We still don’t know a whole lot about the upcoming WWE Women’s Tournament, announced earlier today (April 1, 2017) during a presentation at the company’s business partner summit entitled “WWE Reimagined”. Confirmed is that the tourney will happen some time in the Summer of ‘17, and be broadcast on WWE Network.
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon broke that news, along with the champions from all three brands - SmackDown’s Alexa Bliss, Raw titleholder Bayley and Asuka of NXT. Since that hit Twitter, WWE.com has published a story which gives us a couple tantalizing details - and a few teases from which we can speculate - but there’s still a lot we don’t know.
Even though they were on stage, and part of a graphic displayed at the summit depicting 19 women currently under contract (most of whom are also presently working on WWE television), there’s no confirmation the three champs in attendance or any of the ladies on the Titantron will be in the tourney.
It does sounds like the line-up is pretty well set, as Hunter unveiled how many wrestlers will compete, and how many different countries they’ll be representing:
Divas Revolution. Women's Evolution.— Triple H (@TripleH) April 1, 2017
And this summer, 32 women from 17 countries compete in a tournament of their own ONLY on @WWENetwork.
That makes the Women’s Tournament sound more like last Summer’s Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) than this past January’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament (UKCT), both of which were name-dropped in the story on the company’s website. 32 competitors means five rounds to crown a winner, including a 16 match first round, which would better fit a weekly series modeled after the CWC than a weekend event like the one held in Blackpool, England for the UKCT.
The Cruiserweight tournament generated interest with several qualifying matches held at independent promotions in the U.S. and U.K. prior to the start of taping in Florida. The landscape has changed since then with the advent of FloSlam, however, and there still aren’t as many high-profile companies who regularly feature female talent, so it will be interesting to see if WWE’s investment in women’s wrestling will change that, regardless of whether or not qualifiers are a component of the Women’s Tournament.
WWE’s signed a lot of women from around the world over the past several months, with the belief being they’d appear in this tournament. Names like Kimber Lee, Sarah “Mary Dobson” Bridges, Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai are likely to be heavily promoted favorites - especially if existing on-screen talent is not used in the field. But that still leaves a lot of openings.
Then there are production questions. Presumably this will be taped at Full Sail, but that’s not definite. And who might be brought in to call the action? Daniel Bryan and Nigel McGuinness were focal points of the hype leading to the Network’s last two tournaments; what women’s wrestling legend could get the nod for this one?
We’ll get answers to all these questions, as WWE doles them out to heighten anticipation for the show(s). But wrestling fans love to get out ahead of the news, so give us your guesses below, and get excited!