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  1. #1
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Bulldogs Bottom Line: The Truth about the Women's Rumble

    Hopefully by now youíve had the chance to read the latest instalment of the Fact or Fiction thread. If you havenít, go do it now.

    Are you back yet?

    Good.

    Four responses, four votes for fiction. The trouble is, theyíre all wrong. Theyíve based their votes on an emotional reaction to how good the original match was. Iím not denying it was great to see it, but it most certainly should not happen again for some time. I should give a special credit to Prime Time though, as despite giving the wrong answer he realised that in reality itís not a great idea, even admitting doing it created a rod for their own back.

    Before I continue, I just want to say I think itís great that the women are finally being taken seriously and I thoroughly enjoyed the first Womenís Rumble match. Iím just being realistic here, and basing this solely on facts rather than a desire to see it repeated.

    The truth is, they canít afford to do it again. To explain, I need to reference some stats about the participants from the Menís Royal Rumble.

    2018:
    • Main Roster: 86% (Includes John Cena, who Wikipedia lists as a ďFree AgentĒ)
    • NXT: 7%
    • Surprise Returns: 7%

    2017:
    • Main Roster: 97% (Includes The Undertaker, who Wikipedia lists as a ďFree AgentĒ)
    • NXT: 3%
    • Surprise Returns: 0%

    In 2016, the stats are the same as 2017, although obviously AJ Styleís debut was the big surprise and HHH coming in at number 30 arguably counts as a ďSurprise returnĒ even if it wasnít really a surprise. Or a return.

    As you go back over time, youíll see that the main roster has accounted on average for around 95% of the participants for pretty much the whole of the Rumbleís history. 2018 was the lowest ever proportion, but there have been numerous other years where it hit 100%.

    Now letís look at those same stats for participants in the Womenís Rumble.
    • Main Roster: 60%
    • NXT: 7%
    • Surprise Returns: 33%

    That just isnít good enough. No matter how great the Womenís Revolution has been in the past couple of years, it proves that the roster canít cope with this type of match. Repeating it will only highlight the issue more.

    I donít have a problem with 1 or 2 entrants from NXT so long as it starts their call up to the main roster, but it has to be limited to 1 or 2. And it has to start their call up. You canít just randomly throw in people from the NXT roster to make up the numbers Ė like I said, this only serves to highlight the fact that the Womenís roster is not strong enough for this match.

    Same goes for surprise returns. 1 or 2 has to be the maximum. Unfortunately WWE have blown their load prematurely on the majority of the potential surprise returns. Anybody who was in the first Womenís Rumble doesnít count as a surprise in the second, so putting all the big names in there may have been great to see but in reality it actually means you have lessened the pool of available women to fill this slot. Re-using the likes of Lita & Trish for this slot each year just creates more part timers, something which many consider to be a well-documented problem on the male roster. Why would you actively desire the issue to be replicated with the women?

    You also have to question whether there are enough potential winners. The male roster is big enough to handle the bulk of the nightís matches including a couple of title matches, as well as having a few potential Rumble winners in the match itself (even if the ultimate winner is often the most predictable). Given how small the Womenís roster is, that just isnít possible. The main roster only has 25 women. Unless you donít have the Womenís titles defended on the night, those matches take out a minimum of 4 Women from the match meaning youíre only hitting 70% of the required entrants with your main roster. And that doesnít account for any injuries etc. which probably reduces the number further. As this builds to a match up at WrestleMania, you need a top tier woman to win the Rumble as well. There arenít that many top tier women on the roster, especially when at least 4 of them are in the title matches.

    Itís just not feasible.

    Even the 20 woman Battle Royal at WrestleMania had to be filled out with a third of the participants being from NXT. Sure, that in itself created a great moment, but great moments are just that Ė moments. The NXT Invasion thing in a Battle Royal has been done now; repeating a moment like that has no impact whatsoever.

    You also have to question whether the Womenís Evolution can continue indefinitely. As things stand itís great to see the female roster being taken seriously after years of being little more than a joke, but wrestling is, and probably always will be, a male dominated industry. The women have their place on the show and potentially certain individuals may become particularly huge (with lots of current talk being that one in particular may even become the face of the company), but I donít believe the female roster from top to bottom will ever be the equal of the male roster both in terms of numbers and overall long term drawing power from top to bottom.

    And letís face it Ė is the Womenís Evolution as great as itís being made out to be? Consider how hard it was for WWE to put on a female exclusive PPV. Not counting the battle royal, there were six matches. In those 6 matches, only four women were genuinely full time wrestlers. FOUR. That just isnít acceptable. Until WWE can genuinely fill a PPV with full time wrestlers, thatís something else that should not happen again.

    Look, Iím not saying the Womenís Evolution is a bad thing and Iím certainly not saying itís failed. Far from it. I admit I was slow to be won over, but won over I was and Iím happy they succeeded in that. The Womenís Evolution is great, and is proving more and more often to be the source of a match of the night contender at most PPVs.

    Just remember itís an Evolution. It hasnít finished evolving yet and we donít know what it will evolve into.

    That means you also have to consider that ultimately, the Womenís Evolution may well come full circle and fade away for a while. What happens then? If the Womenís Rumble becomes a new tradition but for whatever reason after a few years it stops taking place, it would actually be an admission that the whole thing has failed; whereas if you use the women purely in singles & tag matches the chances are you can always have an elite few women to take the required spots.

    Yes, it was great to see the first Womenís Rumble. And yes, they could happen on an occasional basis. Unfortunately making them an annual event only highlights the lack of depth in the female roster and has too much potential to become a long term failure, no matter how great the current women are.

    The truth is that unless the womenís roster becomes the equal of the menís roster throughout the top, middle and bottom of the card, there should not be another Womenís Royal Rumble for the foreseeable future.

    This one is a FACT not because itís my opinion; itís a FACT because itís a FACT.

  2. #2
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Nah, sorry. Not buying it, and the obvious point is when there's four lined up the same way in a sample of five the odds are that's the real right answer. It's not proof, but it's pretty damn likely.

    It's a reasonable point that you have here, but what you've done is build a case around just one aspect of the question, when there's a lot more to it than just this. How much stick will they take for not running, for one thing. The quality of the roster might be nothing against the ire of fans not getting to see their favourites do something, especially considering the women seem to be as or more popular right now.

    I also had a quick glance at Rumble entries through the 1990s and from 1994-1997, I don't think there's a year where it gets above 90%. There always seem to be at least three returns/part timers through that run. I mean that's still better than 60% obviously, but it's not a given that it's 95% or more as standard. And in 1998 10% was Mick Foley by himself, remember.... and I wouldn't mind betting it's often the case from, say, 2008 to 2014 or so, too. At least a couple of times. So I suppose the stats case only goes so far, is what I'm saying.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #3
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    You obviously have mixed feelings about it though - your response may have been fiction, but most of what you actually wrote supported the fact argument more.

  4. #4
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, I do, but mainly those stem from I think it's a mistake to consistently run two Rumble shows in one night. People will tolerate that for a year or two but I don't see how it can last without hurting the concept. But I honestly don't see how they can really do anything else now. It's a conundrum!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #5
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    That's why I think as a one off it was great, make it regular and all the positives very quickly wear off.

  6. #6
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Doubtless, but I'm not sure that the negatives of stopping wouldn't be worse than the negatives of carrying on - especially stopping after just one year that was considered pretty successful.

    The ironic thing is if they want to end it without consequences they probably need to run it into the ground so hard that no one cares when they pull the plug.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I don't tend to comment in the Columns forum (I wish I had more time to do so!), but I found this intriguing.

    Quote Originally Posted by DynamiteBillington View Post
    Now let’s look at those same stats for participants in the Women’s Rumble.
    • Main Roster: 60%
    • NXT: 7%
    • Surprise Returns: 33%

    Why is this a bad thing? Is it solely because in comparison to the Men's Rumble, the numbers are more skewed to Surprises? Because if that is the only reason, then I'm not sure the argument holds water. Two thirds of the match are active performers (NxT counts as main roster in my book), I think that's a healthy number personally. Frankly, they put on a better match than the men last year too.

    As far as two rumbles in one night, again I don't personally see the issue. We have Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Survivor Series, TLC... all PPVs that in the past has had more than one instance of the main match stipulation. I don't see the problem with two rumbles. But if there is concern there are better ways of going about it than removing one. Reduce the time between entrances, plan one or both rumbles to be quicker (i.e. quicker eliminations, less entrance time, number 30 coming in with only 5 or 6 competitors left...).

  8. #8
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
    We have Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Survivor Series, TLC...
    I do at least have the virtue of consistency because Survivor Series aside, I don't really have a lot of time for any of those, either!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #9
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    I do at least have the virtue of consistency because Survivor Series aside, I don't really have a lot of time for any of those, either!
    Yeah, don't get me started on those....it's fine to have HIAC etc when the story calls for it, but just because that's the name of the PPV? Defeats the object of that sort of stipulation.

    Survivor Series & the Rumble are definite exceptions to the rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
    I don't tend to comment in the Columns forum (I wish I had more time to do so!), but I found this intriguing.

    Why is this a bad thing? Is it solely because in comparison to the Men's Rumble, the numbers are more skewed to Surprises? Because if that is the only reason, then I'm not sure the argument holds water. Two thirds of the match are active performers (NxT counts as main roster in my book), I think that's a healthy number personally. Frankly, they put on a better match than the men last year too.
    NXT are not main roster. That is an undisputable fact. Yes, a rumble could be used to debut someone from NXT, but just giving away random slots to development wrestlers that casual fans have never heard of only highlights the lack of depth in the women's roster.

    And I already covered surprise entrants. The load has been blown on a majority of them. Sure, there are some lower ranking women who could appear, but most of the famous names have already done it. It's not a surprise when you appear every year - that just risks adding a part time glass ceiling to the women's division that so many people have been complaining about with the men.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I think NxT falls into the same category, they are full-time performers under the WWE banner, only not on an actual TV show, but a WWE Network show, which by the way most people watching Royal Rumble would be watching on the Network anyway. Sure, casual fans might not know them all too well, but we're not casual fans and I hazard a guess that the casual audience is and has been declining for some time. We watch all types of wrestling product and we even post here on LOP! I actually don't watch NXT, but even so I could name 20 performers from the show, men and women. A few inclusions in the Rumble wouldn't go amiss.

    EDIT: Just out of curiosity, I had a look on wwe.com at the current superstar list. Not counting title holders, announcers or Stephanie or Paige. I count 26 superstars:

    Alexa Bliss
    Alicia Fox
    Asuka
    Bayley
    Billie Kay
    Brie Bella
    Carmella
    Charlotte
    Dana Brooke
    Ember Moon
    Lana
    Liv Morgan
    Maryse
    Mandy Rose
    Maria Kanellis
    Mickie James
    Natalya
    Nia Jax
    Nikki Bella
    Peyton Royce
    Ruby Riott
    Sasha Banks
    Sarah Logan
    Sonya Deville
    Tamina
    Zelina Vega


    I think the numbers are there anyway to put on a 30 woman rumble with similar stats to the men...
    Last edited by Gooner; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:13 AM.

  11. #11
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
    but a WWE Network show, which by the way most people watching Royal Rumble would be watching on the Network anyway. Sure, casual fans might not know them all too well, but we're not casual fans and I hazard a guess that the casual audience is and has been declining for some time.
    Not a bad point, actually. From what I gather the American audience for RAW isn't that much bigger than the network subscriber count. I imagine if they are that casual they aren't stumping up for the PPV anyway.

    I do wonder who is left watching WWE PPVs other than Wrestlemania that isn't a network subscriber.....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  12. #12
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Not all Network Subscribers watch NXT. I know I don't, I only have it for the PPVs. The main roster is the main roster. NXT is not main roster.

    26 women though? That means it's gone up 1 since I did the research for this column! Take 2 out to challenge for the titles. Minus the Bellas, they aren't really full timers these days. Take away a few more for injuries and you're well below 20 women.

    And remember those surprise entries have all been done already.

    Like I said, I enjoyed seeing it once. Seeing it again just highlights the weakness of the female roster.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DynamiteBillington View Post
    26 women though? That means it's gone up 1 since I did the research for this column! Take 2 out to challenge for the titles. Minus the Bellas, they aren't really full timers these days. Take away a few more for injuries and you're well below 20 women.

    Challengers can enter the rumble, it's been done countless times for the men. Bellas will be in the rumble anyway, so it's not even a surprise. Injuries sure, depends how it is come January.

  14. #14
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    I don't think guys who were in the main title matches have ever been in the rumble as well. Loads of guys have pulled double duty with a match lower on the card, but off the top of my head nobody ever did a main event and the rumble.

    Absolutely no research went into that comment though, so happy to be corrected!

  15. #15
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I believe Dolph has done it a couple of times?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Reigns in 2017. Universal Title match against Owens.

    But I agree, it's rare. But certainly do-able.

  17. #17
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    As soon as I said that I knew there was going to be a ridiculously recent exception!

    It's another interesting point though. When it happens in the Men's Rumble, it's an exception and the guy is respected for doing it. In a Women's Rumble it would be a necessity, meaning it becomes the norm and takes away any impact from the rare occasions it happens in the male Rumble. Now the Women's Rumble is not only highlighting the weaknesses of the Women's roster, it's ruining an occasional aspect of the Male Rumble.

    The more we discuss it, the more it becomes a fact.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I completely see it the other way, but I think I've already made my point so I'll let someone else offer their take.

    But as a last comment, the solution to the valid arguments you have raised should not be the removal of the match entirely. This doesn't fix the problem, it removes the problem and replaces it with a much larger problem, certainly from a PR point of view, but also a roster point of view. Women in all walks of life have been regularly put aside or not given the same opportunities as men. I shudder to think what the women superstars would think if WWE took away their Rumble after one year, while the men continue on to their 31st annual one (not counting special event rumbles, like the one in Saudi Arabia). Quite simply, I think it would completely extinguish the Womens Revolution and would become a very dark mark in WWE history.
    Last edited by Gooner; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:02 PM.

  19. #19
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Totally agree with that. Over in the ForF thread Prime summed it up with his comment about it being a rod for their own back.

    I just think it's easier to accept from that point of view if it's done as a one off, rather than making it an annual event which then gets canned after a few years. Neither option is a good thing from the equality point of view.

    A one off doesn't signal the end of the Revolution though, cancelling something that has become a tradition does.

  20. #20
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    I have held off from commenting on the piece until I read you explanation.

    I count 23 women on roster minusing the champions (22 if Alexa stays injured) stick in the Bellas, Maria and Maryse and that is either 27/26 superstars.

    Even with the two down for the title matches (even then they may still enter) that is 25, and usually that is enough for the men's side.

    I do agree that if this is done again it should have less of a focus on the past and more on the present, and a spoonful of the future too. I would add Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane and one other to the match. Nikki because she did recently appear on SmackDown and is likely to move to the main roster soon, Kairi because she is recognisable from last year and the WM Battle Royal, and the one other to fill out numbers.

    Honestly, the main roster women are in much better hands this year, instead of being something just for publicity like last years, this could legitimately be an important match.
    *Ghostly wailing*

  21. #21
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    OK, so this is interesting. When I was doing the research for this, Wikipedia had one of the Bellas on Smackdown, the other listed under "unassigned wrestlers". Checking back today, they're both listed under the "Ambassadors" category, i.e. they have what is commonly called a Legends contract. Don't remember seeing that one in the main page news feed, but may well have missed it - I tend to ignore anything headlined with Bellas under the assumption it's going to be about their reality show!

    That hasn't changed the number of women on the 'active roster' though, meaning a couple of new girls must have been added making the situation not as bad as it was last week. I still believe doing a Women's Rumble highlights the weakness of the roster, because literally every woman they've got has to be there to make it happen. Obviously with the men they could probably do 2 Rumbles and still not use everybody (haven't counted so only a rough guess!). If the number of full time active women was to go up by another 15-20 (which may well happen over the next year or two) then I fully agree it becomes feasible. At present, they are still stretching things a bit far.

    I don't remember considering Maryse or Maria - both listed as "other on-air personel" so probably not in my original count. Even taking them into account, they both fall into the surprise entrant category at best. They certainly aren't full time roster which has to make up the bulk of the entrants.

    And as I said in the column, you also have to consider the surprise entrants. Rule out all the women who appeared in the first match for a minimum of 5 years. Who is left? Not many... Use them too often, they stop being a surprise and they start being a part timer.

  22. #22
    Normally we find ourselves in agreement but this time I'm going to have to disagree and stick to what I've said in the FoF column you referring to.

    As you've pointed out, 60 percent of the main women roster were involved in the Rumble, but if argue that it was a trial run to see if they could pull it off. When dealing with an unknown entity, one has to first gauge reactions, which is why they opted to include the 33 percent surprise entrants. WWE didn't know if the main roster women could keep the crowd enthralled for the duration of the Rumble, which is why they brought back those nostalgia acts.

    But now that they see that the Women's Rumble actually works, they'll put more faith in their current roster. Besides, think about the men's Rumble over the years. At the worst of times their weren't that many true stars filling the ranks and that's how I choose to look at the Women's Rumble. If WWE spaces out the popular entrants they don't need those nostalgia acts.

    The key selling point should be the actual Rumble and with the talent WWE currently have there shouldn't be a doubt that the women can keep the crowd entertained for the duration. And with regards to NXT women getting an entrant, that helps to show how over they are with the main audience, which will give WWE an indication of whether those women are ready for the main roster or not.

  23. #23
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Don, I wish I could agree. I just can't.

    Trouble is, your point about WWE not wanting to risk trusting the main roster women to make the match work in that first rumble doesn't add up. On the surface, it has the potential to be a valid point. Unfortunately when you actually stop to think about it, you quickly realise that would weaken the match rather than strengthen it. WWE know as well as we do that the current female roster is more talented than has ever been the case for their women. They also know several of the surprise entrants came from some of the weakest periods of female wrestling.

    Yes, last year's match worked and was a huge success. I just honestly believe they'll see that, run it again, and do all the same things. Same surprise guests etc. Once it's been done, it's been done. Something new has to happen, but the female roster still isn't quite big enough to differentiate from last years match at this point in time.

    OK, here's the deal. According to Wikipedia, this is the list of "Free Agents" that entered the first women's rumble:
    • Lita
    • Torrie Wilson
    • Molly Holly
    • Michelle McCool
    • Vickie Guerrero
    • Kelly Kelly
    • Jacqueline
    • Beth Phoenix
    • Brie Bella
    • Trish Stratus


    Rule out Brie Bella from that list and you have 9 people left. My bet is that of those 9 a minimum of 3 of those women will be re-used as "surprise" entrants again next year, and all will reappear at least once within 5 years.

    When that happens, I will have been proved right.


    Edit: Also, this may be me a case of semantics, but just noticed you said this: "60 percent of the main women roster were involved in the Rumble". That's not true, it's actually 60% of the Rumble was made of the main roster. If a rumble could happen that only used 60% of the main roster, the issue would go away and doing the match would not be an issue.
    Last edited by DynamiteBillington; 1 Week Ago at 04:01 AM.

  24. #24
    The Brain
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    Gooner is my man in this thread!!

    Yeah, Bull, I love ya but you couldn't be more WRONG about this, and I say that with full Tito style emphasis! I feel like you're stuck on numbers and which roster counts as what and what fans will recognize which wrestlers, but all I want to see is a great match, and they did it last year and I don't see any reason they can't do it again. I love seeing NXT women introduced to the world in a big match, and I love returning stars, provided they are around to interact with and more often than not put over the current generation of talent (THAT'S the missing piece on the men's side!).

    I wanna see it and I'm gonna love it, and you can't stop me!!

  25. #25
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    1 NXT debutant is acceptable, no more though.

    Totally agree with you on returning stars, a couple is great to see. Not 1/3 of the entrants.

    I'm sure if Tito was here to read this I'd have his full support. I miss Tito!

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