10 Ways The Women's Revolution Has Improved WWE

The women of WWE have broken barriers, but what have they built?

Despite an inconsistent build, the spotlight has been firmly on women's wrestling in recent times thanks to WWE's first ever all-women special: Evolution.

There are many arguments and opinions floating around regarding the motives behind the event, but what's clear is that the efforts of WWE's female Superstars deserve to be recognised. Over the past few years, we truly have seen a revolution. A WWE fan of just 10 years ago would scarcely believe the transformation of the women's division into a competitive, star-studded outfit - a fully functioning part of the show these days rather than a side attraction.

Gone are the bra & panties stipulations, gravy bowl matches, and a focus on anything other than actual in-ring ability. We're now able to enjoy a product where women's wrestlers actually wrestle - which sounds obvious, but wasn't for the longest time.

There's little doubt that the women's revolution has changed wrestling for the better, as well as many fans' attitudes towards the product.

But how specifically has it improved WWE? We often hear about how the promotion's female Superstars have broken barriers, but what are the lasting consequences of these milestones?

Let's take a look at ten big reasons the women's revolution has improved WWE, from the matches themselves to the booking of storylines, and beyond.

10. Better Wrestlers


I don't mean to suggest that WWE has lacked female Superstars of real quality in the past, but we've never seen such depth and consistency in the women's division as we have these days.

The current era is a shining example of in-ring talent throughout the card, but the women's division has arguably improved the most. We are clearly seeing a collection of all-time greats amongst the stars of today, from the innately prestigious Charlotte Flair to Becky Lynch, one of those Daniel Bryan-esque wrestlers who just has a permanent connection with the crowd.

Admittedly, some immensely talented Superstars aren't currently being used to the best of their abilities - from Sasha Banks and Bayley on Raw to Asuka on SmackDown. Hopefully, however, the cream will continue to rise to the top.

9. More Exciting Women's Matches


Long gone are the days when women's wrestling served one of two purposes: shallow titillation (often coupled with bra-and-panties gimmickry) or the main source of the insensitively named 'piss-break match' - matches occupying a space on the card to let the crowd recharge between bouts they were actually supposed to react to.

Now women's wrestling can often be seen as the main attraction of many shows, given the quality of those involved, and the newfound seriousness with which WWE takes its women's division.

One of the more visible changes made by the revolution is the introduction of several groundbreaking women's matches; we've now seen female Superstars now take part in Royal Rumbles, MITB stipulations, and even Hell in a Cell. The quality of such bouts has largely justified their inclusion - although the less said about James Ellsworth's Money in the Bank victory the better.

8. A Wider Range Of Feuds (Sometimes)


Back in the day, it often seemed as though wrestling struggled to realise that men and women were the same species. Male Superstars would feud over everything imaginable, from title glory to feelings of jealousy and betrayal, grand historic storylines stretching back decades to something as simple as a spilled cup of coffee.

Women would usually feud over a man, or because the heel was insulting the babyface's appearance, or sometimes because a title was on the line. Sometimes.

These days, there are a number of feuds much more befitting of the talented women involved. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair's title feud is the obvious choice, but of all the points on the list, this could be the most incomplete.

Although some women's feuds are given the right degree of gravitas and variety these days, it seems as though many wrestlers are still thrown together under a general atmosphere of cattiness. Still, it's a work in progress, and thankfully that progress is gradually being made.

7. More Nuanced Historical Storylines


It's recently become apparent that the revolution has given WWE's women's division a sense of historic foundation. Yes, it's easy to criticise the selective sense of importance WWE places upon its past - particularly in the wake of Triple H vs. The Undertaker at Super Show-Down - but I actually think it benefits the women's division for now. 

Now that WWE book their female Superstars with a sense of progression, it allows for storylines that reference the past, rather than existing in a bubble 90% of the time.

The key feud in this regard is, of course, Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella - and even though it seems a little strange that WWE have used Nikki to champion an era they're otherwise very proud of leaving behind, it has at least given us a storyline with a serious historical backbone. It's classic old era vs. new era stuff, but as time goes on, more options should become available.

The hottest storyline in the men's division right now is probably Dean Ambrose's betrayal of Seth Rollins, a feud entirely built around the complexities of their history. As the years go by - provided that the women's division continues to go from strength to strength - we should see storylines of such nuance and intensity for their female counterparts too.

6. Better Quality Of Pay-Per-Views


Women's wrestling has, for a great portion of WWE history, been looked upon as something that has dragged down the quality of pay per views - or taken time away from good matches that deserved a few extra minutes.

That has all changed these days, specifically in 2018. The best-received match at this year's WrestleMania was, in the eyes of an enthusiastic majority, the mixed tag bout between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Ronda Rousey, and Kurt Angle. In hindsight, Asuka's lost to Charlotte Flair may have been a slightly rash decision, but again their match was one of the best of the night.

Similarly, January's Royal Rumble was improved by the suspense, drama, and mystery entrants of the first ever women's Rumble match - qualities that have defined the men's bout for decades. At this year's Money in the Bank, the women's bout was another standout feature of the card.

The women's revolution has empirically led to a higher quality of pay-per-views - especially, it seems, when it comes to the biggest shows of the year.

5. Evolution (And Potential Future Shows)


Whatever your opinion of Evolution - or perhaps the existence of Evolution so close to the all-male Crown Jewel show - there's no denying that it stands as a milestone moment in WWE history.

Clearly, however, the idea of producing an all-women pay-per-view didn't just spring out of nowhere. Five or 10 years ago, I don't think an all-women's pay-per-view would have been put on at all, even if the situation demanded it from a PR perspective (as it perhaps does now, thanks to those Saudi Arabia shows).

Prior to the revolution, I don't think WWE's women's division would have had the depth, experience, or quality necessary to stage such a show. Not only that, but I don't think the idea would have seemed feasible, or even necessary. The revolution has made the idea of an all-women's pay-per-view not just possible, but a reality - and it's done show in a remarkably short space of time.

Whether Evolution will become an annual show or not, I don't think this is the last time we'll see a major all-women's show under the WWE banner. The future of women's wrestling looks very exciting indeed...

4. More Depth To NXT


There's no doubting the quality of NXT these days, from the crisp, sensibly-booked weekly shows to the unmissable TakeOver specials - some of which may genuinely go down as some of the best shows WWE have ever produced. I'm thinking of New Orleans in particular; we all are.

Although generally excellent, it's important to note that the women's division of NXT is also exemplary. It has provided one of the most consistently strong title lineages in WWE, with stars such as Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Paige, Asuka, and Ember Moon all holding the women's championship.

It could also be seen as the true birthplace of the revolution. All four of the main roster's 'horsewomen' came through NXT, and two put on a bout considered by many to be one of the best women's wrestling matches of all time: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley.

3. Attracting Bigger Stars


Since her first appearance at the Royal Rumble, Ronda Rousey's general affect on WWE is debatable. There have been many positives and negatives, but one unquestionable bonus is the fact that she was a true megastar prior to signing.

It's no secret that WWE covets mainstream exposure, and while the importance they place upon pandering to an unfamiliar audience is debatable at times, I think we can all agree that we'd like to see pro wrestling given a greater share of the spotlight it deserves. A rising tide lifts all boats, and so on.

Rousey is a key player in nudging the industry back into the mainstream, given her reputation as a pioneer of women's MMA, and one of the most popular figures in UFC history. Although a self-admitted wrestling fan for years, the chances of Rousey actually coming over to WWE would have been far slimmer if the women's division hadn't been improved so much in recent times.

2. Chances Given To Independent Veterans


The recent Mae Young Classic has seen an incredible variety of women's wrestlers from all around the world. We've seen experienced veterans like Meiko Satomura, exciting young guns such as Xia Brookside, and everything in between.

But it isn't just in these tournaments that WWE has given exciting independent stars the exposure they deserve. Back when their recruitment policy for the women's division centred around sex appeal, being a hard-working, talented wrestler on the independent scene must have felt pretty hopeless.

Now, just about every member of WWE's women's division has honed their craft on the indies or the WWE Performance Center - or both.

1. An Improved Men's Division Too


I'd like to make it clear that this isn't the most important part of the list - simply one of the more surprising. The most important consequence of the women's revolution has, of course, been the improvement of women's wrestling in WWE.

However, it's pretty clear that the revolution has also had a positive effect on the men of WWE too. A huge lesson learned from the Monday Night Wars was that competition brings out the best in many - hence the amazing successes of the Attitude Era. Now that the women's division is no longer the clear weak link of WWE, the men have been forced to step up too.

I mentioned earlier in this article that the women's Royal Rumble really helped improve the pay-per-view as a whole. On the same show, the men's Rumble was one of the best in recent memory - a thrilling match finally won by Shinsuke Nakamura. I don't think it's a coincidence that, on a show where they faced the threat of being overshadowed by the first women's Rumble, the men put together an incredible match too.

Similarly, one only has to look at the obvious fun had by everybody in the Mixed Match challenge to see what a positive effect WWE's improved women's division has had on the overall product. The next goal could well be integration between the two genders in main roster storylines, given NXT's central positioning of Nikki Cross in the current Aleister Black storyline.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]