It was announced on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw that there will be a women’s division equivalent to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at this year’s WrestleMania (and, we can assume every year going forward), dubbed the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal.
Immediately, reactions were all over the place, with some upset that this takes up more time on the card and can possibly mean there’s no battle royal for the men, happy that there is a platform for more women to get to perform at WrestleMania, nervous that it might be bad, thrilled that another historic “first-ever” thing is happening and even angry that it’s Fabulous Moolah who is getting the honor of having this named after her.
Whatever your emotions are in relation to this match, it’s happening, good or bad, so the next step is figuring out what is going to happen.
Right off the bat, they haven’t announced who will be competing in there, as it’s a match built around the idea of filling in the blanks with anybody the creative team has nothing better for.
There’s no way WWE will commit to anything right now by just listing a bunch of competitors and spoiling that none of them will be competing for the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss or something along those lines, as there is still time to tease what happens there, and this is the type of match that doesn’t need a true build as everyone is just being thrown into the fire.
We have to treat this exactly the same as the men’s version, so it will have very little to no storyline, mostly consist of people who just wouldn’t have a match if this wasn’t happening, and means relatively nothing, which opens up the floor to anybody potentially winning it, as nothing important is on the line.
With that being said, there are a few people who I think stand out as the top contenders to take home this victory, and after some deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down to a five-count:
Honorable Mention: Mickie James
This may be the pick that everyone disagrees with and wonders why someone else isn’t in this spot, but that’s why she’s ranked just below the bottom of the list. Just hear me out, though, for why she still needs to be discussed.
Mickie James hasn’t accomplished a single thing since returning to WWE. She lost to Asuka, became a puppet of Alexa Bliss, made sparse appearances for a few months where she would do nothing but lose and has just reverted back to being Alexa’s chum again.
James is a future Hall of Famer and someone who has a legacy behind her that WWE should be celebrating, not pushing aside. She’s won the championship more times than most performers, she was one of the few women who could actually wrestle during her previous era and can still hang in there with the current crop of women as if she hasn’t missed a step.
Since this isn’t a match that has title implications or puts all the responsibility of a brand on the winner’s shoulders, this could be a good consolation prize to give Mickie for her service if they don’t ever plan on giving her another title run down the line.
She’s the only woman on the main roster or in NXT that has a career that currently puts her close to the “legend” status and if anybody is going to get a pat on the back for having accomplished a lot and stuck around, James is the best candidate of them all.
However, I don’t think this is going to happen, as there are five women I feel have a much stronger chance, and even several not on this list who could have easily been in this spot.
#5. Becky Lynch
When the draft happened, Becky Lynch was the first pick for the women’s division on SmackDown and it paid off well, as she was easily the headliner and top babyface on the brand.
She had her run with the title and her feud with Alexa Bliss, before Naomi took over for a bit and eventually, Charlotte Flair came on board and commandeered the lead.
Since then, Becky hasn’t been booked as consistently top-tier. Granted, she’s still someone who could win any of her matches, but there’s a noticeable drop in quality between her current status and what she was at the beginning of 2017.
To offset that a bit, Becky could get the win here and regain some of that momentum she’s been missing—or, to word it in a different way, respark that straight fire.
It’s doubtful anybody would question her victory, and since she was eliminated rather early in the Royal Rumble this year (from my perspective, at least) I wouldn’t mind seeing her win this as a receipt for taking that backseat.
In a similar shade to the Mickie James situation, Natalya doesn’t go back as far as Mickie, but she has been around for 10 years this April 11th when she made her debut on SmackDown.
What better way to commemorate that anniversary than for 3 days before hitting that mark, she were to win a match built around the concept of honoring those who made an impression on the wrestling industry?
Nattie is someone who was born into this business and it clearly runs through her veins through and through. There’s few people who would be as passionate about celebrating this milestone than she, and as she’s made a career of being pushed aside more often than a lot of fans would have liked, this could offset that quite a bit.
Being the first winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal hasn’t been something that’s made Cesaro’s career by any means, but with Natalya, it could be a different story.
At the very least, it gives Nattie a boost during a time frame where Asuka, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey are going to dominate a good portion of the attention, and with Bayley, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks fighting for their spot, too, Natalya could get lost in the shuffle in 2018 without a win like this.
#3. Ember Moon
There’s always someone from NXT in these matches and there will undoubtedly be some women from the yellow brand competing here, too.
I definitely expect The Iconic Duo to get between the ropes, along with Kairi Sane and maybe even Nikki Cross or someone like Lacey Evans, but if there’s one person on the NXT roster who stands out to me as the woman who could actually win this, it’s Ember Moon.