As someone who writes for a wrestling blog, I have to pay attention to basically everything WWE does, including match announcements for Raw. Because of this, I don’t really have any emotional response to match announcements anymore, especially in WWE, given how much wrestling it puts out a week, unless they’re for something really good or bad. But recently, there was a match announcement so dumb it makes me decide to write a whole thing about how it’s dumb. That match announcement was for a two-on-one handicap match between The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions) and Charlotte Flair on this Monday’s Raw.
On one level, you can see the WWE logic behind this match. The Flair vs. Asuka feud was revived at Survivor Series when Asuka spit mist in Flair’s face. Flair and Asuka wrestled the following night on Raw in a match that included some interference from Kairi Sane. To skip forward into the likely future, Flair and Becky Lynch are advertised to challenge for the tag titles in the First-Ever Women’s TLC Tag Team Match (they’ve already done the first women’s TLC match and did the first women’s tables tag match years ago, so this is a very specific First Ever) at the TLC PPV on December 15. Knowing this, you can easily fill in the blanks and say Lynch will get involved in this somehow to set up that match.
While you can guess what WWE is going to do with this match, it’s still very stupid and makes most people involved look bad. There’s no good reason in kayfabe to ever book tag champions (two wrestlers who are very good at working together and have a shiny belt to prove it) against one person unless there’s some kind of evil management situation or a babyface asks for this type of match with an “I’ll take ’em both!” attitude towards some of their enemies. It belittles both the tag titles and the wrestlers in the title-holding tag team to put them in a two-on-one match like this is a valid competition. Asuka and Kairi Sane should destroy Flair in this match, barring some shenanigans, but it mostly just shouldn’t be happening like this in the first place.
This match is depressing not only because of what it says about the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship but because of what it says about the current champions and their status in the promotion right now. Asuka had the longest undefeated streak in WWE history, was NXT Women’s Champion, was Smackdown Women’s Champion, won the 2018 Royal Rumble, and also happens to be pretty great at YouTube. Sane is a former NXT Women’s Champion and won the first Mae Young Classic. Both are extremely good wrestlers and very well-liked! Why are they both now these little gremlins who can be booked against one person by a non-corrupt higher power?
One of the weirdest things about it is that since Kairi Sane interfered in Charlotte Flair‘s match with Asuka last week, WWE has a perfect reason not to do a handicap match, but to do Sane vs. Flair instead. This would be a brand new one-on-one pairing and only Sane’s third singles match since she moved to the main roster in April, which is wild to think about. WWE had an easy option to make the next step in this feud something that wasn’t dumb and disrespectful to two of their top tier wrestlers and one of their championships, but they took the dumb and disrespectful option.
None of these are really new criticisms of WWE. It’s not uncommon that titles, tag team wrestling, and wrestlers feel like they have been devalued. A lot of people who like wrestling don’t watch WWE, or at least don’t watch main roster WWE or don’t watch more than the pay-per-views for main roster WWE, because of these types of creative problems that make it just too dumb and too frustrating to keep up with consistently if you’re doing more than just putting it on in the background and paying more attention if it looks like there’s going to be a good match.
These types of problems have existed for so long that some people are completely numbed out to WWE doing stuff that doesn’t make sense. I think I’m way more numb to this type of thing now that I’m obligated to keep up with all it (which I’m not complaining about – there are about a trillion way worse work-related things to do in this world), but for some reason this snapped me out of my numbness to write a few hundred words about how hey, this is really dumb and bad on so many levels.