(Photo Credits: WWE.com)
Earlier this week, WWE’s Chief Branding Officer Stephanie McMahon made an announcement which was considered by many as “ground-breaking”.
McMahon kicked off RAW alongside her husband Triple H and father Vince McMahon and announced the first ever “all women’s pay-per-view” titled “EVOLUTION”. Emotionally charged speeches were delivered by both Stephanie and Triple H that brought many female Superstars to tears.
However, this wasn’t a standalone event. There have been multiple instances when the couple has shown their gratitude towards their female athletes in the recent past. Everything has sort of built to this.
Since 2015, this Women’s Revolution has been one of WWE’s major projects. In the past three years, women’s wrestling has come a long way in the WWE and they have reminded us about it time and again.
Sadly, one can’t help but point out that this came at a time when society is already brimming with genuinely empowering movements and women all around the world have made their way to the top of the food chain.
One can’t help but ask why a billion dollar company such as the WWE didn’t adapt to this status quo much earlier? Why wait for so long to make efforts towards the empowerment of women in a historically misogynistic business?
Why only do so when the movement is at its peak?
Fans have been rallying for a change in the portrayal of women in the WWE for a lot longer than the advent of the “#GiveDivasAChance” movement. For them to only listen to these voices when they were sure that it’d certainly be profitable for their company comes across as rather opportunistic.
A legend in the business and a former WWE Women’s Champion Gail Kim also had a similar take on this sudden revolution.
“WWE always thinks in a business mindset. For them, they are thinking, ‘ok this woman’s revolution is becoming hot, Ronda Rousey, this ‘Me Too’ movement’; so of course to be honest I’m going to say this, because I’ve said it on Twitter, Stephanie (McMahon) could have been fighting for us a long time ago.
She was there every single time I worked there and she had zero interest in fighting for the women back then. So, for them, everything is business motivated.”
And Gail Kim, of all people, would know. Vince McMahon was really very hesitant about bringing her in to his company. Apparently, he believed that the guys wouldn’t be interested in her because she was Asian…until Jim Ross explained how Asian girls were “popular among the guys” with an example of Asian pornographic sites.
Such instances can be found in abundance throughout WWE’s history.
Women in WWE have always been presented as eye-candy to its male centric demographic – a concept that is still pretty evident in today’s “progressive” product.
For instance, take Ellsworth technically being the winner of the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. In theory, he was used to gain organic heel heat for Ellsworth and Carmella but the whole shindig ended up landing the WWE in a very tough spot.
Especially because the event was reminiscent of the Miss WrestleMania battle royal from WrestleMania 25, which was won by Santino Marella in disguise.
And the shallowness of it all doesn’t end there too.
Many opine that the Evolution event is only being held this year because WWE is trying to make up for their Saudi Arabian mega event from earlier on, where the women weren’t even allowed to travel to the country.
WWE received a lot of criticism for this and their response to it was an assurance that the women will be booked to wrestle there sometime in the future. In short, it was another useless excuse to get themselves out of a spot – albeit one that reportedly yielded more money than Wrestlemania does.
Which is all that is actually boils down to in the WWE. The moolah.
When a movement makes business sense, the WWE adopts it with gusto, pretending that that’s what they always stood for. But this latest cause that they’ve chosen to champion, falls as flat on closer examination as JBL discussing the anti-bullying campaign.
On paper, there may be a women’s revolution in the WWE. But only if you’re cute, blonde, willing to go under the knife and marketable. In other words, business metrics have taken over JR’s voice in Vince McMahon’s ear and convinced him that there is money to be had by promoting a certain type of woman – while pretending to champion women’s empowerment to the larger public.
And as long as that is a true basis for the WWE’s cause, there will never be a true revolution, let alone Evolution.
And the company’s questionable history will always be a hindrance for their current attempts at a progressive product because everything they do will only serve to paper over the cracks.