As odd as this might sound, WWE did plenty to move puzzle pieces around in its most recent Superstar shakeup, but it might not have moved the needle enough in the women division on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. After looking over both rosters, can fans honestly say the “new” look of the red and blue brands has done anyone any favors in producing a better product when it comes to women within WWE?
My friend Sarah Hirsch, who is all over the Internet, writing on the vary topic, said the results from Monday and Tuesday night was quite underwhelming. Like me, and we talk a lot about various wrestling topics, she wanted more surprises, more change for the better, not to continue stagnation.
“What I mean is that the Shake Up for the ladies was overall underwhelming. Considering the complacency that someone like Becky Lynch is in, she could have benefited from the move this week,” Hirsch wrote in her most recent piece on thechairshot.com. “In retrospect however, last week’s events with Paige’s retirement and the additions of Ember Moon and The Iconics gave way to what was to come for both Raw and Smackdown. But for every woman who has a story is someone who is almost lost in the shuffle. Naomi comes to mind as someone who currently doesn’t have a story post-Shake Up. Didn’t she just win the WWE WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal?”
The problem with an unbalanced roster and two programs that are equal in time shared is one part of the package is going to suffer. After making women’s matches a priority of late and the changes on both brands with new champions, I expected there to be as much shuffling of the deck as the men did, hopping from one show to the next.
Fans got very little to get excited about. Blake Oestriecher of Forbes.com took it a step further. He said WWE has done more in the past year to promote women within the company, an all-woman main event at WrestleMania 35 is possible. For now, however, the changes on Raw and SmackDown Live are lacking.
“The fear coming out of the Superstar Shakeup, however, is that WWE did not make enough major moves within the women’s division to keep things fresh and exciting going forward,” he explained. “While WWE did make a handful of minor changes, like Natalya, Asuka and The Riott Squad switching shows, names like Naomi, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch stayed put at a time when it felt like they desperately need a change of scenery to reinvigorate their careers.”
It did not happen. Raw still has the same core of Bliss, Jax and Asuka while SmackDown has the same trio to build around in Naomi, Lynch and Charlotte Flair (plus Asuka), which could lead to some staleness in the division in the very near future.
It’s possible the announcement of Paige as the new SmackDown Live general manager coupled with the move of Absolution to the blue brand could make things interesting moving forward. The Riott squad tangling with Bayley and Banks means the two BFFs who were at each other’s throats the past month won’t amount to a hill of beans.
Raw has had issues with a lack of fresh booking angles and could still have issues, even with Nia Jax as its new champion. Carmella stealing the SmackDown Women’s Title from Charlotte Flair shouldn’t be anything as a transitional champion so Auska can assume the role WWE had planned for her once they signed the Empress of Tomorrow to a main roster contract.