You’ve probably seen former WWE Diva Gail Kim’s shoot by now, in which she talks about why she left WWE and criticises the way the Divas division is run.
I totally wanted to be on her side on this, but I’m really not. The entire episode makes Kim seem alternately ridiculously naive, childish and ever so slightly spiteful.
That’s not to say the WWE come out looking fantastic – of course they don’t – but have we really learnt anything about them we didn’t already know? Let’s consider the facts.
Kim says that the Divas are told not to do certain moves. Well, as Mickie James said to us earlier this month, what do you expect? When you have a division full of models and fitness instructors, you’re quite limited with what you’re working with. The actual wrestlers can’t start looking too good, otherwise questions will start being asked – questions like “Why the hell are the Bella Twins in a title feud when their only move is ‘looking identical’?”
She also says they’re told to accentuate their femininity. Lady, have you seen Beth and Nattie recently? You realise Kelly Kelly and Eve have both been Divas champion this year? You’ve heard Jerry Lawler’s commentary on Divas matches, which consists solely of him thinking up euphemisms for being sexually aroused? You remember all those godawful lingerie matches? Do you seriously think the WWE is genuinely interested in women’s wrestling? If they were, all the ladies from Shimmer would be signed up and Sara del Rey would rule the world.
And it’s not as if Kim didn’t have any experience of WWE. She spent two years there from 2002 before moving to TNA, where by her own account she was incredibly happy; indeed, she says in the shoot that the Knockouts title meant more to her than the Women’s championship. But she chose to move back to WWE for the money on offer, rather than career progression.
And that’s fine. Nobody would dispute that’s a valid reason to take a job. But don’t then be surprised if you don’t get everything else you want from your new role – particularly if you’ve left that company before and know what to expect. If putting on great matches is your priority, then take a job with an indie promotion. Sadly, having to make compromises with our careers is something that comes to all of us.
Reading between the lines of Kim’s shoot, it seems that John Lauranaitis and his team may just have felt that she was a tad past it for the flagship shows (at the immense age of 34), if the repeated offers of a trainer’s job in FCW are anything to go by. However, they clearly respected her talent and what she could have offered newcomers – they wouldn’t future-endeavour her, and they wanted her to see her contract out. Again, I can’t believe I’m saying it, but again I’m on the WWE’s side here.
At least Kim admits that eliminating herself from that Divas Battle Royal was childish. More than that, though, it’s unprofessional. Way to make your point about female wrestlers being just as dedicated to their craft as the men, Gail.
Like Kim, I would love nothing more to see a proper WWE Divas division, with two titles again, and real wrestlers (pin-up strong ones – yeah, you can be attractive and muscular, and attractive BECAUSE you’re muscular), and genuine storylines that aren’t based around girls being jealous of each other and acting like they’re 14-year-olds. And I’m going to complain about not having that, and I’ll call the WWE out on its ridiculous sexism and misogyny, and I’ll laugh at Kelly Kelly as she backflips across the ring.
But this isn’t a new development. WWE have always treated the women as decorative fluff rather than wrestlers. And Gail Kim throwing a tantrum is going to go no way at all towards fixing that.