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Textual Chocolate: Is This A Real Revolution?




It’s been two weeks since the so-called Diva Revolution (or #DivaRevolution) ignited on Monday Night RAW, creating a gangland of three three-women teams going at it against each other.

If you’ll recall, this all started when Stephanie McMahon took umbrage at the Bellas’ assertion of dominance in the company, leading to arming Paige and the sister-in-law team of Naomi and Tamina some new playmates to fight not only the Bellas, but each other. Since then, they’ve been engaged in battle, and with nine women in the mix, there are a lot of possible exciting match-ups to go around and last us at least a few months, and that’s even without the Divas Championship at stake. (Yet.)

But is it just me, though, or is the #DivaRevolution a skin-deep facelift? Not quite a band-aid fix, but still not yet the surgery the division needed? Perhaps, some Betadine and a piece of gauze taped to stem the wound while we wait, still, for something better?

Litanies have been said about the wisdom of the way the WWE introduced the top three NXT Divas not named Bayley into the main roster, and for the purposes of exploring the above question, we have to revisit the move to put its flaws into the spotlight.

   

 That’s still some of the worst storytelling you’ll ever see, because instead of allowing a revolution to organically build itself up, the WWE machine heavy-handedly force-feeds the narrative. Steph tells Paige that these are her new allies, and evens things up for Naomi and Tamina. They’re expected to be satisfied with it—even though Paige should, logically, be happy for it as she’s been trying (and failing) to round up some help—and most importantly, we’re supposed to be satisfied with not only the ladies, but how they were brought before us. The argument to accept them is presented swiftly by having the new girls hit the bad girls with their respective finishers, and that’s cool. That’s okay. 

And the trend continues by putting on match after match—and not just any ordinary match, but matches that actually run longer than what WWE fans are used to seeing when it comes to the ladies. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Brie Bella. Sasha Banks vs. Paige. Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox. A whole lot of combinations they haven’t yet used, too, and why not? It’s all good, solid action. After all, good wrestling absolves most sins. 

But it doesn’t absolve them all. 

We go back to what Vince McMahon said to Steve Austin in his Stone Cold Podcast on the WWE Network: “We don’t do wrestling for the sake of wrestling.” In essence, everything has to be put into place within a context of a narrative. Storylines, feuds, angles. Things have to make sense and have to be moving toward something. 

And as of now, the #DivaRevolution does not. At least, not in my eyes, and not as much as it should be. If the main crux of the angle was Paige trying to take down the Bella Empire, and the big plot device to get the story going was the addition of the NXT Divas, then what the hell is happening now? How does a singles match between Paige and Sasha Banks move either of them toward a shot at the Divas Championship? How does a tag team match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Alicia Fox, and Nikki Bella get them closer to dismantling the established matriarchy? 

It seems as though right now, the Revolution is really about changing the perception of women’s wrestling in the WWE, terribly veiled under a currently shallow angle about how the rest of the girls don’t like the Bellas. While that’s all great—because getting fans to take the Divas seriously actually is the point of the whole thing—it feels like they’re just blindly placating the fanbase by putting out solid matches. 

Have we forgotten that pro wrestling is not just about the action, but also about the stories that are unfolding before us, the angles that inspire us and make us feel things? Isn’t this why we turn on guys like Roman Reigns and Batista, because they were heroes they were forcing us to love? Or are we all just happy to have something that works in the space of the meta—the workmares have won the battle, so now they’re free to do whatever they do down at Full Sail? 

But it actually isn’t so hard to fix this particular flaw: all they really need to do is give the Divas more promo time not just to introduce themselves, but to drive the story forward. On this week’s RAW, Team BAD and the Powerpuff Girls had a backstage confrontation that led to Sasha Banks vs. Paige, but it didn’t build the bigger picture up at all, even when we saw the Bellas watching backstage. The tag team match I was talking about? No build-up whatsoever, and it doesn’t lead up to anything, even if we should be able to figure out how the dots connect. The WWE has put in effort in this, but they haven’t put in that much effort—and since I’m positive, I’m gonna say that they haven’t done so yet. 

And if we allow ourselves to be satisfied with just the hits they bring, they might not even get around to it. Revolutions don’t bring about real change with one salvo, one hit, one coup. The most successful ones take constant effort.

Photo from WWE

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Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.

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