Is Charlotte’s Raw debut a sign of what awaits the women of NXT?

RAW_1124_Photo_037-2073607795.0.0One of the bigger WWE news stories this week was Charlotte’s main roster debut against Natalya on Monday Night Raw.

For those who missed it, these women, who tore down the house at NXT Takeover, had a nothing match that lasted a little over two minutes.

While it may not mean much on the surface, there are two issues that make the result a bit more puzzling:

1. The sole purpose of the match was  to promote Charlotte’s NXT Women’s Championship  defense against Sasha Banks at Thursday’s NXT special on the WWE Network.

2. The match occurred in the heart of Ric Flair country, Greenville, S.C.

I can understand management not wanting them to put on a performance that outshined the men (although it’s the exact same thing they did in their previous encounter), but the layout of the match itself was downright odd. Aside from being Flair’s daughter, Charlotte’s claim to fame is that she’s an incredible athletic worker. Everything from her ring entrance to her offense screams that she knows exactly what she is doing inside the ring. However, she did nothing on Monday to distinguish herself from the average Diva.

Even worse is that she lost via rollup. If the goal of the match was to promote Charlotte’s upcoming title defense then they failed miserably. Why would any casual fan care about an NXT wrestler who lost in such an insignificant manner on the company’s flagship show?

Being in South Carolina didn’t help matters either. Any seasoned fan knows that Ric Flair is practically revered in the Carolinas. Why on earth would you debut his daughter there in a losing effort?

The decision has sparked outrage in some circles. Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer blasted the decision on his weekly radio show. There was enough criticism that Triple H was forced to address the situation on his recent conference call promoting this week’s NXT special.

I wonder if what transpired on Raw is a forerunner of what’s to come for Charlotte and the rest of the women  in NXT.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who watches NXT that the workrate of their women is leap years ahead of the main roster Divas. They are allowed to work matches just as physical as anything the men are capable of producing. We’ve already seen how much WWE has watered down Emma since her main roster debut. Paige has fared better since her character translates to a wider audience, but it’s not like she has the level of matches she did in NXT. Will this athletic, passionate group of women be relegated to the current status of Natalya—a supremely talented worker whose Total Divas storylines take precedence over her actual matches?

Outside of Trish Stratus, no woman in WWE has redefined the expectations for what a Diva can be more than A.J. Lee. She made it to the top based on her unique charisma and in-ring ability, not because of the way she looks in a bikini.

A.J. specifically praised Charlotte, Banks, Bayley, Emma, and Paige in her Diva of the Year acceptance speech on Monday. She even went one further by wishing that one of them would be next year’s winner.

It’s my hope that WWE will treat Charlotte and the rest of these women with the respect they so rightly deserve.

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