Living Up to the Hype: How the WWE has put insurmountable pressure on the Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell

Hey guys. Did you know I’m a man? I know, I know, shocking.

Yes, I did start this post paraphrasing my friend and colleague, Gabby, who is very gracious to let me scratch my journalism itch on her wrestling blog. I started it the same way she started her post entitled Mick Foley’s RAW promo & benevolent sexism because it seems my friend has stirred up a little drama amongst some chatrooms (these still exist??) and I wanted to come to her aid and defend her h….. HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I can’t even finish writing that satiric sentence. I started this post the same way she started her’s because I’m a man and she’s a woman and we both share the same opinion about the Sasha/Charlotte/Mick promo Monday night.

per·cep·tion (pərˈsepSH(ə)n) noun:
A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
As Gabby stated in her post, Mick Foley the man is a proponent of women’s wrestling. However, Foley’s promo Monday night came off as condescending toward Sasha and Charlotte. Do I think Foley meant it as condescending? I don’t. This is where perception comes to play. An over-emoting Foley (I could go on about this, but that’s another post for another time) interrupting, coddling and yelling at the two Superstars gave the perception that Hell in a Cell is no place for women.
We’ve been given the perception the past few weeks that the only place for Roman Reigns and Rusev, as well as Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, to settle their feuds is inside the cell. But when is comes to Sasha and Charlotte’s feud (which has been built up way better than the Universal and United States Championships by the way), it’s been “Are you SURE you want to settle this inside the cell? It can get brutal.” Intentional or not, the WWE has been giving these three matches (you know, the TRIPLE TRIPLE TRIPLE main event) a double standard. It could have been an easy fix.
Instead of Foley playing over-protective dad to Sasha and Charlotte, he could have built up their feud to where these women’s hatred, yet respect for one another can only be settled in a way that no women have ever settled their feuds before… Hell in a Cell!! Instead of Foley talking about how the cell made him a “shell of a man,” he could have talked about how the 1998 King of the Ring defined his career and made him the superstar he is today, and it will do the same thing to the women. Or, if he wanted to talk about the dangers of Hell in a Cell, then bring all nine competitors out for a TRIPLE CONTRACT SIGNING (see what I did there??) and give his speech to all of them.
Foley’s speech was heartfelt, but Sasha and Charlotte were not the only two superstars who needed to hear it. That is where the sexism lies, and if Gabby and I perceived it as sexism, then I guarantee there are many more in the WWE Universe who perceived it the same way. They just aren’t in wrestling chatrooms. (Seriously, are you accessing these through AOL 3.0 or 4.0? Using dial-up to pull up these articles to trash them must take FOREVER. That must be why you aren’t actually reading them.)
All of that brings me to my point in which this post is titled: Sasha and Charlotte now face insurmountable pressure at Hell in a Cell to perform. If their match doesn’t end with bodies bloodied or carried out on a stretcher (a work or not), will it be seen as a great match in the eyes of the WWE Universe? Whenever we talk about great matches in the Women’s Revolution era, we always start with Sasha vs. Bayley at NXT Takeover: New York. We all agreed it was match (not women’s match) of the decade. Then when we think it couldn’t get better, we get Sasha vs. Bayley in a 30 minute Ironwoman match. Instantly, we had a new match (not women’s match) of the decade. Both these matches were hyped by using their talent, not “Are you SURE you want to use cool moves that most women don’t use and actually wrestle for a championship? Are you SURE you want to settle this in an Iron(wo)man match?” Now, it’s all about “making history, danger, and shells of former selves.” This match should be hyped… hell it should be THE SOLE MAIN EVENT and last match of the pay-per-view, but it should not be attached to the stigma of “you’re women, so if you don’t do something absolutely crazy and maybe draw blood, then it’s not going to be as historic as we billed it to be.”
If you’ve made it this far down, here is where I link Foley’s promo to the unrealistic expectations of this match.
With all due respect, Sasha, you have no idea what’s in store for you! Because once that cell descends, once that monstrosity descends upon you, it is not just steel. It’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s a living, breathing entity but it’s got no soul, no heart and no conscious. And it will haunt for days. It will keep you awake at night. Trust me, trust me. Just when you think you’re over it for good, it will sneak up behind you. It will stop you dead in your tracks. It will make you cry like a child. It’s an intimidating fact that when you’re in that cell, you face not one opponent but two. You face your opponent and that demonic construction itself.
– Mick Foley
We all know Foley’s history with Hell in a Cell matches. He’s jumped off them, been choked slammed through them, broke bones, lost teeth, lost ears, and probably lost years of his life because of them. We the WWE Universe love him for it. We adore him for it. We respect him for it. Someone who puts his body on the line for our entertainment and enjoyment deserves all of this and more. But since he hammered all of this stuff on Sasha and Charlotte during their contract signing, what do we expect of the women? We’ve seen cell matches where no one fell off the cell or went through it and we called them subpar. The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon match at Wrestlemania XXXI was really not that good, but we call it one of the best because Shane-O-Mac dove off the cell for our enjoyment.
If Sasha isn’t thrown through the cell or Charlotte doesn’t flip herself off the top of the cell on to the announce table, will the match be any good? Can the women have a technical wrestling match inside the cell and it be good enough, or does Sasha have to rub Charlotte’s face against the cell and open her up a la 80s and 90s Ric Flair? According to the hype, the pressure seems to be all on to perform to Foley-esc expectations. We have excepted that Foley-esc expectations are unfair to Roman, Rusev, Seth and Kevin. Let’s also ignore the hype and realize it’s also unfair for Sasha and Charlotte.
Advertisements

Bilbs’ Top 10 Lists for Tonight’s RAW

I thought I would write these lists while watching the October 24th edition of Monday Night RAW so you can read it with all of the intensity that I have while watching this episode. Here we go:

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons the Brock Lesnar Segment was needed on RAW

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons an Over-Emoting Mick Foley Helped the Sasha/Charlotte Hell in a Cell Match

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons Why a “Triple Main Event” Makes Total Sense

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to Love Tonight’s RAW

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

So in conclusion, this episode of RAW SUCKED.

However, let’s end this on a positive note…

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to watch Hell in a Cell this Sunday

1. Sasha/Charlotte
2. Charlotte/Sasha
3. Sasha/Charlotte
4. Charlotte/Sasha
5. Sasha/Charlotte
6. Charlotte/Sasha
7. Sasha/Charlotte
8. Charlotte/Sasha
9. Sasha/Charlotte
10. Charlotte/Sasha

I’m out.

The unchosen ones: Examining Dean Ambrose & Mick Foley

On March 14’s episode of Monday Night RAW, WWE Hall of Fame hardcore legend Mick Foley appeared in a brief but unequivocally powerful segment with Dean Ambrose, who is currently on a crash course with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

In it, Foley “passed the torch” along to Ambrose in the form of a gift: his famous barbed wire baseball bat, to the delight of the WWE Universe. It was a surprisingly poignant moment seeing the two interact, because Foley and Ambrose are universally loved for many of the same reasons.

But sadly, the same things that have endeared both Foley and Ambrose to hardcore and casual fans alike are what is currently holding Ambrose back from surpassing Roman Reigns as the WWE’s top babyface. So today, I’m examining the draw of unconventional heroes like Ambrose and Foley, what the WWE can do to take advantage of it and if there is even a possibility of Ambrose getting the marquee status he deserves.

Aside from how incredibly in-shape Ambrose is, he looks very much like the kind of man you would just see on the street. He isn’t drop-dead gorgeous (many will disagree, including me, but let’s be real, he’s insanely attractive in a less polished way) and doesn’t look like a star. Like Foley, he isn’t some sort of Greek sculpture. He’s just a human. At first glance, there’s nothing spectacular about him.

But then you take a second glance. And a third. And Dean Ambrose makes you fall in love with him.

Ambrose doesn’t rely on his look to get over because he doesn’t have to. Everything that’s spectacular about him is, as cheesy as it sounds, from the inside.

Mick Foley was this way too. His first gimmick, the heelish Cactus Jack, was not spectacular by any means, but he made it spectacular with his wrestling ability and mic mastery.

He really began to flourish when both were let loose in his Mankind persona, where he was able to flourish creatively and athletically. Mankind was absolutely out of his mind, imbued with a lunacy much like Ambrose’s, only much darker and more sinister. And, of course, the socks. Oh, those wonderful socks.

He also spent time partnered with a Samoan star destined for success.

Ambrose is much like Foley in that everything about him seems organic. His struggle seems real because in many ways, he is the true underdog of the main event scene. Always so close to the mountaintop, but always overshadowed by more cookie-cutter wrestlers with half of his connection to the crowd.

But also like Foley, his talent and his fanbase will not be denied or ignored. In recent months, Ambrose has skyrocketed in popularity, becoming the only tried and true main event babyface on the WWE’s roster. His never say die attitude and consistent performances in the ring have resonated with crowds everywhere, forcing the hand of the WWE.

The WWE seems, finally, to be noticing what a draw Dean Ambrose is. Yes, they are still positioning Roman Reigns as the company’s top babyface (despite him being tailor-made to be a top heel, in my opinion), but the days of Ambrose dwindling on the lower midcard are long gone. He is selling too much merchandise and drawing too many cheers for that.

So how should they utilize Ambrose, if they aren’t planning on having him be at the very top? Well, quite simply, they have to change their game plan.

Right now, the WWE should capitalize on the thunderous cheers Dean gets and the chorus of boos Roman Reigns gets. Sure, give Roman Reigns the title, but turn him to the dark side while you’re at it. Seth Rollins will be returning soon, hopefully as a babyface, so pit him against Reigns.

Have Rollins and Ambrose work together to get to Money int he Bank, then duke it out fair and square for the famed briefcase. Then, because of karma, have Dean Ambrose finally grab the briefcase, which he cashes in at Summerslam against Roman Reigns. However, because of interference, he fails.

Then, at Wrestlemania, we get the main event we were always meant to have: a Shield triple threat for the title.

And Ambrose wins.

Will this actually happen? The triple threat, maybe, but I’m not a fool. I don’t expect to see Ambrose going over Reigns any time soon. However, Ambrose is not going to be buried. The WWE proved with the Mick Foley segment and with their investment in Ambrose at Roadblock that they are positioning him to be a main event player in the future.

It’s up to the fans to keep them listening, to keep showing their appreciation of Ambrose. He will probably never be booked in the way he deserves, but maybe, just maybe, we will get something close to it.