Going to the mat is an opinion column for the Unofficial WWE Podcast, where I, Cody Churchill, roll out one of my many hot takes regarding the world of wrestling, and attempt to convince you of it. Whether you agree or disagree, I’m going to the mat for this:
The Women’s division is more entertaining than the Men’s division in WWE. There, I said it. Half a decade after what the company has labelled the “Women’s Evolution,” the division is finally firing on all cylinders and providing better TV than the men.
For proof of this, let’s look at the title pictures and main storylines.
In Raw, you have Drew McIntyre as the Men’s champion. Don’t get me wrong, he’s awesome, but it’s clear they are in a holding pattern with him. After he won the title, he was put up against Bobby Lashley, who was promptly buried after the defense. Then, he won the year’s most predictable match against Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. I mean, in kayfabe, Dolph has to be one of the worst wrestlers of all time. He really lost an Extreme Rules match in which the Extreme Rules only applied to him. Now with SummerSlam just weeks away, the Scotsman has no clear program set up.
The Raw tag team division has been little more than a comedy act for the past couple of months. Don’t even get me started about the bowling and the ninjas. The closest thing to a legitimate team has been Andrade and Angel Garza, who apparently decide whether or not to attempt a dysfunctional team routine by flipping a coin at the outset of each filming.
One non-title storyline on Raw has been Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio. In my opinion, every promo here has been overcooked, and every possible matchup has been exhausted. How many times have we seen Murphy face off against Aleister Black now? Not that we even know why Black is on Team Good Guy in the first place. The Eye For An Eye match was a double champion in its own right, crowned with both “Most Outlandish Stip Ever” and “Least Payoff Ever.”
Another non-title storyline on Raw has been Randy Orton and Edge. Now don’t get me wrong, if someone were to argue that the men are more entertaining than the women, they would have to point at Randy Orton and the career-high work that he’s doing. But in my view, Orton alone is not enough to carry his entire division. All that being said, I sure hope we see more legends get punted in the weeks and months to come.
The U.S. Championship has a champion who, for whatever reason, has not even appeared on TV in a month. I hope everything’s alright with Apollo, but at the end of the day, MVP as fake champion will only work if the real champion is around.
Then we go to Smackdown. Braun Strowman as Universal Champion was a poor choice, probably dictated by the circumstances surrounding this year’s Wrestlemania. He’s still developing on the microphone, which is too little too late for someone who is supposed to be the face of the Blue Brand. Plus, his ‘match’ at Extreme Rules ended in a confusing no-finish, and seemed to simply be a vehicle for something more entertaining: The Fiend.
When you look at the Smackdown tag division, you mostly see The New Day, who overstayed their welcome up until last weekend. Cesaro and Shinsuke provide a true glimmer of hope, but we’ll see how long they hold out against the WWE’s most marketable faction. Heavy Machinery has been in nowhere land since MITB, and the Miz and Morrison miss more often than they hit with their promos.
In the IC title picture you see AJ styles, who has had no real program since winning the tournament for it. The WWE could do something really interesting with the Phenomenal One, but so far, they aren’t.
The main storyline on Friday nights has been the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus feud. But, well, yeesh. This story has gone from distasteful to downright offensive, and frankly makes a mockery of two men who could do so much better.
That leaves us with NXT. Now, the black-and-gold brand has shown us some pretty cool stuff lately, but the Great American Counter-Program left a bad taste in my mouth. Plus, the big winner of all of that, Keith Lee, only made it two weeks as double champion before nonsensically giving up the North American Title. That’s just silly. Have a series of Triple Threats to determine the No. 1 Contender, and let Lee’s reign breathe a little bit more.
The NXT women’s division has an embarrassingly deep bench, and we’re seeing it come out in fantastic matches and believable characters. Plus, they have Robert Stone, who, for the purposes of this argument, is an honorary member of the Women’s Division.
See, the female performers have been more entertaining and compelling even with fewer titles and fewer programs. I thought that the loss of Becky Lynch was going to hurt things, but instead it has given rise to different stars such as Bayley and Sasha, who are probably the most entertaining thing on WWE programming right now. And they’re doing it on at least 2, sometimes all 3 shows every week. They are everything that a great heel tag team should be and then some. And though none of the other women’s tag teams are being booked well, they more than make up for it. Here’s hoping we see a mean Iiconics push soon.
Bayley is also the Smackdown Women’s Champion, and has been for a while, but her reign has, surprisingly enough, not grown stale. This is because she is nailing her character right now and being booked well. Plus, while some stars attempt to hog the limelight, she tends to make all of her opponents look better. See Nikki Cross and Kairi Sane for evidence.
Asuka is the Raw Women’s Champ with Sasha Banks acting as an illegitimate champion. Frankly, you would be hard pressed to find two better in-ring performers in any division of the WWE. Their matches always tell a story, and they always keep me on the edge of my seat.
The major concession here is that the women’s undercard for Raw and Smackdown are pretty weak right now. Still, we see flashes of brilliance from Naomi and Bianca Belair who demonstrate that all is not lost.
The NXT women’s division is currently topped by Io Shirai, who makes everyone look good, every match. As mentioned before, all the ladies on NXT are entertaining in their own way, and for the most part, kill it in the ring.
The soul of the argument is this: The female characters are more believable, more compelling, and more consistently entertaining. You don’t see ridiculous stories like a swamp fight or a storyline that exposes an actual addict’s actual addictions. You don’t see outrageous characters like modern day vikings, ninjas, or a briefcase-holder whose gimmick involves being overweight and whose signature move involves doing a terrible facsimile of the worm. Instead you see females who are outworking, outperforming, and outclassing their male counterparts.
That’s why the Women’s Division is simply more entertaining these days, and I’ll go to the mat for that.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below!