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Raw women’s division faces uphill battle after SummerSlam

(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Regardless of who wins their SummerSlam showdown, one can safely presume that Sasha Banks and Charlotte will tear the house down. Their Raw match a few weeks ago certainly did. In fact, it’s already being lauded as one of, if not, the best women’s matches to ever take place in a WWE ring.

That said, the outcome of their rematch is still of interest. If Banks wins it’ll have a feeling of finality. If Charlotte wins, though, it’ll likely necessitate a third and final matchup between the two. Either way, this rivalry has another month in it at most.

And when the dust settles and we’ve determined an ultimate victor between Banks and Charlotte, we’ll find out what the women’s division is really made of. At first glance, it doesn’t look all that promising.

Supposing Banks wins this Sunday, seemingly the more likely option given her career-defining title victory came just a few weeks ago, she’ll need a credible foe to step up.

There’s Nia Jax. While we’d prefer she had a few more impressive victories under her belt, her imposing stature and the ways in which she’s dominated her opponents makes her a legitimate foe for Banks. The thing is, this would make for a tough program to book properly.

On the one hand, Banks is riding a tidal wave of momentum. To strip of her title so soon would make what could be a signature reign lose a lot of its luster. Meanwhile, Jax has been spotlighted early on as someone who could be a dominating force in the women’s division. Losing her first major rivalry would put a damper on that for obvious reasons.

A Banks-Jax rivalry could definitely be the focal point of the women’s division on Raw. But, ideally, it’d come a few months after Jax has built herself up and grown as a performer.

Paige would make an interesting foil for Banks when she returns from injury. As a former Divas Champion, she’s still got some credibility. But months spent on the backburner make her a significantly less credible challenger than she would’ve been a year or two ago.

As for Charlotte, whether she wins or loses at SummerSlam, she’ll need a new rival of her own sooner than later. She’s been a crucial part of WWE programming since her debut. Granted, most of that time has also been spent as champion, but, whether she’s holding gold or not, she’s too big a part of the show to be sitting on the bench now.

All signs point to her eventually splitting from, and feuding with Dana Brooke. That program has potential. Charlotte is excellent as the arrogant boss who expects Brooke to answer her every beck and call. In that sense, their narrative is not dissimilar from the one that played out between the Miz and Damien Sandow over a year ago.

But that doesn’t mean Brooke will capture the hearts of fans the way Sandow did. And even if she does, as we saw with Sandow, it doesn’t mean she’s guaranteed stardom. She needs to wow the company with her work in the ring and on the microphone before it considers her in the same category as Banks and Charlotte.

Nonetheless, she, along with Banks, Charlotte, Jax and (eventually) Paige, will remain in a place of prominence. Raw’s got virtually no other options. Lower-card ladies like Summer Rae and Alicia Fox are all that Raw’s women’s division has in the way of depth and it’s hard to get excited about either’s chances of breaking out.

And therein lies the problem: For the next two-to-three months or so it’s not that hard to map out feuds for Raw’s top women. Banks vs. Jax and Charlotte vs. Brooke look like they could be in store soon. A returning Paige would have fresh matchups with all four. Still, with five primary Superstars, it won’t be long for the division is overrun with rematches.

That’ll be most apparent on Raw. The WWE will simply have no choice but to put on PPV-caliber matches, like Banks vs. Charlotte, on a typical Monday night. Eventually, Jax running through “local competitors” won’t be enough. When that’s over with, she doesn’t exactly have a host of main roster challenges at the ready. Paige’s fresh matchups will get stale soon enough when she’s wrestling one of them every week.

Of course, this isn’t an easy fix. Bayley and Asuka are the only women’s wrestlers on NXT who seem poised for a call-up anytime soon and, even then, the WWE would be wise to divvy them between Raw and SmackDown. In the interim, Raw will simply have to make do with what it has.

That won’t be impossible. Relying more on mixed tag matches, backstage segments/attacks and trying to elevate Fox and Rae are all ways to keep the women’s division chugging along in the short term. But Raw would be wise to get some help on hand sooner than later.

A division simply can’t survive on seven wrestlers.

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