Just as last year, there is more talk than ever about the possibility of WWE having a women’s Royal Rumble match at the upcoming 2018 event.
Over the past few weeks, there’s been an increasing number of back-and-forth reporting that it’s both a guarantee to happen as well as something that isn’t even on the table to be discussed – translation: no one knows except WWE, but let’s keep saying there’s news because people are interested in the topic.
The fact that people are talking about it, positive or negative, means there’s a chance it can happen, and if that’s the case, there’s a possibility it can both be a success or a failure.
If it were to happen, just what does that entail? What are the pros and cons to weigh against each other and how should WWE go about setting the match up?
Let’s just boil some of this argument down into the fundamental elements of the logistics of a women’s Royal Rumble match next month.
The Elephant in the Room – The Women’s Revolution
First, we have to address the “why”, which pretty much only needs the response of “why not?”
If all things are considered equal, there’s no reason why the women shouldn’t have a Royal Rumble match, too, right?
After all, there are two primary titles for the men, two primary titles for the women, and they are supposed to be on par with one another, so for one side to be factored in while the other one isn’t makes it seem like the women’s division is still a side act.
Granted, everyone knows that when push comes to shove, everyone knows that the cruiserweights, the tag teams, NXT entirely, and everything else save for the main event men are never going to be the bread and butter, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try to present things evenly.
WWE is finally at a state where women’s matches can be in the main event and it doesn’t feel forced or strange, but natural and justified most of the time and with the addition of gimmick matches that pair with the men’s, more steps are taken to legitimize the equality of the whole thing.
It’s hard to argue against why that is a positive, so this is an easy check in the pro-column, as 2018 is going to continue the trend of forward thinking and we might as well kick things off with a bang.
Crunching the Numbers: Time and Talent
Okay, so you want to do a women’s Royal Rumble match, which means the next step you have to do is figure out if you technically can do one, now that the ideologies are aligned.
Since its inception, the Royal Rumble has gone through numerous changes when it comes to the structure, starting with 20 competitors, moving up to 30, and even jumping to 40 in 2011 for some reason.
30 has become the standard, so we can assume that will be the case going forward, meaning there should be 30 women involved in this, too.
However, before we continue with that assumption, it’s important to remember how flexible WWE is with gimmicks. Sometimes, a stipulation can be added or taken away just to fit that event’s setup and we tend to accept them with little uproar.
With that in mind, WWE can easily make this a 20-woman battle royal instead of a 30-woman edition as we would all expect, particularly if it comes down to a timing issue.
Alternatively, the space between entrants can always be adjusted from 90 seconds to 60 seconds, as it was in 1995.
While this made for a somewhat hectic pacing, it’s a way for WWE to get two Royal Rumble matches on the card and not cannibalize the entire show’s time frame, even though we know they’re working with a 4-hour window on the main show alone, 2 hours for a pre-show and an unlimited amount of overrun if necessary.
But let’s go big or go home and just stick with the 30 women at the 90 second rate. Does WWE even have the resources to be able to pull that off?
Actually, given a little leeway, there’s room to spare.
As it stands right now, there are 22 women on Raw and SmackDown LIVE, including the two champions who would obviously be taken out of this match. More on that later.
Those 20 available women are joined by a field of 19 potentials from NXT, along with two more if you count Zelina Vega and Ember Moon. There’s nothing stopping Ember Moon from being in the match as NXT champion as she has every right to challenge for the Raw or SmackDown LIVE title, and there’s nothing stopping Zelina Vega from stepping in the ring as a wrestler instead of a manager.
Some of those 19 names are people who aren’t very well seasoned like Xia Li and Kavita Devi, but there are others like The Iconic Duo, Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross and Dakota Kai who know what they’re doing and will need to be showcased to the more casual viewer down the line anyway, so why not let them get a taste of the spotlight here, even if they’re a quick elimination?
Then, there’s also the potential to bring in part-timers who wrestled in the Mae Young Classic, but aren’t officially signed to a contract, like Jazzy Gabert, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae and Mercedes Martinez.
If you think bringing in outsiders is too strange, don’t forget about how there were plenty of Royal Rumbles in the past that did the exact same thing with wrestlers from NWA, AAA, CMLL and so on. Just look at who comprised the ’95 and ’97 events for proof.
Basically, WWE can opt to go with 15, 20, or 30 women, and they have a pool of roughly 50 women to draw from in order to pull that off, but they really only need between 10 and 12 more to accompany the main roster women, depending on…
What do you do with the champions?
It would be just weird for the champions of Raw and SmackDown LIVE to be in the Royal Rumble, so unless any new title holders are crowned, we should count Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair out of the match.
What do you do with them instead then?
Well, you have two options: 1) Two singles title defenses, or 2) They don’t wrestle on the card.
In scenario A, just pick two opponents for them, dwindling down the numbers to 18 on the main roster and 12 necessary from NXT. That’s more than doable.