stacked against her again, you really wanted to see Bayley finally get her moment at the top of the NXT mountain. When Daniel Bryan was taken out so many times at Wrestlemania XXX, you were rooting for this underdog to defy all the odds and win the championship. Charlotte needs that same journey.

Let me explain why Charlotte needs this journey so much. When Charlotte won the NXT Women’s Championship, she was a heel. She had Ric Flair in her corner. The NXT Championship was vacated by Paige and Charlotte seized the moment to capture the belt. She then turned face to engage in a heated rivalry with Sasha for the belt. She came onto the main roster as a babyface. She won her first match at Battleground and her record since has been pretty great compared to the rest of the divas in this “Divas Revolution”. Therefore, Charlotte has missed out on this opportunity to have her “struggle to reach the top” storyline which can make a top babyface… particularly in the divas division.

If you’re picking the babyface that will end the record-breaking title reign of Nikki Bella (it will be record-breaking longest title reign come Night of Champions) it has to be a worthwhile moment. Look at when Paige beat AJ Lee for the Divas Championship in 2014. AJ Lee had beaten everybody in her path. At Wrestlemania XXX, AJ beat everybody else on the main roster to successfully retain her championship. She had legitimately beaten everyone there was to beat on the main roster. That was when NXT Women’s Champion Paige arrived onto the scene. After being forced into a title match she initially didn’t want to be in, Paige overcame the odds to shockingly beat AJ for the title. She’s done something no other woman has done in 295 days. That MADE Paige an instant star from the moment she got onto the roster.

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Paige’s background wrote the story well for her. During her efforts to break into the wrestling industry in England, Paige was the only one out of her family selected from try-outs to be apart of the WWE. She struggled to fit into WWE as she was the outcast. She was not like any other diva. She really was the “Anti-Diva” and used that to shoot right to the top of NXT. This led to her winning the Divas Championship, being the youngest woman in the history of the company to do so. That is a phenomenal story.

Charlotte has a great story in the fact that she is Ric Flair’s daughter. There’s a great burden on her to succeed due to her bloodline. However, there was no real struggle for her to capture the NXT Women’s title. She won the belt after the previous champion Paige had vacated the belt. She won it in her first ever title match, so the climatic rise to her title win was seemingly non-existent. If she wins the Divas Championship on the first time of asking, then it would kill her rise to being the top babyface. There’s not been enough reason to get fans to rally behind Charlotte. The biggest reason for people wanting Charlotte to win the title is because they DON’T want Nikki Bella being the champion.

Nikki Bella is the type of heel champion who generates heat every time she goes down to the ring. People are sick of seeing her. WWE uses this to their advantage as Nikki is the perfect foil for Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte to rise up against. That would make anyone of these women worthy of winning the title, if it had not been for the WWE writers and how they’ve booked this women. As I went to great detail in during my End of the Revolution blog post, these women have suffered due to the way to writers have booked them. Out of everyone in the PCB, Charlotte has suffered the most.

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In what I think has been quite degrading, WWE has labelled Charlotte simply as the daughter of Ric Flair. That’s factually correct but it’s one thing to pay homage to her own family. It’s another thing to have Charlotte mimicking her father ALL THE TIME. Her theme music is a remix of Ric Flair’s entrance music. She shouts WOO every time she’s in a match. She shouts WOO every time she cuts a promo. She does the strut of Ric Flair. Her finisher is a variation of her father’s finisher. This means that Charlotte cannot stand out on her own as she needs to channel Flair in order to get a reaction. That’s not Charlotte’s fault. It’s the writers.

Chavo Guerrero was perhaps the worst victim of this type of booking. Every time he appeared on WWE or TNA following the death of Eddie Guerrero, they would have Chavo reference Eddie in literally every other promo he cut. He started using the three amigos and the Frog Splash and those became his permanent signature moves. Chavo couldn’t develop as a character or get over as the booking resulted in him needing to pay homage to somebody else in order to get over. Charlotte shouldn’t need to do this but now… she has too.

WWE is making Charlotte channel Flair to the point where she is now simply a tag line. In the casual audience’s eyes, she is Ric Flair’s daughter and nothing more. It’s sad. It sucks. But for this reason, Charlotte cannot be the one to win the Divas title if you want to develop this Divas Revolution. Unless Charlotte were to turn heel after this, which I don’t see happening, she is going to be stuck in this character purgatory. This means Charlotte cannot develop her character which means the fans’ interest in this champion will quickly vanish. Why do you think Natalya struggled so hard to get over as Divas Champion?

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Natalya was a great wrestler but it’s very difficult for her to develop a personality. Charlotte is going to do the same thing unless WWE gives the fans a reason to rally behind her. Have Charlotte lose this round at Night Of Champions. Have her make a mistake or have Paige accidentally cost her the match. That way, fans will begin to feel for her as she just had the title in her grasps only to come up short. Rematch after rematch on RAW until Charlotte says “Right. If I don’t beat Nikki at Survivor Series (or whatever), I don’t deserve to be on the main roster. If I lose, I will leave the main roster and never return.” That character development and self-motivation will get the fans to get behind Charlotte as she has a family legacy to uphold. When she wins the title, it will be a big moment. After struggling, she finally wins the Divas title on her last try. Therefore, you’re able to get Charlotte over enough to make Nikki losing her championship mean something.

If I had to pick right now who I believe should be the Divas Champion, I wouldn’t pick Charlotte. I’d pick Sasha Banks because she’s the most over person in the Divas Revolution storyline. But if WWE are going to go with Charlotte, then WWE have to do a lot more to develop this woman’s character. They have to build up the moment of Nikki losing her title a lot better. If Charlotte just beats her at Night Of Champions, then you make all these calls for change in the divas division seem anti-climactic. If you’re going to bring up all of these top quality NXT stars, then build them up as stars. Build up their moments of glory as truly big moments. If you’re going to take inspiration from the women from NXT, then do it properly.

NEWS – Nikki Bella To Defend Divas Championship, Beat The Clock Challenge Set For RAW

NEWS coming from WWE, who’ve announced that Nikki Bella will INDEED be defending her Divas Championship at Night of Champions. She’ll be defending the Divas title against the winner of a Beat The Clock challenge on RAW featuring all three members of PCB – Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch. This comes after the hashtag #ThingsBetterThanNikkisReign began trending on Twitter in the last few days.

Nikki Bella has currently been champion for 285 days and if she holds onto the Divas title until Night Of Champions, she will have not only surpassed the record title reign of AJ Lee but she will have went 300 days as champion as well. Nikki’s title reign has been heavily criticized, especially considering that she has not defended the title in the last 50 days. However, AJ Lee once went 70 days without defending her championship during her Divas title reign. With that being said, there’s no real excuse for Nikki not defending her title considering she’s actually been active wrestler in the last 50 days.

They probably announced it ahead of time as a response to the #ThingsBetterThanNikkisReign hashtag and overall criticism of the Divas Revolution storyline.

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Thankfully, it seems Nikki will finally have to put the title on the line at Night Of Champions. The question is, who should be the one to go up against Nikki for the belt. Charlotte is the name that’s been rumoured for Night Of Champions, but Becky Lynch did get the match-winning pinfall at Summerslam. Paige has had numerous title shots since Nikki’s title reign began so I wouldn’t put my money on her winning the title her. Sasha Banks, Naomi or Tamina are apparently not in the mix for a title shot. However, they may appear next week as the opponents for the PCB. It’ll be interesting to see.

It’s still a nice change of pace, giving the “Divas Revolution” storyline a much needed shift from the constant tag team matches that we’ve seen in the last month to actually competitive action with championship implications.

Is The Divas Revolution Hurting Nikki Bella’s Championship Reign?

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Nikki Bella has been WWE Divas Champion for 260 days as of me writing this post. She’s close to becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time, surpassing AJ Lee‘s title run of 295 days. WWE have done a great job at constantly reminding us of this as Michael Cole and JBL seem to mention this every time she’s out there on RAW. I have no problem with this as it’s a great way to put over your champion as WWE should. Exploring with idea that Nikki Bella might make history by holding this title longer than anyone makes your top diva look credible and gets fans excited, wondering whether she’ll be able to do it. Then on this week’s RAW, JBL said something which really made me realize something about the Bella Army. JBL (and I think Cole said something like this too) stated that the Bellas were still on top of the divas division as Nikki’s still the Divas Champion.

I had a problem with this statement because usually, I’d support the idea of the champion automatically being the best in a particular division. However, the Bella Army has mostly been decimated on television during this triple threat feud between themselves, Team B.A.D. and the PCB (Good god. Please give Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte a better team name WWE!). On the two episodes of RAW prior to this week’s, Nikki Bella lost both her matches on those shows! Granted, the Bellas do have a good record on house shows. However, you can’t claim that the Bella Army are “on top” when the PCB and B.A.D. sharing the spoils in the feud with the Bellas. Now obviously you can argue that JBL was just acting heelish, but Michael Cole said it as well. It’s just not believable.

Furthermore, WWE using Nikki’s title reign in order to establish the Bella Army’s “dominance” has one major flaw. After JBL said what he said, I looked up Nikki Bella’s match records on the Internet Wrestling Database. It’s a website which gives you the details of everyone’s matches, star ratings etc. I’ll put in the link at the bottom of this article. Anyway, I looked it up because I was SURE that Nikki Bella was in violation of the 30 day title defense rule.

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For those of you unaware, the 30 day title defense rule requires a champion to defend his/her belt within 30 days of their last defense. If not, then the champion would usually have their title stripped from them for being unable to defend the title. Recent examples include Daniel Bryan and his WWE World Heavyweight and Intercontinental title reigns. Now obviously, WWE have a history with ignoring the rule. Most notably, Brock Lesnar went 127 days without defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship!

It annoys me to no end to see WWE blatantly ignoring the rule. But I thought that at least Nikki would be defending the title on house show. As it turns out… as I was wrong!

Nikki Bella officially became in violation of the rule on Monday, having last defended the belt on July 12th in a house show. On television (or the WWE Network for that matter) Nikki hasn’t defended the title since July 4th on the Beast in the East special. In case you’re wondering, Intercontinental Champion Ryback is also in violation of the rule. To read more about that, click on this link to read more about that.

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So the one factor that the announcers are claiming that are keeping the Bellas on top of the division is really undermined by the fact that she’s not defended the championship since the revolution storyline began. Heck she’s not even defending the belt at Summerslam, the second biggest WWE PPV of the year. The WWE considers Royal Rumble, Summerslam and Wrestlemania as their three biggest PPVs of the year. Guess what? In all of those PPVs this year, Nikki has not defended the Divas Championship in any of them! At Royal Rumble 2015, Nikki was in a tag team match with Brie. At Wrestlemania, she was in another tag team match with her sister. And last night on RAW, it was announced that she and the rest of the “Bella Army” will be in a three team elimination match with the PCB and Team B.A.D at Summerslam!

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The point is, you can’t consider the divas championship to be the focal point of the Bella Army’s dominance when it’s rarely even defended. WWE don’t even care enough about the championship to have it defended at their biggest shows of the year. It’s not even been defended in the last month! And that’s largely due to the fact that this new storyline is centered around the idea of alliances and gang warfare. Because of this, Nikki has mostly been used in tag team matches on television and on house shows. It’s hard to consider Nikki’s title reign a credible one when she’s not defending the belt half the time. At least during AJ Lee’s title reign, she defended it nearly every PPV. And even when she did go PPVs without a defense, she at least defended the title on RAWs. Nikki’s not even doing that.

What’s the point in hyping up Nikki’s title reign on TV and social media when she’s not even defending it due to this feud? It hurts the Bella Army’s relevancy in this feud, as Nikki’s title reign has become pointless. That argument of the Bellas winning this feud due to the championship is CRUCIAL to the Bellas’ part in this storyline, and yet WWE have not once backed up this argument with let’s say… A TITLE MATCH.

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Trust me, I think this Divas Revolution storyline has been good so far. Other than a few aspects of it being repetitive, it’s given the divas division a push in the right direction. But you know what else will give this division a push… some title matches! What purpose does the division serve if the championship has not even been defended? What motivation do the rest of the divas have if the main title isn’t even being defended? Granted, there’s been talks about introducing new divas tag team titles. However if you’re going to consider new titles, why not have your current top divas title get defended once in a while?

NOTE: I realized after writing this that I got the Bella’s stable name wrong. I think I’ve been putting the “Bella Army” instead of “Team Bella”. Small thing, but I just assumed that’s what they were called considering Nikki sends out Instagram posts with the hashtag #BellaArmy. I personally prefer that to “Team Bella” anyway!