The WWE Women's division was let down at Payback

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WWE let down the women's division again at the Payback PPV. To start with there was only one women's match on the card, a disappointment in itself with so much talent within the division.


Still, Natalya versus WWE Women's Champion Charlotte for the title was set to be a great match, with a nice story steeped in family legacy and pride.

It was, though, a concern to fans of a fair match that Ric Flair was going to be in Charlotte's corner as usual, and from the moment of the announcement of Bret Hart in Natalya's, a clean finish was always going to be unlikely.


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It was a good match; interesting, well paced and varied, with lots of submission attempts as you would expect from these two women.

Maybe not as spectacular as some of the women's matches we have seen recently, but it showcased the performers' skills and abilities well. Right until the end, it was a display worthy of the new status of women's wrestling within the WWE.

Lousy ending

So why did WWE feel the need to pull such a lousy finish? Natalya was screwed over by referee 'Little Naitch' Charles Robinson - up to now a respected senior official, albeit with a chequered past - calling for the bell on account of a submission which never happened. 

Ok, it set up a cheesy double sharpshooter in the centre of the ring, which could have been a nice touch, but merely looked awkward and unconvincing.

Sadly, it also left a lot of fans feeling as cheated as Natalya. I appreciate the need for storyline and creation of controversy in order to drive viewing figures, I understand that. But to do it at the expense of a good match, and the only match in which the women's division was represented, seems unfair.

Losing focus

It also had the effect of switching the focus of the match away from the competitors in the ring and onto their Hall of Fame relatives.

Charlotte is a good heel and really doesn't need her dad around anymore, he's making her look significantly weaker with each appearance at this point. And Bret Hart didn't add anything to Natalya's performance except for the gimmick double sharpshooter. These talented women don't need gimmicks to put on a good match.

The expected explanation, the following night on RAW, was underwhelming to say the least.

Charlotte and Ric brought out Robinson to tell the crowd that Natalya had begged him to stop the match. Natalya came out and said it was all about Ric before putting him in the sharpshooter.

After the segment, Stephanie McMahon confirmed a rematch is scheduled for Extreme Rules on May 22. It will take the form of a submission match and Ric Flair will be banned from ringside.

It remains to be seen if this is the only match on the Extreme Rules card. There is a nicely built feud between Becky Lynch and Emma just begging for resolution that would be a natural fit. And a second women's match on the card would be a step towards WWE finally showing some faith in the new era of women's wrestling.

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