The Bella Twins vs. AJ Lee and Paige
After a particularly cringe-inducing women’s match on Raw, fans uniformly lashed out at WWE and demanded that the company “Give Divas a Chance.” One of the main responses by WWE was AJ’s return and her alignment with Paige against the stereotypical Barbie doll Bellas and what they represent.
Whether it is the fault of talent acquisition or development, WWE has few women on the main roster who have the total package of wrestling ability, personality, and speaking ability. These four women are at the top of the list of those who can do it all. The Bellas have improved their wrestling by leaps and bounds over the last two years. AJ’s wrestling has caught up to her unmatched character development. Paige seemingly arrived in NXT as a fully-formed star and has only improved from there.
What makes this match unique is that it situates these four women in a true competition. For the last decade, women have had lingerie pillow fights, goofy battle royals, or celebrity set pieces more than they have had real matches. Even if this match and program are not perfect, it’s so much better than those trainwrecks that it has to be considered a large step in the right direction.
Of course, there is always the risk that an entrance runs long and cuts this match down to a three-minute joke. My hope is that the public pressure on WWE to give its women a fair shake inspires them to find another place to cut that time. Just like Charlotte, Sasha, and the rest of the NXT cadre, these women have the ability to wrestle an outstanding match, and I hope they are given the chance.
Even in the storyline, WWE has done some good things. It was a positive to book the top four women in the division against each other on the biggest stage. The Bellas finally drove a wedge between their odd couple opponents, and the timing was just right. As we head to Wrestlemania, there is real intrigue into the status of the AJ-Paige team.
Prediction: AJ and Paige win and usher in a new era in WWE’s Divas division. The Bellas have improved considerably, but my guess is that their careers as full-time wrestlers are nearing completion.