The End Of The Revolution?: Are The WWE Divas Doomed?

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Previously on this blog, I did a blog post on the Divas Revolution and how it was affecting the Divas Championship reign of Nikki Bella. I argued that the Divas Revolution was really hurting Nikki Bella’s title reign, as Nikki had not defended the Divas title in over 30 days. As of me writing this post, it will have been 50 days I believe. The commentators were suggesting that “Team Bella” having the championship meant that they were the ones dominating this feud. But if she wasn’t defending the championship, than the commentators’ argument doesn’t really have any validation. Still, at least the audience still cared enough about these women for the storyline to be a bit of a success. That was until WWE’s three nights in Brooklyn at NXT TakeOver, Summerslam and RAW.

Things got off to a promising start. I never blogged about this, but the NXT Women’s Championship match between Sasha Banks and Bayley completely stole the show at NXT TakeOver. It was the end to an incredible journey for Bayley and the ending segment involving the Four Horsewomen was an incredible celebration of how much women’s wrestling had come in NXT. However, things started to go south for the Divas Revolution. Then came along Summerslam

The Three Team Elimination match between PCB, Team Bella and Team B.A.D. was not a bad match. At least, it was not bad compared to your average divas match. There were a few moments that were off. For example, every diva forget how to catch each other apparently during the diving frenzy spot. However, the fans’ interest in this match really disappeared after Team B.A.D. was eliminated. Sasha Banks was the most over person in the match and they eliminated her first, leading the fans to just completely lose interest when it was down to PCB and Team B.A.D. On RAW, things got worse…

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In a segment of MizTV, The Miz interviewed Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte which was interrupted by Nikki Bella, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. The Team Bella promo was not good and the only person in the ring that got cheered, was The Miz. The heel movie star wannabe character was cheered the most out of the seven people in this segment. This crowd didn’t care at all for PCB or Team Bella. They didn’t care when PCB was about to beat up The Miz. And then there was a six man tag team match between PCB and Team Bella which really tarnished the entire Divas Revolution…

The match itself was not bad. It was just pretty boring. So the fans, in order to get themselves hyped up for the show again, completely hijacked this match. The fans chanted for JBL, the fans chanted for Sasha Banks (who was not on RAW at all), they did the wave and chanted for everything expect anyone in this match!

I don’t really endorse the fans hijacking the show just to put themselves over and to go into business for themselves BUT these are the same fans that likely got #GiveDivasAChance trending on Twitter in the first place. They are most likely the fans that wanted to see women given a chance to put on a show for the fans that might have paid to see them. MOST IMPORTANTLY, most of these fans are the SAME FANS and in the SAME ARENA that popped big time for Bayely and Sasha Banks tearing the house down two days before! Two days after Bayley and Sasha Banks, the fans would rather chant “JBL” than watch this match. So you cannot blame the same fans that wanted change in the divas division for it’s failures at the moment. Especially you cannot blame them, if you are one of the divas involved in the storyline…

Paige sent out a tweet after the RAW match, which was quickly deleted. Thankfully, somebody screenshotted it so I’m going to post it below.

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Nikki Bella also went onto Instagram and sent out this…

Brie Bella also went onto Instagram to tell Brooklyn to “kiss her ass”. I’m sure these women were frustrated with the chants they were getting as they were putting their bodies on the line in the ring. I understand all of that. But I will say this again… this was the SAME FANS in the SAME ARENA that was going nuts for Bayley vs Sasha Banks at TakeOver! Nikki talked about the fans disrespecting women. Well that’s obviously not the case if it’s the same fans that watched Bayley vs Sasha Banks. Now of course, that does beg the question… WHY did these fans care more about Bayley vs Sasha Banks than the Divas Revolution?

WHY did fans care more about a NXT Women’s title match which needed little promotion going into it than a heavily promoted storyline involving the nine top divas on the roster which was endorsed by Stephanie McMahon? It’s very simple…. the differences in storylines.

The storyline for Bayley vs Sasha Banks has been something which has been building for months, much like the Divas Revolution. Bayley has came close time and time again, but has fallen at the final hurdle time and time again. The promo video they played before that match emphasized this tremendously. Especially when Bayley was talking about her family being there at everyone one of her title shots beforehand. You could get invested into her story because she was treated like a star. Sasha Banks, the NXT Womens Champion, was treat like a star. The divas in the Divas Revolution storyline were not treat like stars.

What happened to divas was they had a promising segment on RAW where Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte all debuted at the same time. While that was cool to see and the fans were going nuts for it, it gave WWE a huge problem. Chris Jericho said it best on his podcast – WWE were trying to promote three new divas all that the same time. Not only that, but they have to promote the six other divas involved in this storyline too. Therefore, there’s not enough time for the WWE to work on the storylines for these specific characters.

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I’m going to begin paraphrasing Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show on Wrestler Observer, because he made an excellent point regarding the potential storylines this women ALREADY have but the WWE are not picking up on.

  • Charlotte, being the daughter of arguably the greatest wrestler in WWE history, has huge pressure on her to succeed and she’s doing that. That’s a great story. When she was talking about wanting to main event Wrestlemania a few weeks ago, that was a great line because at least Charlotte made it sound like she was passionate about wanting to accomplish things that no woman has ever done before.
  • Becky Lynch has been through a lot, having started from Ireland and worked around the world just to make it to the WWE. That’s a great story.
  • Paige‘s entire family wrestles and she is the only one that is currently in the WWE, waving the flag for her family. That’s a great story.
  • The Bella Twins get heat all the time. They are often accused of being protected because of who their boyfriends are. They MUST prove that they aren’t just here because of them, and that they are hard-working divas that are on top of the division for a reason. That’s a great story.
  • Alicia Fox. She mentioned on RAW that she had been at WWE for NINE YEARS. She’s been there for nine years and she’s mostly been just an afterthought in the division. Her goal is to prove that after all of these years, she is still among the elite in the division. That’s a great story.
  • Naomi‘s never won the Divas Championship before and has changed her attitude in order to accomplish that goal, after failing time after time. That’s a great story.
  • Tamina Snuka has her own family story, being the daughter of the legendary Jimmy Snuka. She’s been at the company since 2009 and has never won the divas title. That’s a great story.
  • Sasha Banks has been a wrestling fan for years. She’s dominated the NXT Women’s division and has now set her sights on the main roster to do the same. That’s a great story.

The storylines are already there for these women and for WWE to build on. WWE should be building on these storylines that are already written for them and they’re not doing it! It’s mind-boggling. The divas are trying their hearts out. The Bellas are stepping up their game in the ring. Everybody is getting their chance to shine. This is why these divas got so passionate when the fans of Brooklyn “disrespected” them. However, what’s wrong with the Divas Revolution is something they cannot control. It’s the writing for this story. They are victims of the laziness from the writers and the “powers-that-be” telling these divas go out there and take part in the same matches every single week.

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Yesterday, I posted an article on the SmackDown! Six. This was Paul Heyman’s idea to build Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Edge and Rey Mysterio up as singles stars by grouping them together as tag teams in the second half of 2002. It worked so well because it was simple booking and there was so much talent to work with. One week you could have Chris Benoit vs Chavo Guerrero. The next week it could be Rey Mysterio vs Kurt Angle. Then it could be Edge vs Eddie Guerrero, or Angle vs Chavo, or Rey vs Benoit. The possibilities were endless. It was featuring the same six wrestlers but no match was ever the same. With Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit being the team that didn’t get along, those two even had matches with each other!

The reason I bring that up is because it looks like WWE are trying the exact same thing. That could POSSIBLY be OK, but these matches are not progressing the storyline along and that is making these matches see, unimportant. Every single women’s match that happens on NXT has a purpose that is centered around the main storyline in the women’s division. Bayley’s matches leading up to TakeOver were important. The tag matches leading into Summerslam were not important. One thing has to lead to another, which is exactly what was going on with Benoit, Angle, Eddie, Chavo, Edge and Mysterio. For the Divas Revolution, we’re given a few matches to enjoy each week and that’s that.

As I wrote about on the Armbar Express, the WWE announced that there will be a Beat The Clock challenge featuring the PCB on RAW for the right to face Nikki Bella at Night of Champions. At least now, the storyline is starting to get freshened up a bit with the focus now being the Divas title. At least now, there’s a bit of a in-group rivalry going on between Paige, Charlotte and Becky over who’s going to fight for the Divas title. It’s interesting. However, there’s a problem with this. On RAW, Team Bella BEAT the PCB in a six person tag team match! Therefore, it is difficult to promote any of the PCB as potential challengers when they lost to Team Bella just a week ago. Therefore, the Team Bella vs PCB match meant absolutely nothing if they now have an opportunity to win the Divas Championship!

Furthermore, this storyline is being promoted as a “Revolution”. Technically, that’s incorrect. If this is a revolution, then why was it endorsed by the heel authority figure Stephanie McMahon? It’s not a revolution. That’s like Prime Minister David Cameron telling the MPs of England to step up. It doesn’t mean that the MPs are going to revolt and take down Cameron! Stephanie was inspiring the women to put in more effort.

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I am ALL for the promotion of women’s success in sports. I’ve written stories for newspapers about the England women’s rugby team, that won the World Cup last year. I watched the majority of the women’s football World Cup this year. But you never hear the commentators going “This is a revolution in women’s sports,” whenever they see a great match. You never hear Joe Rogan going “This is a revolution in women’s sports,” whenever Ronda Rousey beats somebody up in UFC. That’s because they never need to. In TNA, quality women’s wrestling has been around for years. From Gail Kim and Awesome Kong to Taryn Terrell and the Doll House. Mike Tenay never needed to say, “This is a revolution in women’s wrestling,” as the action was always great. It’s going to take more than a tagline to convince WWE fans that we are in the midst of a changes on the main roster.

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!