Wrestlemania 32: How The Women Stole The Show
Just hours since WWE’s annual flagship event, Wrestlemania 32, has ended and I sit at my computer knowing EXACTLY what I want to rave about. Sure, I could talk about underdog Zack Ryder fulfilling his boyhood dream and creating a huge WM moment during the incredible seven-man IC title ladder. I could also talk about Shane-O-Mac’s return, and his amazing leap off of the top of the cell, during his HIAC match with The Phenom; and the fact that the Undertaker lives on for one more Wrestlemania. I could talk about Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin teaming up to take down the League of Nation; and their post-dance off (and Stunner) with The New Day. I could talk about Bray Wyatt’s burial during his promo with The Rock and a returning John Cena; however, I think it is only justifiable to talk about how women’s wrestling stole the show at last night’s Wrestlemania, and leaped over steps and milestones to lay another incredible path for female talents in the sports entertainment business.
Where do I even begin? The 10-Diva Tag Match during the Pre-Show really helped to set the tone for how the women were going to dominate on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’, and while it wasn’t epic; it certainly was a lot more electrifying than I had expected. Lana’s debut was disappointing to say the least, but whoever booked this match, booked it well all considering, and left her and Eva Marie on the outskirts for most of the bout; allowing Emma, Paige, Nattie, and Naomi carried most of the match. Emma was fantastic, and it was great to see her star truly shine at a WM stage; and the best part was the end. Whether you like her or not, Brie Bella has been a significant part of the WWE’s women’s division for a while, and has contributed to the success of the company in recent years. To send her off, with Naomi tapping out to the Yes! Lock was not only a fine farewell to her and her fans; but also a fine tribute to her husband, Daniel Bryan. Perfect ending in the story of Brie Bella, and what was equally gratifying was to see Bella share her final Wrestlemania moment with her team, and her sister, Nikki. Very compelling storytelling, and a perfect way to close chapter.
Post-divas tag match, during the Pre-Show WWE selected none other than WWE Hall of Famer, Lita to make the announcement, so many WWE fans have been waiting for. Finally ditching the word diva, and moving back to women’s wrestling, Lita announced that the three women involved in the Triple Threat Match for the Divas title were now fighting for the Women’s Championship … and what a championship it is. Revealing a title that is one of strength, something prestigious-looking, and far from the former title that was a pink, glittery, sparkled-up emblem, that resembled a butterfly; the Women’s title looks strong, it looks like the trophy it should be considered, it looks like something worthy of a competitor that has worked hard, sacrificed, and climbed up the ladder of sports entertainment to attain.
And there you have it. In nine short months of debuting into the roster, looking to really revolutionize the divas division, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte have accomplished just that; shattering the demeaning term diva, and bringing the division back to something of honor, and esteem. Through sheer determination, talent, and with the backing of the fans, these three NXT ladies have proved to the audience, naysayers, pro wrestling media, and more importantly, the WWE higher ups, that they are more than just eye candy; that they are athletes, that they hold true passion for this business, and they deserve the spotlight and so much more.
As if that wasn’t enough, the three women, hands-down would move on to produce a Wrestlemania match that was undeniably the best of the night. In a lot of ways, it could’ve even closed the show (with maybe a tweak here or there when it came to the ending, and Naitch’s interference). Still, in terms of pro wrestling, entertainment, and storytelling – Lynch, Banks, and Charlotte simply knocked it out of the park. From Sasha, donning gear inspired by the late and great, Eddie Guerrero, and being escorted into the ring by her WWE Hall of Famer cousin, Snoop; to Charlotte re-wearing “The Nature Boy’s” robe from his retirement match at Wrestlemania 24 with Shawn Michaels: these ladies knew they wanted to perform a match that would blow fans away. They wanted to tell a story that the WWE Universe would not soon forget; and they wanted (and did) create a Wrestlemania moment that would live on in the hearts of fans for generations to come.
The significance of the re-brand is far more than just replacing words; it is a sign that the WWE is committed to its female talents, and how they are viewed by their audience. To be quite frank, with the success of Total Divas, I did not think we would see this shift happen anytime soon. However, for anyone who witnessed the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Championship, then these women are can not only be attributed to playing a huge role in this re-brand, they may simply be the reason and inspiration behind it. During the entire Wrestlemania build up: from Reigns versus HHH, to the Shane/Undertaker program, to ignoring the Wyatts; WWE Creative got one thing right – the build up around the Women’s Triple Threat was spot on. BFFs breaking up may seem like fluff, but pulling in their history from NXT, their Four Horsewomen backstage alliance, and having it get personal (without crossing the line), was brilliant. Even more brilliant was the role each woman played within the story: you had Charlotte, the heel, who needs her dad’s help; Lynch, the clean babyface in the program; and Bank’s in the middle as a bit of tweener. Leading up to WM, very few fans had any complaints about the women’s match; moreover, the web and social media comments I read were more focused around anticipation to see the match.
From the Bank’s Frog Splash (honoring Eddie once again), to the Lass Kicker flying through the ropes, knocking Flair out; not to mention Charlotte’s perfectly executed Moonsault off the top rope, onto Banks and Lynch on the outside of the ring: these women delivered a flawless match. They proved why the WWE has decided to re-brand back to women’s wrestling, ditch the term diva, and they have further helped evolve the division into something that is equal to, or perhaps superior to what the men delivered … especially last night. While the haters may say that two (or three) females will never main event Wrestlemania, I dare say that if these women (along with the commitment of the other females on the roster) can change a company’s mindset when it comes to branding the women’s division, in less than year; imagine what can they accomplish after a full year; especially after an epic WM match like they had last night? After last night’s bout, I believe these women cannot only carry the show, and tear down the house; but main event and close a Wrestlemania … someday!
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… And someday could come sooner than we all think or imagine.
WNZ fans! How do you feel about WWE’s re-brand of the women’s division? Did last night’s Triple Threat match move you, as much as it moved me? Leave your comments below! Happy Day-After-Wrestlemania, folks! Here’s hoping Monday Night RAW is epic!