Has WWE Disrespected The SmackDown Women?
On this year's Road to WrestleMania, focus has been on the women in the main event.
With all due respect to someone who has now won eight WWE titles, Charlotte Flair winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship on Tuesday was a head scratching move, for a number of reasons. First, she’s already booked to challenge for the RAW Women’s Championship. That match, if you missed it, is the main event of WrestleMania. Second, it’s under two weeks until WrestleMania. The move calls into question what plans WWE has-or does not have-for the blue belt. All this leads me to ask: has WWE disrespected SmackDown’s women?
The answer is a complex one. I do not think WWE would intentionally slight one brand’s locker room. However, if you look at how things have unfolded in recent months, that is how things could be perceived. Some of this could actually trace back to the Survivor Series hype that almost gave us Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey. It came up much more when Becky Lynch won the women’s Royal Rumble in January. Upon winning, Lynch made her choice to face Rousey for RAW’s title, even though Becky was a SmackDown roster member.
From there, the blurring continued-Lynch obviously had a reason to be on RAW now. Soon, Charlotte Flair got involved, until this ultimately gave us the WrestleMania main event we have, and have wanted.
Lost in the shuffle that entire time? The SmackDown Women’s Championship. When Asuka did get to defend on PPV, the matches weren’t always given a great amount of attention. There was a stretch where we didn’t even see her or the title. Hindsight being 20/20, I’d read into that as, even though WWE had a capable champion and a room full of talented challengers, they kept them out of the spotlight. Those women haven’t been shy about the oversight, either.
Look, I get it. Ronda Rousey is a huge star outside of WWE. Giving the women the main event at WrestleMania is historic. But neither of those is worth ignoring or disrespecting any WWE Championship, men or women. I think how this was handled isn’t a good look for WWE. Considering what a big deal Asuka was in NXT (so important that, at one point, Hunter supposedly blocked her promotion to the main roster), she’s been a bust on the main roster-through no fault of her own. WWE can spin it any which way they want, but the blue brand has been ignored and, yes, I think disrespected.
Is Becky and Asuka a big match? Perhaps, but I am not nuts enough to say Becky versus Asuka is on the same level of Becky versus Ronda (with or without Flair). But I ask you this..for the overall health of the Women’s Division, both brands now…wouldn’t WWE have been better off going with Lynch-Rousey (itself already main event worthy and with plenty of backstory), and then having Charlotte versus Asuka the SmackDown title match? That match has it’s own backstory, with Asuka wanting to avenge her ‘Mania loss to Flair from last year’s ‘Mania.
Instead, as of this writing, we have a WrestleMania main event that features both main roster Women’s Champions as two thirds of a triple threat match. WWE has yet to comment if both belts are on the line, either in a unification match or in a scenario where whomever Becky pins would be the belt she leaves with. Or, if the SmackDown title is even on the line.
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Considering how the blue belt has been ignored and neglected in the last few months, this limbo it finds itself in just seems par for the course. That disrespect is why smarks on the net have speculated and offered up rumors that WWE is going to unify the belts. Could it happen? Sure. Should WWE do it? I don’t think so. Will WWE do it? That remains to be seen, though I will say this: if WWE is somehow incapable of coming up with worthwhile programs for one brand’s women, then perhaps they should simplify things and unify. I don’t like it, but looking at how things have gone thus far in 2019, it can’t be much worse, right?
I mean, up until Tuesday night, then 12 days away from WrestleMania, the SmackDown Women’s Championship didn’t have a match on the biggest card of the year (let that sink in).
Now, in a roundabout way that has basically nothing to do with the SmackDown title on it’s own, the blue belt has found her way into the main event (even though it’s perhaps the most unexpected way possible).
WNZ readers-do you feel that the SmackDown women, and their belt, have been disrespected? Or do you think a unification would be a good thing?