On July 13, 2015, the WWE Women’s division was forever changed, as female wrestlers went from Divas to Superstars in what became known as the Women’s Revolution.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) July 13, 2020
On an episode of Monday Night Raw, Team Bella’s stranglehold on the division was challenged when Stephanie McMahon introduced NXT’s Charlotte, the daughter of two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, Becky Lynch, the self-proclaimed “Irish Lass Kicker,” and Sasha Banks, first cousin of Snoop Dogg, to the main roster.
A brawl ensued between the present and future, culminating in the NXT Divas on top with Charlotte’s Figure-Eight Leglock, Becky’s Dis-arm-her, and Sasha’s Bank Statement all locked in.
Yet the seeds of that revolution were planted months before, in an episode of Monday Night Raw on Feb. 23, 2015.
The only women’s match of the night, featuring the Bella Twins against Paige and Emma went all of 29 seconds and was met with jeers from the crowd.
That reaction ignited a movement, as the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance began to trend on Twitter.
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) February 24, 2015
#GiveDivasAChance is trending. I think the wrestling world has spoken, & it’s nice to see so many people getting behind the ladies.
— ✨Velvet Sky✨ (@VelVelHoller) February 24, 2015
WWE is known for pushing their own company generated hashtags on their shows, but this was a completely organic creation, as the fan base expressed their dissatisfaction at seeing their favorite female wrestlers not given enough spotlight.
The uproar on social media trended for three days, and many big names took notice, including chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.
We hear you. Keep watching. #GiveDivasAChance
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) February 25, 2015
From there, WWE knew it was time for change. Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon commented:
“I noticed it the second it started trending. We talked about it Tuesday night and Wednesday and it was brought to everyone’s attention that this is still trending. It really was an ‘aha moment’ for some of us in the office and it was definitely the impetus for a much bigger movement.
“Our fans said with their voices very loud and clear that we want more from our female performers.”
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 11, 2016
Quickly, female Superstars started to see more air-time, and the WWE had no shortage of up-and-coming women’s talent, most notably the “Four Horsewomen” of Charlotte, Lynch, Bayley and Banks, who were establishing themselves in WWE.
On August 23 2016, the WWE world unveiled the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship title, as an addition to the then-WWE Women’s Championship, which was exclusive to Raw.
Lynch was crowned the inaugural champion, winning the title at Backlash on September 11, 2016, defeating Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella in a six-pack elimination challenge to become the champion.
From there, the women’s division continued to grow, showcasing the female Superstars in televised main events and the first ever all-female pay-per-view, Evolution — featuring wrestlers from NXT, Raw and SmackDown on October 28, 2018.
The main card boasted seven matches, as well as a dark match before the show and the finals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic tournament. The evening saw incredible performances from Lynch and Flair in a Last Woman Standing match and in the main event, where recent addition Ronda Rousey defended the Raw Women’s Championship.
“This is our Evolution.”
— WWE (@WWE) October 29, 2018
And on April 7, 2019, history was made when WrestleMania 35 introduced the first-ever women’s main event match in its history.
Lynch battled Raw Women’s ChampionRonda Rousey and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte in a Winner Takes All triple threat match, claiming both titles.
She won her first Raw Women’s Championship and record-tying third SmackDown Women’s Championship, all while handing Rousey her first pinfall loss.
All these matches have forged the way forward for women’s wrestling, according to Alexa Bliss, and the female division continues to grow with each event.
“Our evolution started when the first ever women’s match ever happened. It took the Attitude Era, it took the NXT Era, it took Paige and Emma having the NXT Women’s Championship match, it took all these moments to get here … they’ve been giving us more opportunities.
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“We’ve been main eventing Raw, main eventing SmackDown, main eventing pay-per-views – we’ve main evented WrestleMania. This whole evolution means everything to the women’s division.”
“It all changed for me when I was watching @RealPaigeWWE vs. Emma.” – @AlexaBliss_WWE @TheWilderThings talks to the SmackDown Superstar about the origins of the ‘Women’s Evolution’. pic.twitter.com/F4OVnQ8zcj
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) June 24, 2020
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for women in the WWE.
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