State of the WWE Women's Division (Smackdown) September 2021

The GOAT is back and atop the women’s division and yet September was another rough month for the Smackdown women’s division. Seriously on Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard can ruin a Becky Lynch title run. After her not-very-heelish first promo back as the new Smackdown women’s champion and newly minted heel on the last Smackdown in August, Becky kicked off September by lathering, rinsing, and repeating most of the same promo from the week before once again only being heelish in her refusal to give Bianca a title match that night. Someone in the back realized that Becky wasn’t getting over as heel (the cheers from the fans was probably a good clue) so they decided to go a different route. For the contract signing the following week Becky Lynch came out wearing an over-the-top garish red fur coat that looked like she’d skinned Gossomer of the Looney Tunes and cut a "you people" promo on the fans. They had the most over woman in WWE history cut a "you people" promo. If you have to go that far and stoop that low, to get the cheapest of cheap heat, perhaps the heel turn wasn’t a good idea. Nonetheless they continued leaning into this absurdly over-the-top version of Becky (nothing remotely like Roman Reigns whom she says inspired her). The September 17 edition of Smackdown featured a special homecoming segment for Bianca Belair in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee hosted by Mayor Kane. Naturally Becky interrupted the segment and because it’s WWE, laid out Bianca in her hometown. On the Extreme Rules go-home show last Friday, Bianca finally got one up on Becky laying her out with the KOD. When it came match time though, the bad booking was sat aside (mostly) and the GOAT and the EST did GOAT and EST things, having really good match particularly for Becky given that it was her match since last year’s WrestleMania. The finish however not only ruined the match but highlighted why everything that’s happened since Summerslam was a horrible idea. Sasha Banks, cleared for the last couple weeks at least, made her return, breaking up the match and causing a DQ. By default she also inserted herself into the Becky/Bianca feud. I can’t fault Sasha. She technically has a claim on the title seeing as how she didn’t get her match at Summerslam. I fault WWE creative. All of this could’ve been avoided if they’d just been honest and not false advertised the Sasha/Bianca match. Announce that Sasha was out of the match on go-home to Summerslam and have match to determine her replacement. Becky could’ve gone to Raw, which desperately needs her, instead of Smackdown. As it stands now, the very incestuous women’s title scene will continue to be monopolized by the Horsewomen and the occasional woman who manages to get over (Alexa Bliss, inexplicably Nia Jax, and now Bianca) while the Liv Morgans and Toni Storms of the world twiddle their thumbs.

Speaking of Liv, she was involved in what technically a secondary women’s feud with Carmella. I say technically because the feud had no substance (much like Carmella’s character) and little build. It almost felt like a throwaway match on the Extreme Rules card but at least Liv won.

Maybe the best story going in either women’s division isn’t a full-fledged story yet. Naomi spent all of September trying to get Sonya DeVille to give her a match only for DeVille to repeatedly blow her off. It certainly feels like it’s leading to a Naomi/Sonya match but with WWE you never know. They could just be killing time. Still the consistency of character in these brief scenes each week and what feels like building up to something meaningful is a rarity in either women’s division so credit where its due I suppose.

Let’s breakdown the rest of the division

Toni Storm

Toni Storm had a deeply disappointing September. She was given the ridiculous nickname of the "Wild Child of the 80s" despite being born in the 90s all because her mother was in a Motley Crue video. She did get to wrestle her first match since July teaming with Liv Morgan to face Zelina Vega and Carmella. Unfortunately the match ended in account when Carmella feigned a broken nose.

Zelina Vega

My personal feelings for Zelina aside, she was absolutely done dirty. She was scheduled to have a match on the Smackdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City the day before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in which her father lost his life. The match was cut for time. Edge and Seth Rollins went over 30 mins, but they couldn’t be bothered to give Zelina a match in her hometown 24hrs before she had to relive the most traumatic day in her life. It’s just scummy for no reason. The following week she took part in the aforementioned tag match and then got inexplicable win over Liv Morgan last Friday ahead of Liv’s match with Carmella. It was her first win in well over a year, but still, all-in-all, a pretty crappy September.

Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart

Whatever they did or didn’t do in the month of September is incidental to the fact that Shotzi and Tegan should be livid right now. Over the course of August notched three victories over Natalya and Tamina yet never got a title match. Instead they had to watch the champs travel over to Raw and cough the belts up to the makeshift team of Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. First of the all the women’s tag division has about as much life as med school cadaver, but still Tegan and Shotzi were called up AS A TEAM, beat the champs three times, and get passed over for two dying Raw acts to get thrown a bone. If they showed up on Smackdown with something besides Nerf balls loaded in their tank I would not blame them.

Overall: The title scene continues to be dominated by the same women. I love Becky Lynch, I believe she’s the GOAT, but her presence on Smackdown is not helping the division. Vince or Bruce should’ve stepped in and told her turning heel was terrible idea. That would’ve meant her and Bianca competing for cheers, a situation that would’ve put Bianca a disadvantage. Maybe that should’ve a sign not to put the belt on Becky, but I digress. People are willing to give WWE credit for simply having more than one women’s match/feud I’m not. There were multiple weeks this month where Smackdown didn’t feature a single women’s match including the MSG show. The Liv/Carmella match was thrown together at the last second with next to no substantive build. Naomi and Sonya has the potential to be something good, but that’s all it is right now, just potential. With WWE you never when a story will just be ended for no reason especially when it concerns the women so I’m not going to get too excited until I see Naomi and Sonya standing across from each other in the ring.

Grade: C+ (They didn’t really improve but the potential of Naomi and Sonya keeps them from declining)

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