Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw will see Roman Reigns face Bobby Lashley to determine who faces Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, as well as I’m sure a variety of content both good and bad, but the most interesting story going into this edition is the vague promotion that Stephanie McMahon will make an appearance to “deliver a historic announcement”.
Patience is a virtue, and the answer to what that announcement is will be most likely answered in just a few hours, but as wrestling fans, screw that. Let’s speculate, worry about things, jump to conclusions, get our hopes up, boost our anxiety levels and sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the news of what this all means.
Before we find out, I figured it would be worthwhile to address some of the scuttlebutt I’ve seen surrounding this story and I provide possible options I feel have been tossed out there the most (from my experience, at least) regarding what this could all entail.
Option A: An All-Women’s Pay-Per-View Event
When the Greatest Royal Rumble event happened and not a single woman was on the card, it caused an uproar, as it flew in the face of all the efforts WWE has been making with trying to build the women’s division as an equal to the men’s.
“Some Women’s Revolution” was the thought process, and it’s hard not to see why that criticism came about. Putting aside cultural differences, this was a show where no woman was allowed to participate, which just felt wrong in multiple ways.
Since then, there has consistently been buzz about how WWE would make it up to the women on the roster, either by giving them a random payday or doing something special to counterbalance this event.
With TLC moving from October to December, kicking Clash of Champions out of the event schedule and leaving an open gap, there’s a very strong chance Stephanie McMahon’s announcement will be news that that there will be a pay-per-view coming up that will feature only women.
This would ideally take place after the Mae Young Classic, set to go down August 8th and 9th, and if so, we can presume it would be a co-branded event that would also feature women from NXT, the WWE Performance Center, and possibly a return of legends and people from both the 2017 and 2018 Mae Young Classic tournaments.
My point of view is very positive about this. I think it’s not only fair, but it’s also a sign of good faith for the future, as well as a good test to see just how popular the women in WWE are.
If the event draws a high attendance and viewership, more opportunities will be awarded to the women’s division. If it comes up short, WWE will at least have put on a show for good faith and will get quality test info back on what was received well and what wasn’t, so they can tweak things going forward, or possibly even slow down on the push if need be.
Outside of the logistics behind booking the event like finding the arena and the time to do it and such, I think this would be nothing but a positive, and I’m hoping this is the announcement.
Option B: Women’s Tag Team Championship Titles
This rumor seems to be getting just as much, if not more buzz, than the pay-per-view concept.
Frankly, I absolutely hate it, and I hope it’s not the truth.
I can’t see how this would make any sense, for multiple reasons, not the least of which being how WWE can’t find the focus to put all of the current titles on every pay-per-view, as the tag team and cruiserweight divisions have been ignored here and there recently.
How is another set of titles going to make that situation better?
Also, you JUST got rid of Clash of Champions — the event that was billed as being “special” because it was where every title would be defended on the card!
The brand split makes this a bad idea, too, as it means Raw will have a champion, SmackDown LIVE will have a champion, and there will be a set of tag team champions that either go between the shows — blurring the lines between brands — or only one of the shows will have tag champions.
Or, God forbid, there will be a Raw Women’s Tag Team Championship and a SmackDown Women’s Tag Team Championship, which is even bigger of a mistake, as there aren’t anywhere close to as many women as needed to pull that off.
Even worse, I’ve heard people clamoring for a Women’s Intercontinental/United States Championship creation — and, believe it or not, some people talking about how there should be a women’s world champion on one brand, a women’s mid-card champion on another brand, and women’s tag team champions co-branded.
That is a mess that negates the purpose of a Raw/SmackDown LIVE distinction for no good reason whatsoever.
If there is a tag team championship created for the women in WWE, I fear it will be a dead idea very soon after its inception.
Option C: A Women-Only Brand
Not too long ago, we had Raw and SmackDown LIVE as two shows that were one unified entity, but WWE has not only split them up, but also added NXT, 205 Live, and now NXT U.K. to the mix.
At some point, it seems almost inevitable that there will be a brand that focuses solely on the women’s division and nothing more.
Don’t ask me to think of what that brand would be called. I have no ideas in mind of what would be a good title for that show that wouldn’t sound ridiculous, derogatory, contrived or just downright stupid, like Roar or Revolution or whatever.
However, I’m not entirely opposed to the idea, if the right elements combine.
I don’t think now is the right timing — especially since the Fox deal doesn’t go into effect until next year, and that would be a better option for launching a new program on FS1 or something — nor do I think this is the best idea when it comes to utilizing talent.
If the women are put onto a separate brand, it would stand to make sense that they wouldn’t be on Raw or SmackDown LIVE, as that’s what happened with 205 Live. However, that doesn’t make sense as far as viewership, as it alienates audiences from seeing any women unless they watch that specific show, which will be hard to get them to do.
Then again, if women are pulling double duty, when do you record the episodes? How do you bring in talent on flights and balance out schedules? What happens when this speeds up the injury timetable and more women get injured from working more dates?
In the future, this is something that I think needs to be experimented with, but I don’t think WWE is equipped to pull this off right now, even if it’s more likely than ever before.
Option D: Something Regarding Brock Lesnar and/or Baron Corbin and/or Kurt Angle
What if it’s nothing to do with the women’s division at all?
I know the likelihood of that is slim, as Stephanie McMahon seems to focus a lot on these announcements on things like the women’s Royal Rumble and such, but she’s not a one-trick pony.
She’s still the commissioner of Raw, and she’s been having Constable Corbin act as a representative of her for the past few weeks.
Perhaps she is going to do something on her own, instead of acting through her vessel, and will be announcing something regarding Brock Lesnar’s contract status to counteract Kurt Angle’s authority on Raw.
After all, Brock Lesnar has been positioned as Vince McMahon’s bread and butter, so why wouldn’t Stephanie McMahon be in the same boat, wanting to make Brock Lesnar happy at the expense of everyone else?
Naturally, I’m leaning more toward this being an angle for the women’s division, but I don’t think we should count this out at all, and I’m surprised it isn’t getting more traction out there as far as rumors.
Option E: The End of the Brand Split
The idea that I believe perhaps the least in, save for the Women’s Intercontinental Championship concept, is that Stephanie McMahon will be announcing the official separation of the brand split.
SummerSlam is one of the biggest events of the year, and if a big angle were to be going down, this could be one of the times WWE would build it around.
I don’t buy it for one second, though, for many reasons.
First, if that was the case, why wouldn’t WWE have just pulled the trigger at Backlash with the co-branded events?
You could maybe argue that they wanted to do a few test runs to see if the shared shows would garner more views, saw it as a success, and want to go full-steam, but while that makes sense, I counter it with another question.
Why, then, is Paige announcing a contender to AJ Styles’ WWE Championship while we’re setting up someone to fight Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, the Raw and SmackDown LIVE women’s titles seem to be pretty locked, and there’s no effort in separating the tag titles, either?
Also, why would WWE do this now, after Money in the Bank, and at SummerSlam, rather than at Survivor Series? That event had a champion vs. champion theme, and if any time of the year would be better to unify titles, that would be the best time to do it — particularly after the removal of Clash of Champions to follow it in December!
I put absolutely zero stock into this gossip whatsoever, and I’ll be beyond shocked if anything like this were to be announced on Raw tonight.
Gun to my head, I think we’re getting the tag titles announcement, but I’m really hoping it’s just the women’s pay-per-view. I think that’s the smarter play and the one that creates only positives, rather than problems.