By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
There’s been a confluence of event in entertainment recently that has led me to question whether or a women’s wrestling show could survive on its own on television. Netflix released a GLOW related series that has been fairly well received, “Wonder Woman” has done great at the box office, and the WWE is holding their Mae Young Classic this summer. If you follow the logic here, the WWE held a Cruiserweight Classic and then launched 205 Live as its own entity on their network. The E then held a United Kingdom Championship Tournament, then announced United Kingdom Show, however it has yet to be launched nor a launch date provided. If you follow the breadcrumbs it seems that there may be a chance that a women’s show could debut on the WWE Network as well. Then again, if you follow the “dirt sheets” then 205 Live is on the outs and the UK Show may never get off the ground.
If you look at the way 205 Live is setup it wouldn’t be difficult to have the current females keep wrestling on their own respective brands, let’s say you utilize only the women on Smackdown for a women’s show so you keep a balance, you then simply extend the tapings for Smackdown to allow for the show to taped, perhaps even 2 episodes at a time. That might actually help sell more tickets if fans know they have more matches to watch. Obviously, this model wouldn’t work for the UK show, but as far as 205 Live it’s been fine. Let’s stick with the same roster construction and all you need are 14 wrestlers like 205 Live does to have a women’s show. Right now, you have 8 female wrestlers on Smackdown, 9 if you include Maria. You have 32 women in the tournament right now, let’s say you sign at least 5 or 6 of those women along with calling up Asuka and 2 or 3 other women from NXT. That would allow you to even expand the show and offer a tag team title. Something that 205 Live could also significantly benefit from since the guys who aren’t in the title hunt seems to just be spinning in place.
Asuka is arguably the most dominant and exciting woman wrestler in the country right now. She is creeping up on Rockin’ Robin’s record for female title holders, but it’s probably unlikely she ever surpasses Moolah’s record, unless she somehow lapses into a coma and they just don’t take the title off of her out of respect until she wakes up in the year 2024. She has basically done everything she can in NXT and they are biding their time until she drops the belts and moves up into one of the Big Brands. I think building a women’s show around here the way they did with Neville on 205 Live would work well. Her call-up is important because the WWE has treated her as a wrestler, not a character, not a beneficiary of superior genes, not a pretty face, but an actual wrestler. What’s more is that she’s been dominant and unstoppable, without needing to involve her in love triangles, shenanigans, and other plot devices usually saved to help “window dressing” female wrestlers get over. Not having to resort to “cat fights” and “romantic entanglements” would be a real breakthrough for the women that the “Women’s Revolution” didn’t quite manage to escape…*cough cough* James Ellsworth *cough*
We’ve seen Indy companies like Shimmer and SHINE survive just fine on their own. In japan STARDOM is getting more and more recognition, some of their stars have been featured on American TV already. Kairi Hojo has been signed the E, Io Shirai almost got signed too until they got cold feet about a neck injury, and both of them appeared with Mayu Iwatani on Lucha Underground alongside Black Lotus. In fact, Lucha Underground has proven that some of the women can be just as popular as the men. Sexy Star, Ivelisse, Kobra Moon, Mariposa, and Taya have regularly had good matches with men and have solid followings from the IWC. The trick to making a product like this work is to focus on attracting and training the best wrestlers and athletes you can find, not trying to scour Victoria Secrets runways and Instagram for models and hoping they’ll learn how to throw a passable drop kick. Potentially creating retired athletes from MMA, Boxing, or other sports could be a huge boon too. I’d imagine bringing in a Rhonda Rousey would be more successful in the long term than hoping Kate Upton can sell a lariat.
What may be a hang-up here is the worry that this wouldn’t sell as a concept. I can assure you that this isn’t ground breaking. GLOW had been televised at one point, TNA/IMPACT/GFW used to run “One Night Only” PPV’s featuring nothing but Knockout Matches. Let’s face it, if it’s only initially on the WWE network it is going to be watched. Wrestling fans will glom onto anything that is considered “Free TV” and I could see the numbers doing at least as well as the 205 Live numbers, if not better considering they could significantly expand the roster and potentially…bring in women from both rosters if they felt the need. You’d be able to also capitalize on the publicity that an all-female product would bring from the mainstream media. The costs of production wouldn’t be outrageous since they’d be filmed after SDL, and if you wanted to try a separate tour along with 205 Live on occasion that could be yet another venue.
Its ridiculous to believe that an American audience wouldn’t be interested in a purely female wrestling show because we’ve seen the WNBA maintain a reasonable level of viewership. We’ve seen the US Women’s soccer team members gain a measure of fame and endorsements. We have seen the UFC get behind their women’s division. If you give wrestling fans good wrestling, they’ll watch it. What’s more, is it offers the ability to grow the characters and fan bases of the women in the company not named Charlotte, Sacha, or Alexis Bliss. Without a real spotlight for these women to step into, you’re just going to end up recycling through Eva Marie, after Emmalina, after Summer Rae. I really believe the concept of a WWE backed all women’s show has legs…let’s just hope she knows how to use them.
⦁ It looks like Eva Marie may now be changing her “All Red Everything” gimmick now that she’s gotten a PINK slip from the E. Methinks that a website called “All Pink Everything” is probably not going to be NSFW, so maybe don’t google that.
⦁ WWE UK Champion, Pete Dunne has been defending his title in other promotions as of late. Which feels odd, it’s like Joey Chestnut defending his Hot Dog eating title at the CrossFit Games. No way are you going to shove 72 wieners down your throat after cleaning and jerking that many times.
⦁ Jon “Bones” Jones has been jawing about wanting to set up a “Super Fight” with Brock Lesnar after his recent win. I guess he’s questioning Brock’s Intestinal Fortitude. Which is crazy, that’s for his doctors to do.
⦁ Drew McIntyre’s finishing move is the “Claymore” which is a two handed Scottish sword. But he basically just runs and kicks a guy in the face in mid-air. Maybe I’ve been confused all this time about what “Sword Fighting” was at summer camp. Apparently, it was what I thought was “Footsies”. Well I guess I’m not gay after all.
⦁ There is something amazing about that game of “Capture the Flag” between Cena and Rusev. You would’ve thought Rusev would have been quicker with planting his flag and ending the competition as soon as possible. Kind of like what he did when he married Lana. Don’t worry guys, I’m SURE that marriage is gonna last forever. It IS in professional wrestling after all.
⦁ One of the “Four Horsewomen of MMA” Jessamyn Duke has reportedly started training for a transition into Pro Wrestling. That’s all well and good, but until someone surpasses Catherine the Great’s “curtain call”, I don’t think anyone deserves the title as “Horsewoman”.
⦁ Every time I hear the announcers scream “Black Mass” when Aleister Black hits his finisher, I keep thinking that should’ve been the name for Naomi’s “Rear View” instead.
⦁ Cena vs Nakamura was a mildly awkward match on SDL. It basically ended when Cena got dropped on the back of his neck in what could’ve been a DISASTER!! Fortunately, Cena looks to be okay and is on his way to shooting the Transformers Bumblebee spinoff….so…I guess it really DID end in disaster.
⦁ Not wrestling related, but Bumblebee getting his own spinoff is if instead of Joey getting his own Friends spinoff, they gave it to either Chick or Duck.
⦁ Bullet Club has to be the tensest club in wrestling since the “Great Khali Mile High Club”. And you thought Randy Orton looked panicked when he saw Khali barreling down on him.
⦁ Son of Havoc and Son of Madness were in the “Invisible Cult”? I assume the leader of the cult will be none other than….JOHN CENA!! Obviously, right? I mean…you can’t see him.
⦁ At some point, doesn’t a real owner stop Pentagon Dark from “breaking’ the rest of his wrestler’s arms? Could you imagine the kind of lawsuit you’d have on your hands if a local Dairy Queen in Beaufort, South Carolina allowed his start Blizzard maker to start breaking his cashier’s rotator cuffs? “That’s a fine Triple Truffle Blizzard you made there Jeffrey, now I’m just going to turn the other way while you assault young Tommy by the nacho cheese warmer…”
⦁ Dante Fox vs Prince Puma was a very nice match on Lucha Underground this week, it was a matchup of…High Yellow Flyers.
⦁ Low Ki joining LAX makes a lot of sense. Because now it answers the question about what the hell he is. I had no clue what that mongoloid was. I just imagined when he had to fill out forms under “Race” he wrote in “Khaki”.
⦁ ESPN will be showing a 30 for 30 Documentary about Ric Flair. Seems like any true Ric Flair documentary would need to be shown on Cinemax…after 1 AM…only in Germany.