For all the bloviating WWE does about how good its women’s division has become, its crawl to progress is still much closer to the beginning than the end. To be clear, the promotion has vastly improved its presentation of its distaff wrestlers over the last eight years, but the job’s not done.
In general, North American wrestling promotions have adopted an incrementalist approach. For every classic match we’ve seen from the likes of Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, or Charlotte Flair, we still get a lot of the absentminded booking that curtails a wrestler’s momentum.
With WrestleMania 39 now behind us, WWE has a chance to address some of these concerns.
How can WWE amend some of the missteps it has made with the main roster women’s division?
Deepen the depth
Between Raw and SmackDown, WWE has 37 women at its disposal for matches and storylines. Reasonably, six of them are positioned as top stars. That’s not good enough for a promotion that broadcasts as many TV shows and pay-per-views as WWE does.
The smaller pool of available women, relative to the men’s ranks, could create a situation where WWE will fill time with rematches and end those matches with bad finishes to necessitate even more rematches. After all, once Mia Yim pins Chelsea Green clean, that’s it, but if WWE books a distraction finish or a non-finish, then there’s an opening to book the match again, in theory.
The upcoming draft should shuffle the deck a bit — and already has with a few of the moves WWE has made — but when you only have a few cards to work with, you’re still going to end up with the same pairings. Adding some new ones in would fix some of that.
Establish a hierarchy
In general, WWE struggles to define its pecking order outside of the main event scene (unless you count “Roman Reigns and everyone else” as clearly defined), and the women’s division isn’t immune to this malady.
The Raw and SmackDown rosters have plenty of talented ladies, but the promotion’s insistence on rolling all of them into this midcard blob (until it needs an opponent for the champion) makes most of them feel expendable, even if the opposite is true.
Wrestlers like Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, IYO SKY (who is Bianca Belair’s next challenger, to be fair), Piper Niven, and Nikki Cross are too good to simply fill out a promotion’s depth. At the very least, those names would make up a pretty solid upper midcard, workers who could occasionally slide into a top program to space out the big matches. To get these wrestlers there, the “storytelling” promotion needs to remind fans why these women are so good.
Trading wins in heatless matches in the middle of Raw isn’t going to accomplish that.
More secondary storylines
WWE has taken some steps in the right direction by scripting secondary storylines away from the women’s world titles — the upcoming Becky Lynch/Trish Stratus feud stands out as a prime example — we still don’t see enough on the main roster.
This isn’t a request for more stories like the Kiana James/Brooks Jensen/Fallon Henley/Josh Briggs romance angle, but instead, a desire to see programs that flesh out these wrestlers’ overall motivations, be it a signature win over a specific rival or a series of wins over quality opponents to work toward a title shot.
With five hours of weekly main roster television time to fill, WWE could easily use some of it to set up some interesting non-title women’s feuds.