The Evolution Of The WWE Women's Division Storyline
On the heels of the first Women's main event in Wrestlemania's 35-year existence, the storylines of the WWE Women's Division have greatly increased ever since the division was rebranded during Wrestlemania 32 back in 2016. Not only has the division changed in name, it also has changed the way that WWE's female talents have been portrayed.
Prior to 2016, WWE's female talents were known simply as the "WWE Divas." With a few exceptions, most of the female talents were former swimsuit and fitness models with a lack of wrestling experience and knowledge. It was also during the time when Divas feuds involved women regarding petty jealousy, whether it's mocking a good girl babyface's looks or fighting over a male Superstar or even storylines involving incest. Examples included the time where Dawn Marie got engaged with Torrie Wilson's real-life father Al Wilson and the love triangle involving Edge, Matt Hardy, and Lita.
But even when the WWE transitioned into the TV-PG rating back in 2008, Divas storylines were few and far between but when they do, they often involve Michelle McCool and Layla, also known as Team LayCool.
Capitalizing on the success of the TNA all-female stable The Beautiful People, WWE decided to create its own version of a team consisting of beautiful but snobby women which resulted in the formation of LayCool. McCool and Layla's first target was Mickie James as they poked fun of her weight by calling her "Piggie James."
In addition, they also made fun of Kelly Kelly ("Smelly Kelly"), Maria ("The Underfed Redhead"), Beth Phoenix ("Glamaman" poking fun of her muscular physique), Tiffany ("Skirt Tiffany"), the Bella Twins ("The Belly Twins"), Melina ("Lady Wawa"), Natalya ("The Bearded Lady") and numerous others. In one segment on RAW back in 2010, Nayalya ribbed LayCool regarding their nonexistent waist size.
Fast forward to 2019. As the WWE Divas Division became the WWE Women's Division, no longer are storylines involving women fighting over a male Superstar or making fun of each other's looks taking place. Instead, women's storylines are becoming more intense just like storylines involving male Superstars.
Take, for instance, the current storyline involving Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair. Lynch's character is not the typical girly bruiser but rather a woman who has a tough-as-nails attitude much as many male Superstars do. She's not the type of woman who favors skimpy dresses and high heels, instead, she prefers to dress in a tomboyish style who wears jackets, T-Shirts, and jeans. That kind of persona has resonated with the WWE Universe who prefer a more edgy-type woman over a sexy, model-type woman much like the Bella Twins.
The Lynch-Rousey-Flair storyline presents the WWE female talents in a far different light than in previous years. The three women have that brutal demeanor and intense personality as evidenced in their post-match brawl during the April 1, 2019 episode of RAW which saw the three women leaving Capital One Arena in Washington, DC in police cars.
With the Women's Evolution making an impact on WWE TV programming, look for more women's feuds to become brutally intense for years to come.