Should WWE make the decision to unify the women’s Raw and SmackDown Championships?
For the last year, from WrestleMania 38 to WrestleMania 39, WWE has been on a bit of a unification streak. However, WWE should not unify the Women’s Championships for Raw and Smackdown. While a recent segment between Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair has some fans wondering if WWE is setting up a big title unification bout, nothing on WWE programming points in that direction. Also, crucially, it’s a bad idea regardless of what WWE programming was leading to.
There are some issues with WWE’s roster on the women’s side, but none of that will be fixed by removing one of only three championship opportunities that are currently available for the talented women of WWE.
Yes, title fatigue is real, and some promotions have too many titles. Two though is not a particularly large number so WWE needs to keep the titles separate. Furthermore, WWE needs to ensure the championships are brand specific and focus instead on getting both divisions revamped to showcase more talent and tell memorable stories.
Belts are Better for the Roster
While holding any number of titles doesn’t guarantee a champion’s reaction, good stories with stakes eventually will. To that end, WWE should not unify the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships to provide multiple opportunities for those rivalries to grow. Having multiple titles means numerous ready-made stories for their talent. While not everyone can go after the titles, it does create easy stakes for a feud. Most of the memorable women’s matches have been for a title.
While it is possible to have an iconic rivalry without a title, something to fight about is crucial. Some fans online also see this logic. For months prior it was common to see Twitter users try fantasy booking a title separation ahead of Wrestlemania to give Sami Zayn and Cody Rhodes more opportunities. While WWE managed to make that work, that is the outlier scenario and was aided by months of excellent booking.
Having one major unified title doesn’t make the feud any different. The feud will still be about a champion and a challenger battling it out. Roman Reigns was a major match for the entire roster because of his dominant booking and historic reign, not just because he eventually held two titles together on his shoulders. If WWE is in a position to book a true showdown of immortals, where unifying both women’s titles makes the story better than perhaps they should. However, WWE did that when Becky Lynch won both titles at WrestleMania.
Becky, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair were in a story where winner takes was the only real option, and Lynch was primed to be the unified champion. Those moments are rare, though; trying to manufacture them is always met with disdain from fans. Equally as telling is that while Becky earned that accolade, they did eventually split those titles again to help tell more compelling stories across 5 hours of television each week.
Nobody Needs That Accolade
The last time the Women’s Championships were unified was when Becky Lynch won them both in the main event of WrestleMania. At that moment, it was the perfect outcome. Becky, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey were all the hottest stars on the roster. But by unifying the titles, it was clear to the fans that Becky was “The Man” from now on. Fans were invested in the story of Lynch and her journey to become the undisputed top of the division. Likewise Roman Reigns was in a similar spot, the Bloodline was looking to find the next gear and needed Reigns and the Uso’s to hold all the gold. In comparison, WWE should not unify the Women’s Championships because nobody feels like a natural fit for that role.
In the aftermath of WrestleMania 39, nobody on the women’s roster, including the three performers from the historic triple threat, feels like they have earned that accolade. Yes Bianca has been champion for a bit too long, but the women to beat Belair may actually benefit more from that victory than from holding a unified title. Ripley on the other hand has just won the title and as dominant as she has looked needs more to justify a move like that. Unifying the titles to try and artificially create a wrestling attraction won’t work. The titles don’t make the champion. Lynch felt like the biggest star in the division and was given both titles in response.
WWE needs to create more stars and build momentum before anyone on the roster feels like a solid choice to unify. Even just holding two titles as has been done in the past is typically reserved for top stars. Ironically one of the best ways to make those top stars is to have better rivalries, which keeping two championship belts will help them accomplish.
WWE Just Told This Story
Part of the interest in a unified Women’s title, in general, is the Bloodline story. Roman Reigns unified the World championships while his cousins, the Uso’s, managed to do the same with the tag team titles. Unfortunately, while the Bloodline made the unifications work, it has been the dominant state of the men’s division for over a year.
As a result, watching a rerun of what Roman Reigns has already done will be less enjoyable. Some fans have already started to turn on the current undisputed champion. While it is possible for WWE to recover from its first attempt at the unified championships, doing it again so soon will probably result in a backlash against the talent involved, as well as the company.
When something works once, WWE, in particular, can get a bit obsessive. If the entire show looks the same, the product becomes far less interesting. Wrestling is at its best as a variety show with something for everyone when done correctly. If WWE gets too deep into the weeds on combining each championship, it will make for a repetitive product. Also, we are already seeing some of the ramifications of WWE’s combining titles. The most recent change is the reintroduction of an older championship to fill the gap. If this unification story ended the same way as our current one, with the titles splitting, or worse an old Diva’s title butterflying it’s way back to Smackdown it wouldn’t have been worth it.
No; WWE should not unify the Women’s Championships
After the WWE draft, it looks like the company is heading into this new Endeavour era with at least a soft brand split. As the company progresses into the year with a new World Heavyweight champion, fans will likely forget about all of this. As a result, WWE will likely not unify the Women’s Championships. However, wrestling as an industry can often be cyclical, so the idea is sure to come up again at some point. Whenever that is, it may make sense to try a unified title. Cautiously, fans of women’s wrestling should be clamoring for the major companies to build stars and tell stories that matter—not to diminish opportunities for the talent to shine.