Is There a Double Standard in WWE?

emma 4

AS I SEE IT: Is there a double standard in WWE?
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

This past week saw an ongoing example of how WWE treats its women…er, “divas”, specifically Tenille Dashwood, and how there are different standards for punishment for those getting a major push, and those who aren’t.

Let’s start with the way the “Divas” are treated overall. The name by itself should tell you all you need to know. First of all, WWE generally recruits from models, rather than from independent wrestling, or from women in sports (notable exception: Ric Flair‘s daughter whose background is in volleyball).

If they don’t look like models, they seldom if ever get a call, regardless of their in-ring skills. Ask Sara Del Ray. Del Ray can outwork pretty much anyone on the roster not named Nattie Neidhart. Her work in CHIKARA, Ring of Honor, and SHIMMER has shown that. But no traditional model looks. So she’s in WWE Performance Center, training models to be “Divas”.

So, then if woman are judged to have the looks, they get breast enhancement (with the notable exception of Stacy Keibler). They starve themselves. Ask yourself if it looks like most of the WWE women have had a meal recently. In total, WWE’s ideal in-ring woman is a human Barbie doll.

Now…a woman gets a job as a Diva. Like any wrestler, they need a character in WWE to go along with their matches. How about one of the most skilled women on their roster, Nattie Neidhart. Her pedigree is well-known. Her talent is well-known. But she’s “gotta have a gimmick”.

A boob job wasn’t enough. How about a really cute gimmick…like farting? Nattie Neidhart was stuck for months with a gimmick…the farting woman. If that wasn’t enough, she was referred to different times as fat (an oldie but a goodie, since Mickie James, who was also skilled in the ring got tagged as “Piggy”.

So why take these women seriously as performers, or as characters? Even with Stephanie McMahon as as minority owner of the company, the image of women hasn’t gotten better.

Some would argue it’s gotten worse. You can easily argue that this treatment of “Divas” allows women to be interchangeable and disposable, even more disposable than the men , a disposability which I know is a reality of wrestling overall. But with women, it’s worse.

So, we’ve all heard about what happened with Emma, who can also actually do something inside a ring. From all appearances, it seems the judge believed her explanation, but nonetheless gave her a day community services.

Nonetheless, WWE fired her…for about two hours…until not just wrestling sites, but sports website Bleacher Report and even TMZ questioned this inconsistency. 2 hours later Dashwood was re-instated with the following:

“Upon further evaluation, WWE has reinstated Tenille Dashwood (WWE Diva Emma) but will take appropriate punitive action for her violation of the law.”

TMZ went so far as to say:

“WWE officials quickly realized they overreacted, because their action would open the floodgates to fire a gaggle of wrestlers for fighting outside the ring, DUI and all sorts of other misdeeds.”

TMZ’s original post on the subject said WWE wouldn’t be able to put together a tag team match (since removed). To prove the truth of that TMZ statement, here is a list of talent on the current roster alone with DUIs, which anyone would say is a far more serious offense than shoplifting…alone:

  • Former WWE Champion Jack Swagger DWI for marijuana in 2013, who is now getting a new push turning babyface, with a program working with Rusev. His arrest got the most press of any of these situations.
  • WWE Tag Team Champion Jay Uso DUI in 2013 (which was pled down to driving with a suspended license, as well as a 2012 DUI.
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion (until his recent injury) Wade Barrett with a DUI while in Florida Championship Wrestling (the predecessor to NXT) in 2008
  • Santino Marella, a DUI in 2008
  • Bo Rotunda (Bo Dallas), a DUI in 2012
  • Chris Jericho (who detailed his 2006 DUI episode in his second book, and a subsequent 2010 arrest in Kentucky for public intoxication)
  • WWE Diva Cameron DUI in 2012 (who also was accused of bribing a police officer to let her go) .

Mind you, this is a list of those currently ON the roster. A quick check of Google would show you a number of others who were retained on the roster in the recent past.

So WWE overreacted. Media called them on it. WWE couldn’t just dismiss it as marks behind keyboards, since sports sites and TMZ picked it up as well. WWE had to be surprised, because they caught more flack for overreacting than they would have for responding to the incident by quietly killing Emma‘s push and taking her off TV for awhile, which is likely what is going to happen now anyway, between her incident and Santino Marella’s pending retirement.

Until next time….

— Bob Magee

  • Shell Koleva

    WWE are so in “We don’t know what to do with the our Divas division!?” mood! Yes there was some sparks of hope – AJ Lee, Paige, Natalya, Naomi and Emma. But at all they are good in losing female talents.
    They released great female wrestlers like Brooke Adams, Gail Kim, Mickie James,Tiffany, Maria, Jillian Hall and Melina. Where are the most of them now – making career in TNA Impact Wrestling (excluding Melina and Jillian – they are retired after several years of competition in FWE). TNA saw that Brooke and Taryn Terrell (former WWE’s Tiffany) have more wrestling talent, than a eye can see. They all have become TNA Knockouts Champions. They are great! Taryn has great rivalry with Gail Kim and now she fights against Awesome Kong!Brooke have prove all WWE bookers wrong, wining the Knockouts title and having some great matches teaming with Tara (foremer WWE’s Victoria).
    Even TNA’s Velvet Sky (who was released from TNA) and Angelina Love have their time with WWE, and they don’t appreciate them. Now they are great female wrestlers!
    Maria Kanellis is in FWE and even become a Women’s champion. Gail and Mickie are still in great shape and take our breath away on the ring. Kharma returns, when she was ready, and now brings horror :) in the Knockouts Division.
    The release of Katie Lea(Katarina Waters) was a mistake, too.
    One of the greatest mistake of WWE was Ivelisse Velez release. Problems with the attitude? Which WWE Diva didn’t have this problem. The show “Total Divas” reveal how the Divas exchange slaps outside the ring in every moment. I heard a rumor that Cameron has something to deal with Ivelisse’s release – well Cameron is one of the women in WWE with a most annoying and terrible attitude! So let’s don’t fool ourselves – Ivelisse maybe refuse to be a standart Diva and they kick her out…That was a huge mistake because they lose one really great female wrestling talent.
    They released Audrey Marie who was a potential WWE Diva in every point of their requirements… and even more.
    They don’t give some really competitive divas a chance. Rosa Mendes is stuck in the roster as manager and poor competitor. For God sake, she was OVW Women’s Champion! Where is Layla? What is Alicia Fox doing? When will Tamina got a title reign? When will Naomi become a Divas champion?
    At the other point we have several amazing independent female wrestlers that they didn’t sign, yet. Like Blue Pants (Leva Bates), Taeler Hendrix and Mia Yim…
    They loose Kendall Skye…
    The NXT Divas are more competitive than WWE Divas.
    And at the end I will say: I’m so glad that The Bella Twins have improve their skills (wrestling skills, I don’t talk about Nikki’s breast augmentation, which is old news). I’m so pleased to see Nikki making a serious, powerful moves like Spinebuster, Rack Attack and Alabama Slam, not only switching with her sister.

    P.S. And need to refresh its Divas profiles, too.
    P.P.S. Maybe they must stop rename the female that have made a names for themselves.
    P.P.P.S. The great WWE Divas Roster will be this:
    Nikki Bella
    Brie Bella
    Summer Rae
    Alicia Fox
    Tamina Snuka
    If Impact Wrestling release them:
    Gail Kim (if she gives them a 3rd chance)
    Taryn Terrell

    NXT Divas:
    Ivelisse Velez (she said that she will return if they ask for her)
    Blue Pants
    Sasha Banks
    Taeler Hendrix
    Audrey Marie
    Dana Brooke
    Devin Taylor
    Mia Yim
    Velvet Sky
    And if Impact Wrestling release them:
    Brooke Adams
    Angelina Love
    and Awesome Kong(if she give them a second chance)