Women’s wrestling in the WWE is now established after a two-year renaissance and is ready to consolidate all of that good work in 2017. Who the WWE choose to elevate this year will be a defining part of the division long term as it sets its rosters up for the coming years. So who has the brightest 2017 ahead of them and who has the dimmest, let’s rank them ALL here.
Coming in last place is Tamina. The Samoan is 39 years old and coming off a serious injury that put her on the shelf for most of 2016. Her in-ring work isn’t up to scratch and she certainly can’t cut a promo. Outside of maybe a one month program with Nia Jax, there really isn’t anything for her either. The company has moved passed her.
- Mandy Rose (NXT)
Rose has quite a bit of potential to be a much better version of Eva Marie, but 2017 will be a year of building skills for the Tough Enough competitor. She has talent worth building, but she’s still a long, long way off.
Verdict: Frequent appearances on NXT television by the end of 2017.
- Eva Marie
Eva had a good thing going for her before her suspension, but it was always limited by the fact that it was doomed once she stepped into the ring. She missed the rest of 2016 filming movies and now there isn’t a spot for her on SmackDown anymore. We probably won’t see her on television more than a handful of times this year.
Verdict: Won’t be released, but will be used sparingly.
- Summer Rae
Summer was drafted to RAW, but has spent the latter half of the year on the sidelines with a neck injury. She certainly has potential as a manager and is talented on the mic, but it’s difficult to see her being used as anything more than an enhancement talent.
Verdict: Used as a manager on RAW or as a jobber.
- Alicia Fox
Fox is getting some mileage out of this partnership with Cedric Alexander and since they’ve now split, a heel turn for the veteran seems the likely path. However, outside of a potential managerial role, the better wrestlers have gone passed her and the 30-year-old will have a very limited role in 2017.
Verdict: Used sparingly. Maybe a partnership with Noam Dar is on the cards.
- Dana Brooke
Dana was unexpectedly called up to the main roster in 2016 and did not make the most of it. She is far too green in the ring and unbearably bad when it comes to promos. She ranks in a bit higher than others because of her inevitable involvement with Emmalina and/or Charlotte at some stage this year. Keep her out of any significant role in 2017, Vince… please.
Verdict: Used as a much more talented wrestler’s muscle.
- Daria Berenato (NXT)
The Tough Enough competitor has shown good signs in her brief time on television. With the lack of depth on the NXT roster, she’ll probably get a chance in a bigger role in 2017. She’s still quite new and raw, but she’s certainly one to keep an eye on this year.
Verdict: Babyface role for the first half of the year – filling an undercard spot.
- Peyton Royce (NXT)
Peyton hasn’t shown a great deal of improvement in her time on television in the last few months. Billie Kay has certainly carried the two of them and it’s clear Royce needs to spend the year in NXT. The potential is there, but there are others ahead of her. Her upcoming NXT Women’s Championship match will need to be stellar for this to change.
Verdict: Billie Kay’s muscle unless improvement is shown.
- Liv Morgan (NXT)
It’ll be interesting to see how Liv goes in 2017. The WWE have signed quite a few female superstars in the last few months and Liv could get overtaken. She’s developing well, but she’s certainly a long term prospect, similar to Carmella was in NXT before her.
Verdict: Full year in NXT honing her craft – possible heel turn.
- Aliyah (NXT)
Aliyah’s recent one-off showcase on SmackDown showed she belonged on the big stage. We’ve seen a lot more of her development thanks to Breaking Ground and it’s possible she could be a big player in the NXT women’s division by the end of the year.
Verdict: Full year in NXT honing her craft – keep her babyface.
Natalya has had a bit of a resurgence with this Nikki Bella feud, but you basically know what you’re going to get from her at this point. She can hold her own in the ring, but her character and promo work is still subpar. Expect more of the same for Natalya in 2017.
Verdict: Putting over younger talent on SmackDown.
- Billie Kay (NXT)
Attempting to book NXT long term, it seems clear that Asuka will drop her title to Ember Moon before WrestleMania. Billie Kay would be the right person to be Ember’s first main challenger towards the middle of the year and her development has shown she’d be able to hold her own on that stage.
Verdict: NXT’s main heel for the first half of the year – full year in NXT.
Carmella had a fabulous 2016, making the transition from manager to full-time performer and holding her own. Splitting her from Enzo and Cass was risky, but she’s excelled in this heel role. Her promo work is strong and when in the ring with experienced wrestlers, she delivers. Expect her to spend most of 2017 in the undercard, continuing to build her in-ring skills.
Verdict: Mid-card heel, maybe drafted to RAW.
- Nikki Cross (NXT)
Nikki Cross might be the hidden gem of the NXT women’s division. Her work with Sanity has been excellent and she is a capable babyface as well if given the chance. She could transition to the main roster at any stage and not be out of place. As of right now, and not knowing who the WWE could sign, Nikki Cross seems a good bet to win the NXT Women’s Championship this year.
Verdict: Top female competitor in NXT.
Paige gets a spot in the middle of this list simply because, well, who could possibly know what we’ll get from her in 2017. She could return in a blaze of glory and give the RAW roster the depth it needs, or we could never see her again. She’s a complete wildcard.
Verdict: Your guess is as good as mine.
We won’t be seeing Emma again until after WrestleMania. The Emmalina gimmick bombed and rightly so because it was a terrible idea. She’ll be a big part of the RAW roster in the second half of the year, but with Charlotte and probably Sasha Banks as heels, she might get lost in the shuffle. Maybe she’ll regain Dana Brooke as her muscle.
Verdict: Playing second fiddle to Sasha and Charlotte on RAW.
- Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella win inevitably win this feud against Natalya and rumours suggest she’ll be part of a mixed tag team match with her boyfriend John Cena, The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania. That would be a big spotlight match, but it’s hard to see her sticking around long after the event with rumours she’ll move to a part-time role within the company because of her neck.
Verdict: Moving away from full-time wrestling with sporadic appearances
Naomi probably won the Women’s Championship simply because WrestleMania happens to be in Orlando this year. It’s unlikely her reign will be long and maybe outside of a few more months in the title picture, there mightn’t be much for her in the back half of the year.
Verdict: Drops championship at WrestleMania, moves down the card – potentially drafted to RAW.
- Nia Jax
Jax might get lost in the shuffle of WrestleMania and with RAW having so much top talent in the roster, the company seems reluctant to give her a consistent push. Bayley will probably be the champion coming out of WrestleMania and they’ll probably try and delay her feud with Sasha Banks until SummerSlam which could see Nia in the title picture coming out of WrestleMania.
Verdict: Number one contender for a few months, unknown after that.
- Alexa Bliss
Alexa lost her championship at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and may even drop out of the title picture completely before WrestleMania. This is unfortunate because she was doing such a good job with the belt and now it’ll be difficult for her to get back into the title picture for a while. Bliss would be a good candidate to switch brands in 2017.
Verdict: Drafted to RAW after WrestleMania – should still have a large role.
- Ember Moon (NXT)
It’s blatantly obvious that Ember Moon will be winning the NXT Women’s Championship at the NXT pay-per-view before WrestleMania this year. Even if she doesn’t, she’ll end up with the title when Asuka is moved to the main roster and become the face of the division.
Verdict: Most of 2017 in NXT, but as Women’s Champion.
- Mickie James
They may choose to use Mickie James to put over the other women on the SmackDown roster, but it might be best to give her a title run either at WrestleMania or in the months that follow. She’ll be central to the SmackDown women’s division either way and probably continue her feud with Becky Lynch.
Verdict: Short run as SmackDown Women’s Champion, dropping the title to Becky Lynch.
- Charlotte Flair
Charlotte has done everything a superstar can possibly do over the last two years and that probably means we’re coming to the point where she’ll need to drop out of the main-event scene. Expect her to lose her pay-per-view streak at WrestleMania and probably be out of the title picture for quite a while, assuming her feud with Bayley doesn’t continue. We could even see Charlotte drafted to SmackDown – which might be the best thing for her.
Verdict: Drafted to SmackDown, out of the spotlight on RAW.
- Becky Lynch
Becky will need a shift in character after WrestleMania. She’s certainly an effective babyface, but adding an edge to her persona will give her new life. She’ll need this because she should remain as the top wrestler on SmackDown for most of 2017. A feud between Becky and Asuka looms as one of the most anticipated things of the year.
Verdict: Main babyface of SmackDown Live.
- Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks has been handled really well so far in 2017. They’ve kept her out of the spotlight intentionally, which will fuel her heel turn. Knowing WWE, they’ll hold off on Sasha versus Bayley and try and save that match for SummerSlam, which could hurt her momentum, but with Paige and Emma back in the equation, there should be enough talent to suffice. Sasha as a heel is the best female talent the WWE has ever had and 2017could be her year.
Verdict: Sasha will turn heel and be a main player on RAW all year.
Bayley winning the championship on RAW was an excellent surprise and as long as they don’t do something silly like have her drop it clean to Charlotte at Fast Lane, she should have some good momentum heading into WrestleMania. Bayley should be the one to break Charlotte’s winning streak and she’ll probably be in the title picture for most of 2017.
Verdict: At the top of the card for RAW all year.
- Asuka (NXT)
If WWE are booking Asuka right, then she has to come up from NXT still undefeated and still the NXT Women’s Champion. Strip her of the title, send her to SmackDown and have her winning streak continue indefinitely. Give her a manager, even potentially Paul Heyman and have her as an undefeated champion for the entire year.
How the divisions SHOULD look at the end of 2017
RAW: Sasha Banks (champion), Bayley, Paige, Emma, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, Ember Moon (end of year)
SmackDown: Asuka (champion), Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Mickie James, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, Eva Marie, Maryse