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Extreme Rules highlighted RAW’s poor job with its women’s division

Monday’s Rude Awakening looks at RAW’s women’s division, Extreme Rules, and what’s next for the Hardyz.

We publish a whole lot of content here at Cageside Seats. We’re also [looks around and whispers so the bosses can’t hear] not the only place producing wrestling content on the internet. So, as a service to you on the weekdays, we’ll be producing a wrestling newsletter, "Rude Awakening." Well, it will be a newsletter eventually: for now, it’ll just be part of your experience here at Cageside, collecting the news, recaps, and social moments from the greater wrestling universe daily so you won’t fall behind, with a newsletter format to come.

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It is not hyperbole to suggest that RAW is screwing up with their women’s division. Look no further than Extreme Rules, which featured exactly one women’s match over the course of a three-hour show. Not only that, but it was tied for the shortest affair on the entire card according to Kate Foray’s RAW Breakdown Project: Alexa Bliss and Bayley, in one of the few Extreme Rule matches with extreme rules attached, took up just six percent of the in-ring time of RAW’s June pay-per-view.

To make matters worse, this was a championship match getting out here getting cooldown time, and the match it was tied with was the other one with women (plural!) in it.

Yes, Maryse played a key role in Miz’s victory over Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship, and Alicia Fox’s and Sasha Banks’ roles in the mixed tag match were welcome. Overall, though, this was, as usual, a WWE affair dominated by the presence of men, with the mixed tag and RAW Women’s Championship match combining for the same length of time as the RAW Tag Team Championship match did by itself.

This isn’t an Extreme Rules-only problem. RAW briefly teased additional stories after Alexa initially won the belt from Bayley at Payback, but instead, they forgot entirely about the promising Nia Jax angle to the point that Jax tweeted about SmackDown’s superiority with utilizing their women. Emma and Dana Brooke had an angle going until Emma suffered an injury, but rather than fill the void that created with more women, RAW doubled down on the disappearance of Jax by making Brooke invisible, too.

It’s not that SmackDown is the perfect show for women’s wrestling by any stretch, but RAW somehow can’t find more than minutes at a time for its women despite having a weekly three-hour show, plus a one-hour WWE Network show, 205 Live, attached to it — that’s where Alicia Fox has been living for months now, and it’s where Sasha Banks had to go to find a story. This desperately needs to change: start adding depth, flesh out the women’s division(s), and start giving them the time you seem to have such a difficulty filling with intriguing men’s stories.

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