WWE

#GiveDivasAChance: A Movement Long Overdue

#GiveDivasAChance trended on Twitter after the brief Divas segment that aired on WWE Raw.

During yesterday’s edition of Monday Night RAW, WWE fans took hastily to Twitter to participate in a movement they were determined to get recognized. No, it was not the attempts to get R-Truth a shot at the Intercontinental Championship that caught the attention. Instead, it was a twist on the aforementioned #GiveTruthAChance, as it instead became #GiveDivasAChance. This hashtag rapidly became the top trend on Twitter following a 26-second bout pitting Paige & Emma against the Bella Twins, consisting of only a couple of moves. Frankly, their entrances lasted longer than the actual action in the ring.

This shameful limiting of the WWE Divas division to short, uneventful and formulaic matches seems to have finally caught fire among the WWE Universe, with BuzzFeed picking up on the story in the aftermath. The trend also didn’t go unnoticed among wrestlers themselves (although WWE surprisingly failed to acknowledge it), as names like WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley and former TNA Knockout Velvet Sky voiced their support of the movement:

The Divas division has become little more than a joke in recent years, and that is not down to the talent within that group itself. Of course, there has been the odd moment to make even their most ardent supporters face palm, such as when Cameron attempted to pin Naomi on her front, or Eva Marie’s attempts at selling even basic maneuvers. But that is due to a policy of hiring models and pretty faces instead of trained professionals and athletes and teaching them from scratch. Yet, what is the point of training your backside off just to participate in a two-minute match every show.

It is moments like this that makes articles such as this gem by Becca Cook a sad but realistic vision of the current state of affairs. At NXT, the women’s division there is demonstrating what they can do given time and the platform to perform. Triple H and the rest of the creative team there have been amazingly supportive and trusting, putting a great deal of faith in the talent of these ladies to succeed, and every time they have delivered. Just look at the Fatal Four-Way match from Takeover: Rival, where Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch produced arguably the match of the night.

It is unquestionable that with the caliber of performers on the main roster they could produce similar results. Paige was firing on all cylinders when she was NXT Women’s Champion, as were Emma and Summer Rae in pursuit of a title opportunity. The Bella Twins have greatly improved in between the ropes from when they began in WWE, showing the fruits of their hard work and dedication. And in AJ Lee, Natalya, Naomi, Alicia Fox and Layla, the company have extremely athletic competitors who could put on great matches if given the time to perform.

Perhaps the greatest part of NXT, outside of the consistently excellent matches, is the fact that it has exposed how excellent the female performers in developmental are when given the time. If Charlotte or Sasha Banks are “promoted” to the main roster and are stuck in three minute matches with no meaning, fans will take notice and belittle the product like never before.

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Whilst the main event has up to this point remained solely for the male superstars and the WWE Championship, that shouldn’t directly influence that the divas should only get three minute slots to compensate. RAW’s tag team match, if it can even be called that, was the latest in a glaring series of disrespectful actions towards their female roster. Often I’ve considered this to be both an issue between fan apathy/sexism and poor booking decisions. But, having witnessed this social media outpouring, I would hope this means the booking team can no longer ignore the desire to see the ladies show what they can do.

Fans aren’t asking for much. Give the ladies ten minutes every now and again to produce a great match on television – maybe fifteen or twenty on a PPV once in a while. Produce some meaningful and original angles to get fans invested, like the feud between Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon in the summer of 2014. Have some stipulations added to their bouts to allow them to push boundaries and entertain the fans. We’re not screaming for them to headline WrestleMania; all we desire is them to be shown a little respect and fairness due to the effort they put in every week with such awful material to work with.

Please express your views in the comments below, and I implore you to continue the #GiveDivasAChance trend going for as long as possible on social media.