There is much to be said about the WWE Divas division: that it is under-represented in the company, that the division is limiting to talented females, that it appears to be little more than an after-thought. Every now and then, however, there comes a time where raw talent cannot be denied. Enter NXT. The WWE side-product hosts one of the most robust and refreshing female divisions in the business, with rising stars like Bayley, Charlotte, and… Becky Lynch?
The aftermath of the latest NXT Takeover would prove such. With the heated rivalry between the brogue beauty and the queen of bosses reaching a head into the event, the focus remained high. Despite my skeptical expectations of the female matches going into the event, furrowed eyebrows began to raise. In what was arguably the best match in the entire show, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks proceeded to grab the edge of the stadium and rip the roof off the arena. Every single minute of the match culminated into an incredible high spot. Whether it was the chain wrestling series of pin and submission attempts, or the hard hitting counters, the match became a gold standard of what makes a quality piece of sports entertainment.
Though it is a bit shameful, pro wrestling has been notorious for being behind the times on occasion. Being marginalized even through the early 90’s, treated as little more than eye candy in ECW and the Attitude Era, the Divas division was little more than an after-thought, a resigned nod towards the non-male sex. In spite of this past polarizing stymie on female wrestlers, there have been noteworthy stars that rose above, such as the Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze and Chyna. The good news is that these exceptions are starting to become the norm. NXT continues to make a bold statement about the future of divas in professional wrestling; that the quality of female ring workers can match and even exceed that of their male counterparts. As the talent pool continues to increase for the division, it proves that more attention is needed for females, to give divas a chance. Evidenced by the all-star cast and the aggressive billing seen in the developmental promotion, female matches are being given the same credence and spotlight that was only reserved once for top card super-stars. Time and effort is being spent on developing the Divas characters, making them more multi-faceted than just having them compartmentalized into crazy chick, hot chick, and girl-next-door archetypes.
Though this is a huge step in the right direction, it still seems that Divas are still under-represented. Why is there still only one title that represents the whole of female wrestler excellence? Why can’t divas, especially on NXT where the division flourishes, have their own Intercontinental or United States Championship? How about a WWE Divas Tag Team Championship? One hopes that the narrow scope adopted in the past will continue to widen, allowing a more robust product in the years to come.