The past year has definitely been an historic one for women’s professional wrestling. And while the debate will rage on the internet about when the revolution truly began (and where), the thing is that it needed to happen in the WWE for it make a monumental impact (no pun intended). The reason is this: while New Japan women in the 90’s where breaking ground that the men are just catching up to now, while the TNA Knockouts of the mid-2000’s were raising the bar so horrifically lowered during the Attitude Era of the WWE and silent assassination by WCW, and while women’s wrestling on the independents over the past five years has created some of the greatest women wrestlers arguably ever (skill wise), none of that would make a shift in the paradigm of the mainstream or future generations of grapplers (on a whole) unless the WWE joined the party.
I can already hear people yelling “BULLSHIT” at their screens as they read this, but the reason is simple: nearly every wrestling fan in the world (save perhaps Japan) begins their odyssey in this strange and wacky world of pro wrestling fandom/obsession through the gates of the WWE Universe. You may abandon those hallowed halls later on in your journey, never to look back, but those are the starting gates for about 99% of the wrestling fans. What this means is that these young boys – and a growing amount of young girls – get their first taste of what this industry is by watching it on Monday Night Raw or Smackdown Live. Ask most women’s wrestlers today who their inspiration was as a small child to become a wrestler, and they’ll probably answer with names like Lita, Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Ivory, Victoria, Madusa…you get the hint. They may add more current or foreign names into the mix, but that was after they’d begun seriously researching once they’d been given that spark of excitement by one of the WWE or WCW ladies. So with that in mind, while future generations may still site LuFisto or Santana Garrett or Christina Von Eerie as people they admired, they’ll probably still start off with “my first inspiration was Charlotte Flair…or Sasha Banks…or Naomi“, because chances are that the WWE will be the first experience they have watching women wrestle on TV.
With that in mind, the WWE has been breaking a lot of it’s own molds the past year or so, most notably abolishing the abomination that was the Divas title (and tag) and rebranding back to the Women’s Division. They went on to begin bringing in more experience indie women’s wrestlers, either through NXT or to the main roster, rather than simply hiring fitness models or ex-cheerleaders; the let women main event episodes of Raw and Smackdown again for the first time in nearly 20 years; over the course of last summer’s Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks feud we saw the first ever Women’s Hell In A Cell Match; a year prior, Sasha Banks was in the first Women’s Ironman Match with Bayley; we just recently got the first Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match. Sure it backfired a little – people seemed to over analyze the intended heel heat of it’s finish instead of applaud the fact it actually happened. But there’s still something that needs to be done to properly elevate the Women to the next level – and showcase their ability to not only put on some amazing spots but have a bit of fun. And that’s have their own Women’s Royal Rumble at next year’s Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, on what will already be an historic event – it will mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Rumble itself. What better way to celebrate an historic birth than to launch an historic women’s event?
A CASE FOR A WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE
While the idea of a Women’s Royal Rumble isn’t exactly groundbreaking – it’s been requested on social media for months and months, by everyone from WWE wrestlers to fans in internet forums. But one of the main concerns from fans online is that WWE simply isn’t deep enough to stage a 30-person Royal Rumble drawing from its Women’s Division. And while some have suggested perhaps a 20-woman Royal Rumble would be better served, one could easily argue that perhaps the men don’t exactly have a stunning amount of A+ talent for their own either – I’m not so sure The Ascension are better options than Summer Rae or Tamina Snuka. And when people make their lists of who should be in it (as with any tournament), they overlook the very simple fact that a bulk of them – at least a third – are essentially fodder to be tossed out either early or dramatically. You don’t need 30 of the best names, just 30 that are known. And let’s be honest – if you’re critical that James Ellsworth somehow stole the thunder from Carmella at MITB (he didn’t, unless you think Kane robbed Seth Rollins of his), reducing a Women’s Royal Rumble to 20 women when the men get 30 is downright hypocritical.
They deserve 30 women just as much as the men do. And they’ve got the well to draw on. That’s right. Don’t believe the kool aid that says the WWE Women’s Divisions don’t have the depth – that’s the problem with the internet sometimes. Despite information being able to travel at the fraction of a millisecond, it sometimes takes decades for it actually get processed in some people’s brains. They’ll hear someone hear eight months ago that the NXT Women’s Division was in a rebuilding phase so automatically assume it lasts forever, never got replenished and is still hot garbage, and when you ask if they’ve seen it, will reply “I don’t because they lost everyone”. It has been replenished, is constantly being replenished, and is on the poise of being the strongest depthed Women’s Division NXT has ever had – while it may not have a Bayley, it’s sure deeper than just the Four Horsewomen.
THE WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE PARTICIPANTS
We are about to show to you 34 women that the WWE will have available (barring any injuries or releases) come next January when the Royal Rumble hits Philly. Why 34 you ask? Well let’s think about that. The Raw or Smackdown Women’s Champion won’t be in it – chances are they’ll be defending their belts at the event. If they’ve got defences that night, they’re opponents won’t be in it either. So before anyone knocks that out of a list of 30, up to four couldn’t be in it, we’ll do that extra legwork for you and make a list of 34. That way we’re covering the potential loss of four of those names. And consider one thing when reading this list: while a few of these may not have debuted yet (they’ll be in the Mae Young Classic) or may still be works in progress in NXT, they’ll have had seven months more training under their belts. Hey, some of them will just be fodder for the likes of Nia Jax. And some of them are surprise nostalgic returns, just like the men. But here goes. Here’s the Last Word on Pro Wrestling list of participants for the 2018 inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble.
- RAW: Alexa Bliss
- RAW: Alicia Fox
- RAW: Bayley
- RAW: Dana Brooke
- RAW: Emma
- RAW: Mickie James
- RAW: Nia Jax
- RAW: Sasha Banks
- RAW: Summer Rae
- Smackdown: Becky Lynch
- Smackdown: Brie Bella (she’s stated she’s training for a return)
- Smackdown: Carmella
- Smackdown: Charlotte Flair
- Smackdown: Lana
- Smackdown: Maria Kanellis
- Smackdown: Naomi
- Smackdown: Natalya
- Smackdown: Nikki Bella
- Smackdown: Tamina Snuka
- NXT: Asuka
- NXT: Billie Kay
- NXT: Ember Moon
- NXT: Lacey Evans
- NXT: Liv Morgan
- NXT: Nikki Cross
- NXT: Peyton Royce
- NXT: Ruby Riot
- NXT: Sonya Deville
- NXT: Abbey Laith (aka Kimber Lee)
- NXT: Bianca BelAir (aka Bianca Blair)
- NXT: Dakota Kai (aka Evie)
- NXT: Sage Miller (aka Andrea)
- NXT: Sarah Logan (aka Crazy Mary Dobson)
- NXT: Kairi Hojo
There’s 34 women right now. Granted that’s a lot of NXT wrestlers. Chances are they’d be closer to Raw or Smackdown’s 9-10 wrestlers, if not a little less. So here’s ten throwback former WWE Women’s wrestlers who are still active (or are still in shape enough) to return for a one night deal
- Trish Stratus
- Molly Holly
- Jazz (after all, it’s in Philly, the land of ECW, where she started)
- Kelly Kelly
- Torrie Wilson
There’s 44 women who could easily fill a 30-woman Royal Rumble. And you may have noticed one woman not listed, despite being under WWE contract.
That’s right. We left off her off the list. Why? Simply because if we did, people would just say she won’t be there that long. So if she is still there, we’ve given you a solid 45.
So there you have it internet world. Not only does the WWE have enough women’s wrestlers to field a 30-person Royal Rumble, just like the men, I dare say the roster is equally if not more interesting than the usual 30-man field we get every January.
So the challenge has been thrown down WWE. You have the talent. You’ve laid the groundwork. So now it’s time to put your Revolution where your mouth is and next January in Philadelphia, you do something a little “extreme”…like have the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Just don’t put it on the Pre-Show.
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