Wrestlemania 32 was a monumental occasion for the WWE Women’s Division, but even during the first Raw after Wrestlemania, a certain man continued to get in the way, and he is more of a problem than he is a decent heel plot point. It needs to end. In short, Ric Flair needs to leave Charlotte’s side.
Wrestlemania 32 as a whole has not been receiving much love, and sadly, that’s quite understandable. It was a five-hour slog (seven hours if you dared tune in to the pre-show) of many poor booking choices, that many have already felt were made for the benefit of Roman Reigns – preventing fans from enjoying other matches too much, so that Reigns/HHH could steal the show. It’s a bold statement, but understandable.
However, it was to no avail, because in a move that no one thought would ever come, the women stole the show, and considering the attention it was given, it may as well have been the headliner. The fireworks. The references to the revolution. The fantastic match. I actually felt that in spite of not being an especially good match, that the pre-show 5-vs-5 match was booked well as a counterpart. I have already said that I felt that WWE could have made more of a deal of the transition to the Women’s Championship, with figures from Team B.A.D. & Blonde at least briefly having a ‘Save the Divas’ movement, and having Total Divas take the high ground, thus laying the foundations for a mid-card for the women. As it turns out, the Women’s Triple Threat was so good, and this 5-vs-5 wasn’t as horrifying as one would have thought, that this might have done that job in eleven-minutes. This was especially apparent as Naomi submitted to Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella joined the celebration.
It was everything that it needed to be. All except one thing: the intervention of Ric Flair.
I maintain that Charlotte was a good choice of winner. They all would have been good choices, but there is something far more appealing about putting the title on a heel. While the WWE can now stop talking about the rise of women’s wrestling, they can now let it happen as the story holds it steam and the women pursue the Women’s Title. The biggest issue comes from the fact that her win was a result of the intervention of Ric Flair – presumably a man. This should have been the moment that Ric was finally sent away from ringside, but no. This means that at least one of the following two things are destined to happen.
1. More, and more interventions by Ric Flair: While Charlotte does not have as big a personality as the other three ‘horsewomen’, this should be fixed, as opposed to continuing falling back on this novelty. She can shout “WOO!” all she likes, and commentary can refer to ‘the great Ric Flair’ (so long as Cole doesn’t call him ‘daddy Flair’ in a similar vein to The Usos’ father ‘(shades of) daddy Rikishi’), but this is getting seriously tired. This has even expanded further, as he is still by her side on the first Raw after Wrestlemania, pulling Natalya out of the ring.
2. More references to the rise of the women: There is also a possibility that Ric’s inclusion will be dwelt upon in the context of his gender, with various discussion on how a man decided upon the first recipient of the Women’s Championship. While the rise of the Women’s Championship is of course of great importance, and there will not be much harm in this being referred to less frequently, this too is getting both corny and boring. At some point or another, WWE need to stop referring to this and allow it to actually be an equal, and not discussing it as though the journey to greatness for the division is still underway, therefore still being billed as inferior.
Neither should be allowed to happen. It is surprising how the presence of one man could be so damaging to the event at Wrestlemania 32 when it has been so monumental. This is an issue that must be resolved as quickly as possible and can only be done with a rematch at WWE Payback. It is tempting to add a stipulation beforehand that Ric is banned from ringside, but ideally, he needs to be sent away on the night so that the occasion is marked without constant reference to him in the weeks leading up to the match. There are a couple of moments at which one can consider to be the moment at which the ascension is stabilised, the removal of Ric, and the introduction of Bayley.
The first must happen within the next few weeks, as the rise of the women becomes less about building, and more about holding their own as though the men no longer exist. The second will really help this process as the arrival of Bayley will complete the Four Horsewomen, and her general popularity will aid this well.
It’s painful to have the champion be guided by a man, and compromises a huge amount of the work that has been made to make the women as big as they have been portrayed. It needs to stop.