You’ve heard the setup before: for months, we heard of a Divas’ Revolution which eventually became the Women’s Revolution and finally started to take form for the latter half of 2016. During this time, we saw multiple first-ever scenarios for the women’s division including a pay-per-view main event, the first Hell in a Cell match and so forth.
With that in mind, why didn’t WWE pull the trigger on an Elimination Chamber match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship?
If this were Monday Night Raw, it would be a different story as for some reason, the red brand only seems to include 4 women: Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax. Alicia Fox is off hanging out on 205 Live, Summer Rae and Paige are injured and Emmalina missed her flight in October and is still stranded in an airport somewhere like Tom Hanks in The Terminal (or they just have no idea what to do with her and keep stalling, but that’s a rant for another day).
SmackDown, however, just illustrated at the Royal Rumble that they have six women who not only are more than capable in the ring, but also feuding with each other. It’s the perfect, easiest setup for the match as the numbers balance out to 3 heels and 3 babyfaces, all of the names are big enough to not feel like it’s filled with lesser talent, and the same exact feuds can play out the way they’ve been for weeks without needing to book around them.
There is going to be a considerable gap of time between Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania where WWE will be left scrambling how to fill it when it comes to SmackDown as they can’t start the Mania feuds too early without people getting tired of them, yet they also can’t just ignore everything and have horrible programming for weeks and not lose viewers. A women’s Elimination Chamber match would have put a nice bump in the road that could have been smoothed out over the following weeks in February, leaving all of March for WrestleMania building.
For example, we know Alexa Bliss will defend her championship against Naomi while Natalya and Nikki Bella have been announced for another match. It can be assumed Becky Lynch will fight Mickie James as well, so we already know all six of these women will be competing at the pay-per-view.
By putting all six women in the ring together at the same time (like what happened at the Royal Rumble) it allows you to mix things up and prevent the feuds from feeling too repetitive. Nobody will get sick of Becky Lynch and Mickie James fighting each other if there’s a good portion of the match where Becky is fighting Natalya while Mickie is fighting Naomi, right?
The conclusions to these feuds would play out after Elimination Chamber.
Naomi could put on a great performance in the cage, but come up short when facing Alexa on SmackDown. Natalya could be the one to take Nikki Bella out of the Elimination Chamber but Nikki gets her revenge later on.
You know we’re going to be seeing the same exact women wrestling each other anyway, so how is WWE going to make it interesting for six more weeks? While Raw is building toward Fastlane and generating buzz, SmackDown will be in a lull just waiting for the true WrestleMania hype to start, but by that time, everybody will be viewing that show as the weak link heading into Orlando. If the resolution to some of these feuds hasn’t happened until February 28th, then it won’t feel so bad.
It’s also not as though it would be overkill of the gimmick, as we’ve seen two Elimination Chamber matches take place before at the same pay-per-view. Hell, we saw three of them the last time the cage was set up. Granted, it would work much better without the Tag Team Turmoil Match being on the card. If that was something WWE truly wanted to do, then by all means, having that as well as two Elimination Chamber matches would have been quite bothersome as it would basically mean the whole event would mostly consist of big groupings. Still, some kind of singles match with Dolph Ziggler and Kalisto or Apollo Crews, another singles match between Randy Orton and Luke Harper, and it wouldn’t hurt to remind us that Kane, Jack Swagger, and Curtis Axel exist or to give Mojo Rawley or James Ellsworth something to do for filler.
More than anything, this would have just given the Women’s Revolution another shot in the arm to keep the momentum going and continue proving that this is a new era where fans can get invested in all of the divisions and see the big payoffs and fun gimmick matches. It isn’t as though they’ll get an opportunity to do this style of a match for the entire rest of 2017 and who knows, maybe by the time next year rolls along, there will be some injuries preventing them from being able to do it as well.
When you have the talent available and there’s nothing getting in the way of being able to pull it off, you might as well go ahead and book the never-before-seen match and give the fans something new rather than just playing it safe. While it’s surely good enough for this event, as all three matches have potential to be very good, it’s a little frustrating to see that with so little effort, it could have possibly been even better.
What do you think? Should there have been a second Elimination Chamber match featuring SmackDown’s women’s division or would that have been a mistake?