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Posted in: Requesting Flyby
REQUESTING FLYBY: That Divas Segment On Raw? 4 Out of 10.
By Maverick
Jul 14, 2015 - 6:15:11 PM

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That Divas Segment On Raw? 4 Out Of 10

When rumours began to circulate about WWE doing something with NXT’s foremost female competitors on Raw this week, I was concerned, I admit. It smacked to me of trying far too hard to cynically piggyback onto the legitimate female sporting endeavours of the US women’s football team at the World Cup in Canada and the great Serena Williams at Wimbledon, and that was before I’d even seen the segment. While I stayed spoiler free all day, I couldn’t quite avoid the giddy excitement of those who had already seen it, so I did at least watch it with an open mind, but as it unfolded in front of my eyes, I quite honestly cringed with embarrassment. It was exciting to see talent of the calibre of Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks debut (I don’t care for Charlotte at all), but the entire presentation was wrong in so many ways that I found it impossible to enjoy.

First of all, let’s address the genesis of all this, the alleged “Reign of Terror” of the Bella Twins, as half hearted a story as I think I can remember seeing on WWE television across the past year. The writers seem to have found it hard to commit to it properly, with the whole thing being rather stop start. It’s been difficult to empathise with Paige’s struggle, because really, what has she been struggling against? A bit of Twin Magic? Stolen wrestling gear? It’s hardly The Corporation vs Mankind, is it? So the bedrock of what they were doing was fundamentally unsound, before anything else even happened, and let me waste no words on Alicia Fox other than to call her an irrelevance.

Next we have the huge logic issue of the deeply villainous Stephanie McMahon dialling up a babyface authority figure play where she came out to put Nikki Bella in her place, something she’d previously done with AJ Lee, which led precisely nowhere, if you recall. For Steph to call out Paige and then recruit her a squad of allies was entirely bizarre, particularly as the female half of The Authority was thick as thieves with the larger breasted Bella only a few months ago. Let us not dwell too long on the horrifically cheesy promos that Stephanie cut when introducing Becky and Charlotte; it was so bizarrely self-conscious, a camp game of developmental call up Guess Who that, for my money, almost completely negated any excitement one might have had at seeing those women crack the main roster. The entire thing was so horribly contrived; you have a three woman team breathing down your neck, let me, Stephanie McMahon, generous Teddy Long wannabe babyface, even the odds for you!

If that wasn’t silly enough, the execrable Naomi and Tamina appeared and just so things could be symmetrical, they were given Sasha Banks so that we have a tripartite of three woman teams who will no doubt be given silly names in the very near future. So we have two heel teams, a babyface team, and they had a messy brawl, during which the NXT divas just so happened to all get their submissions on. What I will say in brief praise of this is good on WWE for treating them like real wrestlers, but any excitement one might have gleaned from that was immediately taken away by the flat commentary, with Cole seemingly having no idea how to call the moves and Saxton doing nothing to help him, despite commentating on their matches on a weekly basis.

To top all of this off, the rushed timing, one week before a pay-per-view means that this is all happening when there is no divas match booked for the main Battleground card, at least at time of writing. The last minute nature of the segment becomes ever more apparent here. WWE are never slow to cash in on newsworthy events, and in resurrecting #GiveDivasAChance now, they hope to gain some worldwide mainstream publicity. Trouble is, the creative is already shot to bits; why oh why could they not have planned this properly? The waves caused by this imperfect and confused segment are quite something; imagine if they’d done it well? The idea of a kind of riff on the Los Boriucas/Nation of Domination/Disciples of Apocalypse three way feud of mid 1997 is not a bad one in principle, it just needed more forethought, more groundwork, a “show don’t tell” approach. Why do we need everything explained to us with a microphone? Would it not have been more effective to have a Shield or Nexus style run in? Having them announced was all a bit tame.

People are often quick to point towards revivals and renaissances long before they are anything of the sort. As myself and my fellow columnist ‘Plan are always pointing out, change occurs slowly and not without substantial tangents and regressions. The debut of three talented women will not alone change the nature of the division, just as the previous call ups of Paige and Emma did not. WWE is not, as I write this, suddenly a Feminist utopia. There may be exciting times ahead, indeed, I hope there are, but let’s not get carried away just yet. What happened last night was a contrived, inorganic, messy piece of television riddled with plot holes. So let’s slow it down and hope they do something interesting and more in keeping with the kayfabe next week.

This is Maverick, requesting flyby.