Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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WWE’s bias against the women of SmackDown

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Since the brand split has happened, one brand’s women’s division has been given the benefit of having current stars with months of build. The other brand has had to raise their women from scratch, as they have had to bring up newbies and redevelop forgotten characters. For the past year, the women of the blue team have been fighting this battle and have been doing so successfully. By having a memorable bout at Backlash, surprising wins at TLC and Elimination Chamber and a show stealing Falls Count Anywhere match (to name a few), it’s safe to say that despite having no backbone to the division, the women of SmackDown created their own and have gotten the crowds on their side. Until it really mattered.

Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series & Royal Rumble; the four biggest nights in WWE. Four nights in which every hardcore fan, casual viewer and professional critic of the business is practically guaranteed to tune in to the show. These are four nights where whatever is put on the show is what fans will get the opportunity to pay attention to. So if you’re not on the show, or not given a chance to shine, the audience will find it difficult to buy into you.

At “the big four”, the women of SmackDown Live haven’t been given the luxury of getting fans on their side. Instead of having a proper match at SummerSlam these women were given a forgetful six woman tag match in which a last minute addition was added with no proper reason besides Eva Marie being suspended (the fact that the longest reigning Divas champion of all time just came back from a career threatening neck injury and made her return on a match like this is a whole other topic in itself as well). Instead of having an equal contest against the women of RAW at Survivor Series, the SmackDown women were eliminated via big boots and count-outs, whilst the end result only pushed a RAW women’s story. Instead of competing on the main Royal Rumble show, yet another six woman tag match – featuring the champion and a returning veteran, by the way – was added to the Kickoff show. And now, from a preview posted on WWE.com, the first time the SmackDown Women’s title will be defended at Wrestlemania will happen on the Kickoff show.

In case you couldn’t tell, there is a clear bias against the women of SmackDown. I’m not going to spend this entire article bringing down the women of RAW because every single one of them are talented and deserve to be in the spotlight. But so do the women of SmackDown.

The point of the Women’s Evolution is so that women in WWE can be seen as equal to their male counterparts. But unfortunately for us, we forgot to read the footnote that stated that this “equality” doesn’t apply to you if you aren’t both a member of the RAW locker room and the Four Horsewomen. Luckily for Nia Jax, RAW needed an additional member so the title match didn’t look like a carbon copy of last year’s. But the match is an elimination one, so I doubt we’ll be seeing much of the Samoan Superstar anyway.

WWE say they want us to believe in the Evolution, but it feels more as if they just want us to believe in Bayley, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. Three incredible talents indeed. Three of the best WWE currently has. But also not the only good ones. And not the only ones that should matter.

Alexa Bliss has proven that even without a good build on NXT or a strong independent background, even the “smarkiest” of fans can root for a woman if given the right push. Nikki Bella has proven that despite being told that her career was over due to an injury, that she is still capable of putting on stellar matches and making crowds jump to their feet for her. Naomi has proven that despite being pushed to the back for eight years, that she can make an entire arena root for her victory. So why is it that women like this are being relegated to pre-shows, six women tags and refused the luxury of decent builds during the biggest four pay-per-views of the year? These women have proven that they can get the crowd on their side and with the high amount of merchandise added to the likes of Bliss, Lynch and Bella’s stores, it’s evidential that they make money. So what is the reason behind them constantly being given the short straw on nights like this?

Every woman in WWE deserves a chance. From Banks and Flair to Carmella and Mickie James, and even the forgotten RAW women like Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke. The company paints a select few women as “elite” and labels them as “revolutionary” whilst others are relegated to Kickoff matches and not given good material for big events. If WWE isn’t going to give them a chance where it matters, how else are they supposed to get over with casual crowds and become main attractions?

And with that being said, it’s clear that a portion of fans are invested:

There are three matches involving the women, whereas every other match has just men. If there is supposed to be a sense of equality, why decrease the already severe minority to the Kickoff? Instead of having the SmackDown women on the main show, we have other matches that do not deserve to be there. The Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin feud, whilst somewhat decent, has devalued the Intercontinental title and doesn’t appear to have elevated either talent either. The RAW tag team titles feud has yet to get the crowd properly engaged and even stars a character that thrives off of being sexist. But instead, we’ll be seeing the hardworking women of SmackDown on the Kickoff rather than the aforementioned bouts (which are bound to be good, by the way, but so is everything on the show, so that’s not really much of an argument at this point).

The SmackDown women are talented enough to get crowd reactions and sell merchandise. And with the challenge of building a division from scratch in an era in which only a few are allowed to shine, these women deserve to have their spotlight on a night like Wrestlemania.

What do you think of the women being relegated to the Kickoff? Does it matter? What would you swap it with? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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