I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to figure out what to say about the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match that hasn’t already been said by both sides. I’ve seen quite a few articles defending both sides of the issue, so it’s a bit of a task to find an angle that hasn’t already been done to death. To say that social media and the fanbase have been a hotbed for discussion is a gross understatement at the very least, with the popular consensus being that James Ellsworth did not belong climbing the ladder to grab the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase for Carmella and that a man actually won the landmark match.
I understand the arguments and why probably ⅔ of the overall fandom (really I’m just throwing a number out there and hoping it sticks), mainly females, are beyond livid. This backlash is not without due cause; the Women’s Revolution got off to a rather shaky start, originating with two catalysts: Paige and Emma losing to The Bella Twins in 30 seconds, causing fans to create the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance and chant it at shows (I do remember hearing chants during Raw). Then, with AJ Lee calling out Stephanie McMahon on Twitter regarding pay for the women in comparison to the men, despite soaring merch sales and highly rated segments, after Steph had tweeted Patricia Arquette regarding women’s rights. It only got a name after Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha were called up and WWE gave it a name. Women still struggled to get a decent amount of airtime and decent booking, with stables galore, a perceived inability to focus on more than one angle in the division and it always involving the title, and nearly overprotecting some talent while letting others just go by the wayside. However, in past year, it’s vastly improved and honestly, I do believe we can thank the brand split for that. It’s not been 100% perfect, (Raw’s roster dilemma exemplifies that), and we’re still recovering from years of damage done. Regardless, this is something that, while yes we do have to share this with the entire fanbase, we can still feel like this is ours. We’re finally being taken seriously. We can live vicariously through these women, feel proud of these women, show our children these women. Plus, since the brand split, Smackdown has clearly come out the winner regarding the utilization of the women’s division, with ample time onscreen and in the ring, character development and double angles.
Then…Sunday night happened, and a lot can’t help but feel as though we’re back to square one and we’ve been robbed. This was history, this was our moment! Only to be taken away by a guy and showing that for every strong woman, there’s a guy willing to step on her to get to the top. Someone that should not have been involved. It speaks to a lot of women at a deeper level than what others may have experienced; they saw this and thought of the times where they were picked over by a guy or literally anyone else who wasn’t as experienced as them. They saw their struggles to overcome being second best despite busting their ass. They saw their frustrations played out. They saw the look on the participants’ faces and went, “Holy shit, that’s me.” I understand why people are not okay with this.
Here’s where I expect to turn in my feminist card (which I’ve debated on anyway): I am more than okay with the ending for quite a few reasons. So simmer down y’all and let me have my say. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m not saying I’m right. I’m just stating why I’m for the ending.
I’m just gonna start with the obvious – CARMELLA’S BEEN STRUGGLIN’ Y’ALL! She started as a face that got little to no reaction with anyone outside of that section of fans who watch NXT. We didn’t know her, we didn’t know what she was about, what she could do. There were a lot of arguments made that she wasn’t ready to come up. I can see those arguments as valid being that she was just finally starting to find her stride as a singles competitor before getting called up, so it felt rushed, especially when the other call up was Alexa and we all knew she was going to rise to the top and fast. (With some talent, you just know.) Being a face wasn’t working for her, so she was turned heel, which suits her type of character better. She’s supposed to be a bitch princess, and I’m sorry, but since when are women who like to “spill the tea” ever nice? A three month angle against Nikki Bella got her some heat, but she was overshadowed again because Natalya took it over and as much as I didn’t like using the old jealousy trope and think Nattie is a flat villain – she made it work better.
Paring her up with Ellsworth should have gotten her a fair amount of heat. This is a dude who truly does not belong in WWE. He in no way, shape, or form fits the WWE mold. But he was a smash hit and he is living every fan’s dream because he is them. He made it. He fucking made it, y’all! Carmella sunk her catty little claws in and turned him into her little crony and it should’ve made us hate her since she took what was ours and made it hers. Instead, James got pops (and some heat). She got nothing. So we’re back to square one.
Enter Money in the Bank, in a landmark match. Now I’ve seen people state on Twitter that they saw Carmella tell James to climb up and grab the case for her because she was too out of it. I don’t know, I have to rewatch. But she clearly indicated to him she couldn’t do it and needed assistance. Well, we know the rest. But, there it is! He finally has full heat. Carmella finally has heat! I 100% guarantee that if she had climbed and grabbed the case herself, there would have been NO reaction.
Yes, a woman would have done it, but no one would have given a shit. Yay, we have another historic landmark! But for what? It would have felt empty, because it was from someone on the roster that no one was connecting with. Wholly different from if Charlotte, Becky or Nattie had won. When Carmella’s music hit during Naomi’s match and she skipped out to troll the hell out of Naomi and Lana, there was solid, unrelenting heat and it was glorious; the type that should have been there all along. People are finally making a connection. This lends into the “generating heel heat” argument that pro-ending fans have been lobbing about the past 36 hours. Nothing new. I’m not done though.
Carmella is finally in control. All eyes are on her and for the first time in her career, she can evolve into the next stage of her character. She is supposed to be arrogant, deceiving, manipulative. James willingly sabotaging Becky (which is a point I’ll bring up later), grabbing the case for Carmella and insisting she’s the winner clearly shows how wrapped around her little finger he is. He is the epitome of lapdog. While I’m sure alpha males and anyone who loves to throw “cuck” around like it’s a greeting hate it, this serves a purpose to get Carmella over. She will throw this win in the face of every woman on the roster, with relentless trolling and (hopefully scathing) promos. I mean, she’s already made it a point to keep mentioning she’s pinned Naomi twice. She has a target on her back and she will bask in it. She will claim all the glory; insist she did all the work. I can already see an angle with Lana brewing just due to the ending of the Women’s Championship match. Lana looked like she wanted to rip Carmella’s ass apart, so don’t be shocked if this is her introductory angle.
Regarding James, he’s just a means to an end. Carmella can merely look at him and he’ll bark on command, and she will make him bark and attack at her very whim. She has the chance now to become the Evil Queen of Staten Island, with her very own combination of court jester and attack dog. Regardless of whether or not she has a successful cash in, Pretty Jimmy Dream will find out just how much he means to Carmella when she kicks him to the curb, and we all know it’ll be in a brutal public fashion that will elevate her to top heel, which I give until Rumble to do.
But to cash in, Carmella has to keep the case. Which is why it’s my firm belief that she absolutely cannot be stripped of this case. To take it away or have her lose it will honestly make this entire situation worse; after all, if Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon stripped her or had a rematch for the case in which she ends up losing it, then what would have been the point of the ending? It would have been controversy for the sake of controversy and that would cheapen the Women’s Revolution, not this. Hell, I honestly feel even a rematch in general wouldn’t rectify the situation at all except to just gain brownie points with the crowd, which is shitty. That’s not progression, that’s pandering. Now, this is where I absolutely will say shame on the fans for wanting WWE to pander to them in this rather than be willing to take a look at the bigger picture, especially since Carmella’s stock has now risen. All of the aforementioned in this paragraph risks her going back to being a nothing character. She stands to lose the most in this.
Speaking of bigger picture, let’s look at this lovely little slow burn angle that’s been brewing for a couple months now between Becky Lynch and James Ellsworth. Now it’s no secret that the Lasskicker has wanted a piece of James for months now. When the Welcoming Committee came for Becky, who is was the first person she attacked? Ellsworth. Whenever there’s a segment involving more than two talent and Becky is one of them, whom does James address first? Becky. He’s playing a deluded “everyone wants me” bro character; Becky has been pretty up front about her hate. Now, fans have been fairly vocal in the past couple years for true intergender matches in WWE, much like we see in the indies. Not like what the company offers up, usually in tag teams where the same sexes are always in the ring with each other. Becky has already slammed James a couple times, showing that this is possible. If ever WWE were to pull the trigger on an intergender match, this is the time to start setting it up and these two are the perfect talent to do so. James is the one directly responsible for costing Becky the case. LET. HER. LOOSE. ON. HIM. WWE! Let this pave the way!
I truly believe that WWE is capable of having intergender matches that are “believable”, with the quoted part being laughable because come the fuck on, this is wrestling, we’re supposed to suspend disbelief on a regular basis. So this can in fact be done. It can start here and extend out to the Cruiserweights. Talents like Nia, Charlotte, Nattie, Paige (provided she actually comes back) are fully capable of taking on the men in that particular division. It would open up new doors and allow for angles we never dreamed of.
The Women’s Revolution, at least from the Smackdown side, is full throttle right now. This is a mere bump in the road, not a death knell. It is a landmark match, yes, history witnessed. Again, I get the ire, but I offer up the fact that we’ve had a few landmark matches since the brand split and if this were the first one, I’d be right there with everyone. But I’m not. I’m willing to go bigger picture here. I understand that many will not agree. That’s cool, you ain’t gotta. I don’t expect people to. I merely offer up another viewpoint to maybe consider. But rest assured, ladies, we are not watching our fellow Valkyries on Smackdown being held back. We about to witness them soar into the heavens.