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Anytime a divas match comes on, the jokes come out. "Bathroom break," or, "Time to go see what is in the kitchen." The fact of the matter is, WWE just doesn't seem to care a lot about actual women's wrestling. The matches are almost always under five minutes unless they are on PPV, and the storylines are always very difficult to follow, mainly because there hardly are any.
Women's wrestling is different from men's wrestling. WWE, even if it seems like they sometimes ignore this fact, knows that the best way to gain financial success from wrestlers is by having them actually wrestle. The biggest factor in whether a wrestler is going to be a star or not is still what kind of matches they are going to be in, and what championships are they going to win/contend for. For women, it isn't quite that cut-and-dry. Women can become huge stars as valets/managers, being involved in angles with male wrestlers, taking part in calendar shoots, etc. Wrestling is just simply not that big of a requirement in order to become a notable star. According to the Internet Wrestling Database, Stacy Kiebler, one of the most popular female wrestlers of the last 20 years, only wrestled 60 matches for WWE. You just do not have to be in the ring and wrestling to have an impact.
The relative success of "Total Divas" has created an even larger gap in the relationship between wrestling and success for women. Eva Marie can barely run the ropes, yet she is still one of the most talked about women in WWE. WWE, right now, feels that they can get more business out of "Total Divas" then they can out of building a competent Divas roster with cognizant storylines. That is why you see a lot more of the Bella Twins than you see AJ Lee, because although AJ is the champion, WWE feels that the Bella Twins are probably the real top dogs when it comes to the Divas division.
The Bella Twins get a lot of flak from fans, and some of it may be justified, but some of the hate they get isn't really deserved, or at least, we have no way of knowing if it is deserved. They are never going to wow you with technical brilliance, but they are also not the worst female wrestlers WWE employs, and Brie is even one of the more competent women they have. They catch a lot of hate because they are symbol for everything that some fans think is wrong with WWE. They are below-average wrestlers without a lot of charisma, but get pushed anyways and overshadow the actual talented women on the roster.
The Bella Twins have an ugly stigma about them because they briefly left the company for some unexplained reason, and then came back six months later and suddenly received pushes to the moon. Was this a political move? It sure looks like it, but right now we don't really know so it is currently just a rumor. Even more inexplicable, as soon as "Total Divas" came out, WWE decided that they were now going to faces, despite the fact that the Bella Twins had been heels their entire time in WWE. WWE never explained the change, never really acknowledged even, it was just now they were wrestling heels as opposed to faces. Of course, this change went over like a fart in a church, because the fans had been taught to boo these women, and since they were never given a reason to cheer for them, they just kept on booing or worse, showing indifference. Despite the lackluster responses, WWE just kept right on steaming ahead with their plans and continuously shoved the Bella's down our throats because hey, they had to sell "Total Divas" somehow. With Bella's now faces, nobody really knew who was a heel and who was a face anymore. All we know is that AJ and Tamina are heels, and everyone on "Total Divas" is a face, for some reason. It threw everything in the Divas division into chaos, leaving in the current nonsensical shape that it is in now.
Another problem WWE has created in the Divas division is that there booking of the Divas Championship can be just downright silly at points. AJ Lee has actually had a really nice, significant run as the champion, even if she loses all of her matches on television (as champion, she is just 10-18 so far in 2014). But before AJ had the title, it was just kind of being passed around for no rhyme or reason. A perfect example of this would be Nikki Bella's Divas title victory.
Back in 2012, Beth Phoenix was on a roll as the Divas Champion. Her title reign stood at 204 days, and as one of the best female wrestlers around, she looked to continue her dominant reign. However, on an episode of Raw, Phoenix unbelievably lost the title to Nikki Bella, who would then lose the title six days later to Layla at Extreme Rules. What prompted this crazy change? Well, Nikki was leaving the company (only to come back six months later) and she wanted to be champion at least once before she left, so they just let her have the championship by taking it off the most dominant female wrestler in WWE. What kind of crappy logic is that? Did Tyler Reks get a WWE Championship run before he left WWE? Would about MVP? Of course they didn't because that would be insane to do, but for some reason, it was seen as an okay move for WWE. I know that the Divas Championship is not really taken as seriously as the other title belts, but part of the reason that is true is because WWE does stupid crap like that.
Another huge problem is that Divas tend to have a really short career span in WWE. With a few exceptions, most Divas only hang around for 2-5 years and then they are done. The list of women who left WWE after less than five years on the main roster is staggering, from Eve Torres to Kaitlyn. Why do these women leave? A lot of them are for personal reasons, maybe they want to have kids, or pursue a different direction. A bad reputation that is somewhat true has gone around that WWE signs women who do not really want to be wrestlers, but just want to use it as a springboard for future opportunities. Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Kaitlyn, they all reached the pinnacle of success (Divas Champion) and once they lost it, it was time to move on. Eve won a reality show and she was gone. Kelly is off doing photoshoots somewhere and Kaitlyn left to start her own clothing line. Part of me just wants to throw up my hands and agree with WWE. Why should they put time and effort into building up the Divas division and give them storylines when most of them are just going to leave after a few years anyway?
Some fans are upset with AJ's extended title reign and want the title to move off of her, but I really couldn't agree less. AJ is a woman with an actual character, charisma, and decent in-ring and microphone skills. That puts her in the upper echelon of women who have competed in WWE. Everyone else around her, with the exception of Natalya and maybe Tamina, are essentially the same character. They are all just colorless faces whose attractiveness FAR outshines their wrestling ability. Almost all of them are easily replaceable. AJ on the other hand, is completely unique to WWE and her presence is irreplaceable, so for now, she should be the most publicized women in WWE.
This whole thing may sound overly negative, but the good news is that help could be on the way. Paige and Emma, are both attractive and technically sound women that will soon have a big impact on the Divas title. WWE also signed Sara Del Ray, who is probably the most technically sound, non-Joshi female over the last decade, to train their talents. Hopefully we will see an increase in not only the quality of the matches, but the effort and proper development of the storylines.