Raw is scrambling with their Women’s title scene.
A lengthy program between Lacey Evans and Charlotte Flair had to (mercifully) be cut short due to Evans’ pregnancy. Flair appears to be taking her usual spot as #1 contender, but the champion Asuka has been sidelined by injury - and since her diagnosis could conceivably include a concussion, it’s difficult to know when she’ll be back. They’ve promoted the arrival of Rhea Ripley, a former NXT champion with the potential to be a huge star, but it’s not clear who she’ll work with out of the gate.
Oh, and did we mention WrestleMania is a month away?
Into that mix you can add Peyton Royce. Maybe? Royce is staking her claim to a piece of the Raw Women’s title picture with this promo from Raw Talk last night (Mar. 8).
It’s a good speech, and it grabs your attention by referencing what are likely the former IIconic’s real frustrations about how she’s been used in WWE over the past year (Peyton was split from long-time tag partner Billie Kay and rumors of a singles push followed, but she was then shunted into another tag team with Evans, and faded into the background when Lacey was paired with Ric Flair).
“I have been quiet, but closed mouths don’t get paid. I’m not here to hide my talents. In fact, my talents are hidden behind the opinion of others. Why not just let me go? Let me go and see what happens? You know our Raw Women’s champion Asuka, she’s injured right now and yes, that sucks for her. But when a talent goes down, a spot opens up, and that spot is massive.
“So why not me? Why does it always have to be the same old, same old? You know, I packed up my life, I moved across the world, I set up in a completely different country with not much of a support system to chase this dream. To what? To get stuck in a locker room watching other women do what I do better than 98% of them. And the other 2%, well I’d sure as hell give them a run for their money.
“It actually hurts when you know deep in your soul you are destined to be where you are, striving for what you feel you deserve. My potential haunts me - when you’re striving for something that you feel you really deserve. This is where I’m meant to be. And my patience has been running thin for quite some time. So stop wasting my time and give me Asuka!”
In the genre of “undercarder goes on the post-show and vents their frustrations” promos, Royce’s emotional delivery makes it a very good one. Even without this promo, I’ve enjoyed Peyton’s work since her NXT days, and have argued she deserves a chance to move up the ladder.
The problem is that WWE has come to rely on these types of segments on Raw Talk, Talking Smack, or elsewhere online instead of giving mid and undercard wrestlers actual personalities and storylines.
“This is my dream and I’m frustrated” isn’t a well-rounded character the audience can differentiate from a group of others expressing the same idea. Similarly, Royce has won one match this year. Her last singles match was a loss to Dana Brooke on Main Event. Why is her case for a title match any better than Brooke’s? Or, despite her tag loss last night on Raw, Naomi’s? WWE should book Peyton in a series of matches where she can prove what she’s saying here about being better than 98% of the locker room, instead of just having her talk about how good she is.
We’ll see where it goes. That WWE is heavily promoting this promo today should mean this is one of the times this kind of segment leads to a push on television, as opposed to one of those times they just let talent practice promo-ing on the lower profile post-show.
If it is, hopefully she shows out when she gets her chance. But even if that happens, she’s going to need more than a worked-shoot promo to be the kind of interesting character who keeps getting chances.