Hashtags can start revolutions. Laughing at social media isn’t always unjustified, but the power it can hold can’t be ignored when it comes to WWE’s Women’s Revolution. With that said, that power has a lot more oomph when it helps solidify a movement that was already in progress. Back in 2015, the women were given the opportunity to open WWE’s Fastlane PPV (pay-per-view). Their match lasted for all of thirty seconds, while the rest of the card was solely that of the male superstars.
While this behavior wasn’t necessarily new, something about that particular match lit a fire in the WWE community. Thousands and thousands of fans turned to social media and kept #GiveDivasAChance trending for three days. With such a vocal outcry, it was hard for the WWE to ignore what former wrestler turned COO of the company Triple H was working to do in NXT. Upon taking control of the wrestling giant’s developmental brand, he began trying to change the format on which they judged their female competitors. He didn’t just want models, he wanted the best and fiercest athletes to get first shot at the main roster, just as it was with the men.
A New Era
The progress in the Women’s Division has been a bit of a slog, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Divas of old. Two of WWE’s biggest female stars, Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita, have gone on record talking about what it was like in the old days. They got a shot at a big event from time to time, but they were never allowed to be too excited or take up too much space in fear that those opportunities would be taken away. You can imagine what it meant to Lita when she got the opportunity to announce that the Divas belt was officially retired at Wrestlemania in 2016.
That retirement would usher in a new era of fandom for the WWE, opening the door to countless new fans who had interest in the sport previously but couldn’t tolerate the existence of the “Ring Girl” mentality. No part of this journey happened overnight, and progress would still take time after the Women’s Revolution was officially started, but eventually, more changes could be seen. In the past two years, we’ve seen the inaugural women’s Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and Money in the Bank matches, and have even seen the ladies headline episodes of the weekly installments. Each of these moments are met with palpable emotions from the women finally seeing these opportunities, and are frequently met with chants of “this is awesome!” from the live crowd.
Baby Steps Toward the Future
Like all movements, the Women’s Revolution isn’t without its faults. The writers are still trying to navigate how best to write for this new era of women, and there have been more than a few instances that the ladies should have been headlining a PPV that was instead given to the men’s match for the umpteenth time. All the same, the momentum that has been seen in the Women’s Division is unquestionable and has even helped pave the way for more progressive storylines in the WWE as a whole.
The Women’s Revolution has opened doors for events like the WWE Mixed Match Challenge, a mixed tag event between the two rival brands. We’ve seen storylines about inclusion, bullying, body positivity, and evenly have openly gay wrestlers fighting on the main roster. The WWE certainly isn’t a beacon of foreward thinking, but there’s a real effort being put in by real people in their superstar ranks. Young girls and women alike have flocked to the sport in recent years, making it hard for the higher ups to ignore what’s “best for business.” With fans continually putting their money behind storylines and superstars with progressive messages, there’s no stopping this revolution.