The End of Era: The Queen's Crown Tournament Spells the End of a Revolution That Never Was

3:50. Three minutes and fifty seconds. That’s how long it took WWE to stamp out the so-called "women’s revolution". Everything accomplished in 2,259 days since the debuts of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks signaled the beginning of the women’s revolution was disgraced and dismissed in just three minutes and fifty seconds on Smackdown. A couple months I warned that there were signs that WWE was regressing back into Divas Era mentality, and folks we’re here now. What transpired in three minutes and fifty seconds Friday was a clear and convincing sign that the revolution is over, the revolutionaries have been dispatched, and WWE is back to 2008 all over again, except worse and more insulting

People have been clamoring for a Queen of the Ring tournament for long time, at least since the women’s revolution started and it seemed like a realistic possibility. It was really the last thing that the men had but the women did not. A couple months ago it was reported by wrestling media that WWE was finally going to run a Queen of the Ring tourney. When WWE finally announced it themselves though, it became clear that this tournament was different. First, it was called the Queen’s Crown as opposed to the Queen of the Ring. That might seem like a trivial difference on the surface but just below that the implicit message is obvious: the women are less than. They don’t deserve to be called Queen of the Ring so we’ll give them this similar sounding thing even though we don’t view them as equal. Secondly, the finals of this tournament are in Saudi Arabia, one of the worst places on Earth to be a woman. Women barely have any rights at all under that backwards, regressive regime. That’s why Evolution took place. The women couldn’t go to the first Crown Jewel so the all-women’s PPV was a make good. It took WWE a year and half to get the Saudi sports authority to agree to having a women’s match on the card and even then Natalya and Lacey Evans had to wear shirts that were four times too big on them to cover their entire bodies. They might as well have been wearing trash bags yet WWE treated this as major coup and devoted tons of PR to it. This is where the winner of the Queen’s Crown will be determined. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that person can be crowned there. The visual of woman sitting on a throne with a crown and scepter would be too much for the blood-soaked Saudi government to allow. So they’re not being called the Queen of the Ring nor are they going to get a coronation.

The bracket reveal on Smackdown was another indication that this tournament was not being taken all that seriously. The Smackdown side of the bracket featured Zelina Vega vs Toni Storm and Carmella vs Liv Morgan. Carmella and Zelina shouldn’t be any near this tournament. Both of them have done nothing but lose. Carmella alone has lost more matches this year than Toni Storm has had matches on Smackdown and NXT combined! Meanwhile, Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart are both still on the Smackdown roster just doing nothing On the other side of the bracket is Shayna Baszler vs Dana Brooke and Piper Niven vs Natalya. Dana Brooke isn’t a very good wrestler and barely returned to TV from exile last week. Nattie is a Smackdown talent who was only on Raw as half of the women’s tag team champions, a belt she no longer has. Noticeably absent was the Raw women’s champion Charlotte Flair, a woman whose entire gimmick is The Queen. Charlotte’s not currently involved in a title feud so there’s no good reason to for her not to be in the tourney. Imagine the rub someone would get from beating Charlotte in the semifinals but nope.

That brings me to the three minutes and fifty seconds on Smackdown Friday. That three minutes and fifty seconds represents the combined time of both Queen’s Crown tournament matches. Roman Reigns’ entrance lasted longer than three minutes and fifty seconds. It was shameful, disgraceful, and insulting to both the participants and the viewers. This is supposed to be a prestigious first-time tournament, and both matches combined were shorter than the length of most commercial breaks. There’s no justifiable explanation for it especially for a company that has bent over backwards to be applauded for their progressive way of booking women since 2015. Giving the women less than four minutes to wrestle is basically giving people what they wanted in the form of the tourney itself but making it clear that the company doesn’t give a damn about the tournament or anyone it. The borderline criminal match length overshadowed the egregious booking decisions that were made. Zelina Vega and Carmella, both heels and both perennial losers, won their respective matches. Not only were all four women buried by the brevity of the matches, Toni and Liv were further buried by losing to Vega and Carmella. Another result of this is that the semifinal match on Smackdown is between two heels meaning there’s no emotional investment from the fans at all.

This is even worse than the Divas Era which was abominable. During the Divas Era the roster was populated with the likes of Kelly Kelly and Brie Bella. Now there’s Liv Morgan, Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Toni Storm and other women whose talents are or will be squandered by this terrible booking. Just because they weren’t involved don’t think for one minute a Becky Lynch or Bianca Belair are immune to the results of this booking. By booking the bulk of both women’s rosters this way, WWE is ensuring that the top four or five women have no credible challengers and remain in an incestuous pool fighting each other.

The future doesn’t look any better either. Down in NXT 2.0 things have changed for the worse as well. NXT was the leading edge of the women’s revolution. That’s where the Four Horsewomen all got their start in WWE. With the advent of the failing NXT 2.0 rebrand, the women’s division has gone from being centered on talented professional wrestlers like Dakota Kai, Io Shirai, Frankie Monet, and Raquel Gonzalez to Toxic Attraction which is just a knockoff of the Beautiful People from TNA circa 2008. Much like the misogynistic twit Vince Russo shoved Gail Kim and Awesome Kong aside for Angelina Love and Velvet Sky, Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard have shoved aside their talented wrestlers to focus on a one-note, uninspired, past-its-expiration date "mean girls" act. If this is the future of NXT 2.0 than WWE isn’t interested in truly cultivating good women wrestlers.

Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the time and emotional investment fans have put into women’s matches in the six years. At this point it all feels like a lie. They get rid of John Laurinaitis, the misogynistic architect of the Divas Era and start hiring talented female wrestlers and eventually run with this idea of a "women’s revolution". Every step along the way though, with every first came a press release and self-congratulations. For crying out loud, the first women’s Hell in a Cell match was built not around Charlotte, Sasha, or their feud but around the fact that it was the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell. It feels like one giant PR blitz up to and including putting Sasha Banks vs Bianca Belair on last on the first night of WrestleMania this year just so they could say they had two black women in the main event. It’s all over now. Laurinaitis and his misogyny are back in charge of talent relations and the women are getting less than five minutes to wrestle again. Let’s not forget though, John Laurinaitis was gone but his policy of sending released women their belongings in trash bags remained. Just because they put up a good façade of caring about the women onscreen didn’t mean they actually cared about them offscreen. Now at least their onscreen mentality matches the offscreen one. Despite this, despite them laying their feelings for their women’s roster bare for all the world to see, WWE is still promoting Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch as the main event for the special two and a half our Smackdown on FS1 on Friday, a match that will go head-to-head with AEW Rampage on TNT. WWE is blatantly using Sasha and the GOAT to try a notch a victory over their competition. They don’t actually care about the women’s division but they’re willing to use the star power of Sasha Banks and the most over women in the history of WWE to try and get one over on a company that has spent 2021 kicking their ass creatively and in talent relations. It’s akin to a man telling a woman "I don’t want to marry you, I just want to use you for sex". It’s vile and disgusting. Every single woman on that roster should feel devalued after Friday. Us fans of women’s wrestling should feel devalued after Friday. WWE should feel some kind of shame but let’s be real Vince McMahon and WWE have absolutely no shame or sense of decency. They perpetrated the equivalent of a giant Ponzi scheme on their fans for the last six years. It’s time we accept that we’ve been had and move on.

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