In a fairly notable news story, NXT Diva Maxine quit WWE last week. The reason for this was reportedly the star’s frustration with her lack of a push and the unwillingness of the company to offer her a full-time deal.
While most fan may not realize it, this is quite the loss to the division.
Maxine thrived on NXT. Her catty, obnoxious heel character served as one of the best female characters in the company. She was a tremendous, quick-witted talker who shared a ton of chemistry with her co-stars, the equally under-appreciated Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman. Indeed, the Internet-only NXT became cult viewing for a period, largely thanks to her contributions.
It was sad that WWE management could not figure out a way to do more with someone with her talent, but not altogether surprising. They’re struggling to come up with new ideas for the women as it is, never mind finding things for the newer girls.
Maxine is hardly the first women to grow frustrated and leave. Over the past two years, we’ve seen Gail Kim, Maryse and The Bella Twins all choose to leave WWE. Kelly Kelly, while still on the roster, is rumored to be on her way out too.
As Bryan Alvarez noted on last Friday’s daily update: “It’s really something to see so many women depart the division of their own volition over the past year or so.”
Hey, many women on the independent scene may be absolutely desperate for a WWE contract, but it seems the women that are there can’t wait to get out.
Why are they leaving? No doubt outside ambitions and road burn out played a big part, but one matter was likely WWE’s unwillingness to do anything with their Divas.
The bleak truth is that WWE’s women’s division will never be anything more than a badly-booked sideshow, something the women there seem to be becoming aware of. This may explain the mass exodus of women in recent times.
Gone are the days when hugely popular Divas like Trish Stratus and Lita played a huge role on television and even main evented episodes of Raw.
Heck, it’s not even like the attitude era when scantily-clad women like Sable and Debra were plastered all over the show as part of the risque product. They may not have been pushed as real wrestlers like Stratus and Lita were, but at least they played a significant role.
The current crop of Divas don’t even have that.
They get extremely limited match time, and little or no focus is placed on their angles and storylines. Nor is any real time given to develop their characters. The company obviously doesn’t care, and judging by the silence their matches elicit from the crowd on episodes of Raw and SmackDown, neither do most of the fans.
Currently only one Diva has broken through: SmackDown star AJ, whose current romantic storyline with CM Punk and Bryan Daniel is dominating WWE programming. But despite her high profile, she isn’t being used much as a wrestler. Indeed, as good as it is, the AJ angle only serves to emphasize that the women in WWE are strictly there to be girlfriends or managers—not actual in-ring competitors.
There are no signs that anything will change soon.
There were hopes that Layla’s return and title push would help put the division back on the map, but this has not come to fruition. The former Diva Search winner has found herself greatly marginalized in recent weeks. Monster heel Kharma is still waiting to return. Veteran wrestlers Natalya and Beth Phoenix are still woefully under-used. Third generation star Tamina Snuka has heaps of potential and is a natural in the ring but isn’t being used either.
Things aren’t likely to change in the future, either.
Vince McMahon’s son-in-law Triple H is due to take over someday soon, and per an interview with former writer Alex Greenfield, the chief operating officer doesn’t think too highly of the women’s division, thinking it takes away airtime from the men.
Of course, there are no absolutes. It’s wrestling; anything can happen. Maybe someone new will get into power and attitudes will change. We could see a thriving, competitive Divas division one day.
But, as of now, it doesn’t look good, frankly.
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