Over the last six years, we have been witnessing what WWE likes the call the “Women’s Revolution” or “Evolution” at times. Women have gotten opportunities in the last six years that nobody could have predicted in the years prior to 2015.
The WWE’s Four Horsewomen of Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Bayley revolutionized the women’s divisions by competing in Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell, Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber and more. Because of the Horsewomen and the women that followed, women main eventing shows went from being praised for its progressiveness to now being just another week because of how much it has happened.
The women have even main evented Wrestlemania twice over the last three years. However, one criticism that I’ve had recently is that there seems to be too much focus on the Four Horsewomen and not enough on the rest of the division. Granted, Bianca Belair has become a star this year, but I wonder how soon that star would’ve became a reality if all the Horsewomen were around. Remember, her rise started while Becky Lynch was out having a baby and by the time Becky returned, Bayley was out with an injury. So, essentially Bianca has been an honorary horsewoman for the last year.
We have seen recently that has appeared to have changed. As one of our own, Kelly Dishnow pointed out, Liv Morgan and Cora Jade were made over the last week. It was great to see. What I love is how WWE is essentially using every member of The Horsewomen to put over somebody else. There are several women getting pushes and television time.
Many were surprised when Doudrop turned heel by attacking Bianca Belair several weeks back. It was a good move as Doudrop just wasn’t getting anywhere as a babyface. She is pretty good on the mic and portrays a heel very well.
Now Doudrop is in a feud with the woman who has had the most productive year of any woman in the company, Bianca Belair. It shows the confidence they have in her by pairing her with a fan favorite like Bianca. So far, it has worked out well. Recently, WWE filed to trademark the name “Piper Niven” which was Doudrop’s name in NXT UK and the independent scene so hopefully they cement the heel turn with a name change. Doudrop just doesn’t give me strong heelish vibes. We will see if she can maximize her television time.
Naomi is already established. She is a multiple-time Women’s Champion and she has been with the company for years. However, over the last several years, she hasn’t really been getting the attention she deserves. The fans still love her. She is still one of the most popular women on the roster. She just hasn’t gotten the time she deserved. That has changed over the last few months.
Naomi was initially sent over to Smackdown (since husband Jimmy Uso is on the show) and began a story with female heel authority figure Sonya Deville. It has been a carefully crafted story where Naomi hasn’t really been able to get her hands on Sonya. They have had two scheduled matches that never really happened and it has also gotten Shayna Bazsler involved as well as Natalya. Last week on Smackdown, Xia Li also got involved.
The crowd is obviously invested in this storyline because of the way they react to Naomi every week. It seems to be working and the crowd will buy into it whenever Naomi finally gets her hands on Sonya Deville. After that, perhaps Naomi can be built up to be a title contender again.
QUEEN ZELINA VEGA
Everybody has their issues with the Queen’s Crown tournament. The matches obviously were not that long. However, the one good thing that has come out of it is the booking of Zelina Vega.
Zelina returned to WWE over the summer during the Thunderdome era and she immediately started losing pretty much every match she competed in. She went winless for what seemed like months. Then came the unfortunate incident of the September 11th Smackdown that she was supposed to compete at, but had her match cut for time. It was especially hard for her since her father died during the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Everybody on the internet sympathized with her as they should have. She should have been on that show in front of her hometown. Then, the Queen’s crowd tournament happened.
I don’t think anybody actually expected Zelina Vega to win but she did. She will forever be known as the first winner of the Queen’s Crown. Unlike previous Kings, WWE actually followed up on this by giving her a winning streak. She has won eleven out of her last thirteen matches and won the Women’s Tag Team Titles with Carmella in the process. It is a welcome sight for Zelina since she hasn’t really been thought of as a wrestler since signing with WWE.
Toni Storm made her debut on Smackdown in the summer and hadn’t really gotten any major time since then. Weeks went by where she wasn’t even on television. The draft happened and she stayed on Smackdown. Once Charlotte Flair arrived on Smackdown, everybody thought the obvious route would be having Sasha Banks as her first rivalry. Thankfully, they chose another route.
I love Sasha Banks and wouldn’t have minded another feud with Charlotte. It’s been four years, so it would’ve felt fresh. I was pleasantly surprised they chose to give another woman a shot in Toni Storm. They also seem to be putting her over by aligning her with Sasha Banks as well. She has been in a story with Charlotte and Sasha the last several weeks which can only be a benefit to the former NXT UK Women’s Champion.
Will she be the one to take the Smackdown Women’s Title off Charlotte? That remains to be seen. It is hard for me to imagine Charlotte losing the title this close to Wrestlemania, but stranger things have happened. The point is the push that Toni is getting. She doesn’t have to beat Charlotte Flair to cement herself on the main roster. Charlotte gets a lot of criticism, whether fair or not, but she usually does what she can to make her opponents look good and that’s what Toni Storm needs. Toni beat Charlotte by disqualification in their last match on Smackdown (with a bit of a lame finish), so it should lead a title match.
I assume this Smackdown Women’s Title match happens at Day 1 or they may blow it off sooner. They could save it for the Royal Rumble although I think whoever isn’t champion maybe in that rumble match. It’s Toni time. Hopefully, they follow it up.
Liv Morgan is probably getting the biggest push of all of them. For years, fans have wanted Liv to get her big break that we thought would never come. That changed a few weeks back when she won a number one contenders match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Liv and Becky Lynch have gone back and forth in recent weeks, mixing kayfabe with reality in their promos, until Liv Morgan finally got her championship match last week on Raw.
It was a great match, but Liv came up short thanks to Becky Lynch cheating to win. It was done to protect Liv and show that she almost beat Becky. She should not have beaten Becky Lynch that night in her first title match. The story is about how close she came to win. The finish (with Lynch holding the ropes to win) leaves room for a rematch and I believe that rematch happens sooner than later. Like Charlotte Flair, I can’t imagine a scenario where Becky Lynch loses the Raw Women’s Title before Wrestlemania but it could happen.
Liv Morgan is riding a wave of momentum right now that WWE might try to capitalize on before it is too late. Regardless of whether Liv Morgan wins the Raw Women’s Title before Wrestlemania, I do believe she will hold one of the two Women’s Titles before the end of 2022.
There you have it. Another name I wanted to mention was Shotzi, who turned heel attacking Sasha Banks, but then she’s missed some TV time over the last few weeks for unknown reasons. Hopefully she can come back soon to have a proper feud with Banks.
I know I left off the NXT Women’s roster, but my focus here was on the main roster. I think the NXT Women’s roster is in great shape with Toxic Attraction, Cora Jade, Kay Lee Ray, Raquel Gonzalez, all tearing it up in NXT. The women’s division still needs some work done, but if they keep this up, 2022 will be much better than 2021.
The goal should be to build up other women so they don’t have to rely as heavily on the Four Horsewomen. If they stay the course, they may be doing just that.
Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments.