One Year On, Comparing Candice

It’s been nearly one year since Candice Michelle went down with an injury, but tonight she makes her return… her mini-comeback at WrestleMania time doesn’t count. Last year, Candice was praised by WWE, the fans and critics alike on her improvements, she was rewarded with the Women’s Championship and at the end of the year won many accolades for “Most Improved Wrestler”. However, in the time since Candice has been away, so many more Divas have broken out into the spotlight and won over fans with their skills. Michelle McCool made Friday nights her stomping grounds and has developed into a fine wrestler and Diva, Kelly Kelly broke out of her ECW shell and has delivered some great matches on SmackDown and Raw. And Candice’s fellow Diva Search alumni, Layla and Maryse have shown they are more than capable in the ring too. Somehow though, I don’t see Michelle, Kelly, Layla or Maryse winning titles like “Most Improved Wrestler of the Year” from Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Here’s why…

A lot has changed since Candice received her mammoth push and eventual Women’s Championship win. Between then and now, WWE has definitely renewed it’s focus on women’s wrestling, with Divas an integral part of not only Raw but SmackDown also. When Candice received her push, this action was limited to Raw and Candice was cut a real break by WWE, giving her the confidence to wrestle on a regular basis and become the Women’s Champion. Now? It’s almost like a rule of thumb that these Divas must be adaquete in the ring. I don’t see all these wrestling news sites and the WWE announcers putting over the aforementioned four Divas as hard as they sold Candice to us last year. And I certainly don’t see all of these Divas being awarded a championship for their efforts, sure one or two will break through to become future Women’s and Divas Champions but not all of them. This time last year, there were not nearly as many opportunities for the Divas as there are now, Candice’s big break was a meet of opportunity and Candice’s own hard work.

But here and now in September 2008, can Candice cut the mustard with the new breed of Diva? The four Divas I’ve mentioned have improved, just like Candice, to less fanfare. I’ll be honest, when Candice got her big push, I wasn’t much of a wrestling fan at the time so I can’t recall many of her matches but I do remember the hype on every site I visited about how she’d improved. Now we’re seeing so many of our Divas getting better and better, no any one individual can receive the same hype as she did. But hype or no hype, one year on, I have my doubts about Candice. I certainly don’t think Candice is as good in the ring as the Divas Champion, Michelle McCool but we all have our own opinions. It’ll be interesting to see and compare Candice to her new counterparts in Michelle, Maryse, Kelly and Layla. Who’ll be better in the ring? We’ll soon find out, as we’ll be able to contrast Candice’s matches to those of Michelle and company’s.

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