By Evan Rivera, Columnist
There once was a time where women’s wrestlers were regarded as ‘divas’. Those divas were put in bra and panties matches, ‘Miss Wrestlemania’ battle royals, and other blasphemic matches. Women’s wrestlers were not in high regard during these times. The way you looked determined whether or not you mattered, not even if you could wrestle your butt off and actually do more than be eye candy. World Wrestling Entertainment chose to go about these women in that fashion, but really that was what the blueprint was for the women in those times. They weren’t going to let ladies like Beth Phoenix and Natalya shine because they had actual wrestling skill and were nowhere near the beauty of the likes of Candice Michelle, Stacy Keibler, and Kelly Kelly.
Times were different, and ‘the man’, was out of touch. In a way, the WWE objectified these women. It really isn’t that controversial. Times were different and we didn’t have the women’s wrestling or wrestling in general that we have today. We now have a full fledged ‘Women’s Revolution’. Women like Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Bailey, and Asuka are getting their due, in spite of how the norm once was for these women in the WWE. The only question is, who really started the ‘Women’s Revolution’? To many fans, the Four Horsewomen of the WWE, (Bailey, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch) started the ‘Women’s Revolution’.
TNA, now known as Global Force Wrestling, had their own ‘Women’s Revolution’. They may be credited with starting something there, with likes of Gail Kim, Mickie James, ODB, the Beautiful People, and etc. Not to mention the fact that they were mentioned as ‘Knockouts’, and not divas. They had two championships, in the Knockouts Title and the Knockouts Tag Team Titles. They were given consistent television time, and put on compelling angles. It definitely differed from the WWE, in terms of the way they utilized their women. TNA may be accredited for so much, given the fact that they are still pretty much the #2 promotion in the world. However, the WWE was on an even more mainstream platform, obviously. Given that fact, the Knockouts cannot be deemed the people who started the ‘Women’s Revolution’, but rather the pioneers of women’s wrestling, during that time period. They started the resurgence of women’s wrestling, to be exact. The WWE definitely started the Women’s Revolution with AJ Lee. Although AJ pretty much carried the division solely on her back, she did a lot for it. She made women wrestlers prominent again. When AJ was on TV, it was the first time in a long time that a woman was so apparent on WWE programming. AJ was in top storylines, with the likes of CM Punk, John Cena, Kane, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler. Not to mention the fact that although her run as RAW General Manager was botched, she was the only woman who could believably be in that spot. AJ was a prominent figure/wrestler on TV, which none other woman could make the claim to actually be as relevant as she was. (Except for Chyna, and maybe Lita). A decent rebuttal or claim of a start of the ‘Women’s Revolution’, would of been with the Bella Twins, and the rest of the Total Divas.
The Bellas and the rest of the Total Divas might have made for quality Reality TV, (to the female viewer), and put up sufficient viewership on E!, however their fame and adoration did not carry on to television. These women were still getting put in 6 woman matches with absolutely zero build. They were still still solely on TV to promote their E! show. On top of that, they were still referred to as Divas, which tells the fans how important they were, a few years back. Total Divas/ Bellas is still around, but the Bella Twins cannot be accredited as stars. They are not looked at as top wrestlers, but as top reality stars. In a way, they are extremely marketable due to their Total Divas fame. However, they started a “Bellas” revolution, if you will. They may only be accredited with what they accomplished. By no means did they bring women out of the hole and made them prominent acts on WWE TV. The Bellas never brought any of that fame to change the outlook of the ladies on TV.
The Four Horsewomen, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka on the other hand, have gone full circle, in terms of a ‘Women’s Revolution’. Becky Lynch, Bailey, Sasha Banks, Asuka, and Alexa Bliss (respectively), have brought honor to the woman’s division. NXT may be accredited with contributing to the full fledged ‘Women’s Revolution’, with the talent of those six women, and the phenomenal booking of these stars. Banks vs. Bailey was absolutely glorious, and helped give the ‘Women’s Revolution’ a full fledged start to prominence on the main roster and on a grander scale. These women have been featured in top storylines and are actually regarded as women, and not as “divas.” Each woman is regarded differently compared to the Total Divas because they are actually adding to the product and not using it as a way of promotion. Each of these women have an identity as a wrestler, and helped contribute to an entire division of women wrestlers. Although AJ did a lot for women’s wrestling in a flash in the pan type of time period, she arguably didn’t accomplish what these women did. However, multiple women are prominent parts of TV. That’s what the “Women’s Revolution” is all about. It has featured women in a prominent light, without making them a sidepiece of a show/product.
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