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6 years ago

Natalya vs. Charlotte - WWE Womens Championship Match Raw, April 11, 2016

Wrestlemania UK
Soak it all up in your head with the anger

When Dr. Phil was announced as a guest star for this show, it was absolutely fair to immediately doubt how WWE would put him to use. Then, the show happened.

And he was fantastic.

Actually, I'm not sure they've used a single wrestler as well as they used Phil here. He confronted Charlotte and Ric Flair about all the character issues that exist with the two, somehow making it work both in kayfabe and out of it, while also acting as the voice of the disgruntled mark and smark fans alike.

Not only that, when Flair stepped to him, Dr. "I'm not playing around" Phil wooo'ed right in his face.

Later, he was ringside for Charlotte's women's title defense against Natalya and there's nothing grand to say about Byron Saxton asking him how he felt about it before and after. That was as strange as it was pointless, but at least it was in service of getting over these dastardly heels who, let's be real, we're all DYING to see get savagely beaten.

The match, by the way, was fantastic, with a brilliant finish. Charlotte, for all her faults, is a master of wrestling facials and her expression when she realized she was keeping the title despite tapping thanks to her dad stepping in at just the right moment was everything you want from a smarmy heel like that.

Fantastic work all around.

For all the talk, this wasn't a ringing endorsement of the "Rebirth of the Women's Division" that WWE used to gain so much positive publicity in the wake of WrestleMania.

It's 2016, we have a Women's Championship, but Ric Flair remains the focal point of the women's division. How many matches in a row has Ric won for Charlotte at this point? At least this time it wasn't due to foolishness by the babyface I suppose. But it was really bad positioning with the referee staring right at Charlotte tapping and calling for the DQ.

And in the aftermath, Charlotte proved once again she's the worst post-match seller in wrestling history by popping up and running away after being in the Sharpshooter for ages. I'm sure that's hyperbole, but I can't think of anyone worse.

The General is on point about Charlotte's reaction though. That was money. Mannerisms and physical acting are without a doubt her biggest strength. She's had a lot of really great moments like that, such as her feigned injury a few months back and tonight was no different.

And more important, there were only two women featured on the entire show (the same amount of men featured prominently in those segments).

In a three hour show, they couldn't have found 2 minutes for Becky to beat a jobber to prepare for her feud with Emma (or vice versa with Emma) or even a quick backstage segment furthering their issues? I know the argument is going to be that the show was great, and they can do this next week, but I don't think it's fair to the women to let WWE off the hook like that after all the positive attention they've received for what as of now remain at least somewhat cosmetic changes.

There are plenty of positives, like the change from Divas to Superstars, the match they were able to have at Mania, and the way Becky wasn't hidden from TV because she had a shiner, and it was actually used to emphasize her toughness on SmackDown and to sell the battle she had at Mania, but this episode felt like a bit of a step back for the women.

Are they building a Women's Division, or are they just building Charlotte?

At least the fallout promo was great, which honestly makes it even more annoying that they couldn't have found a minute for it on Raw.

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