The WWE Women’s Evolution.
I have been severely neglecting this blog. I have been so busy with work and family and oh yeah, I started going back to school ( yay me) that I haven’t had much time to myself, let alone to sit here and write. But damn it it’s WrestleMania week, and I’ve had a long-standing tradition, (well it’s only been a couple of years, but still,) that I also wear a shirt every day for WrestleMania week, and I put together a week’s worth of WrestleMania posts. I’m determined to that this week. I figured I’d start with the best first. Something I love talking about, the Evolution of the Women in WWE.
Since this is WrestleMania themed I went back and got a list of all the women WrestleMania matches since I started watching WWE, which would start us at WM26.
(Side note: While I didn’t watch WrestleMania 25 live, I have gone back and watched it on the network at one point, and it infuriates me. The entire thing was a mess, and the ending was such a huge slap in the face, and considering now that we are entering WM34 with a women’s memorial battle royal I am so happy that we’ve come as far as we have since that mess.)
WrestleMania 26. 10 Woman tag team match. Featuring the likes of Divas Champion Maryse, LayCool, Vickie Guerrero, and Alicia Fox. On the other side of the ring, we had Eve, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Mickie James and Kelly Kelly. If we knew then, what you know now you know that all the ladies in that match were former or soon to be champions in WWE. Looking at it like that, the match seems full of talent, and it was. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on their side, and as many women’s’ matches were back then, it was more of a bathroom break than a WrestleMania moment match.
WrestleMania 27. The women were showcased here in a mixed tag team match involving Celebrity Snooki, John Morrison, Former Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. LayCool and Dolph Ziggler. If there was every one thing, I hated that WWE did it was that they’d bring in celebrities such as Snooki, to push the matches instead of putting the faith in their talent. I understand that WWE is entertainment based now but it still always rubbed me the wrong way.
WrestleMania 28. Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres. While again another Celebrity face in Menounos was brought into this match, I will say that she gave it her all, broken ribs and everything to this match. She’s also been a long time fan, and that to me can make a difference. Still with all the talent in the ring, having Menounos be the one to pin the Glamazon Beth Phoenix, again, rubbed me the wrong way.
WrestleMania 29. Women representation on this card? Nowhere. The scheduled match was a mixed tag team match between Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins. But apparently due to time constraints, at the very last minute, while they were in gear and all, their match was cut. Ridiculous.
WrestleMania 30. The Vickie Guerrero Invitational. I liked the idea of this match going into it. AJ Lee was the long-standing champion, and this battle royal championship match was an excellent way to give everyone a shot at her and her title. I hate when someone hangs out outside the ring most of the match, Heel tactic and all, but it bugs me, and that’s what AJ did. The funny thing is she probably didn’t have to do that; she could have beaten all the participants without hiding away. It also didn’t help anyone that this match had to follow Undertaker vs. Brock, with Taker losing his streak. Poor placement can kill even the good matches sometimes.
WrestleMania 31. Here we start to see a LITTLE bit of hope shining through. We got another tag team match between Paige and Champion AJ Lee vs. Nikki and Brie Bella. Positives? No men involved, no celebrities included, and no outside interference. It was just those four women in the match, and WWE trusted them to get the job done without outside help. It had been a while since we had seen that happen. Not to mention that match itself was pretty great considering they were still being pressed with little time.
WrestleMania 32. The sun is shining even brighter on top of these WWE Women. We have TWO women’s matches scheduled for this Mania. A 10 woman tag team match between team Total Divas and Team Bad and Blonde, as well it being Brie Bellas final match before becoming a mother. While the match was placed on the kickoff show, it almost didn’t matter because it had so much meaning, at least to me. This was Brie Bellas last match, and she has always been a favorite of mine inside and outside of the ring, and she got the perfect send-off which not everyone who leaves can say they got. On the main card, 3 out of the 4 WWE horsewomen would find themselves facing off in a triple threat match. Not only that, but it would be for the newly made Women’s Championship. The transition from the word Diva to Women’s in the championship sense can make all the difference. It wasn’t so much about the word Diva as it was what people easily associated it with. WWE entrusted Sasha, Charlotte and Becky to not only have this triple threat, they were given time to perform the match, they were given not just space atop the AT&T Stadium WrestleMania advertisement, but they were right in the middle of it. If you weren’t convinced that times were about to change before this, by the time this match was over and Charlotte Flair raised the New Women’s Championship above her head, you had to of been convinced now.
WrestleMania 33. Once again we got TWO women’s matches at this year’s Mania. We had the brand split to help with that. Three if you count the mixed tag team match between Nikki Bella and John Cena vs. Maryse and The Miz. You should count it because anytime the ladies are throwing down it counts. Plus Maryse and Nikki had a hell of a time putting it all together, and managed to persuade naysayers like me, who while I was a fan of all involved wasn’t sure how I felt about the match, get hyped up for it and made it a match that I was looking forward too. They told a great story. They tried to put the SDLive six pack challenge consisting of Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Natalya, Carmella, Becky and Mickie on the pre-show but fans refused to accept it and by some miracle of power, we got them on the main card. Raw women were represented in a fatal four way for Bayleys Raw Women’s title; she faced Sasha, Charlotte, and Nia Jax. Both of those women’s matches were given time, and they proved why they deserved it, and they proved what they could accomplish with it. Each year we were expanding, and each year the women were delivering.
And that brings me to this year’s Show of Shows. As it looks now, less than one week out, the women’s matches are Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw women’s championship. Charlotte vs. Asuka for not only the SDLive women’s championship but also Asukas undefeated streak is on the line. We also have Ronda Rousey teaming up with Kurt Angle to face off against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, regardless of Ronda and Stephanie’s inexperience in the ring, I still believe this will be a hard-hitting match. And then to top it off we have the Women’s Memorial Battle Royal. I have to add I’m glad they took Moolahs name out of it. I’ve always heard rumors that Moolah wasn’t a good person, and then when they announced the battle royal in her name, the internet exploded. I did more digging and realized she wasn’t a good person at all, and I’m glad that they wised up, even if they were forced too, and took her name out of it. That’s FOUR women’s matches on this card. There always the chance that something is going to get put on the preshow, probably the battle royal BUT the simple fact that we’ve upgraded to four matches for the ladies at a WrestleMania is such a huge victory. Even better, all four matches have incredible stories attached to them that with proper time the ladies will all excel at telling. I know that maybe putting the fifth match at WrestleMania for the ladies might be too much, something might get lost in the shuffle, but teasing everyone with another Sasha vs. Bayley match and then not putting this singles match on the card is a travesty. I can only hope that they don’t waste it on live TV, or don’t have it come to blows at some PPV in the future. While they’re not my favorite ladies, they always tell a kickass story.
I think we need to stop and be grateful for how far the women of WWE have come after looking back at it like I did. I’m thankful that this generation of girls and women have these ladies to look up too. I’m thrilled that I have these women to look up too. I’m grateful that WWE stopped the nonsense of bra and panty matches, and just throwing the women out there for a crowd bathroom break. We still have a ways to go; the matches can still be too short, the crowd can still be disrespectful, and fans can still be rude. But when you look at it, you can see that the Women of WWE, past, present, and future have broken down barriers; no matter how small, for this WrestleMania to have FOUR women’s matches on the card. They’ve helped them to have a spot on the posters, the chairs, a proper spot on the card, time to do their thing and for them to have the respect they deserve. What makes it even better? It’s that every lady, whether their on the main roster or in NXT, they’re fighting every day to get these spots and they have their hearts set on breaking down barrier after barrier and they seem genuinely emotional every single time they do it. A few years ago if you asked me if I thought the women of WWE would ever be able to main event WrestleMania I would hang my head in sadness when I said No, I don’t believe we’ll see that happen. But today? After everything, the hell in the cell match, last woman standing, the royal rumble, and so on… Why yes, I do believe the Women of WWE will main event WrestleMania someday, and no, I don’t think that day is very far away.