The WWE recently decided to make Monday Night Raw a three hour show. In part due to issues related to roster depth, an unexpected effect of the move has been an increase in match length, trickling down from segments with main eventers to the undercard, allowing a number of opportunities for marginal talents to re-connect with fans and enjoy a bit of the spotlight.
No one can use this chance for a fresh start more than the WWE's women's division. Technically known as the Divas, these female superstars are typically a lowlight of any show they're on, with weak and/or non-existent storylines and short, borderline-unwatchable matches put on by women who's backgrounds are more suited for professional cheerleading or fitness modeling than professional wrestling. It doesn't need to be this way, though. With a few tweaks, the Divas could go from being a joke that stopped being funny years ago to a legitimate asset to the company. Here's how.
Copy What Works - WWE is out of TNA's league when it comes to fan reaction and funding, but one area where the fledgling promotion has always beaten the WWE is their women's division. TNA's ratings have traditionally been pretty weird, mostly as a result of non-sensical storylines and a title picture made up of old guys and youngsters who never seem to win. Their women's division, though, has been a brightspot for the company, frequently posting the highest ratings of the night and having numerous great matches. The formula is simple - TNA gives their women storylines and hires women who are attractive - something most in-shape girls can be with a decent stylist and outfit - but who can wrestle as well as any man. Their women are also far sexier than the WWE's - whereas all of the WWE girls look like fitness models, the TNA ones, while not fat, have some semblance of curves and wear slightly more provocative outfits.
Hire Women Who Can Wrestle - Spin it however you like, at the end of the day, wrestling fans want to see wrestling. Having a wrestling match with poor wrestlers insults the fans, and while Joe Average might like to see two swimsuit models catfight it out, wrestling fans want to see women actually wrestle.
Let the Women Wrestle - Divas matches are typically short and simple, and that's just not enough. Get two good workers in the ring and let them go at it for 10 minutes, and don't prevent them from doing moves that look like they'd hurt. It also wouldn't be out of the question to have extreme rules matches for the Divas, too, as crowds have been so desensitized to the women's division that someone who takes the kind of bumps the men do could breakout as a fan favorite just by virtue of being different. This could also build the Divas championship up so that it actually means something, possibly even leading to more pay per view buys and viewers.
Understand the Audience - Shocking as it may be, roughly 40% of the audience for Monday Night Raw can't pee standing up. Women like sports, both competing in them and watching them, and there's no reason that the WWE shouldn't give them superstars who they can cheer and relate to. These women also aren't going to look like or relate to a swimsuit model. Young women in this day and age have tattoos and piercings and random dye jobs and stuff - how are they supposed to connect performers who all look like different ethnic versions of Barbie, with the exact same bottled tans and showbiz hair styles. This might be the ideal of beauty for Vince McMahon, but these women aren't interesting or even that attractive to people in their 20's.
Don't Let Looks Overshadow Talent - Hot chicks come in a lot of shapes and sizes, but it's important to keep in mind that women's wrestling isn't just about sex appeal. Not everyone needs to be model hot, and even if someone's not, she'll still be able to win fans over if she's a talented worker and good on the mic.
So there you go, a watchable Divas Division. Unfortunately, the WWE will most likely never get behind their female performers, if only due to the sexism of the old-timey men running the company. But really, if they ever actually did it, the returns could be enormous. New fans, a better product, more pay per view buys, and even more merchandise as a result of an increase in fan interest. What more could they want?