The New Era

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Most periods of time in wrestling are referred to as ‘eras’. The Rock ‘N Wrestling era of the 1980’s, The New Generation era of the 1990’s, The Attitude era of the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s, and to the somewhat maligned PG era of recent times there has always been an overriding theme to the content that is presented to the audience. Now we are in the midst of the latest time period in wrestling which is being referred to simply as ‘The New Era’.

In this New Era we have seen the brand split return to WWE programming this past week with Smackdown and Raw going back to acting like competing brands, a significant amount of new wrestlers being brought up and various other changes in the presentation of the product. We are very early into this new version of WWE programming, but to say things are looking promising is an understatement. This past week’s new look Raw was one of the best shows in a very long time. Finn Balor made his long anticipated Raw debut and put on a great show. Raw was action heavy with the wrestlers putting on some perfectly choreographed matches that showed great athleticism and kept you on the edge of your seat. The best match of the night goes to the Women’s Championship match between the defending champion Charlotte going against strong fan favorite Sasha Banks. It was a match that was given time to tell an excellent story in the ring and gave the audience the much desired result of Banks finally winning the title.

Smackdown was solid as well, but suffered from airing the night after such an amazing Raw. It still featured some solid moments with fan favorite Dolph Ziggler finally becoming number one contender to the WWE title and the announcement that another favorite Shelton Benjamin was going to be making his long awaited return to the WWE.

One thing that has been very promising lately is how the WWE writers and head honchos have been booking the shows. Not every match will go the way we all want it to, but it does seem that the WWE is listening to the fans and paying attention to crowd reactions. Storylines are making more sense, the matches are being given more time to develop, and different people are being featured on television and in the main events which is making the overall product more unpredictable and significantly more entertaining.

Hopefully, this trend will continue and we will continue to get some great wrestling television and see a whole new set of great memories created for those of us who love professional wrestling.

 

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WWE Female Roster

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The last week of straight wrestling talk is about how the female wrestlers in both NXT and the main roster are treated. This is something I am extremely passionate about, so just like the others, this will be just as long- maybe even longer.

Before anyone says it; I do not actually dislike Paige or any other Diva as an actual real person. When I talk about these women it’s about their characters.

I am not happy with the main roster’s Diva’s division. I haven’t seen a soul – other than Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn – that is content with it.

It almost feels like we’re going backwards with the Diva’s division. We had a six woman tag match just a few months back and it was twelve minutes long, and during all that, Natalya and Naomi were constantly interfering in the Superstar’s matches. It felt like we were getting somewhere – especially when the hashtag #Givedivasachance started trending, and Vince McMahon said, “We’re listening. Keep Watching.” A lot of us finally had a lot of newfound hope for the main roster’s Diva’s division. Apparently we were wrong, since we’re back to barely even five minute matches, and most of the time only a promo for Smackdown.

I don’t know what else I would expect from a seventy year old man and a fifty-eight year old man, but the things they are making Paige say are awful. There is no other word for it. Having her come out week after week saying that she’s “not like the other girls/Barbies” and therefore better is overall sloppy writing. When Paige comes out and body shames Tamina, calling her a man, it startles me. When the heels are the one that are saying that it’s okay to like traditionally feminine things and the faces aren’t, that’s confusing and very half-hearted writing. If you want to get more into just the writing, this is honestly exactly what AJ Lee did in the WWE. Paige is not AJ Lee and I don’t know why they’re acting like she is. As of late, Paige isn’t Naomi either- Her coming out and saying she wants to get what she deserves and wants to knock the Bellas off the top of the ladder. It is almost exactly what Naomi was doing, but because they have edged her out of the picture, they’ve had Paige take it on.

I feel like I can truly speak for a fair amount of people when I say this; I am a young woman, and I need role models. I need people to look up to. Of course I can always look up to my mother – she’s a strong woman, she has herself stood up in the face of inequality and adversity many times – but it would be nice to have other role models as well.

I can relate to Nikki Bella, I have the same sort of personality, I vaguely look like her, and she is definitely someone I admire and look up to. When everybody is constantly insulting her body, her looks, the clothing she wears, (by other people I absolutely love too) it becomes very, very tiring – and it makes me not like a lot of people. When I relate to a person that is constantly bagged on by things that I can relate to, it doesn’t just hurt the fictional character – it kind of hurts me. I relate to the material things about her – I cannot relate to her having a twin sister she needs to keep an eye on, or her backstabbing side, her two-faced side, her lying, cheating side. I cannot relate to her inability to fight her own battles. These are all things Paige, Naomi, AJ Lee, and others could have told her – but instead they comment on her tan.

Isn’t the WWE supposed to make me like the faces, not the heels? Aren’t the heels supposed to have unpopular, rude opinions, and the faces have words of encouragement and (mostly) respect? Most of the time I can barely even figure out who’s the heel and who’s the face in a Diva’s match, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I completely agree and believe that the NXT Divas are the future of the division- but we cannot let the twelve women we have on the main roster disappear or become even more buried than they already are. We all know that Paige, Nikki, Brie, Naomi, Tamina and Natalya are main eventers. We need to either let Alicia Fox, Cameron, Layla, Rosa Mendes, and Summer Rae train and get better or actually let them shine if they already can. The same four or five divas – and sometimes not even that much – is not enough.

The Diva’s division on the main roster must change before the NXT Divas come up, or it’ll be just like Emma except with Sasha, Charlotte, Becky- Divas we’ve come to love and Divas that don’t deserve to be buried. I don’t mean that Emma deserved to be buried or anything, but her character was very silly before her return to NXT – I am sure that a lot of fans have loved her through and through, but the goofy personality combined with not being told to put on a match longer than five minutes didn’t really do well with me.

Going back to Paige’s writing, I don’t want Sasha Banks and Charlotte coming up to the Main Roster and being told to say the same things that they’re having Paige say. Considering what’s happening in the storyline right now, and the fact that Vince McMahon is definitely fond of Banks and Charlotte’s in-ring abilities, it makes sense that they would be teaming up with Paige. The idea of two of my absolute favorite female wrestlers saying misogynistic things (E.G., “Because of who they’re married to?”) makes me feel very uneasy. I would be fine if it was that they team up with Paige, but they then take her down themselves.

In the end, whether it’s Charlotte or Tamina or Paige, I just want these female wrestlers to be written well. I want their characters to have depth, just like the male wrestlers.

On a bit of a side note though; I understand that the WWE crowd has been rough and mean since the dawn of time, but the NXT crowd booing Eva Marie out of the building was seriously rude and uncalled for. It seems that the people that are complaining about her are also people that are body shaming her, calling her derogatory names, and questioning whether or not she “deserves” to wrestle- even if she hasn’t even had a match yet. They don’t seem to realize that Eva has been training with Brian Kendrick and that there is video evidence that her abilities in the ring have improved greatly since we last saw her.

WWE fans need to remember that NXT is a developmental brand, this is a place for Eva to get better. They can’t boo her when they haven’t seen her wrestle in almost a year. Some WWE fans really need to remember that.

Finally, a note to the commentary crews; Women do not naturally hate each other. Yes, wrestling is a competition, whether they’re male or female everybody has to watch their backs if they have a title but women do not naturally hate each other – And please, comment on the power of the Bella Bomb, not how gorgeous she looks while she performs the move.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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