A little over a month ago, former WWE Diva’s Champion and former WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James returned full time to the WWE. Until that return on WWE Smackdown, she hadn’t been seen on the WWE main roster in nearly seven years.
In the month-plus that James has been back in the WWE, she has aligned herself with WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and feuded with Becky Lynch. All in all, one can say that the WWE return of Mickie James has been a successful one, with more to come down the line.
However, there is a law in effect here -- the law of diminishing returns, which essentially states the more somebody or something does the same exact thing (females returning to the WWE in our case) the less of an impact or success rate it will have each time it is done.
I’m sure you're reading this and wondering how that applies to a Mickie James return to the WWE. Initially nothing, until poll recently popped up on WWE.com asking people which former female superstar that you would want back in the company.
The choices were former WWE Diva’s Champion’s Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Kaitlyn, Michelle McCool and Melina, plus past WWE female stars Torrie Wilson (whom I voted for) and Stacy Keibler, with an added option for “other” was on the list. As of this writing, Kelly Kelly leads the pack with 21% of the vote, with “other” (18%) and Beth Phoenix (16%) rounding out the top three.
So, here is the conundrum we may be sitting in down the line-- how many female returns can take place before the quality of the in ring product starts to suffer in unimaginable ways? If you really think about it, the women’s wrestling on WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown is as great as it’s ever been, easily the best since the Trish Stratus/Lita era of the early 2000’s.
Lets work under the assumption that all the women in the poll are going to return to the WWE within a year. Outside of Melina, none of the other women on the list have worked a match in years, and most of them haven’t even stepped into a wrestling ring in any capacity since their last WWE match. Mickie James, since she got released by the WWE, competed overseas, in TNA (where she held the TNA Knockouts Title) and on the independent wrestling scene.
So, this raises the big question, how many former women can return to the WWE ring and not negatively affect the quality of the in ring work?
There were a total of 8 wrestlers on the poll (not including “other”) and only one of those wrestlers stayed somewhat active (Melina). What that would essentially mean is that if the WWE were to sign, for example, Torrie Wilson to a multi-year contract, they are going to invest money and probably a lot of time to re-train her to become at least the below average wrestler she was the first time. Now, if she was a below average wrestler (in my opinion) the first time and she was an active wrestler for nearly 10 years by the time she was released, what can you expect out of her (or another female wrestler from the poll) the second time around?
Another aspect to take in account is the incredible amount of female talent in WWE developmental at the moment, like WWE NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot, Billie Kaye, Peyton Royce, Kimber Lee, Ember Moon and so on. If even two of the eight women mentioned in the poll were to go straight to the main roster (like Mickie James essentially did) that means that two women from developmental would be sitting there potentially wasting away.
Let me pose a question to you readers out there and you can leave any responses in the comments section below.
Let’s fantasy book a match for WWE Wrestlemania 33 for a moment and you can tell me which option you would prefer (based on match quality only):
A. Charlotte vs. Bayley (Raw) & Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch (Smackdown)
B. Charlotte vs. Torrie Wilson (Raw) & Alexa Bliss vs. Kelly Kelly (Smackdown)
The female wrestling in the WWE has been at the possibly highest level it has ever been at and while the women who worked for the WWE in the past deserve our respect. We cannot expect every past female star to produce the same quality action or match quality, Mickie James and possibly Maryse (who is rumored to be returning at WWE Wrestlemania 33) are the exception to that rule, because with every female from the past who returns, the law of diminishing returns will play a bigger role until it takes over completely.