The likes of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and Natalya have all been instrumental to the success of women in WWE over the last decade. A recent graphic tweeted by BT Sport WWE showed just how far things have come in the last 10 years. The very first match of the decade featuring Mickie James and Michelle McCool lasted all of 20 seconds. The last PPV match of the same decade was over 25 minutes at the 2019 TLC PPV.
Leaps and strides
Talented women have been around throughout every era in WWE history, it's just that they had been used much differently in each era. During the 1990s, women were sparingly used as nothing more than valets or in the occasional match. Towards the end of the decade, they were primarily used as eye candy and valets during the Attitude Era.
Even as late as the early 2000s, despite having the talents of Trish Stratus and Lita, the women would routinely had matches under three-to-five minutes. They also never had a main event spot on a PPV. Things were slowly changing in the 2010s, as the likes of Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, AJ Lee and Michelle McCool were all talented women on the roster, but were still vying with model types.
In 10 long years, however, things have greatly changed for women, their matches and their spot on a WWE card. The graphic below from BT Sports WWE shows the huge disparity between the first match of the decade for women and the most recent PPV spot.
A continuing trend
NXT's creation has helped grow the women's spotlight in both WWE and all of pro wrestling. The TakeOver events highlighted the talents of Emma, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks earlier this decade and even featured women in main-event spots.
The Evolution PPV followed as did first-ever matches involving women including a Hell in a Cell match, a TLC match, and Royal Rumbles. In 2019 alone, women main-evented four PPVS: WrestleMania 35, TLC, Survivor Series, and Extreme Rules (if you count a mixed tag match). That's not including the major advancements of adding a set of Women's Tag Team Titles and Natalya and Lacey Evans competing in the first-ever match featuring women in Saudi Arabia. Hopefully the trend continues and that in the future the main focus will be on wrestling ability and not on a star's appearance.