Monday, August 15, 2011

Transcending Trish: Why Kelly Kelly Is Vital to Viable Women's Wrestling in WWE

Kelly's evolution is crucial to survival of WWE women
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Once upon a time, there was a model who was signed by WWE. She really had nothing going for her outside of her sex appeal at first, and after beginning her tenure in a non-wrestling capacity, she started to tangle in the ring. The results weren't pretty at first, but she grew into her role, she started to become serviceable and then good in the ring. It took some time, but Trish Stratus eventually lived happily ever after, at least in terms of WWE women.

Kelly Kelly has a lot of things in common with Stratus, truth be told. Like Stratus, she started out as a model, albeit as a Hawaiian Tropic model rather than fitness. She started out in a non-wrestling capacity, only as a faux-stripper instead of a manager. And yes, she's not really that good in the ring here at the beginning of her run. But like Stratus improved over her run, Kelly is showing some signs of improvement. Last night, she held her own with Beth Phoenix. Some people, like Brandon Stroud, thought that Kelly was the better wrestler in the match. It's an argument that you could take seriously without being crazy.

It was one match, but it was a big improvement over the past, when all she'd do is look pretty, botch moves and bump awkwardly. So, going from that to being someone who could make a match look good because she bumped her ass off? That's huge, especially given that she's the prohibitive face of the Divas. It doesn't matter what Eve Torres, Maryse, the Bellas or anyone else do. They're not the ones whose faces are featured prominently on billboards and posters.

Of course, maybe the answer to that problem would be not to push the Barbie dolls. Yeah, and the problems I have could be fixed by hitting Powerball. That is to say it's not going to happen, at least not overnight. Would it behoove WWE to bring back Serena and hire Cheerleader Melissa, Sara del Rey, KANA, Madison Eagles, Allison Danger and Candice LaRae? Of course it would. However, change can't really come drastically like that, or else you're risking alienating your audience. It has to come over time. It's not like the entire roster consists of no-talent model-types. There's Phoenix, Nattie Neidhart, AJ and, when she comes back from bearing child, Kharma who are already on the main roster. Naomi and former SHIMMER wrestler Tenille are in FCW.

At the same time, those women won't get the hard push without Kelly. She's the key to all this. She needs to grow and continue her ascent so that she can prove that women in WWE aren't segment fillers. She's the ideal, so she has to show, like Trish, that the ideal isn't just someone who's pretty. When Stratus was in her heyday, the women's scene, despite having Lita, Phoenix and Mickie James on the roster, wasn't as deep as it is now. If Kelly can get the crowd invested in the women more for their looks, then WWE can build a viable women's division, something that can be called more than just a Divas division derisively.

So that's why Kelly needs to channel Stratus and needs to improve. That's why last night, while not really a good match graded without a curve, was so important going forward. Kelly is going to be a vital cog, and whether she evolves or stagnates is a key for credible women's wrestling in WWE. When Stratus evolved, she got women's wrestling's foot in the door. It's time for Kelly to take the next step.

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