Last night, history was made with the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match. However, the match will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. It was an amazing, breath-taking match that would have gotten my vote for best match on the card – until the end. James Ellsworth unclipping the briefcase and handing it to Carmella was so, so, so cheap. Why are there rules, if the rules can be broken without punishment? The commentators tried to say, “Well, it isn’t technically against the rules…” But it is. Your friend can’t come down the ramp while you have a match against someone, pin your opponent, and try to declare you the winner of the match. A fan can’t hop over the barricade and pin someone and call themselves the winner. You can’t join a match that you were not scheduled for, just because you feel like it, and walk out the winner. That’s not how it works. Sure, it was a no-disqualification match, but there has to be some kind of law and order. WWE fans (I think) believe in fairness. This storyline – although annoying – would have been fine in a regular match, even a pay-per-view match, but the fact that it happened in this first-time-ever match is sad. What fans will remember is the ending, not Charlotte’s corkscrew off the top rope or any of the other equally impressive moves by the women in this match. The controversial ending downplays the rest of the match. Just like making Jinder Mahal champion, I think WWE made this decision for shock-value, and to gain viewers through this method. However, I think more than anything, it makes fans unhappy with the company. We don’t like to be duped. James Ellsworth won the match despite being in the match. If he can do this, doesn’t that mean that superstars can do anything they want? Where does it end?
A few weeks ago, on Halloween, I went to Monday Night Raw. This was my second time attending Raw. The first time was six months prior, at the age of 22. We had fantastic seats, in the third row near the superstar entrance/exit curtain. At the end of the show, as the commentators were leaving, we yelled out Byron and Corey’s names, they heard us and waved. It wasn’t ringside, but that’s how close we were.
As a fan, there is no experience that can compare to seeing a WWE event live. It was truly magical. They put on such a great show. There is so much that you don’t see on your television that goes into producing the show. Even sitting there, you don’t see half the effort taking place backstage. Everyone works so hard – in such a short amount of time in between segments – to make everything perfect. For example, the Cruiserweight matches. Half a dozen people cover the ropes in purple tape during the commercial break. They have to be done with this task in about three or four minutes. At the end of the match, they have another three to four minutes to remove the tape.
When you attend a live show, every match is a good match. You don’t want to miss a second of it. Every competition basically has you on the edge of your seat. You cheer and chant for people you don’t even like. You physically feel the excitement, the crowd, the energy, and the movements of the wrestlers. You feel them get knocked down, you feel their momentum. All of your senses are involved.
A noticeable difference between attending a live event and watching one on TV, is the commentary. You cannot hear the commentators at live events. This may seem obvious for some people, but it came as a surprise to me. Commentary is such a huge part of the experience, and I wish that they could somehow incorporate that into live shows.
Attending a WWE event on Halloween night made it extra special. Enzo and Cass faced The Club in a Halloween Street Fight. Pumpkins, skeletons, and other Halloween decorations were placed around the ring for use. The New Day had a Halloween promo video, but didn’t actually show up to the event.
This episode of Raw was also special because members of the Survivor Series teams were announced. This was also Goldberg’s second WWE appearance in the last twelve years, and we got to see him spear Paul Heyman.
Other notable events: as we were leaving the arena, on our way to catch our bus, a few famous faces drove by us. Michael Cole was in one car, Sasha Banks was in another, and Titus O’Neill was in the third. Michael Cole and Titus O’Neill waved back to us. Sasha looked pissed (this was the night after she lost the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell, and also, she didn’t get any air time on this episode).
Below are some pictures of my boyfriend, his brother, and myself, that I captured from Hulu footage of the event the next day. I’m in the middle, in between the two guys with unicorn horns (my boyfriend and his brother). In the first picture, I’m the one with the blonde hair, with my phone in front of my face, recording Charlotte’s entrance.
The WWE has come a long way in its treatment of its female superstars. Women wrestlers are no longer called Divas, commentators don’t yell “puppies!” whenever a woman walks down the ramp, and their wrestling gear is much less revealing.
The 2016 WWE Draft was majorly significant for the women’s division. The most exciting part of the draft for most people was the integration of the NXT talent. Both Raw and Smackdown acquired female superstars from NXT, including: Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss. That means that half of the NXT acquisitions were women (only six picks came from NXT). It does not get more equal than 50/50.
Charlotte, the WWE Women’s Champion at the time, was chosen in the first round, as Raw’s third overall draft pick. However you feel about Charlotte, this fact is impressive and boundary-breaking. However, I think it says more about the WWE’s changing attitude towards women than about Charlotte herself, although she is very talented. A few months later, Bayley joined the Raw roster. In recent weeks, there have commonly been two women’s matches per episode, even in NXT’s one-hour segment.
Most recently, last night on Monday Night Raw (10/3/2016), Charlotte faced Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship in the MAIN EVENT. While NXT has had women’s matches as the main event, I’m pretty sure this was a first for the flagship show. While I personally believe that despite her loss Charlotte had a better performance last night, this match was career-changing for both women, and industry-changing for the WWE.
On another note, the Champ needs to do something about that hairline.