Luke Owen looks at WWE’s Diva’s Revolution…
Let’s face it; the Diva’s Revolution was dead on arrival.
From day one, the “Diva’s Revolution” was poorly represented when the whole angle revolved around Stephanie McMahon playing the figurehead of the division. She had no involvement before that point, and has seemingly had no involvement since – bar the most recent championship match on Raw. Rather than debut Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch individually with a purpose, they were brought up together in a pointless 3-team feud that has built to absolutely nothing of value. We’ve had matches here and there and a nine-woman tag match at Summerslam, but the whole Revolution has had little-to-no direction.
One of the biggest issues is that the WWE machine has been forcing the idea of the Revolution down our throats as if they are the forerunners of women in sports. They keep telling us that women in sports has only just become a mainstream success, forgetting that women’s tennis, soccer, hockey, athletics and even volleyball have had plenty of media coverage for the last 50 or so years (or nearly 100 years in the case of tennis). Michael Cole was just talking on about Serena Williams’ amazing run of form on this Monday’s Raw as if she’s only just become famous. Putting that aside, the problem with forcing things down the audience’s throat, is that they will immediately start to reject it. It’s amazing that WWE have yet to figure this out, since it happened with Rocky Maivia, Diesel, John Cena and – more recently – Roman Reigns.
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H keep reminding us that this Diva’s Revolution started in NXT, but they’re forgetting one simple thing: Women’s wrestling wasn’t “created” in NXT. No figurehead came out and said that we were going to put more of an emphasis on the women and slot them into main event roles, it happened naturally. Because the likes of Charlotte, Banks, Lynch and Bayley were so good and they were given compelling storylines and feuds, the crowd got behind them. It was an organic growth, not a branded exercise.
The differences between the representation of women’s wrestling in NXT and WWE could never have been clearer than Summerslam weekend. On the Saturday night they held NXT Takeover: Brooklyn which featured an absolute barn-burner with Sasha Banks defending her NXT Women’s Championship against Bayley. It was a story that had been building for months; Bayley was seen as the underdog and the little engine that seemingly never could and Banks was the dominant champion and huge obstacle for Bayley to overcome. In the episodes leading up to the show, Banks kept telling Bayley that she wasn’t good enough to beat her – something she’d proven with wins over her on multiple occasions. But Bayley had a new belief about her. Victories over Emma, Charlotte and Becky Lynch had lit a fire under Bayley and she was determined to walk into Takeover and show Sasha that she was good enough. The crowd erupted for every moment of the match, and the post-match celebration following Bayley’s glorious win left the audience in floods of tears. The match was so good and the angle surrounding it was so great, it really should have gone on last. The main event ladder match between Finn Balor and Kevin Owens was pretty darn good, but it didn’t hold a candle to the women’s match.
Cut to Sunday night were nine women were in a 3-way tag match that meant nothing. The crowd were respectful enough, but the match quality wasn’t nearly as good because there was little story to build on. Team P.C.B won, but did it really matter? It led to a Beat The Clock tournament on Raw to crown a new number one contender, but that stipulation wasn’t part of the Summerslam match or build.
As the weekend moved to its final destination of Monday Night Raw, the women were involved in a MizTV segment that the crowd turned on. The members of Team P.C.B all cut horribly scripted promos, The Miz made them to look like fools and the resulting tag match moved the crowd to apathy. Not only had they seen a boring in-ring segment, they then had to sit through a long, boring match that again had no consequences. And so, they began to boo.
Later on social media, Paige and The Bella Twins berated the fans for not giving them any respect. Paige in particular shouted about the fact that we (the audience) wanted a revolution but boo’d the results. Nikki Bella, the current Diva’s Champion, called the New York crowd disrespectful. To them, it was the crowd’s fault there segments was no good.
What they seem to be forgetting, however, is that the crowd at Raw was the same crowd at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
WWE held all three shows in the same arena, which housed 13,000 fans (not 15,000 as WWE claimed), and there wasn’t three separate crowds that came to each show. As much as WWE would probably like to think there are, it is impossible to claim there are 39,000 individual wrestling fans in New York who are willing to pay to see the event live in person. More likely, there was a strong contingent of hardcore fans who bought tickets for all three shows and then the rest was filled with casual fans who went to see John Cena, and regular viewers who just couldn’t afford all three events so just picked the shows they wanted to see.
But whichever way you look at it, the same crowd who wept with Bayley when she won the NXT Women’s Championship turned on the pointless Monday Night Raw segment. And there’s really no surprise to discover why: The MizTV segment was horrible and the NXT Women’s Championship match was awesome. Crowds cheer the things the like, and boo the things they hate. It’s as simple as that.
WWE have no one to blame but themselves because they didn’t think this Diva’s Revolution through at all. They just figured that because something worked in NXT (forgetting it was organic) it would work again on the main roster. They didn’t give the wrestlers defining personalities, they gave them badly-written scripted promos, they booked them in meaningless matches and they just presented everyone as equals. Charlotte would win a match here, lose a match there. Sasha would win a match here, lose a match there. Some were good, some were bad – but most were better than what we’d had previously.
But to cap this all off – and what finally put the nail in the coffin – was that we were finally told on the latest edition of Monday Night Raw that none of this mattered.