Women’s Title reign lengths and numbers don’t mean anything. Here’s why.
WWE has had an egregious record when it comes to booking champions, especially in the Women’s Division. Right now Becky Lynch and Bayley are enjoying lengthy reigns with their respective belts, but does it actually mean anything? No. Let’s look at Bayley. She’s had theoretically a good year. She’s Smackdown Women’s Champion, her character got revamped, and she’s been booked like a dominant force and has had classic matches…oh wait. Even as a top heel, Bayley is often treated as an afterthought and her title defences have been sparse.
Her exciting stories, thin on the ground. She is easily the least credible champion on the WWE roster, and it’s not due to lack of skill. She’s had no quality stories, no quality feuds that felt real, and her matches, while not all that exciting in and of themselves, suffered because we weren’t given a reason to care. Worst of all, she was fed to Shayna Baszler at Survivor Series when it was SHE who should have gone over, and who needed the win most.
The best that could be said about the title Bayley currently has is that hasn’t suffered from 50/50 booking. But it has suffered the Flair effect; random reigns that don’t amount to much with little to no program or story and made to continue to pad out her numbers.
Becky Lynch is likewise languishing. I’ll be the first to admit, I love Becky Lynch, but her reigns, all of them, are underwhelming at best. Her main event win over Ronda was historic, but the match left a lot to be desired. The “Becky Two Belts” era was cute. Her program with Lacey Evans wasn’t terribly good, despite the calibre of talent involved. It was like Paige/AJ 2014 2.0.; They just didn’t click.
Then inexplicably, there would weeks when Lynch, arguably the most over superstar in the WWE, wouldn’t be on television despite being a very important champion, then, to cap matters, she’d also go long stretches not defending her title. She’d jump into the Tag Team Division, and for what?
here are teams who chomping at the bit for chances; IIconics, Fire and Desire specifically, they have a solid face tag team in Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. WWE in all their infinite wisdom decides its best to potentially overexpose their champion, not defend her belt and compete in Tag Team Title matches while playing frenemy of the moment with Charlotte? Not good.
The Women’s Evolution is supposed to be lauded and heralded as women being on equal footing as men. While the men’s major title scenes are a mess, it’s not as glaring because there are more than two male champions; there are four. Not counting the Tag Titles and NXT. For all the progress and history made, lazy booking has hurt the women on the main roster.
The Golden Era had 7 title reigns for Trish, and she had a lot of good stories to go with them, Chyna in her one reign sought revenge and then sought domination, Lita gave Trish her payback for months of taunting, Mickie gave Lita a receipt for her stacking matches against her, after psycho stalking Trish. Molly thought the women needed a wholesome champion and sought to remove Trish from the picture for it. Ivory fought for morals and saw the light, Candice Michelle’s story culminated in building confidence and believing in herself to bring resourceful to overcome harsh odds. These women also had their foils, they had matches and segments and memories to play off.
AJ believed she was the Women’s Division and sought to beat and rid the WWE of the women she thought as cheap and expendable. She paid Paige back for tricking her into losing her title. Then with Nikki Bella we had a padded reign with little defences, we had Sasha gain the top prize four times and always lose it thereafter, whilst playing hot potato with Charlotte Flair. We had Alexa Bliss somehow become a 5 time champion subject to cringeworthy segments that nearly ruined Bayley and diluted her feud with Nia Jax, and the less we talk about the injustice for Asuka’s singular reign the better.
We hear that insert-name-here is an insert-number-here time Champion, and it means what? Can you recall how Charlotte got up to 10? Bliss to 5? Could you recall Trish’s climb? Lita, Beth, Mickie James, Melina, AJ, or Paige’s? Can you remember an organic title feud on the women’s side? NXT notwithstanding? No.
WWE has to do better with their champions, and much better with their women. Make stories, good stories, get us invested in feuds where matches are payoffs and not just a means to an end. This is the deepest roster that WWE has ever had, and the talent is amazing, but they pale in comparison to the Golden Era and segments of the Diva Era because we aren’t given consistency and much to work with.