5 Golden Era Female Wrestlers Who Laid the Groundwork for WWE Evolution
WWE Evolution is a part of the larger trajectory of the evolution and revolution of women’s wrestling. While women like Trish Stratus, Natalya, and The Four Horsewomen are often considered the cornerstones of the Women’s Evolution, the Women’s Evolution started way before them.
Women never played a large role in the WWE. However, there are many women who fought for women's wrestling to have a place in the WWE.
Here are five women’s wrestlers of the Golden Era who laid the groundwork for WWE’s Women’s Evolution.
Honorable Mention: Cyndi Lauper
While not an in-ring performer the “Time After Time” singer brought not only popularity to the WWE, but also prestige to the women’s division. She worked with Captain Lou Albano to push the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection and bring mainstream attention to the WWE.
Her involvement in the women’s division catapulted women to the forefront of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection. Women were the only televised match on "The Brawl to End It All," and fans have Lauper to thank for that.
Many attribute the success of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection to Hulk Hogan but it was Lauper who worked with women to develop the backbone of the concept. Her contributions to the WWE are unprecedented. Her influence didn’t stop at MTV specials; she played an integral role in WrestleMania 1 and was a huge part of the show’s success. Wrestling was cool again…and fans and the WWE have Lauper to thank.
#5 Leilani Kai
Leilani Kai is a revolutionary figure in women's wrestling. She defeated Richter at MTV Special "The War to Settle the Score" and cemented her name in wrestling history as WWE Women's Champion. This PPV was apart of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection, which fused wrestling and music. Kai would also go on to compete at WrestleMania I in a losing effort against Richter for the WWE Women’s Championship.
After her singles run, Kai went on to become a two-time WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion. She holds the record, along with her tag partner Judy Martin, for the longest combined reigns at 1,157 days.
Kai's career spanned over 29 years and she even made a brief return at WrestleMania X to once again challenge for the WWE Women’s Championship, this time against "New Era" wrestler Alundra Blayze.
Kai’s achievements in WWE surpass some of the WWE’s most popular and celebrated women as only one other woman can boast a 1,157-day combined championship reign. She is among the crucial names that are overlooked when discussing the evolution of women’s wrestling.