Supposedly the Divas are ruining Evolution. This is according to a short opinion piece I’m not even going to bother linking to because frankly it’s not worth your time. But somehow I felt like it was worth my time to write a reply to the stupidity of the very idea that the women who competed as WWE Divas are ruining anything.
First of all, let’s be clear. The only difference between a Woman Superstar and a Diva is propaganda.
The women who were called “Divas?” They were never “Divas” by choice. They were “Divas” because that’s what they had to be, that was the option put forth to them. The women who competed under the “Divas” moniker were given an identity and a category by a company run by almost exclusively men. They should be strong, but not threatening. They should be sexy in a way approved by a committee. They should be someone you want to have sex with, but give off the aura they won’t have sex with you, faces because good girls don’t do that and heels because they’re too good for you. They should appear, but they should never truly be.
In the wake of the “Diva” name being cast off, a lot of the women who wore it have opened up about their feelings. The general reaction is that it’s unfair they personally are essentially blamed for the Diva label and era, because really it is.
The image we’re given of a Diva versus a Woman Superstar is that Divas showed up to training camp, chewing gum in mouth, leaning against the ropes going “I’m not doing any of this.” Women who just wanted to get by on their looks rather than learn to do their jobs. Women who wanted bikini contests and pillow fights and bra and panties matches because it was easier for them and because it would help further their careers outside of WWE as models or actresses.
The only story I’ve ever heard of a woman acting anything like that? Is Sable during her run in the Attitude Era. And the company went along with it.
And that is essentially the mold WWE wants us to believe every single “Diva” came out of, that all of them were willing participants in lowering the bar for women in wrestling because they personally didn’t feel a need to put themselves out.
This is, incidentally, part of why I’ll defend Charlotte going after Carmella about being “A Diva in a Women’s Era.” Because she was clearly referring to that idea of being a Diva: taking the easy way out, worrying more about looking like a champion than being one, relying on men and their opinions of her to get by in the company. Considering Carmella was a heel at a time and she did all of those things? It kinda fits, and as an insult it cut deep.
The thing about all this is that it’s easy propaganda to believe. I believed it for a long time about many of these women, some of them up until this past year’s Women’s Royal Rumble. The returns of Torrie Wilson and Kelly Kelly both shocked me, as did their in-ring performances. It forced me to reevaluate how WWE’s approach to this Evolution has done harm to an entire decade of women who’s only crime was playing by the rules the company themselves had set forward.
The return of the likes of Lita and Trish certainly isn’t hurting Evolution. Nor will the returns of women like Maria, Michelle McCool, Layla El, Candice Michelle, Melina, Ashley, Cameron or whoever else WWE decides to bring back for this show. Honestly, here’s a crazy idea: let’s welcome them back in this day and age and let them perform the way they should have been able to all along. Let’s let them shake the negativity attached to them by the “Diva” name and prove, once and for all, they were never the issue, the people who forcibly labeled them “Divas” and then defined a “Diva” as inherently weaker and less talented than a “Superstar” were.
Trish coming back to face Alexa is, for many, a dream match, along the lines of Shawn Michaels versus Dolph Ziggler. I’m honestly hyped to see Lita and Mickie allowed to wrestle again in 2018, because the last chance they had was marred by the company’s terrible handling of Lita’s farewell afterwards. I read this as 100% apology for that match, and both of those women are owed one. In fact, this show should act as an apology to all of the Divas: we’re sorry we hampered you, here’s your showcase, prove us wrong.
And honestly, there’s only one thing I can say will upset me about all of this: if Evolution is only planned to be a one time thing. If this is another one of WWE’s attempts to go “Okay, we gave you this, now say we’re empowering women” it’s crap and the booking is upsetting. But if Evolution is planned to be a yearly event, then yeah, the first one should be a celebration of the past, present and future of women in the WWE, and then going forward it can focus on just the current rosters. I mean, I’m not even happy to see the Rousey or the Bellas at Evolution (see this month’s WMFR for my takes on that) but guess what? They’re still part of, they still get to be there, they’re still gonna go out and wrestle and maybe I won’t like it but I don’t have to, there’s going to be plenty more for me on that card and, hopefully, going forward!
Know what are bigger problems facing Evolution? WWE not promoting it, announcing matches without fanfare or even the talent in question present. Instead they’re focusing on the show in Australia and already announcing matches for another all-men’s show in Saudia Arabia. While spoilers are out there for another two matches to be featured on the card, specifically the NXT Women’s Title match and the finals of the Mae Young Classic, because of tape delay it’s natural those haven’t been announced, but it’s ridiculous that we’re a month away from this show and only two matches are official. You can’t even announce if there’s going to be a battle royale or not? Are we going to see Women’s Tag Titles? Would be good to known so it could be hyped.
Maybe what you’re counting on is that people who are already fans of women’s wrestling will be the ones showing up and tuning in to this show, which is fine, we are a pretty great target audience for this. But in that case, the decision to make the rumored main event Ronda Rousey versus Nikki Bella in order to get mainstream attention makes no sense. And if you do want mainstream success for this…why haven’t you pulled the trigger and made the match yet? Why haven’t you at least announced Ronda’s defense and made a big deal out of her needing to pick an opponent? Why isn’t “Ronda Rousey to main event first ever All Women’s PPV” being obnoxiously splayed all over ESPN? I don’t get your approach here, and, here’s a thought, I don’t think you do either.
Because it’s still the men doing this. It’s still The Man, Vince McMahon, doing this. Which really doesn’t make sense because why is the man who has no faith in women’s wrestling the one heading up a major women’s wrestling event? Triple H may be the anti-Christ of wrestling but at least I trust the man to book an event like this. Take one look at the Mae Young Classic last year and so far this year and you get what I mean. But rather than let the person who has experience booking all-women’s shows, who gave us the first ever women’s main event on a WWE special, you’re going to…hand it over to the man who has done more to hold down women in WWE than anyone else? Who’s right hand man is Kevin Dunn, who historically tried to make any women’s wrestling into softcore porn?
Divas aren’t ruining Evolution, bro. Men are. And men writing articles about what’s ruining a women’s wrestling event aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.