NWA: Why EMPOWERRR is important for pro wrestling

WWE, Mickie James (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV)
WWE, Mickie James (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV) /

On the premiere episode of the new season of NWA POWERRR, the promotion announced an all-women’s show. EMPOWERRR will take place in St. Louis on Aug. 28.

The show will be executive produced by nine-time women’s champion Mickie James. James announced that she will not be performing, but that the show is open to women from all promotions. She wants “the best of the best.”

EMPOWERRR will prove that #WomensWrestlingMatters is more than a hashtag

In speaking to Billy Corgan, James says that he’s “allowing her to make a real difference”. She goes on to say that “this is different. We have a real opportunity here, with so much history (…) and now we have a chance to really show that women’s wrestling, not only does women’s wrestling make money, but it deserves that prime real estate right at the top of the marquee, just besides the men’s wrestling every single night. And I’m here to show you why women’s wrestling matters. It’s not just a hashtag. It’s not just a money grab. This is real and I want the best of the best.”

James has discussed wanting to do another all-women’s show in WWE, but was turned down. WWE’s former Senior Director of Talent Relations, Mark Carrano, told Maria Kanellis (and presumably is who James was referring to) that Evolution was nothing but a PR stunt (anyone that has watched WWE knew that’s exactly what it was).

During the NWA Powerrr Post-Show, James said that she’s still an independent contractor, but she’s building a brand. “I really wanted to grow and develop, I mean we have — there’s so much talent out there. Now more than ever. When I was on the independent scene, there wasn’t Shines or Shimmer, or even RISE and all these other female branded promotions that were doing this when I was making the rounds. And I got to see that when I came back from the indie scene the second time around and it was really, really awesome to see because when I first broke in, there wasn’t a lot of females training to be wrestlers. And if we did, we were training with the men and that’s just how it was.”

“It’s really, really cool to see this growth happening and I feel like it’s a real movement and I think everyone’s — the fans — have really wanted it on a television aspect, on a real television level for a long time. We’ve given them a taste of it and we’ve given ’em one-offs or things like that. But, I think that we have a real opportunity to do some really amazing business right here and to bring women’s wrestling to the forefront. I’m excited to try to head that up.”

“In 80 years of women’s wrestling on TV, we’ve only seen it through the male perspective. You know, we’ve only seen women’s storylines through a male’s perspective. And that’s okay. That’s how we got to here, now. But, I think that at this time, now, this day and age, there is an immense amount of uber-talented and knowledgable women who know how to make money in this business that can really help build the foundation and really like, be that core that helps grow women’s wrestling as a whole.”

The former champion stated that she will not be performing on EMPOWERRR. “I’m not in here to go into business for myself and wrestle all my favorite people on my own show. That doesn’t make sense and plus, how can I run a show if I’m in the ring?” She did hint at possibly wrestling on a future NWA show.

WWE continues to show fans that they don’t value women’s wrestling

Since the announcement of EMPOWERRR, WWE has made headlines again after a media call with HHH ahead of NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Gary Cassidy of Inside The Ropes asked him about EMPOWERRR and he said that “equality isn’t wanting your own show.” The COO went on to say that he’d be criticized for doing an all men’s show.

HHH is being obtuse, but his comment is in line with Carrano’s. Evolution was a publicity stunt to try to quell outrage over the blood money shows in Saudi Arabia. We all knew what was happening, but we tried to look past that and appreciate the women’s show we had been wanting.

This line of thinking, particularly from white men in WWE, goes down the line. Back when fans started #GiveDivasAChance, for example, Corey Graves tweeted that he hoped it failed.

Thus, it’s all the more important that EMPOWERRR succeeds because WWE refuses to acknowledge its treatment of women or the way they book them. They continually release women (including James) and shrink the division on RAW and SmackDown further and further.

Although this is being produced in another company, WWE is still the biggest wrestling promotion in North America. That said, women’s wrestling can thrive without them. This show is just another way to prove that.

EMPOWERRR is important to the growth of women’s wrestling

EMPOWERRR has the opportunity to make a huge mark in not just women’s wrestling, but pro wrestling as a whole. If successful, this could be the annual show that Evolution should’ve been. Depending on the women involved, it could expose fans to a variety of women and styles. Women deserve to be front and center and not just in all-women’s companies, but on national television with major promotions.

Fans have been clamoring for more women’s wrestling, better storylines, and longer matches. It’s not just a niche for a small portion of the wrestling community. AEW has had multiple highest-viewed women’s matches. Women finally main evented Dynamite and it’s a Match of the Year contender. The fans were loud all match long in both women’s matches at Double or Nothing. Ring of Honor is showcasing some of the best women in the country. IMPACT has a small, but strong division. It is clear that women’s wrestling is popular and that fans will pay to watch it.

Next. Discussing women's herstory in WWE with Scarlett Harris. dark

It’s wonderful that there are all-women’s promotions, but it’s time for major promotions to incorporate women’s wrestling into their respective products like they do with men. Women need character development, more matches, and TV time in general across all major promotions. In this aspect, the televised promotions are well behind the curve. Shows like EMPOWERRR can be a sign of things to come. However, NWA has to capitalize on it.

Women’s wrestling matters.