Women Matter Too
What, you thought I was done with my Friday afternoon soapbox?
For months I've been hearing people tell me that the WWE should separate Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee. Reasons range from "she's holding him back" to "Dolph doesn't need a woman to get over."
For years, I've heard that women don't draw. That they're place in professional wrestling is equal parts eye candy and public relations.
On top of all that, there are people with voices on the internet that actually go out of their way to slander some of the female workers. Why? I don't know. Self-loathing? Maybe they were turned down, because they don't deserve to date gorgeous, wealthy and powerful women? Some refer to them as body parts and reproductive organs instead of people. It's disgusting, but they get away with it because drama sells, and there aren't any guys coming out in their defense.
SummerSlam is coming up this weekend, and I've been taking a trip through all 26 pay-per-views in anticipation of this Sunday's big show. Did you know that Miss Elizabeth got the biggest reaction, not once, but twice at some of the very first SummerSlam shows? Elizabeth wasn't even an active wrestler, and her wedding to "Macho Man" Randy Savage WAS the main event of SummerSlam '91. In 1988 she did nothing but get on the apron and rip off her skirt; it was headline news the next day. She out-popped Hulk Hogan, twice.
Edge is one of my favorite wrestlers, but he would have never became the great world champion that he was without Lita. Not to say he wasn't a great wrestler – he was – but the chemistry those two had was undeniable. Edge and Lita's "live sex celebration" is one of the biggest ratings draws in professional wrestling history. She gave his entire character the edge it needed; pun very much intended. Without her, he was only the Rated PG-13 Superstar, at best.
Lita may actually be one of the most important female workers ever. Not only did she get Edge over the top, and not only did she have a big part to play in Jeff and Matt Hardy's early careers, but she also stood in her own right as one of the best, if not the best WWE Diva of all time. And you're telling me that's not significant?
People like to pick apart TNA's low ratings, but they've maintained a consistent presence on television for many years. One of the key ratings draws for individual segments of Impact Wrestling over the years has been the Knockouts. Statistically, the women of TNA have done great for the company. Still not significant?
I'm not telling you to fall in love with the WWE Divas. I'm not telling you that objectively, I think WWE – or any other wrestling company that isn't SHIMMER – is using their female workers to their full potential; they're not. But the hate for female workers that causes you to immediately sour on any angle that involves the male workers is preposterous.
Dolph Ziggler is a different story, but he and AJ Lee were fantastic together. They had that same chemistry and spark that Edge and Lita brought to the show. They could have done the same thing week after week, if the audience didn't love Ziggler so damn much. So they turned him babyface, and out went the relationship. Same thing happened to Edge and Lita. Same thing that happens to most wrestling power couples; Savage and Elizabeth were the one big exception.
Currently, my favorite duo in wrestling is Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis. Maria plays a very similar role to what Lita was doing for Edge. She's probably the most attractive woman working in wrestling right now, and she knows how to use that. Bennett is an absolute professional with a bright future. He's been nothing but respectful to me in the past, and I have nothing but kind things to say about their performance. I don't know whether it sells tickets for Ring of Honor, but I watch to see them. Indy wrestling is a lot of great wrestlers, without a lot of frills and finesse. But when I can find great in-ring wrestling without the frills and finesse on every iPPV and bingo hall across America, I look for something different. Something that stands out. Mike and Maria have "it".
Maria matters to Mike Bennett. Before the addition of her character to his, Bennett was incomplete. Sorry man, you're just much more interesting with her at your side; I'm sure you agree. Maybe that doesn't matter to some of the jaded writers on the internet, because they don't bring in millions of buys or pop the ratings, but it matters to WRESTLING FANS who watch WRESTLING SHOWS to see WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT.
Total Divas is a great example of why women matter in professional wrestling. That show has been a huge hit for the WWE. For a Sunday night reality show on the E! network, it draws great ratings. WWE couldn't be happier, thus ordering another six episodes and getting the rookies involved with SummerSlam, the second biggest show of the year. That either means there's a female market of wrestling fans, or there's a very large male market that's watching women's reality television…
Women matter in wrestling. Women matter, period. Stop referring to Divas, Knockouts and all other female workers as "bathroom breaks". It doesn't make you cool, edgy, original or relevant to complain about women's wrestling – it just makes you an ass. Stop writing off their programs just because they are interacting with other beloved male workers. Could WWE be doing a better, more consistent job with their on-screen handling of women's wrestling? Absolutely. I firmly believe that if you put Natalya and AJ Lee in the ring for 15 minutes, you could have one of the better matches at SummerSlam. AND they'd tell a damn good story in the process.
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