On Monday night’s Raw, Stephanie McMahon brought the show’s women superstars down to the ring to announce a new milestone in women’s wrestling. At January’s Royal Rumble, there will be a Women’s Royal Rumble for the first time ever. And just like for the men, the winner will get a championship match at WrestleMania.
Apart from the fact that Stephanie McMahon is supposed to be a heel and announced something that was going to get cheers, a Women’s Royal Rumble is a highly requested match and enhances the women’s division once again, showcasing some of the best wrestling in WWE.
The decision to have this match is to have women be equal to men and women getting their own Royal Rumble match adds to previous milestones like main eventing pay-per-views and featuring in Money in the Bank and Hell in a Cell matches.
But while this is the right move for WWE, I’m concerned with how they are going to do this match because while WWE wants equality, this could backfire in their face.
It would be unfair to use what WWE did to women in the Attitude Era and use that against them today because even they admit they treated “divas” terribly back then. But it’s not like WWE has made the right decisions in the modern era either.
The best example to make that would make me concerned about WWE’s motives is last year’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. WWE announced they were going to have the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and gave it much fanfare and prestige.
And then when the match happened, WWE had James Ellsworth climb the ladder and win the match for his girlfriend Carmella. Yeah, even though the first Money in the Bank winner was Carmella, a man actually got the win for her. That kind of undoes the goodwill of having this match for women to be equal to men of men are winning the women’s matches. Granted, a rematch took place a couple days later on SmackDown and Carmella won but the damage was done.
What is WWE going to do for the Women’s Royal Rumble? Will this be a full match like the men and there will be 30 people competing in each match and each person enters every two minutes? That might make things fully equal but that also means it’s going to take over two hours to complete two matches. And while the Royal Rumble is the most anticipated match of the year, it may not be as great to watch both matches back-to-back.
Chances are the Women’s Royal Rumble will be a shortened version of the Men’s Royal Rumble. There will likely be between 15-20 women competing and they may still have them enter every two minutes. But even that raises its own issues because this match is great, it’ll be seen as secondary to the men because it’ll be shorter and not have as many people. It’s progress but that’s not exactly equal either. And this all on the assumption that they won’t pull a MITB thing and have a man come in and win the thing.
So while WWE is deserving of praise for having a Women’s Royal Rumble, it’s not going to please everyone. I have no doubts this will be anything but a great match so if that happens and it inspires girls and women to tell them that they can kick ass like the men, people will overlook how long the match is. There’s some risk but there’s no doubt that the risk is worth striving for equality and that’s what WWE is doing.