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Ashley Sweetly Writes: Women’s Revolution and Women’s Royal Rumble

women's trayon hutchinson, via flickr


Ashley Sweetly Writes: The Women’s Revolution and Women’s Royal Rumble 

The Royal Rumble is drawing closer, and with that comes the chatter. Who will debut? Who will come out of retirement for ‘one more match’? But let’s be serious. The question on everyone’s mind is how the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble will play out.

I started watching wrestling when I was only 8 years old. Back then, the women weren’t a regular part of the shows. I remember rooting for Chyna when she would square off against Jeff Jarrett. I remember cheering for Debra when she dumped Jeff Jarrett. But really, things didn’t get going for the women until Lita showed up with Essa Rios.

The character of Lita with Team Xtreme was life-changing for the eleven-year-old me. She was awesome, feisty, daring, and different. Shoot, I even wanted to dress like her. I longed for giant cargo pants and fishnets to wear on my arms. I begged my mom to let me dye my hair red. Lita was everything I wanted to be, but couldn’t be. Instead, I was a nerdy, pimply kid who got constantly teased.

When I think of “women’s revolution,” that’s automatically who I think of. She was pretty, of course; but Lita wasn’t overly sexualized like Sable or Sunny had been. She hung with one of the greatest tag teams to ever exist. She also main-evented RAW alongside Trish Stratus, and that in itself is jaw-dropping. I mean, obviously there were other great women there…Ivory, Jacqueline, and Molly Holly come to mind, but the women who really shattered glass ceilings were those two.

But what happened after that? After Trish and Lita both retired? I hate being the Negative Nancy, but women’s wrestling really took a dive for the WWE. Everything became sexualized all over again, and it was right back to square one.

And so it Ends

And that’s where I stopped watching wrestling. It took a long, long time for me to get back into it, too. I had no interested in giant Battle Royals with a hundred chicks vying for a top spot in under four minutes. I couldn’t care less about Kelly Kelly’s championship reign (and no offense to her, either!) or about the Bella Twins’ Twin Magic charade.

The men weren’t much more spectacular, but looking back, I lost interest because there weren’t any characters that I identified with. As beautiful as the women during that time period were, they were not relatable to dorky ‘ol me.

And it wouldn’t be until AJ Lee came about that I would begin watching wrestling again. She had that spark that was missing for so long. And after she won her first-ever Divas championship belt, I’ve been an avid watcher of the WWE ever since.

So to anyone who says us girls only watch wrestling because of the male wrestlers, screw you. You’re very wrong. I watched because I could see myself in AJ. Yeah, I was the girl who stayed home on the weekends to play video games with my little brother (shout out to you, broski–Shiggles!)

It wasn’t until recently that I was able to embrace my weirdness. I used to be ashamed that I couldn’t walk in high heels, and I didn’t really like dresses. But now, I just let the freak flag fly, and I don’t even care. And for that….Thank you, AJ.

But Let’s Get to the Rumble

Obviously, I was devastated by AJ’s early retirement. As a fan, I wanted to see her continue to push further. To headline pay-per-views. To take rivalries to the next level. It felt like there was so much more to be done.

And that’s because there is. We’ve seen the women compete in all sorts of gimmick matches. The best part is they weren’t the stupid bra and panties matches that we all had shoved down our throats. Nope, they were real, solid matches. Sasha Banks and Bayley put on arguably the greatest women’s match of all time during their time in NXT. Carmella won the first-ever women’s Money-in-the-Bank contract. And now, this month, we’ll see the women participate in a Royal Rumble match.

That’s just solid proof that the women really have undergone a “revolution.” It shows, without a doubt, how far the ladies have come. Even though it appears the women’s division is struggling right now, people forget the women have been cut from entire pay-per-views in the past. That doesn’t happen anymore.

But what if the WWE creative team manages to ruin this with their questionable writing? That’s where I worry.

Let’s Talk About Returns and Debuts

Okay, so as much as I wish AJ Lee would join in on this historical moment, I know that it’s a long shot. But Kaitlyn is training again, and as AJ’s real-life best friend, I’d be all for that as well.

Other rumored returns include Torrie Wilson, Eva Marie, Kelly Kelly, Ivory (which is probable), Lita, Trish Stratus, Nikki and Brie Bella, and Beth Phoenix.

Debuts aren’t going to be as plentiful. Between Absolution and the Riott Squad, the NXT crop is already wearing thin. Except for one duo, and they’re iconic.

It’s pretty much guaranteed that Billie Kay and Peyton Royce will be called up. After all, there isn’t much more for them to do in NXT and they are mostly kept around because of their popularity.

Another possible call-up is Nikki Cross. But with her storyline involving Adam Cole, I think the WWE will keep her in NXT for a while yet.

Let’s Talk About Winners

The three people who have been heavily rumored to win this Rumble are Asuka, Ronda Rousey, and Paige. As a fan of each of these women in their own respect, I was personally hoping Paige would return on top. After all, she needs the momentum.

But, if the rumors are true and Paige will never be allowed to compete again, there goes all hope for that.

Asuka is a heavy competitor. It’s not if she’ll win a Women’s Championship belt, it’s when. But the creative team has truly written her into a corner. As soon as she wins, we can expect her to hold on to the title for a long, long time. And so, I argue, that there goes any hope for a flourishing women’s division.

However, if she wins the Rumble match, there could be a decent build-up at least. The only thing that stinks about that is that she’ll certainly win her guaranteed Wrestlemania match.

And Ronda….well, I’m on the fence here. Supposedly, she’ll be busy filming during the event on the other side of the world. But the WWE also likes to lie to keep some element of surprise. On one hand, if Ronda Rousey did come in and win it, it’s a slap in the face to the girls that have paved the way for women’s wrestling.

But, on the other hand, she is such a household name that all eyes will be on her. Even fans that don’t watch wrestling will be tuned in to watch Ronda Rousey. And I hate to say it, but that’s just the type of media attention that the WWE wants, loves, and needs.

If it isn’t one of those three ladies, I am not sure who makes the most sense as a winner. I’d definitely love to see one of the four horsewomen win, but at the same time, we’ve already seen them hold gold. WWE should put a fresh, new contender into the mix.

Ending Thoughts

I’m really looking forward to this moment. And I’ve also got my fingers crossed, hoping that the WWE doesn’t botch it by doing something stupid.

So, WWE, if you’re reading this, please don’t have Santina win this. Please don’t have Stephanie McMahon come out at number 30 to win. Please don’t have James Ellsworth help anyone win.

We want this moment to truly define the Women’s Revolution. Let’s make the pioneers of the revolution proud.

We want a good, clean, slobberknocker.

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