Make Sure to Add the “Female”

This past weekend at UFC 184, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey shattered the UFC record for quickest finish when she destroyed Cat Zingano with the arm bar at fourteen seconds. At the end of the match, Joe Rogan referred to her as the “most dominant female in combat sports history.” Rousey is now 10-0, remains the UFC Bantam Weight Champion and has wiped out her entire weight class. Rogan asked her who she wants to face next, because she’s Ronda f*cking Rousey and she can pick her own opponents now. Is there anyone else in all of MMA that is as dominant as her? No. So let’s just drop the female part.

Two women’s fights headlined this PPV which is unprecedented considering that UFC President, Dana White, had at one time declared that women would never fight in the octagon arguing that women’s fights weren’t a draw. Judging from tonight, the Most Dominant Female got a pretty good ovation. Pretty, pretty pretttttttty good.

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Rousey killing someone with the arm bar.

But why is that? There’s a story there. Rousey is the reason why women exist in UFC and is responsible for the popularity. She’s a complete and total bad ass who has ripped apart every opponent. One of the reasons why I’d been looking forward to this fight is because Zingano, who is now 9-1, was supposed to be the biggest threat to Rousey’s undefeated streak. And Rousey straight up murdered her immediately. And so the question of “Is there anyone that can beat Ronda Rousey?” persists. Drama.

You may have heard in the news that WWE fans have finally thrown their hands up in the air when it comes to the Diva’s division. I gave up a long time ago. Every year or so we get a glimpse of hope that things are going to change. The addition of Kharma in 2010 was supposed to shake things up, but she left abruptly after becoming pregnant. Almost the entire Diva’s roster left over the course of the next two years. They signed Sara del Rey as a trainer to make the current crop of Diva’s better wrestlers, but some women they hired just can’t get on the main roster level. About a year or so ago, WWE stopped exclusively signing models and added some actual female indie performs to their roster. Who knew signing actual wrestlers was a good idea other than literally everyone? (In a perfect world, Rousey would come to WWE and just arm bar everyone to death.)

Over the past year, I’ve almost completely lost interest in WWE. It’s like when the lead singer of your favorite death metal band goes to rehab in Scottsdale, writes an experimental acoustic album and then launches a tour in support of it where they only play that album. Sure, they’re putting out new material, but it sucks, so you don’t listen and over time you slowly drift away and everything else they’ve ever done seems trite.

And that’s WWE. It sucks.

This past week on Raw, The Bella Twins (who are way better wrestlers than when they were signed previously), beat the team of NXT/Indie Darlings Paige and Emma in five seconds. However, unlike Rousey’s victory, no records were set. (Except for longest brow furrow from yours truly.) Wrestling is sports entertainment and, while physical demanding, is scripted. The matches are supposed to tell a story. If done right, they push a story along while showcasing what these athletes are capable of doing in the ring. Now you are invested! These relationships are interesting! This match failed all that. The entrances took far longer the entire match. If you blinked, you missed it.

You also may have missed it because you’re the person that gets up during a Diva’s match to use the bathroom. You have been conditioned over the years to take that time for yourself. I get it, Raw is long. You need your me time. You don’t want to watch a bunch of botched moves, unnecessary and awkward lesbian story lines (that are supposed to play out IRL on Total Divas) ) and all the “Girl Byes” Cameron can throw in your direction. It’s not entertaining – it’s sad. And it’s sad because they are capable of so much more and they don’t get the chance to show that. Like, honestly, why even hire, train and put these women out there if they’re going to do absolutely nothing for your product? What a terrible investment.

(If I may break away for a moment to discuss how asinine “Total Divas” is, please. We’re expected to believe that it is a reality show, but it’s apparent it’s so overly scripted. Matches are lined up on Raw and Smackdown with absolutely no back story only for us to discover, months later, that it was part of a storyline on the show. TD is ruining any shot the Divas have of making a division worth a damn. None of it makes sense.)

The longest reigning Diva’s Champion, AJ Lee, weighed in on this issue on twitter in support of the Divas. They’re underpaid compared to the male talent, except for the NXT Divas who make more money so they can keep up the high standard of beauty WWE requires. AJ herself is the victim of nightly misogyny. Any time she enters the ring, the fans cheer for retired pro-wrestler CM Punk, who just happens to be her husband. The hashtag #GiveDivasAChance began circulating on twitter and even drew the attention of the WWE brass. I’m not optimistic.

No one wants to root for the Diva’s more than me. I wish they would drop that tramp stamp title belt and revert back to the Women’s Championship. You know, the title with some prestige and history dating back past 2006. And it’s our fault for letting it go on this long and not fighting for something we love to be better. When Brie Bella is telling fans that she wishes she was back in developmental because there’s more opportunities for her to wrestle, make your product better. Brie hasn’t been in developmental since 2005. SHE WANTS TO REGRESS. WAKE UP!

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In the early oughts, this was tattooed on everyones lower back.

She’s right though. WWE’s developmental system, NXT, showcases the best and the brightest of the future of the company. This past NXT special pitted NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte against Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley. Banks, from Boston, honed her craft on scholarship at the prestigious Chaotic Wrestling school. Lynch is a submission specialist from Ireland while Bayley was a staple of the West Coast indies. Charlotte was the only one without previous experience, but she is the daughter of Ric Flair.

Unlike the main roster Divas, whose relationships with other women are “You’re ugly LOL” and “That’s MY boyfriend SMDH,” this match was founded on four women who have developed legit beef with each other over wanting to be the best. Charlotte boasts herself as “genetically superior” to the rest. Banks and Lynch’s “Team Bae” duo broke up the week before the match because neither wanted the other to outshine her. And Bayley, the complete underdog in every way, has earned the respect of most of her competitors for not backing down and was fired up to prove she deserved to be on the same level. They put on an incredible match which would’ve been a great match regardless of gender. And when it was over, everyone’s story line moved forward. NXT is the best. And Raw/Smackdown/Main Event can do the same thing! They have to give us a reason to care.

Who do you want your daughters looking up to? Girls who say “To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best” or the shallow, self involved, vindictive for no reason characters that WWE has created for their weekly television tapings only for the announce team to spend the 35 seconds their matches go on for talking about John Cena’s latest whatever no one cares?

You should say Ronda Rousey. And hopefully some day soon you will say Sasha Banks.

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