With the announcement of the first ever WWE women’s Royal Rumble set for January 2018, opinions are naturally flying everywhere about next steps. Obviously this women’s Royal Rumble is a HUGE deal and should be met with praise for the WWE and all those who contributed to the idea. However, with so many firsts this year, this begs the question: is WWE ready to pull the trigger on a women’s WrestleMania main event?
The Problem and The Reason
Looking at the big event ahead, I unfortunately do not see a women’s main event in the cards for this upcoming WrestleMania. Why? Because both female rosters are currently not ready for it creatively. Do I think they could ever be ready for it? Yes, but if things continue as they are now, we may never get to that point.
The reason it’s difficult to picture women main eventing WrestleMania in the near future is that the female competitors are simply not over enough with the crowd. This is the result of a lot of things: the lack of time they have on the show and the lack of blockbuster personalities and storytelling certainly do not help the case.
If you look at the main event of WrestleMania, it’s usually occupied by the hottest commodities in and outside of the WWE (based on Vince McMahon’s opinion, like it or not). The closest candidates to that caliber right now are Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss, but they are nowhere near that upper echelon yet. Given proper storytelling and booking over the next year though, anything is possible. If any woman becomes the top John Cena level star in the WWE, then of course they should be in the main event of WrestleMania; we’re just waiting for WWE to put enough weight behind these women to make that happen.
I mentioned above the women who I think could be built to main event a WrestleMania in the near future. What I did not mention though, are the possibilities of outside forces coming to WWE. Much like WrestleMania main events of the past, huge stars from around the world sometimes come to WWE to battle with the current generation’s best. A returning Trish Stratus or Lita could very well catapult the women’s match into the next level.
Similarly, though having no WWE history, a match involving Ronda Rousey also has that “larger than life” potential. Imagine Rousey, previously with an undefeated streak in UFC, taking on Asuka to try and end Asuka’s streak. That match is money. With WWE constantly alluding to a clash of the four horsewomen of WWE and MMA, that also has potential to make waves in WrestleMania. However, a multi-person match will likely not be a WrestleMania closer. Either Asuka or Charlotte should battle Rousey one on one for a proper WrestleMania finish.
Another idea for WWE would be to not rely on outside forces and actually focus on the women they have competing throughout the year. I’m partial to this option because it may bring something out in some of the female competitors. It will allow fans to invest in a personality and not just the face/name that these wrestlers present. Instead of seeing stagnant characters week after week in the women’s division, maybe we could get some much needed character development from some who desperately need it i.e Bayley who is literally just a 12 year old who is afraid of wacky sticks. If WWE can concentrate on the talent they have, then fans will concentrate on the feuds that the talent produce.
However, it’s not all on WWE to produce this magic. Even though some of the women are phenomenal in ring workers, most of them desperately need work on the mic. Though I love Sasha Banks and Bayley, I struggle to remember a time when I did not cringe at a promo either of them delivered.
The Vince McMahon Dilemma
Vince McMahon may be the biggest hurdle to jump on the road to a women’s WrestleMania main event. Vince knows who he wants to headline WrestleMania almost a year in advance; he may not be sure of what the actual match will be, but there is always a working idea set for next year’s grand spectacular. These days you can imagine every main event will be occupied by Roman Reigns, John Cena. Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker or HHH in some capacity. Why? Because those are the “big” names. Those names sell tickets, and it will be very difficult to convince the chairman otherwise.
The final ok needs to go through Vince McMahon, and he will not be able to green light a main event of the most important show of the year if people are not buying tickets for that exact match. We’ve seen in the past that Vince can get on board with angles and characters that have steam and get the fans tuning into RAW every week, but for him to recognize and promote a women’s angle as the biggest deal heading into WrestleMania is a longshot. He has his idea of a proper main event, and unless he has no unanimous choice to think otherwise, that main event will not involve the women’s division. Perhaps when HHH is in charge we will see a difference in the order of things, but as of now I cannot see Vince choosing say a Asuka vs. Charlotte champion vs. champion match over something like Rock vs. Cena III.
A lot more work has to be done in order to see women main event WrestleMania. I want it to happen, and I do believe it will at some point, there just needs to be a larger focus on the women to be a bigger part of the show week in and week out. There also needs to be more compelling storylines and mic work all around, and there needs to be a change in the perspectives of upper management. If two female stars can produce so much charisma and intrigue behind a match over all others, WWE will have to put it as the main event. However, due to poor booking and lack of development, that has not happened yet.
I very much expect WrestleMania 34 to end with Roman Reigns laughing directly into the camera as fireworks surround him as the absolute overlord star god man of WWE, but in the future we could very well see a different ending – one with the women of WWE showing us the immense amounts of talent they have.
Top 5: WWE Raw Superstars That Should Go To Smackdown In 2018
The brand split has given us two distinct rosters with their own faults. While both shows could stand to mix the rosters up, today we look at five Raw superstars that should come to Smackdown Live within the next year.
5. Apollo Crews (Titus Brand)
Since coming to RAW, Crews was able to find a mentor in Titus O’neil, and did get a few wins under his belt. With Reigns and Lesnar holding both singles titles, the best opportunity for gold lies with the tag team championships, and that doesn’t seem probable at this point. A switch to Smackdown Live, not only for Crews, but Titus Brand, would open up opportunities. Smackdown’s tag team division is the best it has been in a while, and with a new U.S. champion getting crowned Crews can be a viable challenger for the victor.
With both Asuka and Paige top contenders for Alexa Bliss’ Woman’s Championship, and Sasha and Nia waiting in the wings, Bayley doesn’t have much she can do. Smackdown Live’s Woman’s division is in need of new competition, with Becky Lynch and Ruby Riott being the freshest competitors to challenge Charlotte. Reports are coming out that WWE is giving up on Bayley, but a switch to the blue show could open up
3. Samoa Joe
Unless he wins the Intercontinental Championship, there doesn’t seem to be anything for Samoa Joe to do on RAW until Roman eventually gets the Universal Championship. Even then the likely candidate to be a worthy challenge to the Big Dog is Braun Strowman. A move to Smackdown Live would give the main event scene a big player heading into WrestleMania and could provide for some memorable dream matches. Joe is one of the few NXT call-ups that still has a good bit of his aura still intact, but moving to SmackdownLive could provide much more prominent role.
2. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
While a trade to the blue brand might not do much for the Miztourage, a change of scenery could do them justice. Bo and Axe are two talents most fans believe to be underutilized, as Axel is the son of Curt Henning and Bo is a former NXT Champion. The Smackdown Live tag division is flourishing at the moment, and while the two may not be challenging for the titles, at least Harper and Rowan can have another team to destroy outside of Breezango.
1. Finn Balor
Like Joe, Balor will have to wait a while before getting the chance at one of the two singles titles on Monday nights. A plethora of challengers awaits Roman Reigns with both his I.C. and Universal Championships, and while Balor could be one of those challengers, it is unlikely he will take one of them. A brand change could open up a possible run at AJ Styles, as Balor has a victory over him. Not to mention, like Joe, the plentiful amount of dream matches that could come of this.
Official Rundown: The Chairshot 2017 Match of the Year
All of the voting is done, and we finally know the winner of the Inaugural Chairshot Match of the Year. We’d like to thank everyone who participated across multiple groups, we saw a total of 400 people express their opinion in the results. Each of the five matches brought something a little different to the table, and in most groups we had a difference of merely 3 or 4 votes between first and second place. However, one group tipped the scales significantly for the match that ended up winning.
So let’s see where each of the Top 5 ended up in the final rankings:
(t) 5th – The Usos vs The New Day – WWE Hell in a Cell – 17 votes
While many people enjoyed this match, the in ring quality wasn’t quite up to par with the other options, as well as people preferring one of the other matches between these two teams. Given the year both teams had, and how The Usos are most people’s tag team of the year…tying for 5th in this vote isn’t really an insult.
(t) 5th – Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage – NOAH Summer Navigation – 17 votes
This match suffered from the lack of overall exposure to the general crowd. Brian Cage’s popularity in Lucha Underground helped to put this on some people’s radar but, Japanese companies not named New Japan still have issues garnering more fans. This match showcased a lot of Brian Cage’s ability not seen on Lucha Underground. So the fact it at least tied for 5th, instead of getting no traction, is a small testament for word of mouth still doing work in the social media age.
3rd – John Cena vs AJ Styles – WWE Royal Rumble – 56 votes
The WWE’s Match of the Year, finishes third, with a respectable number of votes. A very good match for WWE standards, had the uphill battle of following Wrestle Kingdom 11, and put up a good fight. Cena ties Ric Flair’s record 16 Heavyweight Title reigns with this match, but it sadly didn’t measure up to the caliber of our top two matches this year.
2nd – Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne – NXT Takeover: Chicago – 91 votes
When this match ended and Meltzer’s ratings gave it less than 5 Stars, the internet wrestling community collectively lost their minds. NXT as a brand is highly beloved since it’s basically the WWE’s version of a Indy promotion, with better production values. The match was quite good and even won the vote in a few of the groups we extended the poll into. Definitely a well deserved Top 5 entrant, but still fell to the match that won over many critics and decisively won our vote.
1st – Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega – NJPW Dominion – 219 votes
Was there really any doubt? These two have put on enough classic matches this year to basically have a Top 10 of matches just including them. Not only did this match surpass their first bout, which was Kim Kardashian’s backside levels of breaking the internet, it immediately drew comparisons to Steamboat vs Flair thanks to the 60 Minute Broadway, which isn’t seen often, much less for the Heavyweight Championship. Regardless of where you lie on your feelings between the best match of the trilogy, or what trilogy is the best, or who the better wrestler is, the main fact is; without these matches capturing your interest, you wouldn’t have a basis for argument in the first place.
This vote caps off 2017 nicely as the year of New Japan. It became more visible to the public even before Jericho’s announcement and gives fans a plausible number 2 to try to rally behind. Would it be nice to see WWE step up their game a little? Yes it would, but it probably won’t happen yet. Should you be hopping on the Japanese Wrestling Hype Train and look into NOAH, Dragon Gate and All Japan? Definitely yes, at times those three companies put on matches that were better than New Japan and have stars that can easily compete with your favorites in NJPW.
Use your internet connection to educate yourself further…and Always Use Your Head.
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