Photo credit; Last Word On Sports
One of the most common criticisms levelled at WWE is their booking and creative. There are undoubtedly some issues within the creative process (looking at you 50/50 booking), but there are also bright spots. Whether it be the Head of the Table, the Kofimania/Yes Movement or the rise of The Man, the last few years have brought us plenty of engaging and entertaining stories. That’s even before I think about the historical side of WWE, with this article about Eddie Guerrero highlighting some of the best.
However, there is one aspect of WWE’s modern booking that I have an issue with, namely the women’s division. This might seem like I’m taking an easy shot, given that this criticism isn’t exactly original. But, having watched enough WWE programming over the course of the pandemic, I thought I should set out my thoughts.
Cookie Cutter Characters
Let’s start by analysing how WWE’s female talent are presented. As a general rule, the faces can be split into two categories. There’s the “determined underdog,” (Liv Morgan, Nikki ASH) or the “dominant performer,” (Asuka, Bianca Belair). If a face holds the title, she morphs into a typical face, “happy for the opportunity.” Yes, there have been exceptions, like Becky Lynch. But, lest we forget, that storyline had its roots in a heel turn that got Becky over with the crowds.
Heels are either self-obsessed and overly vain (Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Carmella) or dominant performers (Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax). Once they win a title, they gloat about how they are the most perfect/dominant champion.
Whilst there are some individualities between characters, the feuds seem to have been churned out of a cookie cutter mould. I feel like I’ve watched the same feud between the same characters play out over and over again.
Meanwhile, the men’s divisions are feuding in more diverse feuds and with more engaging and nuanced characters. We’ve got mob bosses, conspiracy theorists, wrestling purists and whatever the New Day are. These characters are individuals, and don’t feel like they’ve been churned out of a photocopier.
Look To the Future
In WWE’s female talent roster you have:
- An ex-MMA fighter
- A pair of veteran second generation talents
- The daughter of one of the greatest of all time
- Some of the all-time great female performers and sellers (especially Sasha Banks and Bayley)
As well as this, the new generation of talents coming through all have strengths that WWE cannot afford to waste by subjecting them to lacklustre booking.
By simply allowing them the same level of creative individuality given to the men’s roster, WWE could elevate the entire division. That’s what’s most frustrating aout this whole situation. It would be so simple to improve the entire company, by giving the women as much attention as the men. Instead of being forced to wait for fan pressure (#GiveDivasAChance), WWE needs to be proactive. Elevate the women, their championships and give them non-title feuds!