A recent report in the wrestling media claims that Michelle McCool is on her way out of WWE. This comes just as WWE has announced that McCool will face Layla on Sunday at the Extreme Rules pay per view where the loser must leave the company. Reasons for her departure are for wrestling fans to speculate into the wee hours of the morning for the next few days. Is she hurt? Is she bored? Could it be she wants to have a baby? If so, the image of Paul Bearer in the delivery room, raising the urn, while the baby comes out hand-first, wearing a grey glove passes through my mind. Regardless of the reason, McCool’s impending departure gives me great hope for her, but makes me wonder about the WWE Divas roster, particularity in regards to age.
There have been women who participated on professional wrestling for several years. Miss Elizabeth comes to mind, as well as Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. However, the career of a WWE Diva isn’t one that lasts long today. Trish Stratus retired in 2006, as did Lita. Trish debuted in 2000, Lita in 1999. To leave in 2006 doesn’t seem like a very long career, but they are two of the most prominent Divas of the past two decades. By leaving in 2006, they left at a time when they could say they were still young and healthy to enjoy life. They weren’t around for a long time, but with a small female roster, there is only so much for them to do. Stratus is considered a legend and a future Hall of Fame inductee, but she is only thirty-five. Lita is only one year older. Tammy Lynn Sytch is seen as a dinosaur, but is not yet forty. Do you know the age of Michelle McCool? She’s only thirty-one. It may seem young, but that was about the same time that Lita and Trish stepped down. Yet in a strange way, it doesn’t feel at all like they left too early.
It feels wrong to say that Michelle McCool is old. I can’t bring myself to say that, but unfortunately not every WWE Diva will be able to perform as an on-screen character for multiple decades. There are exceptions to the rule, but not many. Sable, Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle and Dawn Marie left young. Stacy Keibler and Ashley Massaro left before even reaching thirty. There is that old saying in Wrestling with Shadows about once wrestlers outlive their usefulness, they are metaphorically taken out back and shot. Women in WWE find themselves in that position at an age where most male wrestlers are hitting their prime. Not all of them are cut. Thankfully, many of them go on to be very successful. Still, it feels a bit discomforting that women reach their end in WWE so soon. I don’t believe that says anything about the ability of these women, but a lot about the way the WWE roster is structured.
Aside from age, the limited female roster plays a part in the longevity of a WWE Diva’s career. The main attraction is the men. A lot of WWE fans do not take women’s wrestling seriously. How many times have you read some idiot’s opinion, blog, column, or recap on a WWE show where they get to the Divas match and write that it’s time to hit the merchandise stand or the restroom? Part of that falls on WWE. They just don’t design the division to be taken as seriously as most of the men on the show. You can say that booking philosophy is sad or sexist, but it’s just the way the WWE card functions. Women in WWE will likely never be as prominent as men, but when fans go on about how different women are treated, most of that lies with the mentality of the crowd. They see a woman walk down the aisle and start freaking out because they don’t get to normally see a female in real life. I admit that women are the same way. I was in the crowd at Bragging Rights when the woman in front of me said she wanted to snort cocaine off the rump of Sheamus. When you have an audience made up mostly of men, you will get a crowd that takes men more seriously, while women become more of an object, something pretty to look at between championship matches.
Getting back to McCool, her career has seen more than its fair share of controversy. In a lot of ways she is the female Triple H because of her relationship with Undertaker. It’s easy to jump to that conclusion when you are a wrestling fan, especially if you see an individual like McCool get pushed harder than one of your favorites. But McCool has worked very hard and become one of the most over characters on the roster. Many say her alliance with Layla is just a rip off of TNA’s Beautiful People. That claim is understandable, but not true. At this point, I think a lot of people would say that if any two women formed an alliance. It would be nice to see McCool stick it out a little while longer, especially with the Layla feud just really starting, as well as the coming of Kharma.
I don’t expect things to change in the near future when it comes to the WWE Divas. The way WWE has it structured is not necessarily a bad thing. Like I stated before, it is just the way they do things. Perhaps you feel differently. If so, I understand. If it is really the case the McCool is on her way out, I say good for her. She came in, made some money, entertained some people, and is still young. When it comes to saying goodbye to any sort of character, be it a hero or villain, what else can we give other than our thanks? That’s all I can say at this point. Michelle McCool, thank you.