If there is anything that clearly depicts how out of touch with “empowering women” the people being Evolution are, let’s just take a look at how they’re already attempting to build the main event of Ronda Rousey versus Nikki Bella. A build that should have been a lay-up for crying out loud: Nikki and Brie have always just wanted the Evolution to be about them and their self-promotion while Ronda is fighting for the right of all women to succeed in WWE even if all they have going for them is being one of the most popular and recognized athletes of the past 5 years.
Instead, Ronda posted to Instagram promoting the 10/15 Raw and included this:
Don’t miss #RAW tonight cause @thenikkibella and @thebriebella are gunna learn betraying me was the stupidest thing they ever could have done. And considering their extensive record of idiocy, that’s really saying something. #DoNothingBellas
Yeah, you didn’t miss that, Ronda has repurposed her “Do Nothing Bitches” slogan to “Do Nothing Bellas.”
My distaste for Nikki and Brie has been long recorded, but even I am going to react with a “um, what?” at the idea of calling either sister a DNB, no matter what the “B” stands for. Nikki and Brie both worked hard to build their in-ring skill (with mixed results) and to prove they belonged in the WWE. Whether that motivation was for the sake of a greater revolution or it was ultimately self-serving, it doesn’t matter. Brie and Nikki may not have ever done enough for some people (myself included) but it feels impossible to label them as “do nothing.”
Nikki’s response on her own IG account is…well, generally pretty pitch-perfect.
In response to your post @rondarousey You may think I’m a “DNB” but that’s because you been here for what maybe 20 RAW’s? I’ve been here for almost 12 years. Since day one I have wanted change for the women at WWE. This “DNB” has been in the ring with Victoria, Natalya, Krissy Vaine, Shantelle Malawski, Taryn Terrell, Brooke Adams, Michelle McCool, Layla, Vickie Guerrero, Melina, Mickie James, Maria, Katie Lea, Jillian Hall, Maryse, Alicia Fox, Gail Kim, Candice Michelle, Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Awesome Kong, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie, Jojo, Summer Rae, Kaitlyn, Tamina, AJ Lee, Paige, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Riott Squad and more. I defended a championship for 301 days. I have executive produced and starred in two reality shows, one about women’s wrestling, while on the road wrestling. I even broke my neck for this business. So if you want to talk about a “DNB” look at yourself, because in this Evolution of women’s wrestling, you’re the “DNB”
I will admit to spitting out my soda at Nikki evening mentioning AJ Lee’s name in the post. Nikki owns Rousey with her points here, there’s no question. And even more importantly, Nikki goes through and meticulously names and recognizes all of the talents she’s competed against. Even one WWE has completely disowned. Nikki Bella, the heel, is the one showing respect for the other women she’s shared with a ring with while the face is running around spouting a tired catchphrase like “DNB.”
And there you go. There’s the problem with letting a bunch of out of touch old men who have no idea what people really think constitutes a Women’s Evolution be the ones scripting it. The face is the one throwing other women under the bus if they aren’t like her, the heel is the one pointing out how much hard work she and other women have put in to get to this point and how little she thinks the new girl actually understands and respects that. I’m supposed to cheer the internalized misogyny and boo standing up for other women…including ones who are generally treated like afterthoughts or even erroneously accused of being the reason the Divas Era even existed.
I’m not saying this is something only men could come up with, but I am going to say that putting Vince and his yes-men in charge of this show is guaranteed to miss the whole point of what Evolution should be about and should be celebrating. And I don’t know what I expected from the WWE, after all this is exactly the sort of face/heel dynamic they pull with the men but in this case it’s got this extra thick layer of sexism on top of it.
Speaking of which, part of this main event is being promoted through People magazine’s website. Now, it’s not like WWE hasn’t used mainstream media to their advantage to build matches and get people talking, but we’re generally talking Sports Illustrated or ESPN. Of course, though, with a women’s show we can’t do that, we’ve got to go to something women read, like People. And it’s not that it’s a bad move, after all they want to try and pull in the crowd that knows wrestling via Total Divas, but with everything else surrounding the event it just feels…pink-washed. Desperately reaching for things women like so you can try to relate to them without at any point actually talking to women or, heaven forbid, put them on your writing staff. At least the sponsor listed for the show is WWE 2K19 and not Tampax or something like that.
The thing is, I have hopes for the show still in some regard. The NXT and UK Title defenses should be strong matches. Team Bestie versus Alexa and Mickie will be great. The Mae Young Classic final will turn heads. Based on what Charlotte and Becky already do in a “normal” match, the two of them with a Last Woman Standing stipulation should be incredible. But the match getting all the press and the attention from the company is one that is poorly scripted, anti-climactic and not something anyone really would have ever asked for.
Oh good, I guess in that regard the women are being treated exactly like the boys, huh?