A year and a half ago, Stephanie McMahon launched what she called the “WWE women’s revolution.” Several call-ups from NXT—Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch—showed up to challenge for the old Divas Championship. Stables were formed, and WWE’s women wrestlers were supposedly thrust into the spotlight.
The effects of the “women’s revolution” were a bit overblown—that is WWE’s job, after all—but the company did begin to promote its women’s division and its women wrestlers as more than just eye candy. Last night, without any fanfare, there was a very real women’s revolution on WWE Raw: A women’s wrestling segment took up the first half hour of the show.
It was an odd episode. There was no update on the WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar, the champ since WrestleMania, wasn’t there, and neither were his top two contenders for the belt, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. They were off nursing injuries from their match the night before, where Strowman pinned Reigns. (Raw GM Kurt Angle said Strowman tore his rotator cuff, which means he’ll be out for a while—if that’s true.)
The show was built around a feud over who would face Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. There were a few cute bits where Ambrose interviewed his potential opponents and threw it back to Gorilla Monsoon or Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. But the way that Raw opened that was the highlight of the show.
Alexa Bliss, who beat Bayley for the Raw women’s championship last week, held a “coronation” ceremony to celebrate the victory. It wasn’t much like Macho King’s coronation so many years ago, but it was very entertaining. Bliss went around the ring and insulted all of her potential opponents. Given time to work on the microphone, Bliss was incredible. Her delivery is as good as anyone on the roster.
The crowd was into it as Bliss’s insults got more and more pointed. It cut off at just the right time: The coronation turned into a brawl when Bliss told Bayley, who lost in her hometown of San Jose the night before, that her family finally had a real role model to look up to. By the end of the segment, you wanted to see everyone fight.
An eight-woman tag team match was hastily organized, and Bliss ended up pinning Bayley after a rake of the eyes and a DDT. The match was fine. The ending was a bit sloppy—the ref looked like he was in position to see the illegal eye rake—but what was interesting about it was its length: The women’s match that opened Raw lasted nearly 14 minutes. It was the second-longest match on the show and it didn’t drag!
The primary men’s championships in WWE are a mess. Lesnar likely won’t defend his title until WWE Great Balls of Fire this summer. Randy Orton, the SmackDown champ, just lost a terrible House of Horrors match to Bray Wyatt. But with Alexa Bliss the champ on Raw and a Naomi-Charlotte Flair feud for the women’s title on SmackDown, the women’s division is where championships have been successfully integrated into storylines. It’s great! If only WWE could give the men’s championships this kind of attention.