There’s a fresh champion atop the SmackDown women’s division and WWE must not mess this chance up.
SummerSlam 2023 started off as a fun event and had some high moments, but the main event left many rolling their eyes. One of those moments that brought smiles to faces involved IYO Sky. After a shaky women’s title match, Bianca Belair found a way to snatch the championship away from Asuka and Charlotte Flair. That moment was short-lived, as Sky ran down to the ring and successfully cashed in to become the WWE Women’s Champion. Now, WWE has a fresh champion and a major opportunity to give this women’s division on SmackDown a huge boost.
Sky is the first-time women’s champion that fans have long wanted to see. After a successful run-on NXT Women’s Champion, many were worried that she’d never see the light of day on the main roster. That came in 2022, but the booking experienced by Damage CTRL wasn’t the best. In fact, it was possibly the worst. Still, she rose to grab the Money in the Bank briefcase which led to the winning cash-in at SummerSlam. Now what?
There are so many ways WWE Creative could go. Bianca Belair obviously has the biggest bone to pick with Sky. She’s beaten the woman cleanly multiple times, but Sky took advantage of her injury and just wrestled a match to pick up her first championship. After what she experienced with not getting an immediate rematch with Asuka, Belair should be livid to a point that forces Adam Pearce’s hands to make her first in line for Sky.
Then there’s Asuka and Charlotte Flair. Both ladies battled at SummerSlam, and they had to content with a triple threat rather than the one-on-one match that they wanted. Pitting them against each other should be the second major angle in the women’s division, keeping both women on television in some flavor.
Bayley has a role to play in this as well. While she’s happy for Sky and seeing her friend at the top, Bayley wants that title for herself. That sets the stage for Bayley to turn on Sky and position herself as a top contender looking to take that belt for her own, setting up another contender for the new champion.
But the real first contender for IYO Sky should be none other than Zelina Vega. Vega has picked up two wins over the new champion in recent months. She should make it a point to highlight those wins and use them to demand a title shot. This doesn’t have to be a substantial feud that last multiple months. But give them a few weeks of build and a solid singles match on SmackDown.
The SmackDown women’s division is ripe for opportunity. WWE must seize the moment. Sky’s reign can’t be sabotaged with random non-title losses to Flair, or disqualification finishes each week. There are several women who can be booked to claim the title. Booking isn’t as hard as WWE makes it out to be and fans want to see more for the women’s division. There’s a fresh champion holding the title. Anything less is unproductive.