In the wake of Mr. McMahon’s earth-shattering announcement that next week will feature a Superstar Shake-up, competitors on both Raw and SmackDown LIVE are wondering which brand they’ll call home when all is said and done.
Arguably, the Women’s division will be impacted the most from the Shake-up. Since the Brand Extension Draft last July, the two-brand system has helped propel the Women’s Revolution to a whole a new level of success, but which brand is better for the future of female competition moving forward?For the Women’s division, SmackDown LIVE is the brand of opportunity
Ever have that overriding, intangible sensation when you walk into a room and you can just feel the uncanny amount of passion, grit and sacrifice that it’s filled with?
That, without question, is precisely the atmosphere that’s been created at SmackDown LIVE, a brand that has served as an incredible environment for the advancement of the women’s locker room. With that in mind, every female competitor should be hoping that they will be a member of the SmackDown LIVE Women’s division when the dust settles after next week’s Superstar Shake-up.
Since the Brand Extension this past summer, SmackDown LIVE has been the destination for the best the Women’s Revolution has to offer. Team Blue touts itself as the land of opportunity, and quite simply, the treatment of the Women’s division is proof and parcel of that fact.
“Our women are all featured all the time,” two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss said. “We have such a strong division — we don’t have a weak link. And we’ve been given the opportunity to show multiple times that our women can showcase and showcase well. The overall philosophy of the show is definitely going to allow us to bring this revolution to the next level.”
And what a philosophy it is. The blue brand has never been afraid to allow its women to carry the ball and operate on the same level as their male contemporaries. SmackDown LIVE’s female Superstars have innovated and delivered in equal measure, as fans have witnessed everything from a SmackDown Women’s Championship Steel Cage Match main event between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch to a raucous Falls Count Anywhere bout between Nikki Bella and Natalya that left the WWE Universe buzzing.
Natalya reflected on what the women have done on SmackDown LIVE and does not mince words on how the energy and general underdog nature of the brand has helped move them forward.
“We’re just better,” The Queen of Hart(less) said. “We have this energy about us [that] we can conquer anything. We’re like the little engine that could. When [your show] has this underdog vibe, that is the uprising that people just bite onto.”
It’s notable that the smaller roster size of Team Blue has played into its success. The women get a real opportunity to be the focal point of SmackDown LIVE week after week, and because of that, a focal point of the WWE Universe’s reaction to the show.
Perhaps the greatest reflection of this idea came on the Feb. 21 edition of SmackDown LIVE, where the Women’s division commanded most of the two-hour show: Naomi had to relinquish the SmackDown Women’s Championship due to injury in a heart-wrenching address to the WWE Universe, Bliss edged Lynch to claim the vacated title and Natalya bested Nikki in the previously mentioned Falls Count Anywhere Match.
Raw Women’s Champion Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax rocked WrestleMania 33’s Raw Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way Match, but SmackDown LIVE has offered so many fresh matchups and new Superstars. The Women’s division overall is the strongest it’s ever been, but the core of that strength resides on SmackDown LIVE, an environment that will continue to breed success for whichever women are a part of Team Blue after next week’s Superstar Shake-up — period. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
As WWE’s flagship show, Raw is the place where the Women’s division reaches the next level
A polite word, first, for the competition: SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s division has come alive in a way that even the most optimistic of the WWE Universe probably didn’t expect. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan have taken comeback kids (Nikki Bella, Mickie James), experienced veterans (Natalya), momentous young talent (Becky Lynch, Naomi) and raw, untested prospects (Alexa Bliss, Carmella) and turned those ingredients into a potpourri of tremendously entertaining, compelling television. Kudos.
That being said, the Women’s Revolution has always been about breaking boundaries. And when there are boundaries to be broken and taboos to be dispelled, you always, always — before and after the Superstar Shake-up — look to Raw.
“We did a Falls Count Anywhere Match,” Charlotte Flair said of the opportunities that Team Red has offered herself and Sasha Banks. “We main-evented Raw three different times, we main-evented a pay-per-view, [and] we were in the first-ever [Women’s] Hell in a Cell Match.”
Apart from those historic matches, the three-hour Raw is a brand where a Superstar can truly receive maximum exposure and where the WWE Universe will whole-heartedly embrace a dynamic persona.
Case in point, the emergence of Bayley and Nia Jax, a universally beloved underdog and a pure powerhouse, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the Women’s division in a long time. The Huggable One, in particular, has struck a prescient chord both in the audience and the locker room as one of the most unconventional and respected champions since Daniel Bryan. The net total of all of this leaves Raw as the go-to destination for WWE viewers who prefer their history to be made on a weekly basis, a distinction that’s unlikely to change no matter who ends up traded to SmackDown LIVE in the imminent Shake-up.
“Our Raw Women’s division has put on some of the greatest matches in WWE history,” said Nia Jax, who challenged for the division’s championship at WrestleMania along with Charlotte and Sasha.
And while each Superstar interviewed acknowledged the intrigue of the SmackDown LIVE ladies’ locker room and the mutual benefits the two shows provide each other, they were quick to say that Team Red sets the tone.
“It’s actually crazy to think if you sit around and think about it; we’re equal to [the men],” Banks said of the Raw women’s main-event status, which is something SmackDown LIVE has yet to replicate. (They did, however, smash one taboo Raw missed out on: The first-ever Women’s Tables Match.)
With Emma’s return, Alicia Fooooox shaking things up by splitting time between Raw and 205 Live and who knows what else on the horizon, the stage is set for the women’s various goals — Sasha threw out tag team titles; Nia advocated for a Women’s main event at WrestleMania — to be realized. Given SmackDown’s current reputation as a proving ground, it stands to reason that the ladies of Team Red might be getting that nod first, though few went so far as to call the women of Team Blue their outright rivals.
“Any kind of competition is healthy competition,” said an ironically diplomatic Charlotte.
But given that the Superstar Shake-up will likely feature some crisscrossing within the division’s members, it’s both fair and expected that some Team Blue members would want to jump over to the flagship. SmackDown LIVE may be the show where opportunities are given, but Raw is the show where those opportunities bear fruit. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Which brand do you think is better for the future of the Women’s division?
SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi def. Alexa Bliss.
Wasting no time to invoke her one-on-one rematch clause for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, Alexa Bliss took on the newly christened champion Naomi, who captured the title at The Showcase of the Immortals.
In the subsequent showdown, the only two-time SmackDown Women’s Champions furiously pursued the victory. Although Bliss had her moments where she shined bright, The Wicked Witch of WWE felt the glow when Naomi defeated her with the same submission move she used to capture the SmackDown Women’s Title at The Ultimate Thrill Ride.
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Becky Lynch vs. Carmella ended in a no contest
Becky Lynch and Carmella tried to settle their personal score before shifting their focus to the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match at The Ultimate Thrill Ride.
However, the opportunity to unleash some aggression was not lost on SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss or Mickie James – both doing guest commentary for the match. When the sparks began to fly between all four Superstars, Daniel Bryan pivoted the action into a tag team match, pitting Lynch and James against Bliss and The Princess of Staten Island.
Alexa Bliss & Carmella def. Becky Lynch & Mickie James
With the four feisty Superstars now competing in a tag team match, a degree of uncertainty still loomed over the proceedings, as Natalya had now made her way out to the announce table to observe the action. Though all four opponents were clearly ready for WrestleMania and looking to make a statement, The Queen of Hart(less) interjected herself into the match. With the referee distracted, James Ellsworth tripped up Lynch, allowing Carmella to pick up the victory.
After the contest, the Superstars went at it again, but they would only be able to get their licks in for so long, as Naomi returned to SmackDown LIVE and cleared the ring in a shocking moment! The former SmackDown Women’s Champion then pronounced that she would be entering the SmackDown Women’s Title Match at WrestleMania and that everyone would be feeling the GLOW!
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SmackDown LIVE Fallout, March 28, 2017
Who will step-up en route to the SmackDown Women’s Title free-for-all at The Show of Shows?
At WrestleMania, every available woman on the SmackDown LIVE roster will challenge SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. With the illustrious title so close to the fingertips of the entire division, it’s no wonder that Becky Lynch’s match against Carmella descended into a blue brand free-for-all last Tuesday night.
This week, The Irish Lass Kicker will once again take on The Princess of Staten Island. But will the result be any different? Find out on Tuesday if bedlam once again takes hold in this high-stakes prelude to WrestleMania.
WWE has announced a WWE Live tour of Latin America, with events in Puerto Rico, Panama and Costa Rica in June, as well as Chile and the first-ever WWE Live Event in Argentina in October. Tickets for all four events are available starting Monday, 3 April.
The WWE Live Latin America Tour schedule will consist of:
San Juan, Puerto Rico: Coliseo De Puerto Rico, Thursday, 8 June, 2017 – tickets available at www.ticketpop.com starting 10 a.m. local time Monday, 3 April
Panama City, Panama: Roberto Duran Arena, Saturday, 10 June, 2017 – tickets available at panatickets.com starting 10 a.m. local time Monday, 3 April
San José, Costa Rica: Anfiteatro Coca Cola – Parque Viva, Sunday, 11 June, 2017 – tickets available at www.boleteria.cr starting 10 a.m. local time Monday, 3 April
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Luna Park, Thursday, 19 October, 2017 – tickets available at www.ticketportal.com.ar starting 8 a.m. local time Monday, 3 April
These dates join the event in Santiago, Chile, where the WWE Live Latin America Tour concludes at the Movistar Arena on Saturday, 21 October. Tickets are available now at www.puntoticket.com.
“WWE is excited to bring the electrifying atmosphere of WWE Live to Argentina for the first time, and to return to Latin America, giving WWE fans the chance to see their favorite Superstars live,” said Joaquin Del Rivero, Vice President & General Manager, WWE LatAm. “WWE will deliver the same non-stop, family-friendly entertainment to our passionate fan base that they know and love from our TV programming and WWE Network.”
Fans attending WWE Live can see their favorite WWE Superstars in action, including AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, The Miz, Bray Wyatt and many more.*
WWE Live is presented in partnership with Move Concerts, Latin America’s premier promoter of concerts and live events.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss is in for the title defense of her life at WrestleMania.
Per the order of General Manager Daniel Bryan, “every available woman on the SmackDown LIVE roster” will have an opportunity to seize Bliss’ title Sunday, April 2, on The Grandest Stage of Them All. In light of the champion’s inability to identify even a single contender she would be willing to face, Bryan’s ruling appears to be the exact opposite of what Alexa had in mind for her WrestleMania dance card. naugural SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, former Divas Champion Natalya and six-time champion Mickie James have all stated their intentions of enjoying a golden WrestleMania moment. In Lynch, Bliss has a familiar rival; in Natalya, a submission sorceress; and in James, a decorated former ally who is eager to return to the top of the division.
Carmella lacks WWE titles on her resume, but The Princess of Staten Island, another challenger, is not short on vicious outbursts, underhanded tactics or James Ellsworth’s help, any of which could serve her well in her WrestleMania debut.
The pool of potential challengers might not end there, either. Could other female Superstars from SmackDown LIVE, which Bryan calls a “land of opportunity,” enter the fray between now and April 2?
Even though this isn’t the WrestleMania match she hoped for, the fiery champion won’t fall easily. Bliss’ hair-trigger temper would prompt a charging bull to change course, and with her back against the wall, it’s frightening to think what WWE’s Wicked Witch could resort to.
Can Alexa Bliss make it out of the Orlando Citrus Bowl as the SmackDown Women’s Champion? Watch at WrestleMania, airing live on the award-winning WWE Network Sunday, April 2, at a special start time of 7 ET/4 PT, to find out.
Alexa Bliss hosted SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s Division “Blissertation”
With Mickie James by her side, SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss addressed the WWE Universe with a self-titled “Blissertation” in hopes of announcing her opponent for WrestleMania … but then, right after declaring herself the greatest female Superstar on the entire SmackDown LIVE roster, seemingly everything went wrong for the Wicked Witch of WWE.First, Becky Lynch interrupted to say that she would be the one to defeat Bliss for the title at WrestleMania, then Natalya arrived to imply the same and finally Mickie piped up to say that she too expected Bliss to call her name for the opportunity, which didn’t exactly seem to be what the SmackDown Women’s Champion had in mind.This all prompted SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan to arrive on the scene to make sense of the developing chaos. Much to Bliss’ chagrin, the “YES!” Man announced that because she perceived herself to be the best of the bunch on SmackDown LIVE, she would defend the title against every available woman on the roster at The Show of Shows. Bryan then doubled down and channeled soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Theodore Long, making a tag team match pitting Lynch & Natalya against Bliss & James.
Alexa Bliss & Mickie James def. Becky Lynch & Natalya
The four Superstars wasted no time getting into the heat of the action, as Lynch, James and Natalya basked in the knowledge that they were now WrestleMania-bound.
Bliss & Mickie’s alliance seemed to pay dividends in the early portions of the contest with the two using their familiarity with one another to gain an edge. Natalya and Lynch fought back, but the tide shifted when Natalya turned on The Irish Lass Kicker, giving James & Bliss the chance to capitalize. James attempted to pin the fallen Lynch, but Bliss would blind tag herself in to score the victory.
Seemingly tired of the poor treatment from Bliss over the course of the evening, James blasted the SmackDown Women’s Champion in the face with a Mick Kick after the match.
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