Dave Meltzer had a strange take on the idea of a women’s-only pay-per-view (PPV). He said if you replace the word “women” with “black” you’d realize how offensive the idea is.
I disagree with the premise of his argument.
First of all, the issue for a women’s-only PPV picked up steam in earnest around (before, during and after) the Greatest Royal Rumble event. The idea of a wrestling show where women were not allowed to compete (nor even be seen without a public apology to the very fans who apparently cheered when Carmella appeared on the titantron) was seen as grossly hypocritical while the company is in the midst of a heavy push for women’s wrestling legitimacy.
But while much of the talk about a women’s-only show blew up around this time, the idea has been around a lot longer.
This article, in fact, has been sitting in an early draft status since January, long before I ever heard about a male-only PPV coming in the spring. A lot of fans have had this thought, not in a social justice sort of way but just as one of many ideas to help spotlight the various divisions in the WWE roster, who might easily become overlooked with so many talented performers.
A women’s only PPV is not comparable to a “blacks-only” PPV, as Meltzer tried to argue, anymore than a tag-team only show would be. The fact is the women’s division—while they have more emphasis on them now than they did five years ago—still only gets a sliver of the airtime that the other divisions on the show get.
The WWE currently has, arguably, the most talent-rich roster they’ve ever had, and there’s only so much airtime to go around to spotlight all of them. To combat this, WWE has implemented a “more=better” philosophy to how they lay out their shows. Instead of two events each month, each running three hours and each focused on a particular brand, we get a single PPV event each month that runs nearly four hours (not counting preshow ballyhoo) but tries to horn both brands into one event.
And why do this? Why switch to a dual-branded PPV format? Because attendance was suffering on the single-branded PPV shows. So WWE, instead of improving the product and producing something fans should want to go see, instead take the lazy approach of just combining the best of both brands into one, at the expense of the lesser stuff that needs work and time to grow.
Speaking of that, guess who wasn’t on the Backlash PPV?
The woman who had been undefeated for years sat on the sidelines on the first (female-tolerant) PPV after her first loss. And the reason is not because she’s hurt or because of backstage heat. It’s simply because there wasn’t room for more than two women’s matches on the card (one for each brand).
A decade ago, when the old brand-split finally consolidated their PPVs, it was a smart move because there just wasn’t enough elite talent on both brands to justify the move anymore. There was also the issue of paying $60 sometimes twice a month to watch half of an already-thin roster during an era where fan enthusiasm and mainstream appeal was greatly diminished (especially post-Benoit).
Neither problem exists anymore. Today there is too much talent to have only one PPV event each month, especially when a handful of guys/gals are going to be featured every month, guaranteed; it’s not like we’ll get a month with Asuka but not a month with Roman Reigns.
And special event shows on a $9.99/month network are not only cost-advantageous for fans, but they provide a critical resource to the WWE, namely: Stuff worth watching.
Seriously, if they want me to pay $10 a month, every month, and never cancel my subscription like every April-July, and September-December then they should have more new wrestling content each month, not less.
Thus, born out of WWE’s abundance of talent, the frustrations of the fans with WWE’s laziness, and WWE’s maligned “more=better” approach to their live shows, we have a call for a woman’s only PPV.
Is there an arena anywhere that would sell out for it? Probably not, but WWE PPVs rarely sell out anyway. Can they at least sell 60% of an arena? Sure.
It’s not about gender, per say (okay, it’s at most 40% about gender), it’s about giving talent the opportunity to shine. And it doesn’t have to be restricted to women; I’ve been waiting and waiting for a King of the Ring network special, too, and a Halloween Havoc comeback as long as we’re talking about it...
What say you, Cagesiders?
Would you be in favor of a women’s-only PPV, even if it was just a once-a-year event? Any other division-specific or special event shows you’d like to see on the Network? Something to lighten the load off the 4 hour monthly shows and spread the spotlight around the company’s massive roster a little more tolerably?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.