Last time on Quick Fix D, I discussed gimmicks, unique looks, more ring time, more pre-taped segments and motivations to compete other than jealousy. In this edition, we tackle the other five suggestions.
6) No More Non-Title Matches
Yeah, this was wishful thinking on my part. It’s one of the strangest booking crutches WWE uses. It just seems weird to me. If the champ is in single’s action, the belt should be on the line. The only exception in my mind is in legit combat sports when someone doesn’t make weight. Other than that, if you want to feature the champ on the show in action, put her in a tag match. Do an exhibition match with some lady from NXT who hasn’t had her past washed away in the Random Name Generator yet.
Not only did Charlotte have a match against Brie three days before her very personal and important title defense, she came into the match all smiles and crowd poses with no sense of urgency or anything that would make you say “yeah, she’s trying to hold it together but look how she smeared Brie’s face into the mat.” I’d be okay if you made that a story. “The champ is so confident, she’s giving a former champ a title shot to show Paige it’s go time” or whatever Michael Cole-ism they use to sell a match. Vintage? Does that fit? Moving on.
Well, well, well. The World Title got two tournament variants within a month’s time. The women got a Beat the Clock Challenge, which while I know some people dig it, I’ve never particuarly cared for it. It guarantees short matches first of all and is rarely weighed in a way that creates drama. Some inevitably draws a person that nobody cares if they get beat in four minutes to set the pace and then we get Sasha vs Paige, a match that should have build since it’s a former champion vs a former champion that never lost the belt in a match, for ninety seconds where if the time hadn’t run out, we are expected to believe Paige could beat the Boss in the time it take Cena to throw his arm bands into the crowd.
Granted it is a tiny step up from the usual battle royal where women get eliminated by falling through the middle ropes and eleven people are gone before the commercial break.
There were complaints about the men’s tournament, but not the format. The format is good. The format is fun. It doesn’t have to be 16 or even eight. Beat the Clock had three quasi matches. Why not tell some classic stories with four women across those three matches? 1 lady breezes through her first match while the other stuggles. Add a post match beat down for good measure. It’s simple and can span the entire episode without interfering with any important stories.
8) Book Anything Can Happen Finishes
Guess we’re stuck in the “only finishers and roll ups” can end matches mindset. Heck, Charlotte doesn’t even use her Bow Down finisher even after having her legs be worked over for ten minutes because I guess people would forget she wasn’t Ric Flair’s daughter if she didn’t do the Figure 8. I would buy (on deep deep discout and stick in my closet) a Bella shirt if Nikki was allowed to win a match straight up with a Bella Hammer. I get I’m over thinking this because kids apparantly love repetition and audiences are conditioned to follow the beats of a match more than the match itself, but sometimes it takes me out of a match when a lady kicks out of a Poison Rana, but then loses to the Rear View. Just doesn’t compute.
9) Open Up The Move Set
There’s been some improvement in this area. I am the first to admit that I am not a fan of 5 Moves of Doom. It’s not so much the limited number but the choice of moves and execution. If you’re going to use the same moves 90% of your matches, can they at least be cool, well performed, and not in the exact same order? Or even if I can’t get number 3, can you trick me by interrupting the sequence more often than not?
I have been impressed with the recent trend of the over five minute matches to include some nice mat wrestling. Not perfect, but the effort is there and I want to signal out Nikki for her good work recently even if her two encounters with Charlotte seemed to completely dismiss all that good work.
Bex-Plex, Boss Knees, and Alabama Slam on the Ring Apron are just a few things that are distinguishing these ladies from the hair mares and catty slap fights of the past. Like I said, I don’t mind your five moves (if even that many) of doom. Just make them interesting and impactful.
10) You Gotta Separate ‘Em
This is a tricky one as a year ago we hand Cameron, Eva Marie, Rosa Mendez, and Summer Rae (who while competent, never seemed to fit) stinking up the joint when they should have been valets or managers like Lana.
Fast forward to today, and Summer Rae is being passed from man to man like the IC Title in the b.k (before Kevin) days, Cameron is looking competent as she plays kicking bag to Asuka, Eva is an ongoing social experiment, and Rosa is pregnant.
Two very good NXT competitors and Charlotte have been called up and done as much as their limited time has allowed to change perceptions on how a women’s match should be structured.
Lana is the only real, non-wrestler, though rumor has it she was supposed to get her hands dirty prior to an injury. So with Layla retired, we really only have Summer Rae and Lana to keep separate from the competitors and that seems okay for now.
There we go. A year later and not much progress. A few minutes tacked on to the match time, but the vast majority of these matches mean nothing. Every active woman seems to have at least gotten some training now so that’s a plus. We have had a few video packages and talking segments that have inched towards giving the women a chance to sell their stories. The match quality is improving though there are still some curioius decisions on who gets featured in them.
All in all, I’d have to grade WWE a D-. They haven’t failed completely to live up to these standards, but it’s hard to give them anything higher when two Bayley vs Sasha matches have occurred in just the last couple of months and NXT used 1 hour of television to showcase six women in action, give three more mic time, and set up three future matches down the line with some sort of angle. I will never be so much anti-WWE as I am pro WWE can do better; especially when I can watch a few youtube videos of NXT and get excited for where things will go and trudge through a month of Raws and wonder why these guys are still fighting or why aren’t these guys fighting.
That’s it. Maybe next year, WWE might make the grade. Take care and keep supporting good women’s wrestling.