A True Revolution
WWE made a lot of bold statements with the women’s side of the roster in 2018. Aside from Ronda’s inevitable run as champion, and Sasha and Bayley’s odd on-again-off-again relationship, we got to see the tree of revolution bare fruit. Beginning with the first ever 30-woman Royal Rumble and ending with an amazing Triple Threat TLC match, the presumably thin locker room we saw in January was struggling to showcase its full talent by December. As women in the real world typically do, the women of WWE found an opening and busted through the seams. Main eventing one of the big four PPVs is a major accomplishment, however, of the fifteen PPVs and Network Specials only three shows ended with the women. In 2019 I believe we’ll see the women pick up where they left off and go even further than ever imagined. Here’s a quick list of women to watch in 2019.
The Riott Squad
A Peaceful 2018
For a chunk of 2018, the Riott Squad was meandering along, collecting losses in quick bouts and being misused by creative. They made noise, wrecked sets, and became the punching bag for number one contenders on their way to the champ. The trio came off more like a group of brats than an actual riot.
Bring on the Riott!
It wasn’t until the end of the year when the leader, Ruby, broke free and made a name for herself in a feud with Natalya. Couple that with the announcement of the Women’s Tag Team Titles and all of a sudden the Riott Squad has become a viable threat. Sarah Logan’s abrasive strikes paired with Liv Morgan’s quirky agility has proven to be a problem for the rest of the tag team roster. The Riott Squad have shown that they are not just reliable hands, but Superstars ready to grab the proverbial brass ring.
The Queen of Spades is a real-life bully. Well, maybe not literally, but in the ring, she takes no prisoners. Her motto of tap, nap, or snap is just as beastly as it sounds. Shayna is a long time athlete and champion MMA fighter. Like Ronda Rousey today or Ken Shamrock of yesteryear, Shayna’s skills have served her well in her transition to WWE. She’s one of a small class of NXT Superstars who can claim they held an NXT title more than once. There’s already a story brewing, and 2019 would be the perfect time for WWE to write the ending. Shayna, along with Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir came into WWE as the Four Horsewomen of MMA. WWE has its own stable of Horsewomen who are already bumping heads with Ronda Rousey. Will 2019 be the year that these eight women clash?
The Golden Goddess
Whether you’ve noticed or not, Mandy Rose has been in the spotlight since she first debuted on the main roster. Teaming with veteran Paige and bestie Sonya Deville, the stage was set for her to flourish. Although Absolution didn’t last long, her hard work and time at Full Sail continue to pay off. In 2018, Mandy wasn’t in the title picture but was always caught in the mix. Working with the best women in the company has increased her confidence, while her in-ring work has become solid.
Competition in the states is becoming stiff, Superstars are asking for their release, and Mandy Rose is still being pushed. As of this writing, Mandy Rose just pinned the SmackDown Live Women’s Champion, Asuka. Asuka doesn’t have an opponent for WrestleMania which is right around the corner. Carmella had a run, and now it may be time for Mandy. She’s continuously held her own in all of her feuds and lasted till the end in the Elimination Chamber. I would like to see her on the microphone a bit more, but other than that she almost has enough to be a legit champion.
It’s now or never for Dana Brooke. She’s been working really hard, she’s taken her lumps, and she deserves an opportunity to work some meaningful angles.
Both of the women in this photo were, or are, dealing with injuries. Their talent has already brought them titles and opportunity. When both are medically cleared look out.
Bianca Belair is the future of this business. She’s amazing with or without an undefeated streak and I fully expect her to capture the NXT Women’s Championship at some point this year.
The Future is Female
Whether you’re a fan or not, women’s wrestling will continue to be a fixture in WWE. This may be the first year that women main event WrestleMania. A win for women is a win for the everyday fan. There’s a lot of time and story development surrounding the top three women, and to see it pay off in the spotlight would be well worth the wait. There are well-known talents such as Sasha and Bayley who are guiding the charge but can’t do it alone. It’s going to take new talent to make women’s wrestling a mainstay, not just a flash in the pan. Names like Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, and Sonya Deville keep growing and learning, giving us all a reason to believe in the future of women’s wrestling.