Bobby Lashley, Chris Masters

Am I the only one noticing that Bobby Lashley is being branded the way Chris Masters was branded? Last night on Monday Night Raw, Lio Rush compared Lashley to a sculpture. Chris Masters was known as “the Masterpiece,” and often compared to works of art. Am I looking into this too much, or do you think this similarity is on purpose?

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WWE Returns to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.37.50 PMOn November 2, 2018, WWE will return to Saudi Arabia for the Crown Jewel pay-per-view. Last time the company put on a show in Saudi Arabia – The Greatest Royal Rumble, which took place on April 27th this year – WWE’s female superstars were notably missing from the show.

This decision received major backlash, fans critical of the company’s choice of seemingly pressing pause on the Women’s Evolution. Triple H, an executive for the company has been quoted saying, “I understand that people are questioning it, but you have to understand that every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a relevant culture…”

The women’s division has changed tremendously over the last few years. Female superstars are constantly raising the bar for themselves. They have proven themselves to be experts at adapting. They have the ability to shock the audience in a way that I never thought was possible. They are exhibiting pure talent, that for once, is not being so tightly contained.

That is why this decision is such a surprising move for the WWE. Not only are the women being left out once this year – it’s happening again. Twice in the same year. This feels like a step back for the women of the WWE. They have earned their right to compete at every major show the company creates. If the company ever wants to achieve true equality for their women competitors – because, let’s face it, we’re still a long way from that – they need to stand by their women. They need to stand up for their women.

Having one all-women pay-per-view event doesn’t make up for their exclusion at Crown Jewel. It doesn’t make up for their exclusion at WWE Greatest Royal Rumble. It doesn’t make up for the years of abuse and ridicule by the company. Show female superstars that they’re just as important as the men. Show this in your event venues, in your booking choices, in your matchmaking, in your story lines.

Carmella: New Hair, New Attitude

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Fans definitely noticed a change in the Princess of Staten Island’s appearance this past week on Smackdown. ‘Mella has already commented on the look, stating that she “wanted a change” as the reason for going back to her natural brunette hair color. However, after her Truth TV segment this past week with R Truth, the WWE Universe has to be wondering: is there more to Carmella’s new ‘do? Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 5.04.12 PM

Personally, I think Carmella has turned face, and her hair isn’t the only clue. Carmella partnered with R Truth in the Mixed Match Challenge. Truth – whose character interacts with and entertains the audience – is clearly a face. While it isn’t impossible for a heel and a face to team together in the MMC (take Miz & Asuka, for example), the timing seems relevant.

This week on Smackdown, Carmella was the co-host of R Truth’s first and last episode of Truth TV, where she and her tag partner had “7 second dance breaks.” This is a huge character change for her. Since she arrived on the main roster, Carmella has been a textbook heel, callous and apathetic when it comes to what the audience thinks of her. She would rather trash-talk the WWE Universe than make them laugh.

‘Mella was also in Truth’s corner in his match against the Miz, one of the best heels in the WWE today. Most matches are face vs. heel, very black and white, and this match was no different. Carmella being in direct opposition of the heel in this match means something.

Another indication of a face turn can be found in Corey Graves’ commentary. Graves tends to side with heels, and without fail has spoken favorably about Carmella in the past. However, in this past episode of Smackdown, Graves spoke critically about Carmella and Truth’s 7 second dance break.

Only time will tell if Carmella has truly turned face or not. But in the mean time, what do you think? Is the evidence conclusive, or are these coincidences?

NXT Debuts on the Main Roster

In the week following Survivor Series, there were five call-ups from the NXT roster, and one in-ring return. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose shockingly showed up on Monday Night Raw accompanying Paige, who was making her long-awaited, long-debated return to WWE after a neck injury. Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan made an impact the next day on Smackdown Live.

In a time where WWE is struggling to stay afloat, with viewership and ratings constantly dropping, the company is finally doing something right with the women’s division. I am a strong proponent of building and expanding the women’s division to hopefully one day become truly equal to the men’s division. I am talking the same amount of women on the roster, creative and challenging match conditions, and fans whose all-time favorite wrestlers are women. I am elated by the new prospects these women will bring to Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live, and I am thrilled that there are now five more openings on the NXT roster for new female wrestlers to continue to change the scene.

While I am so excited about Morgan, Riot, Deville, Rose, and Logan, I do question why these women were brought up to the main roster. I was expecting the Iconic Duo to debut on Smackdown after Raw’s new additions. However, I do understand that it is rather difficult to transfer talent from NXT to either Raw or Smackdown because the higher-ups do not want to change the atmosphere of NXT. And as fans, we do not want NXT to change either. We want it to remain an intimate, indy-like setting, apart from (but also connected to) WWE.

I have previously expressed my desire to transfer the entire NXT roster onto the main roster and start from scratch with a fresh batch of talent on NXT. But this would be risky, and WWE knows it, which is why all call-ups must be strategic and perfectly timed. NXT must have some of their big names carry the show while introducing and building new characters, until they – and we – are ready for them to pass the torch.