The women of the WWE have certainly seen a rise in popularity and significant storylines since Stephanie McMahon ushered in the Divas Revolution in the summer of 2015. And the division’s legitimacy only increased when the company re-branded them, dropping the Diva moniker in favor of simply, the Women’s Division. They had become WWE superstars, just like their male counterparts.
With newcomers like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch, coupled with veterans like the Bella Twins, Paige, Naomi, and Natalya, the WWE Women’s Division was becoming the strongest it had ever been. And soon after, reinforcements were added to the fold in the form of Bayley, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and, eventually, Mickie James. There’s even been some talk of more women from the past returning for one last run for WrestleMania and, perhaps, beyond.
Those additional talents were a requirement when the WWE re-initiated the brand extension and decided that both RAW and SmackDown would have their own unique women’s and tag team divisions, in addition to a world championship and mid-card title. Depth was a glaring weakness at the onset of the brand split, but given time and opportunity, the women have continued to prove that they’re worthy of both.
Thirteen women got the opportunity to compete at WrestleMania 32, albeit in a combined two matches, one of which was on the kickoff show. The more significant of the two, of course, featured Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky in a triple threat match to determine the new WWE Women’s Champion after Lita introduced the new title to replace the outdated Divas Championship.
This year, the brand extension has altered plans just a bit for the WWE Women’s Division — and for all the divisions and championships for that matter. There are now nine title belts on the main roster, and it’s become increasingly difficult to determine whether all of them will be defended at the upcoming WrestleMania. The two championships that currently have the longest odds of being on the card are the RAW Tag Team Championships and the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
As we detailed last week following Naomi’s win over Alexa Bliss at Elimination Chamber, WWE officials were not planning on booking a SmackDown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. Instead, the plan was to have a tag team match between Naomi and Becky against Alexa and Mickie James. It’s unclear how Naomi’s injury affects that idea, but she is expected to be cleared by April 2.
The company originally wanted Naomi entering the show as the Women’s Champion because she is from the Orlando area and her reign might have created an additional buzz. But they decided to put the belt back on Alexa after Naomi’s injury because they are likely scheduling title matches on several episodes of SmackDown leading up to WrestleMania.
As for WWE’s flagship show and the RAW Women’s Division, plans also changed from their original blueprint, according to a recent report. As viewers saw transpire last week, Bayley defeated Charlotte to become the new RAW Women’s Champion in Las Vegas during the main event. Originally, however, WWE officials were going to wait to crown Bayley until WrestleMania.
It’s unknown when the decision was made to make the title switch last week, but if they had gone through with the original plans, Bayley would have come up short both on RAW and at Fastlane, before finally overcoming Charlotte (and others) at WrestleMania. Her first title defense was then going to come later that month at the next WWE (and RAW-exclusive) pay-per-view, Payback. That event will come from San Jose, California, which just so happens to be Bayley’s hometown.
Charlotte’s undefeated streak on pay-per-view will play a big part in the women’s storyline going forward. It’s expected that she’ll recapture the championship at Fastlane, but Bayley will win it back on April 2. Because the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania is slated to be a fatal four-way match with Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha and Nia Jax, Charlotte’s streak will still be intact because it only factors in singles matches. However, the WWE could spin it the other way if they choose to make Bayley’s victory that much more meaningful.
[Featured Image by WWE]