MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – The Struggles with the WWE Women’s Division and the Poorly Booked Evolution Event

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Well, well, well… It is I, Mr. Tito, the quintessential column writing stud muffin here to deliver yet another exclusive column to LordsofPain.net. Of all of my years being as a wrestling fan, I may have to declare that Joel Gertner from ECW was the most entertaining thing that I’ve ever seen in pro wrestling. Those promos put me in tears from laughing… Seriously, who could come up with the phrase of that he’s “like a Rubix cube, the more you play with it, the harder it gets” on a wrestling show?

Of course, I praise Joel Gertner just as I’m about to talk about a serious topic today… But we’ll tie back into that comment momentarily.

BEFORE I get into my argument, let me state the following… I have always tried my best to support Women’s wrestling in the WWE, particularly when I saw how good Trish Stratus became. Then, of course, I spoke out about it when the Divas Search arrived and flushed away any hard work that Trish, Lita, Mickie, Victoria, Jazz, Molly, etc. created. I even supported the Bella Twins through 2013-2015 when the Divas division was awful and in need of some help… Then, I saw NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015 and I was floored. I didn’t think much of the Divas Revolution debut of the NXT call-ups but quickly grew to respect them once I watched what Triple H created in NXT. I’ve been calling out the WWE for poorly many of the former great NXT women’s wrestlers, specifically Asuka and Bayley (with Sasha needing to be heel). I was a big supporter of the Smackdown brand’s women’s roster from 2016-2017 before the first shake-up.

Do you have all of that? I’m not just some “Women’s Wrestling Hater”, far from it. In fact, I’d argue that Women’s Wrestling helped save what was an awful midcard for most WWE shows. I’m proud to call myself a fan of it…

Now… Let’s get into the column.

WWE Evolution is coming up on October 27th, 2018 and this will be the WWE’s first all-women Pay Per View (well, excluding the Mae Young classic shows). Before I discuss this show, let me present to you the current card:

– Battle Royal

– Kairi Sane (c) vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Title

– Rhea Ripley (c) vs. (to be determined) for the NXT UK Women’s Title

– Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm for the 2018 Mae Young Classic Finals

– Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James

– Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title

– Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nikki Bella for the RAW Women’s Title

And what do you notice?

ONLY FOUR wrestlers on this card are full-time WWE main roster performers: (1) Alexa Bliss, (2) Mickie James, (3) Becky Lynch, and (4) Charlotte Flair.

Haven’t we just spent the last decade arguing against having PART-TIME wrestlers on the WWE roster? Everyone from the Rock, Undertaker, Batista, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar. That’s right, folks… Did you enjoy that Brock Lesnar WWE Universal Title run where he barely showed up? How many “Undertaker is too old” arguments can I hear? Many of you are mocking Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement to go against his word. As big of a movie star as the Rock is, many of you were hammering him for taking big Wrestlemania spots. 2014 was nothing but an all-out assault on Batista for rejoining the WWE to headline Wrestlemania.

So, Internet Wrestling Community (IWC)… BE CONSISTENT!

What do you see on this card? For one, NXT, NXT UK, and Mae Young folks need to remain on their own shows. If the WWE doesn’t want any of those performers for the main roster right now, why should they share the spotlight with the existing main roster women? While Trish Stratus and Lita will be making only their 2nd in-ring appearance in the WWE for a decade and this year, I at least respect Trish and Lita’s appearance because they put in the time on the WWE main roster. Those NXT, NXT UK, and Mae Young tournament wrestler have NOT. You don’t see regular NXT competitors appearing on WWE Pay Per Views? And those 205 Live matches are stuck on the pre-shows.

If I were ANY WWE main roster female wrestler, I’d bust down Vince McMahon‘s door and DEMAND to answers as to why NXT, NXT UK, and Mae Young participants are stealing THEIR spot on this Pay Per View. “Oh, but you’ll be in the Battle Royal!”.

And then you have Nikki Bella getting the Ronda Rousey match. That’s ridiculous… It’s more part-time madness, but the Bella brand has seriously declined since Nikki’s lengthy title run. The storyline with Stephanie McMahon was a total bust, Total Divas and Total Bellas have seen viewership DECLINES, and that little “will they, or won’t they” drama of Nikki and John Cena breaking up their engagement and possibly getting back together just got laughed at. It is still a JOKE to me how Nikki and Brie were both runners-up to the 1st ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, particularly as both were out on leave for a neck injury (Nikki) and delivering a child (Brie, God bless her for doing that).

They get to wrestle Ronda Rousey? Or at least Nikki does and I can imagine we’ll get some “Twin Magic”…

Part-time Bellas are either rusty from barely wrestling during 2018 or the rest of the industry has passed them by. The match will be rough because of recent performances and with that neck injury, I don’t see Nikki taking the harder arm drag and hip toss bumps that are expected when wrestling Rousey. They need to spend more time inside the ring to improve yet the just appear here or there as they please. What exactly did the Bellas do between Royal Rumble (January 2018) and their appearance at SummerSlam 2018 (August)? Seriously… What did they do? Film more “great” Total Divas/Bellas to pad time on the E! Network?

Why can’t Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, and others stuck in that Battle Royal get a shot at Rousey?

But that’s how we get to the next part of my column…

Is Women’s Wrestling really a draw for the WWE?

Yeah, I went there…

Consider the facts:

(a) Ronda Rousey is reportedly the only female wrestler making a base salary of $1 million or more.

(b) None of the women’s merchandise items sell well, nobody is near the top 5 males in sales.

(c) Women’s wrestling headlining RAW (besides Rousey) fail to draw viewership numbers, often results in a decline.

(d) Besides Ronda Rousey, the female segments are often the lowest viewed segments for RAW/Smackdown.

(e) Since Women’s wrestling has been pushed hard during mid-2015 with the “Divas Revolution”, Monday Night RAW’s viewership has done nothing but declined. I certainly blame that on the top drawing stars, but they haven’t helped the ratings.

Why would the WWE need to sign Ronda Rousey, anyway, and pay her millions if the existing female WWE superstars were drawing? Seriously… Rousey was a great signing anyway (I admit, I was wrong on that), but she was signed more as a need rather than a want. She was rushed to the RAW Women’s Title and has destroyed anyone in her path. WWE has been all about Rousey since her signing and even Stephanie McMahon’s character sells fear from her.

Then you have Charlotte Flair… Pushed her hard as a heel wrestler who was over the top on the mic, even talking down to Ric Flair, and then was moved to Smackdown where she barely made it on television for a while until they realized she was there and then instantly made her Smackdown Women’s Champion. They recently tried to turn Becky Lynch heel but fans have done nothing but embrace Becky while rejecting Charlotte as a babyface. She’s an amazing athletic talent but the appeal to see Ric Flair’s daughter, as a character, just isn’t there… They’ve tried to push her hard for over 2 years now and it’s just eh…

The NXT buzzsaw has certainly harmed Bayley and Asuka while Sasha Banks was much better as a heel. Still, there is a consistent trend among NXT women that they are beloved in that smaller Full Sale University arena but not as well received on the bigger stage. You can debate whether or not that the WWE Creative Team has ruined all 3 (that argument has merits), but the fact is that all 3 ladies have had many matches in the WWE and only a few of them have been remembered. Regardless of how WWE Creative uses you, they are NOT in the ring wrestling with you. If you cannot put on consistently good matches in front of crowds of 10,000 or more when the lights are bright, it’s no wonder that you’re stuck in a Battle Royal on the first ever Women’s Pay Per View.

The WWE handed Asuka the Royal Rumble win and yes, she had a great match at Wrestlemania 34… But what’s the follow-up? You can complain all that you want about the Carmella feud, but I saw Nikki Bella get a decent match out of Carmella.

You see, that is why the Bella Twins keep coming back and taking big spots. That’s why Ronda Rousey was signed and is the only female making a base salary in the millions. And that is why most female veteran WWE workes are stuck in a Battle Royal while NXT, NXT UK, and Mae Young Classic wrestlers get their own SINGLES matches.

Honestly, if I were booking the WWE, I’d push Ronda Rousey to the moon, too… Nobody else is statistically drawing for the WWE and Rousey draws because of her past UFC success that captivated the world.

So…. Why aren’t they drawing?

Through 2015, it was reported that the WWE audience comprised of about 63% males. That is actually down from about 71% reported during 2005.

Now, you could argue that the WWE is trying to attract a more diverse audience… But I’d argue that they’ve lost many longtime fans who liked the Attitude Era and previous eras before that. According to what Forbes reported, the median age of the WWE fanbase was 54 years old compared to 28 years old from 2000.

So….. If you cannot attract newer fans with your existing product and you’re losing your loyal fans, what do you do?

Well, look to the past… Try to figure out why Miss Elizabeth was so beloved as a character. Why was Sunny and Sable so red hot as non-wrestling female personalities? Why was Trish Stratus‘s popularity bigger when she was a character involved with the McMahon family than as a wrestler? Why were wrestling fans tripping over themselves to buy calendars and Playboy magazines with the WWE ladies?

I would argue that male demographic loss is from the PG Era scaring off many male fans forever.

I’m not saying that the current crop of Women’s wrestlers should go over-the-top to push their sexuality, but I’m suggesting that they should embrace it.

But what the WWE Women’s Wrestling division might suffer from is the same issues that WNBA has against the NBA. Year after year, WNBA’s viewership and attendance keeps dropping it officially began during 1997. Most of the teams are not profitable and the league is subsidized by the NBA’s profits. It’s a matter of physics. The combination of speed, strength, and aggression has made most male sports superior to watch than the female versions. That and the women, who are mostly smaller than most male wrestlers, have to run across the same sized ring. Go watch that Royal Rumble 2018 match, as many women struggled to get tossed over the top rope. They lacked the strength and height to quickly eliminate each other.

Guys like pro wrestling because it’s an escape from reality… They watch it for the staged combat between good vs. evil and to also check out the ladies… They don’t really care about hearing the Bellas and Ronda Rousey who “opened up more doors”.

You can keep telling me how great that the 1st Royal Rumble match happened, the 1st Hell in a Cell occurred, the 1st full-time female announcer in Renee Young is, or how special that the 1st ever all Women’s Pay Per View will be… But I was far more impressed during 2015 when Bayley vs. Sasha Banks headlined that Takeover Pay Per View as the first female headlined Pay Per View and TORE THE HOUSE DOWN. That was impressive….

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I should have made a prediction of RAW being “permanently under 2.4 million”. Geesh!

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THANK YOU for reading, as always. I wouldn’t be writing these columns if it weren’t for you, the readers. I appreciate the time that you put into reading and discussing my columns. Tweet me anytime if you want to chat, as even after I retire from writing wrestling columns, I’ll still be lurking there. Just follow @titowrestling and you’re set.

And if you want an arse kicking on the Nintendo Switch online system, you can receive that too. Ice Hockey and Tecmo Bowl are a TON of fun to play online from the NES Classics, but if you want to play some Rocket League, Mario Kart, Splatoon 2, Street Fighter 2, Bomberman, Runbow, etc., just let me know.

I’ll still be around on Twitter and I’ll loosely follow pro wrestling news, maybe pick and choose YouTube segments to watch to remain current. I’m just choosing not to dedicate my Sunday Nights to Pay Per Views, watching RAW/Smackdown, or spending 2-3 hours (sometimes more) per column dedicated to wrestling. I just don’t have that in me any longer…

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And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.

BUY THE BOOK!

So just chill… Until the next episode!

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

Bookmark Mr. Tito’s Column Archive to read the current and past columns.

© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net – 1998-2018

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THE BEST OF MR. TITO

10/1/2018 – Reviewing 2018 Predictions So Far and Making 2019 WWE and Pro Wrestling Predictions

7/4/2018 – How SummerSlam 2013 Changed Everything in the WWE

5/13/2018 – Reasons for the Recent WWE Stock Price Increase

3/21/2018 – LoP Radio: The Doc Says..The State of WWE Address Featuring LOP’s MR TITO (plus Taker-Cena)

4/9/2018 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Wrestlemania 34 Review

4/7/2018 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT NXT Takeover: New Orleans Review

3/10/2018 – Why Wrestlemania Matters to Pro Wreslting and How the WWE is Ruining that Event

12/31/2017 – Mr. Tito’s Bold Pro Wrestling Predictions for 2018

12/13/2017 – Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE 2K18 Video Game Review for the Nintendo Switch

11/4/2017 – Mr. Tito’s Book Review of Jim Ross’s Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling

5/7/2017 – “13 Reasons Why” World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Failed

“13 Reasons Why” the WWE Has Declined Since the Year 2000

10/2/2016 – WWE Monday Night RAW Ratings Analysis from 1999-2016 – Who Drew as World Champion?

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