Over the past year, WWE has done an outstanding job of making the Women’s Division the attraction it deserves to be for the female athletes that compete inside the WWE ring. Based on the work that was done by NXT’s women, along with what was accomplished by AJ Lee and Nikki Bella on the main roster, the improvement to women’s wrestling has become one of the most important developments on WWE programming in many years.
When the WWE Draft and brand extension were announced, there were a lot of questions about all that work going kaput after the Women’s Division was split between Raw and SmackDown. The WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte, went to Raw, which left SmackDown without a title. Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Paige, Bayley, and others have all been drafted to Raw, which has a lot of WWE fans questioning the future of SmackDown’s Women’s Division after the brand split.
Last night on SmackDown, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon officially introduced SmackDown’s Women’s Championship that will be awarded to the winner of a Six-Pack Challenge at WWE Backlash. The match will feature Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella as the competitors. The interesting dynamic of the match is there can be only one winner, and all six women have a shot at becoming the SmackDown Women’s Champion. However, WWE officials may have made up their mind about who they want to become the first Women’s Champion for SmackDown.
According to a report from Cage Side Seats, Nikki Bella is the top choice to become the first SmackDown Women’s Champion at WWE Backlash in a few weeks. There was a rumor that Eva Marie would be the first one to win the title, but her thirty-day suspension for violating WWE’s Wellness Policy has killed that idea. It seems that WWE is looking back to Nikki Bella, who just returned from a serious neck injury. She made her comeback at WWE Summerslam and took the reigns on SmackDown to lead its Women’s Division.
The rumored plan is that Nikki Bella won’t be holding the SmackDown Women’s Championship for very long. Those plans can always change, but it seems she’d only be helping to establish the new title for SmackDown and then dropping it to someone else before the end of 2016. Nikki is still establishing herself on SmackDown, so she’ll need to do that before becoming champion.
Last night on SmackDown Live, Nikki Bella was meant to have her first singles match since returning at WWE Summerslam, but Carmella attacked Nikki during her pre-match interview with Renee Young. The match never officially started and the attack continued even on Talking Smack on the WWE Network, which you can watch above.
Based on Carmella’s actions, you’d think that she was the heel and Nikki Bella was the face. However, Nikki returned to WWE at WWE Summerslam to a face reaction, but she teamed with Alexa Bliss and Natalya who are both heels. In the next few weeks, Nikki Bella’s role will become much clearer, and that will establish who she’ll be feuding with if she does become the first SmackDown Women’s Champion at WWE Backlash.
If Nikki Bella becomes a heel, the most likely plan is for someone like Becky Lynch to win the SmackDown Women’s title from her over the next few months. WWE officials may even wait until Wrestlemania 33. However, if she is a face, then it may be in the cards for Eva Marie to win the championship from Nikki when she returns from her thirty-day suspension in September.
It has been reported in the past that WWE officials are being extremely careful with Nikki Bella’s health after coming back from such a significant injury. The expectation is she’ll only be wrestling on a part-time basis, so being the SmackDown Women’s Champion would be a good role for her based on her previous accomplishments, and she would not need to defend the title every week.
Nikki Bella is the most accomplished woman on the SmackDown roster, which naturally makes her the top choice to become the leader of their Women’s Division now that she is back in a WWE ring. Not to steal a line from John Cena, but it seems like the future of women’s wrestling on SmackDown will go through Nikki Bella. As long as the Women’s Division continues to gain prestige and commands respect from the WWE Universe, Nikki Bella being on top is as good a choice as any WWE could make.
[Image via WWE.com]