Welcome to the VAVEL Wrestling roundtable. In what will hopefully be the first of an ongoing series, Jameus Mooney, Matthew Wilkinson and I discuss women's wrestling and pick the best possible roster, starting by going through the current women on the WWE roster and deciding which ones we'd keep, then considering some of the more prominent indie women.
Chris Barratt: OK gents, thanks for doing this! As you guys know, we're picking our ideal women's roster, and we'll start with the current WWE divas and whether we'd keep them or fire them and some reasons etc. I think the obvious starting point has to be Sasha Banks, and I would imagine we'd all be in agreement that Sasha should be a huge part of the women's division?
Jameus Mooney: I will obviously to that statement. Sasha Banks is one of those women that you knew fell in love with it once she watched it. There's no doubt she is the best women's heel in wrestling today, and she'll be the LIta of this division, and has one of the brighter futures for women's wrestling. When I look at this roster, I see hope that was lost in the era of a Kelly Kelly, who couldn't wrestle her way out of a paper bag.
Matthew Wilkinson: Certainly, for me she should be THE heel diva on the roster, in the ring she is arguably one of if not the best the company has, she can talk, she's one of the only divas to actually have some character and personality with her 'boss' gimmick and the fans love her, the constant "we want Sasha" chants should be the biggest indication she needs to be represented more
JM: Oh, and she's not ratchet.
MW: For me it was the work of the likes of Sasha/Charlotte that gave this 'revolution' the life it needed to actually happen, as opposed to simply a trending hashtag
JM: I agree, to a degree.
CB: I think the best part of Sasha Banks is how, even though I agree that she's a magnificent heel, she could also turn face with very little effort. That's a truly impressive skill to have, being able to play the same basic character as both a heel and a face, and it's something that we haven't seen since CM Punk. I would say that the revolution was started by Paige and Emma at NXT ArRival, but I do agree that Sasha, Charlotte, and the NXT divas in general are the driving force behind it. On the subject, let's talk about Charlotte.
JM: I like what they're doing, but this is hardly a revolution. It's been booked so poorly-that it lost steam fast. It was too obvious Charlotte was winning and it was focused around the Bellas and Paige, which it shouldn't have, and quite frankly, the matches suck.
CB: I agree, the main roster attempt at a "Revolution" is a joke. It's NXT where the real revolution is happening.
MW: I agree regarding the 'revolution' it's NXT that's making the difference, where Charlotte is concerned she is on hell of a talent! Her athleticism is unmatched by any of the other women, and she will be another main focal point of the divas division for years to come playing that classic baby face role, my only problem with her is she seems to be relying upon her dad's name too much, from the theme song to the woo's it's becoming a little forced
CB: They're trying too hard to force it as far as I'm concerned, instead of just letting women have matches and real characters. The difference is staggering between NXT Women's Champ Charlotte, who was a multi-layered character who had come from being a part of Summer's crew to fighting through and taking the title, and Divas Champion Charlotte, who's entire motivation is, as far as I can see, "I don't like the Bellas because Paige didn't like the Bellas and Steph put me on her team"
JM: Charlotte, is an outstanding wrestler that's not moving anytime soon. As she's phenomenal yes, I don't feel it, and I feel that's just me. She's not it to me, and she has Ric's nose...ew. Haha
I'll agree to that statement
I LOVED Charlotte in NXT.
CB: I agree that they need to evolve beyond "Ric Flair with [breasts]" for Charlotte. She needs to make her impressive gymnastic training into a bigger part of her character
JM: She pretty much needs to start doing it with Flair.
Here's what I'd do: I'd turn her heel. Make her lead the four horsewomen, but since Bayley doesn't like look she's getting called up, I'd bring in Tessa Blanchard.
MW: My only issue with that is there is a real lack of face's to rival them
JM: I would agree to that, but give this a little time, this wouldn't happen anytime soon.
CB: I do like the idea of making the four horsewomen into an actual thing, rather than just like The Kliq. The issue there though is that there's not really enough divas around for a stable to be used. Of course since we're talking our perfect women's roster, a heel stable would be a great idea
MW: Anything better than the current 'stables' if you can even call them that
I believe the decision to partner all these women who are surely all reaching for the same goal is totally insane to me
CB: Since you mention Bayley, I'd like to discuss her. To me, she's the quintessential face to go against Sasha's heel
JM: No matter who would be in that, Chris, I'd put Sasha leading it. I don't care if it's Paige, I don't care if it's Becky, or Naomi. Sasha can talk circles around all of them. Paige can't talk and Becky's boring on the roster. [Bayley] is that face that will never turn heel, like the Ricky Steamboat of this division.
MW: Totally agree, the perfect babyface, she doesn't even need to do anything and fans seem to just gravitate towards her she has the 'it' factor
CB: I think Bayley - Sasha should be the modern day Flair - Dusty
A rivalry that goes on above everything
MW: I wouldn't be rushing bringing her up though, the poor writing of the main roster womens division would not help her and right now she is THE woman down in NXT, allow her to develop and prove she can cope with that added pressure of having the title, and help develop some of the other NXT talent, and bring her up sometime after Mania
JM: She may not be the Ricky Steamboat in the ring, but, she can wrestle well enough with an opponent like Sasha to the point where Sasha or Paige hides her flaws, and makes her look better than she is. Characte wise, she's there..
She's going to cope; fast.
She's the women down there with other than 1 or 2, virtually nobody built up. Everyone got called up.
MW: I agree
I agree that there shouldn't be a rush to bring her up, simply because there needs to be someone in NXT who has experience in that environment, and they brought everyone else up all at once and then forced a bunch of new characters in.
Personally, I'd've kept Becky [Lynch] down for a while rather than Bayley
JM: I agree. Becky's not THAT good to me anyway
MW: I agree, Becky has been totally wasted and misused, she was just starting to show potential in my opinion and then got brought up
CB: I think Bayley was much more rounded. Becky is a great character actress, and she has a killer submission hold, but she's not really got a gimmick or anything
MW: I think Becky has great potential to go on and become bigger, she's proven she can play both a heel and a face down in NXT but she needs to create a character she seems to just be stuck as Charlotte's friend right now
JM: A killer submission? Jericho had like 50 of those on his list.
It's because they want to put the division on Charlotte, and using Becky to help her, not developing Becky, but developing the money earner. I see why they do it, but I don't fully comprehend the logic.
CB: She doesn't have the natural charisma of Sasha or the instant connection with fans of Bayley or the pedigree of Charlotte's family, so she should've been developed more because if someone asked me to explain Becky Lynch to someone new, I don't know what I'd be able to say beyond "she's pretty, Irish, and wears goggles for some reason. Oh and Devitt trained her"
JM: The goggles confuse me too
MW: They were random but it gives WWE some extra merch to sell doesn't it
CB: I think if they actually do something with her, she could be a very important part of the roster going forward, because she has more in ring experience than any of the other Horsewomen and simply needs some motivation. She's never going to be quite the level of the other three, but she'd be a solid person who can fill the Kane type role of someone who can't beat the main eventers but is still worth having around to give champions someone to defend the title against etc
MW: Becky's stuck now though, because if she drops back to NXT and leaves the main roster totally it's going to make her look weak, but if she stays on the main roster I think she will be stuck in the role she's currently doing, where they will use her when they can as she can put a good 10 minute match together, but will never push her
JM: She'd be the Victoria or Ivory of this division, and both were phenomenal. She'll break out, but not anytime soon.
MW: There's no doubt that she will be sticking around and I think we all agree she's apart of the dream roster.
CB: Oh definitely. We've mentioned Paige a few times already, I think we should focus on her next.
I will warn you both now, I am a HUGE Paige fan so I'm a little biased here
JM: I'm meh on her...right now.
CB: The heel turn should be the kick she needs
Paige should never ever be a face
MW: Paige is frustrating to me, as an Englishman I am 110% behind her, I love her style, I think it's totally different to any of the other women on the roster and it's exactly what is needed, but her current face/heel deal is ridiculous
JM: Here's why... She's great in the ring, but she was so STALE as a face, and couldn't talk so I just took a disliking from here from the get-go
MW: With her actions on RAW that needs to be the turning point, there should be no going back, she needs to be an aggressive badass heel. The booking of Paige the past few months has been so poor
CB: Her booking ever since she won the title on her callup was bad. They don't seem to understand that she's not another diva. She's called the anti-diva for a reason, it's not just because she's pale instead of being tanned, it's because she is nothing like the traditional "diva"
MW: The fact she is so different is what makes her appealing (to me at least) but that hasn't been explored and it's a real shame
JM: There's always the anti divas when we're heading into a new era, however. The era of Rockin Robin and Aulundra Blayze ends, here comes the models of Marlena and Sable, then Lita, against that is a wrestler, then we get Kelly Kelly, who was so mind-gnumingly bad it made me hate pro wrestler, in comes the bellas, and now here's Paige.
CB: She was so incredible in FCW and on NXT, but ever since the call-up, she's just not doing anything worth watching. The biggest issue for me, not just for Paige but for the new crop of divas in general, is Vince. He's a dinosaur who doesn't understand the modern world and is still trying to force the same characters on the women: jealous or b*tch.
MW: The time for HHH to take full control is upon us, and that won't just benefit the women...
JM: Then who takes over NXT?
That's my question, I'd wait for it to simmer down.
CB: I think the biggest issue is that even Lita and Victoria etc were still very based in sex appeal, because that's how Vince uses women. And that's ok, and it has it's place, but it shouldn't be all of them. Girls like Paige should be badasses, and the sex appeal part should come from people like Eva Marie. I think instead of someone running NXT and someone running Raw, it should be Triple H is in charge of the men and Sara Del Rey should be in charge of the women
JM: Or nobody. Eva Marie sucks
MW: I don't see why you can;t do both, why cant paige be destroying people on wwe t.v. and when it comes to total divas thats where the sex appeal is brought in?
Is that not the whole premise of that show?
JM: Total Divas I can't even sit 5 minutes in.
CB: Total Divas has no place in my ideal roster. I mean as a guilty pleasure, I love it because it's hilariously bad
I watched the first season or two just because John Cena and Daniel Bryan were so entertaining on it
MW: I think it serves a purpose
JM: Yeah, to bore people who hate themselves
MW: We live in a world where shows such as that exist and are popular, if the WWE missed out on that they would be stupid
CB: So if we're talking about Total Divas, this is probably the perfect time to bring in the "stars" of the show: The Bellas
I'd like to talk about them seperately, and start with Nikki
mostly because I think there's a huge gap in quality between the two
JM: Go....and take that stupid wedding planner-turned wrestler out. Leave.
MW: The Bellas would certainly be part of my roster, there is a big gap but you can't have one without the other
CB: I'd keep Nikki in a heartbeat. I think she's been one of the most improved by a long way over the last year
MW: Nikki has improved vastly, and can certainly play the cocky heel ' i'm sexier and better than everyone'
JM: Nikki was so bad when she first came in, it was an era with Kaitlyn, it was such a bad crop. Nikki, though, has improved, both in ring adn on the mic, she makes me hate myself. She just needs to leave.
MW: She can talk on the mic, and in the ring she works well, she has worked hard to improve and that's clear and it paid off
JM: But, hey, at least unlike Brie, she can act,
CB: I agree that they're a package deal but I would keep Brie for backstage interviews and stuff rather than in-ring. Nikki is a very talented wrestler now, she's head and shoulders above the girls who were around when she debuted
JM: She's improved, yes, head on shoulders? Obviously? But look...KELLY KELLY? KAITLYN? No, even Dana Brooke is better than those chicks.
CB: Kaitlyn was a good wrestler. AJ was a good wrestler. Eve got a lot better toward the end
JM: Eve improved big time, Kaitlyn bored me to tears.
AJ I left out, she's the best wrestler all-round this decade. Hands down.
MW: Nikki is a good wrestler, and worthy of her spot on the roster, given how long she has been around she is also now one of the most experienced which is useful too
JM: Brie on the other hand. let's speak on her
CB: Yeah I don't think Brie has as much going for her
MW: "BRIE MODEEEEEE"
JM: You can't have one without the other/ Simple, you just can't, but Nikki needs to go if she goes, and ifanyone needs to leave it Brie. She's a new kind of bad in the ring, and can't act...at all. She can't even cuss right.
MW: I would keep her around simply because the 'bellas' are a package deal and there isn't a way around that for me
CB: I agree that they are a package deal. Especially because "The Bella Twins" is the brand, and from an out-of-ring perspective they're very important
MW: But as far as in ring talent and acting, she is by far one of the weakest on the roster, I would simply have her as a valet for Nikki with very brief wrestling time
JM: If she's gunna be a valet, have it be for Bryan
At least they'd have chemistry on screen.
MW: No, Bryan doesn't need that to tie him down
CB: I wouldn't even have her wrestling at all. I'd have her as Nikki's valet yes, but also as a heel interviewer. She has chemistry with Bryan and not her twin sister?
I don't see her adding anything to Bryan, which a valet needs to do
JM: Nikki would be better off by herself, but that's just me
CB: I think it's an odd one. From purely a wrestling perspective, I'd rather have both Bryan and Nikki as characters in their own right, but just because of eight years of "The Bellas", it's tough to just tear them apart
MW: I would prefer to have her not wrestle too Chris but how do you get to the point, why would she just stop whilst her sister continued, it wouldn't make sense, so occasional matches I will settle for
JM: FIre Brie. Not that hard.
MW: Just no more screaming of brie mode or come on nikkiiii, I can't deal with that
CB: But speaking of annoying, what the hell has happened to Summer Rae lately?
JM: I don't know, but she can wrestle, it just hasn't been shown
CB: She can indeed. NXT Summer was one of my favourite heels, when she was with Charlotte and Sasha
MW: WWE needs to stop throwing her into simply being a girlfriend of different talent and get back to the wrestling
CB: this whole mess of a feud with Rusev and Ziggler and now Breeze has been horrible.
MW: her current situation with Breeze is a slight improvement to the god awful rusev/ziggler situation but not by much
JM: When she was in developmental, she'd put on match after match, and I specifically remember her having a very good looking version of the Indian Deathlock, which is something you don't see everyday
CB: Yeah she did, because she was part of the Sara Del Rey crop who all have a submission, which I think is excellent. Everyone should have a signature submission hold
I think a lot of the problem is, again, Vince just thinking that the pretty girl shouldn't be a wrestler
JM: Then why is Sasha unpinned on the Main Roster?
CB: Well Sasha is barely even on the main roster
but also because the four horsewomen are Triple H's baby
Whereas Summer has that look: blonde, long legs, pretty. The Sable/Keibler/Kelly look
Charlotte is lucky that Summer came first, otherwise I reckon she'd be crammed into that role
MW: Summer is going to need some time away and then a return for her to be taken seriously now by a casual audience who haven't been exposed to her work
Because in terms of the main roster she hasn't shown much
CB: I could go with that. Send her off to film another Marine movie and then bring her back fresh like they did with Miz.
MW: Yeah that's what I would do, let her go away and return right now the majority of fans just see her as that girl who danced with fandango and has spent the last few months in some of the worst storylines in recent memory
CB: Her athletic background is incredibly impressive too which is another reason I hate what they're doing with her
She was a pro football player
normally WWE loves that
MW: She's being wasted, plain and simple
CB: absolutely. But i think we all agree, we would keep her
MW:Without a doubt, if used correctly she can be a major asset to the roster
CB: Awesome. So we just talked about Summer, and so far we've not really unanimously fired anyone. Let's see how long that lasts now that we're past the obvious ones. How about Tamina?
I'd fire Tamina honestly, so this could be interesting
MW: I would also fire Tamina
MW: She serves no purpose at all, I find her to be very slow and unconvincing in the ring and there's a certain talent we will get to later down in NXT who can easily fill her role as the 'big strong woman'
JM: To me, it depends on how they use her, to be frank. She's not that good, but she could be the good monster heel that the divas division is missing, until Nia Jax gets there (Who needs to not smile, as she has a pretty one)
CB: I really don't see any value in her. The only thing she really does is her dad's Superfly Splash and she can't even do that properly
I agree that the monster heel is important, but as you say, Nia Jax fills that role, who we'll get to later.
I did think Tamina worked well way back when she was The Usos valet and they had those awesome mixed tag matches against The Hart Dynasty
But she's just not done anything since, and that was five years ago
MW: I would personally drop her and bring Jax up eventually who can fulfill the exact same role, hopefully making a better job of it
JM: I go to NXT a lot. Jax isn't bad, but she needs a tad more work. Speaking of the hart dynasty, Natalya.
CB: Natalya, yes. Personally, I'm not a big Natalya fan, I don't think she's as great as WWE would like us to believe. However, I wouldn't fire her. She's solid in the ring and she has a level of experience that a lot of the girls are lacking
JM: When I first heard they signed the daughter of the Anvil, I thought "a new big woman who has a beard".... She proved me wrong. She wrestles more like Owen, if anything.
MW: Natalya's position and the way she has been used frustrates me more than any other talent on the womens division, i'm a big fan of Nattie, she is one of the best in ring talents the company has, her experience is vital and her passion is clear to see, for me she just needs to be used in a much more prominent fashion
JM: She's one of the better in ring wrestlers, behind Banks.
CB: I agree that she's been horribly used. But nothing about her makes me like her either, I just don't see her as someone I would want to cheer for OR boo, and that's a real problem
MW: The women's division lacks that experience massively, and her matches with Charlotte in NXT were amazing, I would not complain about seeing them work again
JM: Not before Banks v Charlotte, which needs to happen at WrestleMania
CB: She is one of the stronger divas too, and in a division where Nikki Bella is the powerhouse atm, that's important
MW: The storyline of simple frustration at the fact all these new girls have come and skipped the line without paying any dues or working aslong as she did works for me
CB: I'd love to see her used as a kind of divas GM. Like the matriarch who is so experienced and respected, but not afraid to get in the ring and tear it up when someone starts acting out. Lets talk about Sasha & Tamina's Team BAD compatriot, Naomi
JM: I like her. and I'd keep her
I'd push her, actually
CB: I'd keep her, I wouldn't push her. I'd put her in a women's tag division because while she does have her strengths, she also has some serious weaknesses
JM: Naomi is different, very unorthodox in the ring, and very talented. If done right, the matches can hide her weakness.
MW: I would certainly keep her around, she's a solid in ring talent and she has plenty of personality, needs to go back to being a face character for me though, I don't buy into her current gimmick at all
CB: That's why I'd like to see her in a tag team. Tag matches are great at showcasing strengths and hiding weaknesses. She doesn't really have a gimmick
She would need a complete overhaul though I think
MW: She's not exactly getting much as it is, team bad is the team that has been cast aside for the majority of this 'revolution'
JM: and it's 2 of the most talented...and Tamina
CB: I think if we're keeping her around, she needs an actual gimmick, and to really change her signature moves cos atm they're basically "I'm gonna hit you with my a**"
JM: She can hit me with her signatures though.
CB: It's just not believable enough for me. Like, a clothesline is a transitional move and that actually has force behind it. Her tapping a running opponent in the face with her butt, unless it's made of lead, should do basically nothing
MW: It's a horrendous signature move, when you compare it against other diva's moves it's very tough to buy into
CB: Exactly. When Nikki is getting near falls with a running forearm smash, Naomi shouldn't be pinning people off the Rear View (which is a hilarious name btw)
But the point we seem to all agree on is that she's not a bad wrestler, she's just being booked badly
MW: A common reoccurring theme...
CB: Sadly, yeah. Lets discuss the last of the three "Diva's Revolution" teams, Team Bella's third wheel, Alicia Fox
CB: My only problem with foxy is that she's been around, what, almost ten years? And she's still not great in the ring. Absolutely brilliant character actress, but she's just underwhelming in-ring
She has the same problem as Miz for me: she feels like someone trying to be a wrestler rather than actually being a wrestler
MW: Why she is even involved in this whole revolution team angle I do not know, simply to fill out the Bella's team but anyone could do that, she offers nothing in terms of in ring talent and doesn't really boast much character appeal, what is her current situation does she just want to be a bella or? The only time i've ever given her a second thought was during her period of going crazy and screaming etc, but I don't need that again
CB: I think she's involved because Bayley couldn't be on Team Bella, Summer was busy with Dolph and there's not really anyone else. I think Team Bella represent the "old guard" as it were, and she's the only one left from before 2010. I did enjoy her when she turned heel, but just like when R Truth turned heel and was briefly enjoyable, it fizzled out because creative didn't care
MW: I just think she doesn't really add anything to the roster and is taking up a space that could be occupied by somebody of greater talent
We're coming to the end of the main roster now, only two left who I feel may go a similar way. Rosa Mendes?
JM: Eh, she's leaving anywho on maternity.
CB: Assuming ofc that she's actually available, I'd not keep her
MW: I'd wish her the best in her future endeavors
CB: OK that was easy, and I think this one will be equally easy: Cameron
MW: Exactly the same
CB: Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye
JM: Push her....
OFF OF A BRIDGE
MW: She has 0 talent
CB: I would've fired her the second she tried to pin someone upside down
I'm entirely convinced she's only employed because she lucked out and got on Total Divas before Paige/Summer/etc were ready
MW: I agree, the moment she came back from that abomination she would have been gone and even then she's not entertaining, it's her boyfriend that makes me want to watch her sections
CB: Oh I can't stand her boyfriend either, he annoys the crap out of me
Anyway, now comes the one I've been dreading because I know that I'm going to be alone on wanting to keep her. Eva Marie
JM: No comment.
CB: Ok hear me out
She's perfectly positioned as a heel. She has the level of nuclear heat that heels DREAM of
MW: Keep her. Natural heel, let her stay down in NXT and see if she can develop, fans HATE her, and no one else will be able to get to that level of heat, she has begun working with Brian Kendrick so she is finally starting to show signs of caring, and the company is ready to invest in her
CB: Ignoring for a second the fact that she's the poster girl, and she's great for photo ops etc, there isn't a person in the company who has the level of heat she has. I wouldn't even develop her, I'd keep her exactly how she is. The outpouring of hate when she first appeared on NXT, from the most forgiving crowd in the world, shows just how hated she is, and that's awesome. I'd have her stay exactly as she is, thinking that she's doing nothing wrong and not understanding why people don't like her. She's hitting "John Cena at One Night Stand 06" levels of hatred. Kevin Owens couldn't make people hate him like that
MW: Surely she needs to develop a little because her in ring talent is dreadful
CB: Nope, I'd keep her like that. That's why people hate her. Make it her whole gimmick
As long as she can work safely and isn't going to hurt anyone, the more she botches the better because the more people will hate her for it. I honestly really do want her to succeed though. When she first debuted, I didn't like her because I thought she was just doing it to be on TV, but from watching her on Total Divas and seeing all the effort she's putting into training with Kendrick, it's obvious she genuinely wants to be a wrestler. I respect that.
MW: It works but I think that way it's going to be limited, you can never take her seriously if she doesn't improve and eventually the heat will die down if she's just doing the same gimmick of basically being a terrible wrestler
CB: That's true I suppose. And I guess she has her face turn already set up: if she gets good all she has to do is cut a passionate promo about how she's worked hard to be there and she finally feels she deserves it and everything, and I reckon she could get over
Amazingly, it seems like we aren't firing Eva. Lets move to the NXT girls now anyway, starting with the one who, like Eva, has come from the main roster: Emma
CB: And I would push Emma 100%
MW: Keep and push, she would have made more sense to me in team Bella
JM: I would too. And when she comes back up steer away from the bubbles
CB: I like the bubbles, but yeah they didn't translate well
I love what she's doing now, Evil Emma
MW: She needs to be a heel for the meantime as I think it's working well
CB: I mean, I miss her being adorkable with her dancing and everything, but if she has to be a heel to make a title run,I would do it
I think she should be challenging Bayley for the title, then Bayley can win her first feud because Emma doesn't need a title run on NXT, I'd love to see her as Divas champ down the road though
MW: She would make a perfect first challenger for Bayley although it appears that Alexa Bliss is going to be getting that chance
JM: Alexa Bliss is OK
Not great yet.
CB: I'd've had Alexa be the one to take the title off Bayley. But not yet because she needs to develop her ringwork a bit more, whereas Emma is all set in that department
Mostly I just want to see a lot more Muta Locks
MW: I agree but I think she has potential, good talker and working with Blake and Murphy has helped Bliss
JM: I like them together. I wouldn't like them alone.
CB: I love Alexa as a heel. She's incredible on the mic and I think she should ditch Blake and Murphy as soon as possible because they're bland charisma vacuums
But as I said, I think she still needs to improve in the ring before she should be having title matches
I think she can go far though, because she has the perfect look to either be the bitchy popular cheerleader as a heel, or the girl next door as a face
MW: That's the case with a lot of the current NXT female talent
But Bliss is someone I would be keeping and looking to grow
CB: Oh absolutely, that's the biggest issue with them tearing away all the developed characters and solid workers
Lets talk about someone who comes into NXT as the finished product: Asuka
JM: I don't like her
MW: I do like her, brings something totally different, she is a pure striker and one hell of a talent
CB: As KANA she was one of the biggest names in women's wrestling in Japan, and I think she's only in NXT briefly to make sure she's not too stiff
JM: She hasn't impressed me. But I new to see more of her work for a for sure
MW: She is going to simply need time, she needs to be exposed to the WWE Universe which NXT will provide her with, allowing her to learn that WWE style, I agree she should only briefly be on NXT before shaking things up in a big way on the main roster
CB: To me, she mirrors Hideo Itami in basically every way, and that's exciting because the women's division doesn't have that hard-hitting, scary character
MW: Keep her silent, no talking for now, it adds to the mystery behind her character, the way she laughs and smiles when getting hit adds that bit of crrepiness which I think works
CB: She's a legit psycho, it's perfect character work. I'm not sure how great her English is though, it could be that she's silent because she's still learning the language
I agree that they should keep her silent though
It worked with Kharma
JM: Kharma wasn't my cup of tea
MW: I was wondering if she could actually talk english, it doesn't matter though as I wouldn't have her speak regardless of if she could
CB: I look forward to some wrestlemania in the future, where the face champ is in the ring ready to defend, and then sees this coming at her:
CB: That would be goddamn terrifying, and there needs to be a scary diva
MW: I agree totally, and she fits the bill
JM: Eva's wrestling is scary
CB: She does. Plus, it's good to have some international stars in the divas division
MW: Of course it is
Keep and push very shortly for me
CB: Moving on to the other definition of "monster heel", we touched on her earlier: Nia Jax
MW: Someone else I would keep around
CB: Agreed, but she has a long way to go before she's ready
MW: I haven't been exposed to much of her work so I can't comment too much but from what I have seen and heard i'm impressed and see potential, she certainly has the look to play that 'monster' which these smaller women can be threatened by, she just needs to work hard in NXT and get up to scratch
CB: Yeah that's what I'd say. Jameus, since you said you've seen her at NXT shows you're probably in a better position to comment on what sort of level she's at currently
JM: Nia Jax needs to not smile. She has two pretty of a smile. But she's big and can move.
CB: I'd say she should change her gear too cos atm it looks like Aladdin's magic carpet
CB: She has tremendous upside from what I've seen, and of course she's The Rock's cousin so wrestling is in her blood
How about someone who's been around a bit longer: Dana Brooke?
JM: Ehhh. Could use work. I'd keep her for a tag team personally. Or a body guard
CB: I think tag team is a good call yeah, she's been working pretty well with Emma. I'm not a fan, but she's doing some good heel work even though she's not great in the ring
Matthew, any thoughts on Dana?
MW: I've not been overly impressed by anything i've seen from her so far if i'm honest, she seems to still need a lot of work on her in ring ability, I would keep her round and like you've already stated use her in a tag team role to continue her development
This is where someone like Natalya comes into play for me, these are the sorts of talents she should be working with, passing on the knowledge and experience to try and help athletes who have the look but lack the skill
CB: Yeah I'd like to see Natalya working with some of the newer girls. They'd really have no excuse if they didn't manage to pick up the in-ring stuff with Natalya, Sara Del Rey and now Sarah "Sarita" Stock helping them out
MW: Exactly, if they can't learn it with that wealth of knowledge training them, that's when you quickly find out who to let go and who to keep, but for Brooke, keep her around for now
CB: On a similar note, I think Carmella would really benefit from working closely with someone like Natalya
JM: Carmella, talking and connecting is there
Ring work not so much
MW: I would keep Carmella, she connects brilliantly with the audience and her work with Enzo and Cass certainly has helped develop her a good character, I don't think her in ring work is terrible, but it certainly needs to improve to reach main roster level
CB: I'd agree with that. Although I would like to see what she could do on her own without Enzo and Cass helping her. Or rather, without Enzo because I think Cass wouldn't be as popular without him either
JM: She's gunna make it ether way.
MW: I think she will transition to the main roster whenever they do
CB: Also just quickly, I think Enzo is such an important talent
Doesn't get anything like the credit he deserves, because he could take anyone and make the audience love them
JM: EnZo and Cass wouldn't be them without Carmella. Sorey.
CB: They were around for ages without Carmella
JM: Did they get over?
MW: Enzo makes that team what it is, his charisma is off the charts
CB: I agree she adds to the character, but they were just as popular before her
He managed to carry a feud with Sylvester LeFort and Marcus Louis all on his own without being able to walk, Enzo is incredible on the mic. We're coming to the end of the NXT women anyway, just two left: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. What do we think of Kay first?
JM: I'd have to watch her
CB: yeah I like her potential too
MW: Has potential but i've not a seen enough of her to give a full opinion to be honest
CB: She turned heel last week randomly, which was weird
I think both her and Peyton Royce (which is such a porny name) are ones to watch, because there's some real talent coming out of Australia
In fact Royce especially, because she can throw a great looking kick
MW: I will be keeping an eye out for them both
CB: I've just realised, there's one more girl who should be considered with the NXT lot: Ol' Blue Pants, Leva Bates
Much love for Leva
JM: She could make it on te main roster, but steer away from that gimmick. PLEASE
CB: Oh yeah, she needs to be allowed to do her indie gimmick.
MW: She could easily make it, has all the talent and connects with the fans, but I do not want to see 'Blue Pants' fighting at Wrestlemania for a Divas Title needs to be changed
CB: I love her gimmick on the indies that's basically just her cosplaying a bunch of characters. But I agree, name change please. I wanted to talk briefly about some of the WWE NPCs, like Lana
MW: Lana I would certainly keep around but I do worry that her momentum and involvement in the whole Rusev mess is going to hurt her prospects of becoming a major player in the Divas division
I also have no idea about her actual in ring abilities but I am well aware that's what she is angling for
CB: She's shown she can be a great manager, but the issue for me is how do they now undo the whole Russian thing?
She's incredibly athletic, but idk whether she does that much in the way of wrestling yet
JM: They shouldn't. It was a mistake to take Rusev and her apart. Rusev and Lana is a fit, and a fit that with that much chemistry shouldn't be split. It's Rusev's Night to Lana's day. They're like Rocky and Adrian. I like how they came, and how she was his mouth piece, she's perfect for the role.
CB: I agree they should've kept them together. And keep it as a business relationship instead of all this girlfriend nonsense
no more jealousy storylines, only Rusev Machka please
I'd love for her to keep training under the radar and then be forced into in-ring competition in like a mixed tag and just wreck someone too. Sticking with the non-wrestlers, Renee Young. Are we all in agreement that she's lovely and should be on every show?
JM: She's the best looking person on the roster...but she's a fan that as a historic background and I like that.
CB: I think Lexi Bliss would have a thing or two to say about objectively best looking, but there's just something lovable about Renee. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to keep her around
MW: The best looking women around, she's brilliant at what she does and I would like her to simply keep doing exaclty what she is
CB: I'd put her on commentary too tbh
JM: She's at a perfect role, and is an outstanding anylyst.
CB: She has that passion for wrestling that so few commentators seem to have
MW: Yep I would give her a run too
the current commentators suck and are one of the worst parts about the current product so i'm more than happy to shake it up with Young getting the chance
CB: how would we use Steph McMahon?
JM: Stephanie was BAD when she first came in was BAD, but as she got a feel for it became the best thing in the business, comprehends it, and is an outstanding actress.
CB: Entirely agreed. Best heel currently working in the US
Incredible mind as well
MW: Another one I would be keeping, phenomenal on the mic, can't think of anyone on the current women's roster who can do it better, fantastic actress, and can get in the ring when needed and do a good enough job too, which allows for good storyline possibilities
JM: And I don't like the show when she's not on, it feels something is missineg, to me she makes it more special in feel.
CB: She was awesome at Summerslam last year when she wrestled. The biggest compliment I think anyone could possibly give her is that she is 100% Vince McMahon's daughter
CB: Finally in WWE: Sara Lee, the winner of Tough Enough
No women from Tough Enough impressed me...at all. Very, very bad crop.
CB: Really? I thought she was good on Tough Enough. Started poorly, but she really responded when Paige tore her up and she seems like she has a real shot
I agree that they were mostly just bad though
If she's half as good as the last girl named Lee, she'd be a great catch haha
JM: She isn't even a quarter that good.
MW: Fire, she didn't impress me on tough enough and I thought she was the incorrect choice to win the competition, she seemed to have no grasp on how to do anything in ring and the coaches disagreeing with the choice says it all to me, fire.
CB: Well I would personally give her a chance to get trained up, cos Sara Del Rey is a miracle worker, but ok I guess she's gone
Well we've gutted the roster pretty well there, lets start adding to it now. Tessa Blanchard
CB: Should've been signed this time last year really
I don't understand how they could sign Ric Flair's daughter with zero experience, and ignore Tully Blanchard's daughter when she's actually trained and wrestles really well
And if they sign her, hopefully she'll bring her boyfriend
JM: Wrestling's in her blood, she's a hotter version of Tully... Tully was one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time, bar none. Him and AA I ranked the second greatest tag team...ever. Tessa's just as good, and is one of the best women in wrestling, and will be signed.
MW: Without a doubt sign, one of the best women's wrestlers around and therefore it's a no brainer to bringer her in
CB: I don't think she's as good as Tully was just yet, simply because of her age, but her ceiling is so high and she lives with the best wrestler in the world who isn't employed by WWE in Ricochet, and will learn so much from him too
JM: Tully was a great fit for the territorial days, he wouldn't have been amajor singles star, Tessa will be and is charismatic, something Tully, sadly lacked. All round I say she's pretty close
CB: We'll move on anyway and look at a few of the better-known TNA Knockouts
JM: TNA, meh.
CB: Pretty much, but there are a few who are talented
Gail Kim is pretty awesome
Mia Yim as well, she was Leva Bates' tag partner before she moved to TNA
Brooke Tessmacher has really improved since she was in WWE as well, but I'm not sure I'd rehire her because basically all she was known for in WWE was being part of Extreme Expose with Kelly Kelly and Layla
JM: Tessmacher would be the only one I'd resign, I hated Gail Kim in WWE. and I was never big-big on Mickie James.
MW: I would bring in Gail Kim, a very talented working with plenty of experience, I also think Mia could add to the roster but i'm not sure she would be a top talent
MW: I wouldn't be against the idea of Mickie James coming back in a similar way to what Rhyno is currently doing
CB: Yeah Kim was so misused in WWE, but she's a really talented wrestler. I loved Mickie James' early stuff, the stalker storyline with Trish was great. I wasn't a fan of her much after taht though
CB: Shall we quickly talk about a few more indie women? How about the current Shine Champion, Santana Garrett. She currently holds THIRTEEN titles in various promotions, which I'd say is a pretty impressive resume
MW: Yeah I would certainly be bringing her on board, her in ring talent and abilities is great and like you say, that resume is something you can't look over
JM: I say it's that high because of the lack of women wanting to get into wrestling nowadays. however, she's not too, too shabby in the ring. I want to see how she does under pressure in a big feel environment such as NXT.
CB: Also ofc, a lot of these companies use the same women so once they learn that someone like Shine has put their title on someone, they'll follow suit. But she is a good wrestler definitely, and she could certainly be worth a look.
Anyway, how about a girl who was on NXT very recently: Evie
I mean, she didn't do a lot on NXT because she was the one who was given to Nia Jax when she debuted, but still
JM: Eh. I haven't really watched her work, but I heard she's not bad, so hopefully they don't job her like they do with Solomon Crowe
MW: That was the first time i've seen her when she came to NXT
CB: I think at the moment she's being used like blue pants on a pay per appearance deal, but I hope it becomes more permanent. She and Kellie Skater had a great match for the Shine tag titles against Leva Bates and Mia Yim earlier this year
apart from that I've not seen much of her
Very quickly before we go: rehire Maria or no?
that was the only other one I wanted to ask about, cos she's become a great heel manager in ROH
JM: Sure. Why not? Good following, while has a sex appeal can still wrestle. Just do't give her the dumb girl gimmick
CB: I thought she was really good at the dumb gimmick, which says a lot about her talent
MW: Regarding Maria, yes re hire
CB: Thanks guys! That's all for now.
So that's the end! Our ideal women's roster with those currently available is as follows:
Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Billie Kay, Brie Bella, Carmella, Charlotte, Dana Brooke, Emma, Eva Marie, Evie, Gail Kim, Lana, Leva Bates, Maria Kanellis, Mia Yim, Naomi, Natalya, Nia Jax, Nikki Bella, Paige, Peyton Royce, Renee Young, Santana Garrett, Sasha Banks, Stephanie McMahon, Summer Rae & Tessa Blanchard.
Let us know what you think of our choices on Twitter @VAVEL_Wrestling, and check back next week when we'll be aiming to have another VAVEL Wrestling Roundtable posted. Thanks for reading.
Photos credit: WWE.com unless stated otherwise. All opinions contained within are those of the person named.