At first glance, the 5-on-5 Women’s Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (boy that’s a mouthful) seems like a throwaway match. That after a year of pushing women’s wrestling to a comparable level of captivation as the men, it was seemingly now just another sideshow bathroom break match.
But it’s probably the best thing the women’s division could have right now. A break.
The women’s division in the WWE has been red hot the past year. While it started with a slow whimper when the NXT women – Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch – arrived on the main roster and started the
Divas Women’s Revolution. From the classic ascension of matches from Charlotte and Sasha Banks to Becky Lynch winning World title gold to Bayley‘s debut on the main roster – it’s been a whirlwind of action with many historical moments. But it was heading stale.
While Charlotte and Sasha Banks have consistently put on some of the year’s best matches in the WWE, it can only go on so long. The secret of any great rivalry is to let the steam out once in awhile, move them onto other stories, let them bump into each other a year down the road or so and let the sparks fly a bit. These two need a break. They can now use their star power on the other girls in the division, like Nia Jax or Emma, to elevate them. Bayley could use a push as well, as her star hasn’t quite reached the stratosphere (pun intended) that it orbited in while being the face of NXT. Oh, she’ll more than likely get there in the WWE as well, but it’s not quite there yet. Her best bet would be a solid feud with someone like Emma. Unlike Banks and Charlotte, Bayley doesn’t have the big spot moments to pull out of her bag. Bayley excels more when she has a story to tell in the ring. Like her mentors in NXT, Dusty Rhodes, William Regal and Triple H, she can do more with little and can pull a story out of anyone. She needs to do that a few more times and with a bit more duration on the main roster to get every casual fan in the audience (not including the UK crowd, as seen recently in Glasgow. Remember, they also sang Fandango out the room as well).
Becky Lynch will get a good chance to spotlight herself again, after a mysterious ailment kept her out of the action for a month. She’s heads above the rest of the division (with the popularity of Nikki Bella the closest), but the rest is probably more evenly ahead than Raw‘s. Naomi has blossomed as a face (after a pretty solid heel run), Carmella has shown a far greater knack for playing heel than her annoying face character, and Alexa Bliss has had a decent run in the main event chasing Lynch.
The addition of Natalya as coach of Smackdown Live‘s squad is the wild card linchpin (this time, pun not intended). You could argue she’s simply there to police Dana Brooke (there’s no way to avoid a face reaction for Natty in Canada), but suppose there’s more? Bayley could stand to gain quite a bit from a run with a more familiar name on the main roster than Alicia Fox or Summer Rae (wait, which roster is she on? Does she still work there?). And just one night prior, former WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James will have been in town to face NXT Women’s Champion Asuka at TakeOver: Toronto. A jealous former Women’s champion could always interfere in the match, perhaps costing Bayley the match. Charlotte is proven right that she was the weak link, continuing their slowburn to a feud down the road, and Bayley has a run against James. James is in the instructor mode of her career now – a job at NXT is probably already waiting – and helping put over Bayley to the casual WWE audience wouldn’t hurt one bit.
Expect the Smackdown team to win with stronger team work, but the seeds for new stories to emerge on both brands.
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