In the WWE there is only one alpha-female in the company and that is Stephanie McMahon. She has always seemed to be an advocate for women in the company when she is not playing, as she referred to herself on Instagram, her “evil character.” Something is not clicking though as far as I am concerned. This is said as someone who greatly respects Stephanie for all her work both behind the scenes and as an on screen performer.
Stephanie is presented as a powerful female and a modern example of what a woman should be in some respects. She is always using that power often times in negative ways, as she should in her role as a heel on the program. While in conducting business attempts to come off as a true professional. While I agree with Michael Wiseman’s thoughts on her and the WWE’s actions with the recent Michael Sam publicity stunt were not in that vain to say the least. Point is that Stephanie is always attempting to be a powerful executive woman in her role outside of the ring.
The diva’s division hardly reflects any of the values that Stephanie is presented in at all. I think that difference even begins with the term “diva” in first place. It suggests someone that is irrational, high maintenance troublemakers. Trish Stratus, who most would argue is the most successful “diva” or women’s wrestler of the modern era, is not a fan of the Diva’s Title, something she expressed on Jim Ross’ podcast and he agreed when chiming in on the conversation. No one ever reference Stephanie as “diva” so maybe it is not such a flattering term is it.Recently women have had a much larger role in the WWE product and the reaction to it from WWE audience has been very mixed and divided for the most part. You loved the whole Stephanie and Brie feud, or you hated it. Not too many people were indifferent about it. The same can be said for the Nikki Bella heel turn on her sister Brie and the ensuing feud between the two since. This past week on Raw, we might have seen a sign the WWE is backing off on it’s use of the women combining the feud between A.J and Paige with this sister versus. sister feud. It would appear heading for a four-way match for the Diva’s Championship at Night of Champions.
Let us just take these four women and compare them to Stephanie. We have Paige and A.J who are both being portrayed as crazy irrational women that lie to one another about how they feel about each other. You have both women being characterized as crazy chicks; Brie as this woman who was at first cast as someone driven to stand-up to Stephanie only to have her own idea of a match against Stephanie blow up in her face. Then you have Nikki Bella who has been unable to stand-up to her sister until she was empowered by Stephanie to do so.
All of these women are treated as unflattering stereotypes of women that all pale in comparison to Stephanie. It diminishes the women’s division as a whole and all for what purpose to elevate a character in Stephanie that rarely is going to wrestle. It’s not doing the any of them any favors in my opinion. What it also is doing is exposing the weakness of both Paige and Brie on a microphone. In the long run, any chance to work with Stephanie can be a huge learning experience as she is a brilliant performer on the microphone and in the role she has. Ultimately though she is cast as so powerful she overshadows all of these women, even A.J Lee who is the top talent overall in the women’s division.
You have a bunch of girls given airtime based completely on Total Divas that returns to the E! Network this Sunday. Girls like Cameron, Eva Marie, and new to the cast Rosa Mendes who are truly awful in-ring workers. The fact they are booked in matches on Raw only devalues the division as a whole.
You have Natalya, who is able to have a match that people still hold in high regard on NXT Takeover with Charlotte, that is only as an after thought on the main roster. While Summer Rae another, one of the Total Divas, has been playing the jealous scorned girl jilted by relative “jobber” Fandango.
There was a group of four women, all strong and powerful sitting ringside at Summerslam who were not a part of the WWE. Ronda Rousey along with the rest of the Four Horsewomen were front and center at the event. WWE and Stephanie did a great job of embracing them and using them to promote the WWE in the best way they could.
Nevertheless, it begs the question why has the WWE not figured out what the UFC has with Ronda Rousey and building her as a legit star and a positive role model for women. Where do we find that type of strong character in the WWE?
There is not one of those characters to be found. Stephanie claims to want to empower women and embraces this whole concept. Well, you might care to start with your own women’s division and make them more relevant role models that are not just simply a group of hot chicks to get WWE in magazines and a reality show on the E! Network. To which, while it is successful, how much of that audience have become WWE fans as a result that were not to begin with. I do not have a number for you, but I am suspecting it is pretty low.
Perhaps we get a Stephanie against A.J Lee feud that will build to Wrestlemania 31, which would have a real chance of being the biggest women’s feud in the WWE history. It has some much drama that would interest the internet based on the women’s husbands alone. Not to mention the fact that at one time and maybe still, AJ idolized Stephanie, admitting she had a hard time talking to her even after being in the company for several years. You have a great story you could tell that blurs the lines between reality and storyline.
The real answer to making the women’s division better is allowing them the chance to be something more than what has become stereotypical women in wrestling, giving them the ability to be more powerful and be more like Stephanie.
The WWE knows how to make a powerful woman and have proven it in how they have built Stephanie. WWE needs to learn from what the UFC has done with Ronda and their women’s division in the UFC. The rise of women in the world of MMA has shown you that you can in fact make money with women if you do it correctly.