WWE is making a push to improve the opportunities provided to the women’s division. For the last year plus, WWE NXT has kept the women’s division front and center. Monday Night Raw continues to put more women on television each week. But SmackDown is in a different place. The Friday night show isn’t giving the same type of care to the women’s division and it’s clear when looking at the last few months on television.
While WWE Raw and WWE NXT feature multiple women’s matches each week, SmackDown is stuck in a trend where only one women’s match gets television time. For a two-hour show, which is unacceptable. That same level of commitment isn’t acceptable for All Elite Wrestling and it should not be acceptable for WWE.
The women’s matches that are showing up on TV are getting solid time. Take Bianca Belair vs Bayley from the January 12 episode where they got 16 minutes. IYO Sky versus Michin performed for 10 minutes the week prior in what was a well-received match. Still, further analysis shows that these shows are still failing when it comes to featuring the women’s division.
The last time an episode of SmackDown featured two women’s matches was back on October 27. That show included Charlotte Flair and Shotzi versus Chelsea Green and Piper Niven and a match between Belair and Bayley. Since then, the women are only allotted one match per night. Since that October show, two episodes of SmackDown didn’t feature any women’s matches. Those occurred on November 17 and December 29, the latter of which was taped. Again, this is unacceptable for the equal treatment of women’s wrestling.
Think about the women’s roster that is available on SmackDown. Alba Fyre, Auska, Shotzi, Zelina Vega, Isla Dawn, and several others are there and ready to go. Yes, the Damage CTRL angle features five of the most important names in the women’s division but explain why WWE isn’t booking more matches for those women. Yes, the focus is on Bayley and her eventual expulsion from the group, but there’s space for more women’s stories on the same show.
SmackDown is getting screen time for several women on the same show. The January 12 episode featured Asuka, Bayley, Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, Kairi Sane, Scarlett, and Zelina Vega on air in some form. Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre were featured in an announcement for a title match against Kayden Carter and Katana Chance next week. When looking at the roster only Tamina, Michin, B-Fab, and the injured Charlotte Flair weren’t mentioned on air. Michin was in a digital exclusive posted on YouTube that evening.
It is important to see the largest organization in professional wrestling doing more to elevate the women on its roster. While there is a lot of improvement seen on TV each week, there’s still space for progress. One such way is to get more than one women’s match on SmackDown each week.