WWE and the Women's Tag Champions
So I'm currently watching WWE's Elimination Chamber PPV. I have a free month of the network and, being at least tangentially involved with pro wrestling, I of course have an interest in the product. I'm especially interested in this pay-per-view before of the historical connotations tonight has.
If you're not a wrestling fan, let me catch you up on a few things. Firstly, women have historically had a raw deal in pro wrestling. Aside from a few all-female leagues, they've rarely been given the spotlight. It doesn't help that WWE, the world's largest wrestling promotion, has always been wishy-washy about how they treat their women. It went in cycles for a while. They'd be legitimate competitors for a while, then eye-candy for a while. One year we have the first female competitor in the 30-Man Royal Rumble, the next we have women competing in bra and panty matches or even literal mud wrestling.
Over the past couple years there's been a movement in wrestling to recognize the talent and skill of the female roster. They've been doing more intense and dangerous moves, things you might usually only expect from the men. They started giving them their own spotlight, organizing the first Women's Royal Rumble last year along with a very entertaining Mae Young Invitational tournament that let us see female talent from across the world (WWE has also historically ignored anyone that didn't belong to their roster.)
Right now I'm watching only the second ever Elimination Chamber match involving women, a match that happens only once a year due to its brutality. Not only are the women competing, but they're doing so as teams to decide, for the first time ever, the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions. This is a brand new title that has never existed in the company's history. They've had European titles, Intercontinental, Hardcore, Light Heavyweight, and more than a couple of Men's Tag Titles.
What's happening tonight is the next big step in the "Women's Evolution" movement. This means WWE has the confidence in their female roster to hold the attention of their audience that they're willing to organize an entirely new division. That's a commitment of time, money, and talent. The women's roster has historically been rather slim, meaning they might get one match on a show, and oftentimes, the company scheduled that match as a "cool down" match (a match used just before the main event to let the crowd's excitement die down so as to make the main event seem even more exciting.)
The fact that WWE is willing to create this division means they're likely going to invest in more women wrestlers to pad out their roster. If certain wrestlers become dedicated tag team wrestlers, someone has to replace them on the single's roster.
As I write this, the match is being decided. I don't know who will take home the first ever women's tag gold, but I'm excited to find out. Because it doesn't stop here, you know? Women are main eventing, both regular shows and pay-per-views. In a limited capacity, they're even competing with men. It's so exciting. These women are talented. They're entertaining. And they're finally being treated with the consideration as the men. This doesn't just speak to the WWE's priorities, though; a company only sells products that people will buy. It speaks to the growing popularity and acceptance of women's wrestling. Becky Lynch is killing it on the mic and in the ring. Her twitter is constantly blowing up and I know her merch is selling out left and right. She is blazing a trail that feels like Stone Cold Steve Austin's heyday!
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I'm so happy to see the storytelling that is pro wrestling moving forward. I'm happy to see the crowds look at women's wrestling and not differentiate from the men's. Wrestling is wrestling. I've trained and wrestled against a few women and with my little promotion we made no differentiation. Our wrestlers were our wrestlers. It's just nice to see others see that talent is talent, regardless of gender.
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