10 Pivotal Moments from the Women's Evolution in WWE
In the not so distant past, women's wrestling in general, and in the WWE in particular, was treated as a sideshow attraction at best, and a dime store striptease purely aimed at titillation at worst. The bra and panties matches, evening gown matches, and fulfill your fantasy cosplay battle royals painted women's wrestling in an unflattering or even exploitative light.
"Wrestlers" like Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler often took up television time rather than actual skilled in ring performers such as Ivory or Jazz. For a time it seemed as if all a woman had to do was pose for a men's magazine and she would wind up winning the Divas Championship and a WrestleMania match.
Over time, things gradually began to improve. Spurred on by the success of the TNA Knockouts Division, the WWE expanded its women's roster beyond simple eye candy. They hired women like Beth Phoenix and Natalya Neidhart who did not fit the cover girl mold. It was in NXT that the seed of the Women's Evolution was truly germinated. On the yellow brand, wrestling talent was made a priority over glamorous looks.
Now we are in an era when women can main event WrestleMania, a woman is arguably the biggest star in the WWE, and women continue to dominate the conversation about the direction pro wrestling is taking. But how did we get here?
Here are ten pivotal moments from the Women's Evolution in the WWE.
#10 AJ Lee calls out her boss Stephanie McMahon on social media
It all started not in a wrestling arena or backstage area, or in a meeting of the top executives of WWE, but rather at the 2015 Academy Awards.
Actress Patricia Arquette--whose husband, David Arquette, is a former WCW World Heavyweight Champion--gave a rousing speech about equality in films between the sexes. WWE's own Stephanie McMahon would praise Arquette's speech on social media, which roused the feather of one AJ Lee.
AJ called out her boss on Twitter for not giving the same treatment to her female stars as she did her male stars. Rather than getting angry at AJ Lee, Stephanie McMahon agreed that changes needed to be made, which was the impetus for the Women's Evolution in WWE.