A few weeks ago, kayfabe Raw General Manager Mick Foley found himself in some very non-kayfabe trouble for breaking kayfabe. Screengrabs emerged of him engaged in a Twitter direct message exchange with a fan who wasn’t happy that WWE Raw wasn’t devoting enough time to pushing Emma, who had not been seen at all since the brand extension. Although many had an overblown reaction and suggested that he was burying Emma, in essence the “Hardcore Legend” was simply saying that with bustling, busy women’s division on Raw, now was the worst possible time to start pushing Emma.
With the emergence of the “Emmalina” repackaging promos on Raw, one thing is clear — Foley was right.
At present, WWE is still in the process of expanding its women’s division. Needless to say it has done incredibly well with the Women’s Championship scene on both shows over the past few months, with the matches invariably being excellent and the airtime palpable, befitting, and progressive. In the first few months of that revolution, though, creative wasn’t doing such an excellent job of establishing and developing a strong mid-card. It exists now, and they’re making positive steps towards it — Bayley, Dana Brooke and Nia Jax are finding their place on the card in a way that doesn’t require them to come out and have a war of words with Charlotte every single week, while SmackDown is doing its duty with the ever intriguing, vicious showdowns between Carmella and Nikki Bella.
But they aren’t perfect — they are still ongoing, and they need to be seen through to their completion so that the newer main roster stars they’re growing can get the attention and airtime to establish themselves as mainstays on the roster.
Throwing Emma into the mix, especially via the route that WWE is currently taking, will only detract from that, and lead to the exposure on offer being ever more thinly spread. Since the beginning of October, Raw has been airing glamorous, beauty “makeover” themed vignettes for a repackaged Emmalina. That’s over a month, and if there’s one thing that Curt Hawkins’ disastrous debut on SmackDown has taught us, it’s not a bunch of facts about Chuck Norris re-attributed to Hawkins, it’s that running video packages for weeks on end that attempt to put over a vague gimmick just don’t work.
Emma is already long forgotten to WWE audiences. She doesn’t have the post-NXT velocity that the likes of Nia Jax and Bayley had going for them, nor is she a world famous indie star that hype has been organically brewing over, as was the case with AJ Styles.
When you look at WWE’s recent history of hugely popular signings and main roster elevations (and there are enough of them to fill a phonebook for this year alone), have any of them really followed the same patter as the likes of Curt Hawkins and Emma(lina)? Have any of them had video packages desperately trying to create a gimmick when it’s only the star’s trajectory and in-ring awesomeness that is going to get fans jumping out of their chairs when the music finally hits? No. No one cares about tanks driving Curt Hawkins or the new fragrance from Emma. They care about someone they want to see debuting in an important spot. If they wanted Emma or Hawkins to debut at the top of their game (and the card), they should have beefed them back up in NXT, or re-introduced them with less fanfare and in a more unexpected way.
So, WWE once again finds itself backed into a creative corner. If it introduce Emma now, she’s going to be utterly lost in the shuffle while the women’s team at Survivor Series calibrates itself and whips up its tensions. If they introduce her after Survivor Series, then what little enthusiasm there is for those overproduced promos will have already been sucked bone dry.