#GiveDivasAChance Turns 5: How A Simple Hashtag Changed Women's Wrestling In The WWE Forever
- On February 23rd, 2015, a thirty-second Diva's tag team match set the WWE Universe on a path towards a new empowering era
On February 23rd, 2015, Paige and Emma took on Brie and Nikki Bella during the post-Fastlane episode of Monday Night RAW where the tag team match lasted all of 30 seconds. Angry members of the WWE Universe were furious and took their actions to Twitter where the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance was born. After all, this was just another ordinary Divas Era match.
However, over at WWE NXT, the female talents were performing exciting and longer matches that oftentimes have outperformed the matches involving the male wrestlers. Women such as Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Asuka enlightened fans with their dazzling display of talents as well as having unique characters and looks compared to the WWE main women's roster which mainly consisted of cookie-cutter swimsuit models who were mainly reduced to hair-pulling and slaps.
The seeds for the future WWE Women's Evolution was planted back in the summer of 2012 when Triple H replaced John Laurinaitis as WWE's Head of Talent. Unlike Laurinaitis who favored eye candy, Triple H didn't care much for looks as he preferred a more serious women's division much like the Shimmer Athletes and WSU.
He then hired independent wrestler Sara Amato as a trainer. It was Amato who would train the women the same way as the men. At the same time, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) was rebranded ad WWE NXT as the focused shifted from aesthetics to wrestling ability.
After the much criticized Paige and Emma versus the Bella Twins tag team match on RAW, Stephanie McMahon made an important announcement during the July 13th, 2015 episode of RAW where she introduced three of the Four Horsewomen (Lynch, Banks and Flair) to the main roster. Along with Bayley, it was Lynch, Banks and Flair who would change women's wrestling in the WWE forever.
The Four Horsewomen loathed the idea of taking part in exotic photoshoots involving wearing bikinis and instead wanted to be like the men - to one day main event pay-per-views. In addition, Lynch, Banks, Flair and Bayley were not models which also delighted the WWE Universe as the fans were excited to see what the women were capable of when given the opportunity to prove themselves.
Since Lynch, Banks and Flair's WWE main roster debuts, the WWE Divas Division was rebranded as the WWE Women's Division during WrestleMania 32 and replaced the WWE Divas Championship with the WWE Women's Championship (now the RAW Women's Championship) as the term "diva" was viewed as sexist and demeaning while the WWE Divas Championship (which had a pink butterfly on it) was criticized for being a joke and not as prestigious as the men's titles.
In addition, the women's division has expanded on RAW, SmackDown and NXT brands and they've taken part in stipulations that were previously reserved for men such as the Royal Rumble match, the Elimination Chamber match, the Money in the Bank ladder match and others. We've certainly come a long way from things like bikini contests, pillow fights, Halloween costume contests, Santa's Little Helper matches and the like. The division also saw an increase in match quantity on shows and PPVs, bringing more reputation to each event.
To think that such a massive change came from a throwaway tag team match is incredible. With the women of WWE finding huge support in their fans, the company was forced to #GiveDivasAChance and the rest is history.Published 21 Feb 2020, 08:39 IST