Why Has WWE Resigned Eva Marie?
The jobs climate isn’t great at the moment. Anyone who has a job ought to be glad of it, and none of us should want to see anyone else become unemployed. Because of that, we’re happy that Eva Marie has turned to WWE. We’re pleased for her that she’s got a steady job and she’s getting paid. None of what we’re about to write is directed at Eva Marie as a person. If WWE wants to offer her a job, it makes sense she’d want to take it. The question we find ourselves asking, though, is why she’s been offered it.
The past twelve months in WWE have been more about letting people go than bringing them in. Under normal conditions, WWE fans can expect to see three or four high-profile new signings each year as the company freshens up its roster. Instead, they’ve been saying goodbye to their favourite performers. A spate of wrestlers, including legendary former women’s champion Mickie James, was released just days after this year’s WrestleMania event. Mere weeks ago, another set of stars was told WWE no longer required their services. This set was even more surprising than the last.
The biggest name that WWE released at the beginning of June was Braun Strowman. That was a huge shock. Strowman had been a WWE Universal Champion within the previous year and even wrestled world heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury at a special show in Saudi Arabia. WWE was, at one point, scheduled to release a series of wrestling-themed online slots to websites at the end of 2020. Almost all of the wrestlers featured on those online slots were drawn from WWE’s glorious past, but Strowman was considered such a big deal that his name was attached to the project. Nobody knows why, but something went wrong. The planned range of online slots never found its way to Rose Slots CA or anywhere else. Strowman didn’t get his slots game, and a few months later, he was gone from the company.
While Strowman’s release was the biggest shock, WWE also parted with more female performers. Vanessa Bourne, who’d shown such great potential in NXT, was let go. Lana, a star that WWE had invested considerable time and money in over the past two years, went with her. Ruby Riott, considered by many in the locker room to be one of the best female wrestlers on the entire roster, is no longer with the company either. They join Chelsea Green, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, and Santana Garrett as women cut by WWE in 2021. In every single case, the reason the performers were given when they were let go was “budget cuts.” If that’s truly the case, why has Eva Marie been brought in to fill a television role?
We’ll take as little away from Eva Marie as possible. She has an excellent screen presence. Her reality television appearances in “Total Divas” suggest that she has charisma and personality. She keeps herself in amazing shape, and she obviously works hard. What she can’t do, though, is wrestle. After she was first cut by the company in 2016, she acknowledged her lack of wrestling ability in interviews. It even became a running joke during her last run with the company. She’d make her entrance to the ring and then come up with an entertaining reason why she couldn’t wrestle that night. Her inability to wrestle became part of her on-screen persona.
On the rare occasions, she did try to mix it up in the ring, fans were unforgiving. Chants of “you can’t wrestle” filled arenas. Wrestling fans can be harsh, and even Eva’s best efforts were met with mockery and boos. That might be why she didn’t seem especially upset when she first left the company. However, that makes it more of a mystery that she’s come back – especially when it seems the gimmick will continue. She was supposed to make her in-ring return on the most recent edition of WWE RAW but allowed WWE NXT UK wrestler Piper Niven to take her place. When Niven quickly defeated long-tenured (and criminally underused) former SmackDown women’s champion Naomi, Eva Marie declared herself the winner of the match. The gimmick appears designed to irritate fans. That’s fine as a “heel” character but still doesn’t make sense in the context of the company’s hiring and firing policy.
For the past six years, WWE has been trying to improve its image when it comes to female performers. They no longer send them out to compete in lingerie matches. You won’t see women mud wrestling in WWE rings anymore. Female wrestlers were once called “Divas,” but the term was dropped and replaced with “women.” Although there are exceptions, the general theme since 2016 is that women’s matches get more time in the ring, and women are presented as serious athletes. Bringing in an obviously beautiful performer who can’t wrestle feels like a backward step. It’s not consistent with what the company has been trying to do with female stars. To put it simply, it doesn’t make sense.
There might be a bigger picture here that WWE hasn’t yet allowed us to see. It might also be possible that some of the stars who were let go will be invited to return. Samoa Joe was cut from the company in April but has already returned to NXT. That means the great female wrestlers who were let go could yet find their way back. Even if they do, though, it doesn’t make it any easier to work out why they were let go to make room on the roster for Eva Marie. She’s a walking reminder of a time when WWE’s female wrestlers were rated more on their looks than their talent, and unless she’s secretly spent the past five years undergoing intensive wrestling training, she’s not going to change that impression.
We’ve seen strange decisions made within WWE for several years now. We’re almost becoming used to them. Even taking that into account, bringing Eva Marie back at a time when ratings are down and budgets are apparently tight might be the strangest of them all.