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Thursday, September 30, 2010

HIAC: More At Stake Than The Butterfly Belt

As far as marquee value goes, Kane vs. The Undertaker for the WWE World championship in a steel cage easily trumps the Natalya vs. Michelle McCool Divas title match, as do the Bryan vs. Miz and Sheamus vs. Orton bouts. But the Nattie-McCool match at Hell in a Cell on Sunday night bears watching, especially if you have any interest in the state of women's wrestling.

Most of the criticism leveled at the 2010 PWI "Female 50" rankings (November 2010 ; visit www.pwi-online.com to buy the issue) has centered around our selection of McCool as the top-rated female wrestler. Comments have ranged from the absurd-"The only reason McCool is number one is because she's married to The Undertaker, and he obviously paid the editors to put her there" to the reasonable- "While McCool has worked hard to improve, she still hasn't really connected with the fans."

However, the critics have been nearly as vocal about Nattie's number-29 showing. Obviously, many fans look at Nattie's pedigree, as well as her un-Diva-like appearance, and feel both should have been rewarded with a higher ranking. Of course, neither of those "qualifications" measure up to in-ring accomplishments, which, when all is said and done, is the primary factor in determining our rankings. And, like it or not, Nattie, who mainly served as The Hart Dynasty's valet for most of 2010, had next to none last year. Hence her middling rank.

I do, however, agree with our detractors that Nattie is an immensely credible wrestler whose somewhat untraditional look represents a refreshing departure from the model-type appearance of McCool, Maryse, and Kelly Kelly. And should Nattie defeat McCool for the Diva's title on Sunday night, a much stronger case can be made that she should receive a higher ranking in the 2011 "Female 50."

I'll stop short of calling this match a "referendum on looks vs. ability" but clearly, putting the title on a woman as respected as Natalya seems to be would be a wise first step in restoring credibility to women's wrestling.

--Frank Krewda
Editor-In-Chief

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