Hello, wrestling fans, and as WrestleMania week rolls on, so too does our march through each and every match on the card. We’ve covered quite a bit of ground, and the next contest ripe for analysis and commentary is the Triple Threat match for the Divas Championship. Breaking news this afternoon seemed to indicate that this might very well be the last time we see the Divas belt (more on that in the random rant at the bottom), and if so it’s a pretty solid way to send it into mothballs. As always, I’ll share the build for the match, cover the pros and cons of it, and wrap up with my thoughts on what should and what will happen on Sunday. Ready? Let’s do this.
Matchup: Divas Championship Triple Threat Match–Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
The Build: Unlike some of the matches previously covered on the March, the Triple Threat has featured no shortage of build. Charlotte’s frenemy relationship with Becky Lynch broke down completely due in no small part to the influence of her legendary father, Hall of Famer Ric Flair. While Charlotte might still be learning how to properly employ the “Woo!” (more often does NOT necessarily make it better), she has otherwise been the beneficiary of learning on the fly from perhaps the greatest professional wrestler to ever lace up the boots. While Sasha Banks’s own journey from running buddies with Tamina Snuka and Naomi to singles competitor and fan favorite is a bit more winding, there is little doubt she has established herself as a serious threat to the division and she already had significant fan support due to her breakout work in NXT. For the last couple weeks, we’ve seen Charlotte cut more than a few promos on her competition while also costing them a match or two. Furthering the drama is the underlying thought that Becky and Sasha, while amicable and united in their goal to unseat Ric’s daughter, are more than likely to break their alliance at a moment’s notice to score gold. All the elements are here for a solid story.
The Good: Let’s start with the easy part. All three of these ladies are solid hands in the wrestling ring, so you can bet they have the ability to deliver the goods in a major way on the biggest stage possible. NXT will play a big part in the festivities this weekend (their extremely solid lineup for Takeover might just make Friday the best day of the week), and all three competitors have a big following from what they did before they even got to the main stage, including their matches against each other. You could make the valid argument that some combination of this trio delivered the best match of the calendar year. That’s saying something. All three have also managed decent followings. Sasha is super hot with the audience right now, really connecting while turning her “Boss” persona into a fan favorite. Becky has the scrappy underdog characteristics that the crowd just eat up. As for Charlotte, don’t underestimate how challenging her role was when coming up to the parent company. If you don’t think being the offspring of one of wrestling’s royalty is hard, take a look at the list of ring relations and guess again. Despite those odds, she has exuded confidence from the gate and successfully navigated the heel flip. Her promo skills have improved, and her thinking she’s better than everyone else does the job perfectly while also being logical and playing off reality.
In addition, the rebranding of the “Divas” division couldn’t come at a better time. Whichever of these women walks out as champion, they will be kicking off a whole new start in the WWE, and provided the company’s commitment matches their superficial adjustments, that’s a major deal. While all three are poised to take advantage of that, clearly the champion sporting the fancy new title stands to gain the most. They also serve as the poster child for the kickoff of what has the potential to be a major sea change to how women wrestling is presented in the company entirely. No pressure though.
The Bad: Triple threat matches generally follow the same pattern, in which at least one competitor is knocked out of action for some period of time to prevent things from being too hard to follow. In addition, there’s always the tease of like-minded folks working together and then invariably breaking it up for selfish gain. In this case, though, I feel like the hand has been overplayed a bit too much. Since we know both Becky and Sasha are going to team up to focus on Charlotte only to be derailed, it makes it less exciting when it actually happens. I also worry that the presence of Daddy Ric at ringside will be too much of a distraction, particularly if he’s called upon to participate. I love Flair as much as the next guy, but if this truly is the start of something unique and groundbreaking, it should be all about the talent of the women in the ring, not the chicanery of the cornerman. I shudder to think at what happens if Hall of Fame inductee Snoop Dogg also gets involved, as he is related to Sasha. The more they let these talented ladies tell the story, the more the whole company and its fans win.
What Should Happen: There’s nothing like a really good surprise ending at wrestling’s biggest event, and while I think Charlotte has done an admirable job as champion and Sasha will no doubt hold the belt before too long, I’d love the WWE to make a bold choice and reward a solid worker and let Lynch take the victory. From a storyline perspective, she’s generally gotten the short end of the stick, a victim of consistent Flair interference (and much-maligned affection). I’ve been hugely impressed with Becky’s development since getting to the main roster, and her personality is infectious in a way that no other soon-to-be-ex-Diva has. She also speaks to WWE’s very real desire to go international, and that’s a super important point with the Network still adding countries and cultures. My thought would be Ric’s interference backfires on Charlotte, and Sasha looks to have things wrapped up before Becky swoops in for the cheap victory. What could potentially follow would be a is-she-or-isn’t-she guessing game regarding Lynch’s motives, which could be played in an abundance of ways. Given her past history with both competitors, it would leave the road wide open for some interesting television.
What Will Happen: Given the fact that the following night’s Raw is expected to usher in a new era for the women of WWE, it stands to reason that a title change will occur to bring that moment in time even more significance. While I’d love it to be Becky, the more obvious play is to listen to the audience and plant it around the waist of Sasha Banks. Banks is due for a run with the belt and a brand new title is the best way to kick off her time. Whether Lynch goes heel in response is an interesting question. There’s always a chance that Charlotte retains, and she’s done a great job during her reign, but I’d wager that Banks is perfectly positioned to debut her new belt after sending both her opponents away disappointed. 2016 could very well be a year you can take to the Banks.
Random Rant: As I’ve been discussing, rumors are swirling that WWE will be rechristening their Divas division the Women’s division following WrestleMania. That name change will bring with it an adjustment to the title as well, as the scorned pink butterfly belt finds its way into Nitro’s wastebasket in favor of a strap modeled after the World Title. Should these reports turn out to be accurate, it’s epic news to be sure. Fans who have read my stuff know I’ve been a huge proponent of doing something different for the women of the WWE, as they work way too hard to be cast aside with lame storylines and one-dimensional characters. While changing a name and a title don’t take care of all those issues, they do at the very least demonstrate that the WWE is aware of the problem and working to make the division be taken seriously. How much they follow through will be the next test, but let’s celebrate the start. If I want to see a Diva, I’ll watch reality television. If I want to see a woman wrestler be strong and kick ass, I’ll call her exactly that. Played right, this could be the beginning of a new era for World Wrestling Entertainment. No matter which of the three is the first Women’s champion, the biggest story is the vote of confidence the company is finally showing in this part of the product. It’s bigger than a hashtag.
Shameless Self-Promotion: I’d like to thank everyone that has offered comments on this series so far. It’s been a lot of writing in a short amount of time, but worth every minute to get your feedback and thoughts. We’ve still got a few more matches to break down before Sunday’s show of shows, so please keep checking tjrwrestling.net for the remainder of the march. (Even though it’s nearly April.) In addition, I had the remarkable good fortune to be asked back to the excellent Main Event Madness podcast that you can listen to right here. Wednesday’s show was a ton of fun and I’ll also be joining the guys this Sunday before and after WrestleMania with thoughts and reactions. I’d love for you to give it a listen. Thanks as always for reading and see you soon.