World Wrestling Entertainment, more popularly known as WWE, has had a long and tumultuous past with it’s women’s wrestling division. What started out as the “Divas Division” has now transformed into a place where women wrestlers are not only taken just as seriously as men, but their athleticism proves that equality amongst the sexes is long overdue in terms of sports entertainment.
The Woman’s division started with only one competitive championship title to strive for. It went from the women’s championship, to the diva’s championship. Now, there’s eight total titles that all women wrestlers can compete for out of a total of 18 WWE championships. The Bleacher Report just released their list of top women’s division competitors to be on the lookout for in the following decade of entertainment. With every next generation of women wrestlers, the industry is seeing more and more diversity in strength and power with these athletes. The old narrative for the WWE “diva” was exactly that. The stereotypical diva who only was ever really there as an accessory for their male counterpart. Women’s matches used to be quick, and non-eventful, as the networks never put effort into a proper women’s division. They must have forgotten about the golden age of wrestling with individuals like Mae Young, who was the first to prove that girls can fight just as good, if not way better, than any man. Now, within the past decade, the women’s division has grown substantially with longer matches, and increased skill, and the best part? It’s one of the audience’s favorite divisions of competition, guess the network was wrong.
The Great Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah
Shayna Baszler tops the list as number one. A former MMA competitor, now has taken over WWE’s NXT division, which is where amateur wrestlers make their debut before performing on major stages like RAW or Smackdown. However, it’s important to note that NXT itself has also become a huge part and asset to WWE as a whole. Baszler holds the NXT Women’s title, and remains undefeated in her WWE career thus far. She’s only been in the division for one year, but critics are already branding her legacy as potentially one of the most successful WWE competitors to enter the ring. It’s more of a matter of if she decides to hold out with her career in wrestling, or return to the world of mixed martial arts, which she also dominated.
Bianca Belier, another NXT beginner is already making a huge name for herself, and her ponytail, which she uses to quite literally “whip” the competition. The Bleacher Report describes her as style and technique as having a “power-based offense with raw athleticism and pummeling striking, leaving her more than one way to defeat the opposition.” She’s competed for the NXT women’s championship now twice during major high-profile televised events, giving her one of the quickest come ups in NXT.
Lacey Evans competing in Saudi Arabia’s first ever Women’s Wrestling Match
Rhea Ripley is the next NXT competitor who is dominating at the beginning of her WWE career. She’s 23 years old, making her one of the youngest in the game at the moment, but don’t underestimate her based on her youth, in fact, it’s proving to be quite an advantage. Her aggressive persona and “in your face” demeanor makes her one of the most memorable personalities to enter the ring. At first, Ripley wasn’t with the televised division of NXT, as she wanted to focus more on her skill, so she remained competing at NXT house shows. House Shows are WWE wrestling events that aren’t televised, so there’s less drama moments and confrontations, and more straight up wrestling. After about a year of house show competition, Ripley made her return back to TV and boy did those skills she was building really show.
If you’re an avid WWE watcher, than you definitely already know about the magic that is Lacey Evans, who’s become one of the most talked about WWE wrestlers on TV now, and rightfully so. She’s been competing now for five years, making her a more seasoned “amateur.” Evans was one of two wrestlers to recently compete in Saudi Arabia in the country’s first ever women’s wrestling match, alongside experienced wrestler Natalya.
Bleacher Report stated that Evans has “been wrestling for five years but has already headlined a major WWE pay-per-view and competed against Raw’s top star, Becky Lynch, for the brand’s women’s championship. The former Marine has forged a path for herself that has taken her to the highest level of competition. With a move to SmackDown opening up opportunities for her to star in front of a network broadcast audience, she figures to be just getting started.”
These individuals are only a small percentage of the greatness that is coming from WWE’s women’s division currently. Women are finally getting their moment in the spotlight and it’s long overdue. Every year the network is recruiting more and more women wrestlers, many of which make a move from MMA, branding the Women’s Division as one of strength, power, and invincibility. It’s truly inspiring to see this division grow into the fullest of its potential, and show the world that when it comes to pure athleticism, gender doesn’t have anything to do with it.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.