Monday, August 15, 2022

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Saying Goodbye to the Women’s Championship & Why This Could Be a Positive

The retirement of the WWE Women’s Championship has been the big talk of the town here at Diva Dirt in the past week. The DD team has weighed in and multiple former champions have weighed in including but not limited to Beth Phoenix, Mickie James and Melina. We also got the comments of a certain legendary former champion too, but more on that later.

It’s with a heavy heart that all of us women’s wrestling fans say goodbye to the Women’s Championship. Say what you will about WWE’s Divas product in the past few years, but the history and lineage of that belt — dating back 54 years — must be respected. Female wrestlers who we recognise today dreamed about holding that championship belt when they were simply fans just like the rest of us. As Sara Del Rey, a woman who has never held the belt but obviously respects it, said: “In many ways, that was the most prestigious belt in all of women’s wrestling.” While I would argue that SHIMMER, pound for pound, delivers the best quality championship matches in the ring, no belt has the same visibility and lineage as the WWE Women’s Championship did. Seen by millions of viewers on a weekly basis and around the world, the majority of fans have grown up with this belt and trained themselves to think of it is the ultimate prize for a woman in wrestling.

Judging by the comments made by those aforementioned former champions, they have obviously been touched to have had the honor and privilege of holding that title. While wrestling is scripted, perhaps we underestimate what the words, ‘Former WWE Women’s Champion’ appended to one’s name can do for your career — even beyond WWE. While physically the belt has changed appearance over the years, to be considered as part of the same lineage as WWE Hall of Famers, Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter, is a ‘money can’t buy’ feeling for our Divas today. Following in the footsteps of even Trish Stratus, while a more modern day name, is an honor also.

The women’s division in WWE may not be where it was at a few years ago when Trish Stratus and Lita battled in the main event of Raw for that belt, and some of the matches may not have been as lengthy or memorable, but the prestige of the belt speaks for itself.

So as we say goodbye to the Women’s Championship, I want to take this moment to also say thank you. Thank you to all of those women who have held the belt, who have tried their hardest to uphold the legacy of their predecessors and most importantly, who have tried their hardest to entertain us fans as champion. No doubt, we all have our own personal favourite champions and championship reigns, but each woman tried to bring their own touch to that belt and here we are today. Thank you to all of you!

Regardless of whether we think it’s a good thing or a bad thing, the Women’s Championship is now gone but being ever the optimists we are (sometimes), we’re trying to look at the bright side and the more I try, the more I feel that this could be a positive.

The WWE women’s division has changed. If you’re looking for the same hard-hitting matches that we got from Trish, Lita, Jazz, Victoria et al, you’re probably watching the wrong product. The division of today is a division where three minute matches are the norm, where Divas with little experience outnumber Divas with years of experience, where storylines are not multi-layered and as engaging as they once were. Quite frankly, this isn’t ‘women’s wrestling’ per se, this is ‘Divas wrestling’. WWE has decided what it wants it’s women’s division to be and if I’m honest, I’d rather see the Women’s Championship be put to rest so it can be remembered for those great battles between Trish, Lita, Victoria, Jazz, Molly and even more recently, between the likes of Beth, Michelle, Mickie and Melina.

But why not draw a line under that belt now? The division has changed, as Trish Stratus said in our interview, “I feel like it’s a different time, a different generation. […] This is the new thing, this is the women’s division of today and let’s build it.”

Let’s build it, indeed.

I noted on The Post-Raw Show that it’s now a challenge for the Divas of today, just as it was for the Divas of that ‘golden’ period, to try and leave their mark. What better way to do that than with a fresh canvas? The Women’s Championship has such a rich legacy and as a big honor as it is to hold it, perhaps there’s a feeling of complacency that comes with it. Instead of thinking, “Oh my, I’ve held the same belt as these legends,” these Divas will now be challenged to make this new Divas Championship, that doesn’t have that history behind it, mean something just like Trish et al did with the Women’s Championship.

For the Divas of today, perhaps this will make them step it up that litlte bit more, in order to try and leave their mark on this title just as Trish, Lita etc. did with the Women’s Title. Let’s be honest, WWE’s writing isn’t exactly doing these girls any favours; a lack of storylines, a lack of character development and a lack of overall effort don’t help any. But what the Divas can control, to a degree, is what they do out there in the ring. In that ring, they can deliver great matches as we see every now and again. Perhaps now with this belt, they will feel more inspired to have great matches to help build up the belt so they can be seen as pioneers of this championship one day, and so they can make it mean something for their fellow Divas today and in future generations.

So Divas, as Trish said: “Let’s build it.”

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