In the December 18, 2017 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw’s final minutes, the most powerful woman in pro wrestling, Stephanie McMahon, made a truly historic announcement. For the first time in history, after 30 years of Royal Rumbles largely being a man’s game, the women of sports entertainment would finally get a super special over-the-top battle royal of their own. Naturally, the winner will be headed straight to WrestleMania 34. Generally speaking, this is a phenomenal move on the part of WWE, as it’s another clear step towards equality between the men and women on the roster.
Unfortunately, not all progressive decisions are made equally, and some wrestling fans were quick to realize 2018 may be a little too soon for a women’s Royal Rumble. It’s not that the female wrestlers who will participate in the match aren’t ready, but WWE’s track record with handling women is still a little bit behind the times and their efforts at fixing this problem tend to be a mixed bag. While there’s great potential for the women’s Royal Rumble to be one of the best, most historic matches of the year, there’s also the nagging fear it could easily blow up in everyone’s faces.
Believe it or not, our sincerest hope is that WWE completely knocks it out of the park with this one, creating a match for the ages that does wonders to the careers of all women involved, and indeed all women in the sports entertainment industry. That might not happen, though, and there’s plenty of reasons to worry why things will go wrong. Keep reading to learn 8 pros and 7 cons about the upcoming first ever women’s Royal Rumble.
15. PRO: It’s About Time
Chances are that as far as WWE is concerned, half of this list doesn’t really matter. So what if there are potential cons related to the women’s Royal Rumble? It’s happening, and at this point, there’s no stopping it. Even if it wasn’t, the reality is that the women’s Royal Rumble is something that’s been bound to happen for a few years now, and January 2018 is simply the month they finally decided to go through with it. No matter the potential drawbacks, fans of women’s wrestling have wanted this step towards equality ever since the so-called “revolution” surrounding the genre began. Like Stephanie McMahon said in her now landmark promo introducing the women’s Rumble, females in wrestling have been making huge strides lately in all other facets of the business. Women are main eventing Pay-Per-Views with Hell in a Cell and Iron Man contests, so that they’d eventually get their own Rumble was inevitable. Since there’s no reason to delay it anymore, it’s a good thing WWE has accepted this.
14. CON: There Are Barely Enough Women On The Roster
In all honesty, everything on this list is speculative, as there’s still more than a full month for WWE to prepare and build towards the first ever women’s Royal Rumble. Upon first glances, though, one of the biggest issues fans noticed is that there may not be enough viable contenders on the current roster for the match to happen. Some have even been floating the idea that the Rumble may match the first men’s version and only contain 20 entrants. The thing is, while there’s definitely enough women for that idea, it would make the match seem lesser than the men’s Rumble, so WWE should really try and shoot for 30. Unfortunately, then the problem becomes that there aren’t 30 active female wrestlers on the main roster. Throw in surprises, returns, and call-ups from NXT and they just may squeak by with all the entrants, but there won’t be women anywhere else on the show, because they’ll all be busy in the same match.
13. PRO: It Elevates Both Women’s Championships At Once
An important element of the women’s Royal Rumble that WWE already got right is making the winner’s prize a one-way ticket to the highest profile female contested match at WrestleMania 34. In addition to the victor herself getting a significant push from this move, the wrestler she challenges will likewise seem like a very important superstar, and the title they’ll be wrestling over will in turn be the most respected women’s belt on the roster. That last detail is pretty important, as the dual Women’s Championships have both been struggling with credibility lately, Raw’s in the sense it bounces around like a hot potato and SmackDown’s for having a weaker lineage in comparison. The idea all the women in the match will valiantly be fighting for a chance to presumably challenge for their respective brand’s championship will make fans realize they actually want the belts despite their questionable beginnings thus far.
12. CON: Two Rumbles In One Night Is A Bit Much
Part of what makes the Royal Rumble so special is that, notwithstanding a few one-offs and variations at house shows, it only ever happens once a year. An unavoidable side effect of having an addition Royal Rumble just for the women is that now the most special annual WWE contest is happening twice, and in the same night for that matter. That’s not even mentioning the fact the Royal Rumble is usually about an hour long, meaning these two matches alone will take up two-thirds of the average WWE special event running length. In some Royal Rumbles, there’s burn out by the late teens and early twenties, and now that’s going to happen twice. Fans easily run the risk of getting bored and wanting to see something else, but in fairness to WWE, there’s not really any way around this one without making one of the Rumbles seem inferior by having it on another night.
11. PRO: It Gives Every Woman On The Roster A Chance
For all the talk WWE does about their so-called women’s revolution, an assertion the all-female Royal Rumble definitely does support, it could be argued that the idea only really applies to a select few talented women who got their start in NXT. Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alexa Bliss, and Becky Lynch have all been doing just fine, but that’s five women out of a roster that ranks over 20. Lots of the female wrestlers in WWE feel like cannon fodder to Triple H’s favorite students, but that reputation is going to have to change for at least one night only when every single gal on the roster participates in one huge match. Monsters like Nia Jax and Tamina will be able to shine in a unique setting, veterans like Natalya and Mickie James can show off their experience, and the aforementioned innovators like Banks and Lynch can continue to do things no woman in WWE has done before. The best part is, it’s all going to happen at the same time, conveniently located in one single match.
10. CON: The Rumble Has Been Sagging As A Concept Already
To many fans, the Royal Rumble is a great spectacle in and of itself, always managing to entertain solely on the merits of how many great wrestlers it includes. More discerning eyes might point out that not all Rumbles are created equally, though, and the truth is there hasn’t been a truly “great” one since about 2010. Sure, the past few Rumbles have mostly been fine, with only 2014 and 2015 truly standing as disappointments. Unfortunately, merely “okay” isn’t what most fans want out of the Rumble. It’s not clear what’s causing this trend, as the roster is still extremely talented and capable of putting on a great show with the right booking. The blame is thus generally falling on WWE writers failing to piece together a solid match, and if that’s the case, the women will suffer just as much if not more so than the guys. Even if they pull a decent show out of their hats once, the chances of both Rumbles being brilliantly plotted are pretty slim.
9. PRO: It Has Casual Fans Talking
Giving credit where it’s due, Vince McMahon still does one part of his job as a promoter better than anyone else on the planet: the man knows how to get people talking. No matter how the women’s Royal Rumble turns out, it will be a huge topic on social media, giving Michael Cole and his partners countless chances to brag about how WWE is trending all night long. While this might bother some die-hard fans who prefer smarter commentary, the fact of the matter is that people talking about wrestling is a good thing for everyone who watches it. The more eyes that are on the product, the more money everyone makes, and the harder they work to stay on top. Granted, it’s not like the mere fact the women’s Royal Rumble exists means we’re about to see a new Attitude Era, but it could mean there will be a new wave of fans who want to see it.
8. CON: WWE Could Totally Do A Half-Assed Job
Despite what half of this list may be suggest, we genuinely hope the women’s Royal Rumble is a classic match that lives up to the weight of its announcement. However, the reality of the situation is that this is WWE we’re talking about. Regardless of what they may say about a women’s revolution, the company still has a tendency to treat their female employees as petty divas rather than bona fide superstars. The women’s Rumble could be a sign they’re finally stepping away from that perception, or it could be a one-night stopgap before they go right back to making the winner act like a prima donna. There’s also the possibility they just won’t try that hard to book it in a fun way, making it appear weak and boring in comparison to the men’s Rumble. The plus side, as noted in the intro, is that the wrestlers aren’t the problem here, and we’re sure they’ll give it their all and try to overcome the corporate shortcomings to entertain the fans.
7. PRO: The Winner Will Genuinely Make History
At this point, it’s still way to early to call who will win the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble. Only 11 entrants have been announced as of this writing, and at least half of them have entirely viable shots at picking up the victory. No matter who it is, though, the last woman standing will immediately become the most historic active female wrestler on the roster. We’re talking guaranteed entry to the Hall of Fame in 20 years or less, barring any mistakes in their personal lives. Whether or not they go on to win their brand’s Women’s title at WrestleMania 34 is immaterial to the fact she’ll be setting the tone for women’s wrestling in 2018, standing as its symbolic champion, if not the literal one. On the other hand, WWE shouldn’t get in the habit of booking matches simply because they’ve never been done before, and are therefore noteworthy.
6. CON: Triple H And Stephanie McMahon Will Take All The Credit
Immediately upon the announcement of the historic first-ever women’s Royal Rumble, WWE fans noticed a huge problem with the idea. Those who are truly aware recognized it before the match was even announced. Standing front and center in front of all viable female contenders on Raw wasn’t the Women’s Champion, but rather Stephanie McMahon, daughter of the company’s owner and not an active wrestler. Stephanie probably won’t appear in the Rumble itself the same way her dad did back in 1999, but she’ll nonetheless take almost all the credit for the fact it happened. This overlooks the hard work of every female currently working for the company, who made the idea of women’s wrestling viable as mainstream entertainment. Even worse than Steph taking the credit is that Triple H will nose his way into a little spotlight as well, pointing out it was his NXT students who lead the revolution, and that they couldn’t have done it without him as their boss.
5. PRO: It Opens The Door For Big Surprises
Arguably the greatest thrill of each year’s Royal Rumble is the inevitable surprise entrant. The countdown slowly drops from 10 to 0 and music hits over the speakers that either sounds unfamiliar, leading to great intrigue, or even better, like a blast from the past, meaning old-school fans are in for a huge dose of nostalgia. For the first time ever, fans of female wrestling are going to experience this thrill, as any number of past female superstars could make a one-night-only return to be part of history yet again. Trish Stratus, Ivory, Alundra Blayze — the options are almost endless for a comeback that will get the crowd on their feet the second their music hits. That’s not even mentioning the total shock potential for an outsider making their debut in the match, specifically if WWE somehow gets a true celebrity fighter like Ronda Rousey to sign up for it.
4. CON: It Prevents Women From Entering The Other Rumble
By and large, the women’s Royal Rumble is a progressive step forward for female wrestlers everywhere, giving them equal spotlight to the men on one of the industry’s biggest nights. However, there’s at least one issue WWE are overlooking that makes the idea almost take a “separate but equal” mentality. The thing is, instead of having a women’s Royal Rumble, they could have just blatantly opened the door for women to appear in the regular one. That’s happened at least three times in the past — Chyna, Beth Phoenix, and Kharma all appeared destructive and creative standing toe to toe with their male coworkers and fighting for shots at the WWE Championship. It’s never going to happen now that the women are all busy with their own match. In fairness, WWE just doesn’t want having men and women wrestle in the first place, and there’s definitely logic behind their reasoning, so maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh about this one.
3. PRO: Women Deserve The Spotlight
Ultimately, nothing on the other half of this list really matters, because the women’s Royal Rumble is definitely happening, and generally speaking, it’s totally a good thing that it is. Regardless of how it looks in comparison to the men’s Rumble, no matter how long it drags on, and even if Stephanie McMahon and Triple H take all the credit, the many women of professional wrestling have been working outrageously hard in recent years, and they seriously deserve a reward for doing so. Each time WWE gives them a little more spotlight, be it through a new accolade, a championship win, or unique opportunities, it feels wholly deserved, as does the women’s Royal Rumble. Sure, there may be a few snags along the way, but in the talented hands of the current WWE roster, there’s little doubt the women’s Rumble will be at least a partial success.
2. CON: It Might Suck
Not to sound too negative all of a sudden, but the biggest con of the women’s Royal Rumble is really quite simple — there’s a chance it just won’t be that good. No one wants this to be the case, and given the women involved, it almost certainly won’t be. Unfortunately, no amount of hard work can negate the possibility Vince McMahon will book a total mess of a match, the potential the crowd won’t respond well to the idea, or the always present disaster scenario where everything just goes wrong. Should any of these things happen and the women’s Royal Rumble wind up kind of a mess, it will destroy the entire division, vastly diminishing all the hard work they’ve put into it thus far. It’s not like this match is all or nothing, as there’s plenty of grey area available if the match is decent, but not legendary. However, if it’s a total dud, WWE will probably never try it again, and all parties involved could get unfairly punished in a serious way.
1. PRO: It Might Be Great
Obviously, the flipside to any concern that the women’s Royal Rumble could be somewhat of a chore to watch is that it could also somehow manage to be the best match of the year. In the very least, it could totally outshine the men’s match and make every woman involved look like a bigger superstar than they ever have before. That’s certainly what everyone in the match is going to try and make happen, so why should we have any doubts that they’ll pull it off? Wrestling fans can’t help but worry about the negatives, especially with Vince McMahon’s unpredictable nature, yet there’s always the chance the wrestlers will overshadow their corporate overlords and put on one hell of a show. If that happens, not only will there be plenty more women’s Royal Rumbles in the future, but almost every single show in WWE will see a few more females playing important roles. While it may be a lot of pressure to put on one match, that the women know how crucial it is means they’ll give it their all and make a historic match worth remembering.
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