A few days ago, Fightful Select reported that some of the women wrestlers in WWE have been unhappy for a while. This report comes on the heels of Sasha Banks and Naomi walking out of the company due to being unhappy with how they were being booked.
The report alleges that multiple women have been “frustrated with their utilization on the program, from the bottom of the card all the way to the top.” Some of the women waited to see “where the chips fell” before going to someone higher up to discuss their frustrations.
Some of the women were waiting on Lacey Evans and Asuka to return. Charlotte Flair taking time off was also mentioned. With those women not on TV, WWE was able to implement more women “albeit with varying creative satisfaction.”
Fightful points out that Nikki ASH, Shotzi, Alexa Bliss, Doudrop, Aliyah, and Xia Li weren’t used leading up to and after WrestleMania.
Perhaps the most telling information to come from the report is a source said that “it felt like Vince McMahon was more concerned with squeezing himself onto television after the Wall Street Journal story than actually making sure female talent was booked and protected on the show.”
Sasha Banks and Naomi’s unhappiness led to them walking out of WWE
Back in May, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Sasha Banks and Naomi left their titles on the desk of John Laurinaitis and walked out of the company. The reason is reportedly due to unhappiness with creative’s plans. On the night in question, both women were scheduled to be in a six-pack challenge with Nikki ASH, Asuka, Becky Lynch, and Doudrop. Upset by the way the match was supposed to go down, Banks went to McMahon directly to discuss the decision. When neither could come to an agreement, the champions left.
Both women felt disrespected by the way they were being treated as champions. WWE has a terrible track record when it comes to these titles. They’ve been booked horribly and it’s obvious the titles were an afterthought. WWE said Banks and Naomi vacated the tag titles when they walked out and said there would be a tournament to determine the new champions. It’s mid-July and that still hasn’t happened. It seems WWE has moved on from the tag titles and folded them completely.
It’s been reported that Banks and Naomi have both been removed from the internal WWE roster. This comes weeks after the report that Banks had already been released. Her first professional appearance has been announced for an autograph signing at C2E2 in Chicago under her real name, Mercedes Varnado. As of this writing, it’s not clear what Naomi will be doing next. It remains to be seen if either woman will be able to use their in-ring names as WWE owns them both. Even if they can use them, they may not want to.
Problems with WWE booking women have been an ongoing issue
For everything WWE seems to get right with the women (e.g.-Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan winning the women’s titles, respectively), there are many more issues overall. These issues have been there for the better part of two years.
I have been timing women’s matches since October 2020. At the time, I was timing matches across WWE, AEW, and IMPACT to get a better look at the big picture with women’s wrestling in the three major US companies.
Last summer, I wrote about how RAW’s women’s division had become unwatchable. At the time, Charlotte had returned and cut a promo on her former tag team partner, Asuka. She relied on the lazy trope of “all women are fake and secretly hate each other.” She also told her former partner she couldn’t understand her. This is also the time when women would simply walk out during their matches, usually a match in which they’d leave their partner behind.
Evans was in a storyline with Ric Flair and when it was revealed she was pregnant in real life, it was implied that 70-something-year-old was the father. Gross.
Remember when Lana got put through a table for 10 (!!!) consecutive weeks with a lame payoff? She was later part of one of many WWE talent cuts.
The match times got worse and worse. This leaves no time to tell stories in or out of the ring. Character development can’t occur in 2.5 minutes matches, especially when its multiple short matches. It has regressed to #GiveDivasAChance times.
It got to the point where I would only watch WWE to time women’s matches. Once I made it to the one-year mark of timing matches, I quit watching WWE completely. It wasn’t enjoyable and I spent a lot of time watching something that didn’t bring me any joy. A large part of that is due to the abysmal booking of the women.
On the July 18 episode of Raw, Nikki ASH, Bliss, Doudrop, and Tamina all won the 24/7 Championship. Dana Brooke regained the title she’d lost earlier in the match. Perhaps this is a shot at the report that some women in the company are unhappy with how they’re being booked. Or maybe it’s just more unimaginative booking of the women.
In NXT, the women’s tag team titles aren’t being treated much better. Two weeks ago, Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade won the titles. Just one week later, Jade turned on her partner.
It must be taken seriously that a number of women are unhappy with the way they’re being booked or the time they’re being given. Two of the company’s brightest and best have already walked out due to their booking and the disrespect they’ve endured.
It starts at the top. McMahon clearly doesn’t respect women given the way he’s treated at least five women who he employed and used his position of power to allegedly sexually harass, sexually assault, and rape them. We’ve seen it play out in storylines, most memorably (infamously) when he made WWE Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus, get on all fours and bark like a dog.
Even though Stephanie McMahon is the interim CEO, her father is in charge of creative. As long as he holds that position, he will continue to put women’s wrestling in undesirable booking.
The women deserve better and so do the fans.