After weeks of speculation over what dream opponent Beth Phoenix might defend her Divas Championship against -- or if the Divas would make the cut at all -- a WrestleMania match featuring WWE's top ladies has been announced, and there is a lot of backlash from the Internet Wrestling Community about it.
The match, set up on NBC's "Extra" Thursday night, will feature the host of that show Maria Menounos and Kelly Kelly against Phoenix and recently turned heel Eve Torres in a tag team match. While Menounos is no stranger to the WWE ring -- she defeated Phoenix in a match on Raw a few years back and got the winning fall for her team at Tribute to the Troops in December (incidentally, that team also featured a then-babyface Eve) -- fans immediately started labasting the match on Twitter and wrestling websites.
It shouldn't come as a surprise. Internet Wrestling Fans hate Kelly and Eve because both were "models" hired for their looks and trained to be wrestlers. In addition, there are few things the hardcore fans hate more than an "outsider" performing in a wrestling ring, especially on the marquee stage of WrestleMania.
But the real reason for disappointment is scenarios fans have been dreaming up. Speculation quickly becomes fact online, especially when it comes to wrestling fans. So anticipated match-ups for WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix that failed to materialize included opponents such as Kharma, Trish Stratus, Madusa/Alundra Blayze and her apparently former tag team partner, Natalya.
While I helped contribute to these ideas, I'm fine with the match-up WWE is giving us. I'm satisfied anytime Eve or Kelly are on my television screen, and I'd venture a guess that many casual WWE fans are too.
Beyond that, fans need to understand that there are likely contributing factors as to why we aren't getting those dream match-ups right now.
Kharma, for example, has been off TV for nearly a year with the exception of a short appearance at the Royal Rumble. She had left TV because she was pregnant, and it was recently revealed that she had a miscarriage. There is no reason to rush her back to the ring. Participating in a few spots at the Rumble is one thing, but if she has ring rust, do you really want that to show in a WrestleMania match? I don't. Also, while the Internet fans are familiar with Kia Stevens for her work in the independents and TNA, fans of WWE aren't nearly as familiar with her. She needs to be built back up before she takes on the Divas Champion.
I was personally a big fan of the idea of Trish Stratus challenging Phoenix at WrestleMania. I still am. And perhaps it will happen down the road. Again, I have no idea if Stratus could pull off a one-on-one match at this time either. When she has returned to the ring recently, it's been in tag matches where she was protected.
Madusa? She started Tweeting and fans got excited. She hasn't been in the ring in years, at least not on a big-time stage. While WWE did contact her recently, it's probably not to get back in the ring.
Then there is Natalya. There's a reason not to put her on the WrestleMania card right now: She's not over. That's not necessarily her fault, however, and I do wish WWE would book her better. The flatulence gimmick was horrible. Fortunately, it hasn't been featured on TV in recent weeks, so hopefully it's over. With that said, her and Natalya could've put on an excellent match.
Bottom line, Eve and Kelly were getting on this PPV. Eve is the most over of all the Divas. Kelly is the face of the Divas division, like it or not. Beth gets the nod because she's Divas Champ. Menounos? Let's just say she's proven she can get it done in the ring, and WWE will take the mainstream exposure. She doesn't have the draw of someone like Snooki did a year ago, but if it gets the WWE time on NBC's "Extra" then I'm sure they are fine with it. Nevermind that Menounos is doing Dancing With the Stars right now, one of the most-watched shows on television.
So while the wrestling purist in me really wanted to see Beth against Kharma or Trish, or even Natty, I understand the decision and look forward to seeing what the Divas can do. It's better than leaving them off the card entirely.
Here's the clip from Extra that set up the match, in case you missed it.