Many wrestling fans don’t understand why WWE has yet to book a sequel to 2018’s all-women Evolution pay-per-view. It might be because some decision-makers in WWE don’t believe that women’s wrestling draws money.
Ring of Honor star Maria Kanellis is one such person who is baffled by WWE’s decisions regarding their women’s wrestlers. In an interview on the WrestleTalk podcast, she focused her criticism squarely on the shoulders of Stephanie McMahon:
“So, you have all these pointless pay-per-views, and you have the opportunity to have a women’s empowerment pay-per-view, and you choose not to do it? I don’t get it. I don’t know how Stephanie McMahon deals with that.
As a woman, I’ve been very outspoken about my feelings about women’s wrestling and women in wrestling. It should come to no surprise that as a woman I couldn’t deal with that. If I had that much power in the industry, I couldn’t deal with that. I have minimal power in this industry and I am fighting my tail off to create more opportunities. If I had that much power, there would be a whole show, plus a reality show that covers the actual girls live. Plus on top of that we would have a makeup line. We would be on the cover of Vogue showing, ‘Guess what? These women, they’re badasses and they’re beautiful in their own right.’
I don’t get it. I’m fighting for that in Ring of Honor now. From the very beginning, that’s what I want. I want my girls to have those opportunities that I didn’t have in such a large company like WWE. You’re telling me that they can’t call up some of these magazines and say, ‘Hey, can you feature some of our girls? If you do, you can work with this advertiser we also have...’
I don’t get it. I see all these things that Stephanie is fighting for women’s rights, but it seems more promotional than it does actual. And that is what…I’m curious about that.”
Considering Stephanie McMahon’s “philanthropy is the future of marketing” mindset from years ago, it’s not hard to see why Kanellis is skeptical about the authenticity of the image and message that WWE’s Chief Brand Officer puts forth. But I’m not sure if I’m even jaded enough to put the blame for all of the women’s issues in WWE on Stephanie’s plate.
What do you think about Kanellis’ criticism of McMahon?