September 05, 2009

Knockouts > Divas

Originally posted on on 8/16/09.

Knockouts > Divas

by FK9

World Wrestling Entertainment released former Women's Champion Candice Michelle (Candice Michelle Beckman-Ehrlich), 30, from her contract. Her sudden release from WWE wasn't seen as a surprise internally.
It is believed that Michelle's less than stellar appearance at the television tapings in Los Angeles a few weeks ago ultimately sealed her fate with company officials. She had not been seen since WrestleMania, but when she arrived at the shows in Los Angeles, she didn't look "Diva like." She told officials she was just about ready to return from her latest injury, but they gave very little leeway because she is a woman and there is a weight issue. In a company where the women are primarily there for their looks, some felt she didn't have that look anymore, so they decided to let her go.
But honestly, have you been watching the Women's Division lately? It's not like
WWE is putting the divas out there in a position to have great matches. They are
largely eye candy. It's sad, but true.

-Dave Scherer,
"I think they kind of dumb it down for the fans and don't allow the girls to
show their full potential and that's a ####ing shame.
-Allison Danger, on the WWE women's division.

Something funny happened to me some weeks back while watching WWE Raw (I know. Just hear me out). It came time for a divas match and Mickie James was booked to face Rosa Mendes, the latest in a long line of green-as-grass divas of questionable talent and skill level. Early in the match, Mickie went to the top turnbuckle, presumably to go high risk, when Rosa rolled out of the ring. Mickie then climbed off the turnbuckle and tried to pull Rosa back into the ring.

This sequence left me wondering why Mickie didn’t simply do a splash off the top turnbuckle to hit Rosa on the floor, which is what I was expecting her to do. After all, I’ve seen the TNA knockouts do that a hundred times – Sarita just did it in spectacular fashion last week -- and it would’ve made for a more exciting match.

Then I remembered that I was watching WWE, and WWE doesn’t allow their women to do stuff like that.

[Don't even try bringing up that fatal 4-way match on the 8/10/09 edition of Raw. That was the exception that proves the rule and none of those women ever went to the top turnbuckle.]

This isn’t a criticism of Mickie James, who I’m a big fan of and who I think is one of the most talented women in either company. It’s more of a commentary on the perception and treatment of the female talents in WWE as opposed to TNA.

It seems like, at least in this era, the WWE divas are treated with kid gloves. As I’ve said before, the divas are not meant to be real wrestlers; they’re meant to be filler and eye candy. This is because the people in charge (i.e. Vince McMahon) don’t really care so much about the women’s wrestling ability as long as they look hot in front of the camera. That’s why the divas are not allowed to go as hard as they can and why the ones like Mickie and Gail Kim who can really wrestle are not allowed to show their full potential.

There are innumerable examples of this. Here’s perhaps the most hilarious one:
Wings of Love: Yes, I haven't used it in quite some time now, but that's not by
choice. Truth is, I'm not allowed to use it anymore. Apparently, it was too
devastating for us girls! Seriously.... The only good thing about that is that I debuted a new one on Marsye this weekend and believe me, I think you'll be impressed. I have to keep it under wraps for now until I use it on tv. Hopefully, it's not too rough for us girls :)

-Michelle McCool.

For those who don’t know, the wings of love was an implant buster, the same finishing move that Awesome Kong used on Velvet Sky 5 times in a row in a recent iMPACT match before awesome bombing the crap out of her.

[For the record, McCool’s new finisher is the styles clash. Just wait; I bet her next new finisher will be the muscle buster. But I digress…]

How can you not laugh at this? The implant buster is too devastating to use on women? They might have had a case if we were talking about Awesome Kong here, but what’s so rough about the way McCool did that move? Nothing, unless the woman taking it had no idea how to bump properly.

But anyway, back on topic.

Honestly, I was going to let this whole issue slide. I figured it was self-explanatory and people didn’t really need me to articulate anything. Then I watched Slammiversary.

First, to show that I’m not biased, I’ll go on record saying that I thought the knockouts title match of Angelina Love vs. Tara was a big letdown. It was too short, there was way too much interference and Tara did not deliver what most of us thought she was going to. Frankly, I spent the entire segment thinking about what a better match this would’ve been if Sarah Stock (Sarita) had been in it. Though it was probably more the fault of the booking than the wrestlers, the match did not deliver. For a PPV title match, let alone a Slammiversary title match, it was simply not good enough.

Having said that, the mixed tag Monster’s Ball was a different story. I said all this in previous columns, so you know I’m telling the truth when I say that, going in, I thought this match was going to be an absolute fiasco. Taylor Wilde & Daffney are not hardcore wrestlers and I thought they were going to be completely out of their element here just like they were in their Monster’s Ball match the month before.

Holy crap, was I wrong.

Who would’ve thought in a match with Abyss & Raven, who have been known to do some pretty horrifying things to their bodies in hardcore match situations, that the most insane moments of the match would come from Taylor & Daffney? Not me, that’s for sure.

Taylor dove off the top turnbuckle to hit 3 people on the floor and splashed off the stage to put Daffney through a table. Daffney took a slam on thumbtacks, for God’s sake! Not to mention the fact that I honestly thought she cracked her head open when she was flipped over the guardrail and hit the corner of the steel steps. But afterward she just got up and kept going. And then, 48 hours later, those same 2 women competed in a 10,000 Thumbtacks match on iMPACT.

And WWE thinks that a simple implant buster is too devastating to use on women.

Just think about that for a minute…

Are you getting the picture yet? Has the stuff I’ve been saying these last 7 months sunk in at all? Do you realize now how completely ass backwards the WWE’s stance on their female talent is?

WWE’s main concern with the divas is that they look hot, because anything else would throw a monkey wrench into their marketing machine. TNA’s main concern with the knockouts is that they know how to kick ass.

Why do you think Rhaka Khan has been off TV for months?

Why do you think we hardly ever see Sojourner Bolt anymore?

Why do you think Velvet Sky never wins singles matches?

Why do you think WWE never tried to sign ODB when, according to Jim Cornette, she was the only woman who stood out from the pack in OVW and got over instantly in TNA?

Why do you think WWE bombards us with generic pretty faces, many of whom are barely competent in the ring?

Why do you think the WWE audiences sit on their hands during 90% of the diva matches?

Why do you think, at Wrestlemania 25, WWE used their entire women’s roster as a joke to put over Santino Marella’s cross dresser gimmick?

Why do you think they did that diva swimsuit summer spectacular match?

Why do you think “sexy” is the first word in “sexy, smart & powerful”?

[Yes, I know "smart" has been coming first recently, but "sexy" is still first in that graphic on the website, which gets a great deal of traffic as WWE is so fond of pointing out. Until they touch up that graphic nothing has changed as far as I'm concerned.]

Yes, the knockouts division isn’t perfect. Yes, not all of their matches have delivered lately. Yes the booking of them isn’t great a lot of the time. Yes, Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca was an embarrassment of epic proportions.

But they’re still better than the alternative.

They (TNA) hire women that know how to wrestle. I’m sorry; there’s probably
3 maybe 4 of the women/divas in WWE that know how to actually put on a good
match and we always get stuck with hot chicks. If they’re going to give us hot
chicks then let them have their pillow fights or their water balloon fights or
something like that -- at least you know what you’re getting when you sign up
for it. Give us a decent women’s match. Give us Beth Phoenix & Gail Kim or
something that resembles wrestling. The marquee still does say wrestling,
doesn’t it?

-Jim Molineaux, Monday Night Mayhem, on Melina vs. Michelle McCool.
The knockouts – if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t know you’re watching
women in the ring when they wrestle. That’s what’s good about their women’s

-Damien Nelson, the Pro Wrestling Report, on the mixed tag Monster’s Ball.

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