If you’re anything like me, when Monday’s title match for the Raw Women’s Championship was announced, you must have yawned, rolled over, and considered giving it a miss. I was up recapping the show, and even I was thinking, as Mick Foley said a double count-out wasn’t how it would end, and that we’d see Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair fight it out later, that I sort of wished he hadn’t bothered.
Now, before the brand split, if you’d told me that I’d be unexcited about two female wrestlers who are incredibly skilled and talented taking the main event spot on Raw, I would have called you a liar. But the truth is, Sasha and Charlotte have been fighting over this title since it was created, and while I’ve got nothing against seeing these two brilliant women warring over a title they both richly deserve to hold, I do feel a hint of despondancy when I look over the wikipedia entry for that title, and see two names, swapping over and over, as if they were the only two women in division.
Sure, Charlotte’s original reign was a decent length of time to hold a title, and she did so with good heel heat. The fact Charlotte was also the Diva’s Champion before meant that it felt like a long, established title reign, and when Sasha won it, the crowd were happy to see her take a belt she richly deserves. Unfortunately, when Sasha lost the belt, it was under a month later, with Charlotte holding it for a little more than a month, before another 27-day reign for Sasha. Swapping the belts roughly every time there’s a pay-per-view event doesn’t make it feel prestigious.
More than that, there are other women in the division! Before the brand split, Becky Lynch didn’t get a look in, and now that she’s holding the SmackDown’s Women’s Championship, it’s the rest of the Raw roster who are getting short shrift on their chances. They’re not even getting title matches, never mind getting their hands on it, with Bayley being practically unseen since she was brought up, Dana Brooke half in and half out of Charlotte’s shadow, and Nia Jax being used for squash matches that are about as entertaining as can be expected. Alicia Fox is rarely seen, and Summer Rae and Emma are both out injured, although we’re promised a return for Emma soon. That’s eight women, six who are cleared to compete, and yet, the division seems to revolve around two of them.
Sasha and Charlotte are great competitors, and their match on Monday was spectacular, just like their match at Hell in a Cell. I’m in no way complaining that we’re seeing these women take main event spots, or that a WOC has been the women’s champion three times… I’m just complaining about the frequency of it. When Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were on the same roster, finally, we got a match every week, and they were brilliant matches, and we loved them – but at the same time, their final match, the one to end the feud? It was incredible, and all the more so for it being the last for a while, as we knew it would be. Monday night felt like it needed to be that match, the final chapter in the book, but with Sasha winning the title back, there’s a rematch clause. And I don’t trust WWE not to give that to Charlotte, and start this all over again.
Looking forward, we could hope to see Dana Brooke gain more solo identity when former partner in crime Emma comes back, we could see Bayley gunning for the title, along with the powerhouse of Nia Jax – both of whom should be proving why they were brought up from NXT, rather than languishing in a mid-card that shouldn’t exist when your division is only six people. Bayley proved herself in a previous field, just like Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky did, but she seems to have fallen by the wayside since arriving on Raw. What we want to see is a more fleshed-out women’s division, with more stories than just ‘I want the shiny thing’, and strong characters. What we’re getting at the moment, is none of these things.
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