Until Sunday's Hell in a Cell, a professional wrestling pay-per-view event had never before been headlined by two female wrestlers. The WWE has been making a major push to mainstream female wrestlers, and it looks like it's working. Fans have readily embraced the rebranding of "Divas" to the Women's Championship since WrestleMania 32. And now, the women of the WWE have gotten closer than they ever have to being fully legitimized as wrestlers in the same way as the men are.
The event featured Sasha Banks and Charlotte, two of the most popular female wrestlers in the WWE, facing off in the infamous "Hell in a Cell," in which a giant chain-link box is lowered over the ring. It was hopefully the nail in the coffin of decades' worth of promotional misfires. And it certainly signals a move away from the tackiness of the Divas era.
Inner Wrestling Nerd
Historically, women's matches have been seen as nothing but filler. The "Divas" were relegated to the worst time slots, used to buffer men's matches while the audience went to refill their nachos and empty their bladders. The WWE has changed its outlook on women wrestlers. They're scouting new talent from independent wrestling promotions instead of modeling agencies, and making a serious effort to write female characters with the same level of complexity as the men.
Considering the fact that the WWE usually makes its PPV matchmaking decisions based on what will garner them the best ratings, the pro wrestling world is apparently more than happy to watch women wrestle. In fact, the WWE's fanbase is estimated to be about 40% female.
The match saw the two wrestlers delivering the goods - Hell in a Cell is usually heavy on props and big stunts. Charlotte and Sasha Banks rendered a performance that was worthy of paying to view.
Charlotte is wrestling royalty. The daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair, she is the defacto poster child for the Women's Revolution. And she, along with the rest of the Women's Championship, have more than proved their worth as legitimate wrestlers.
In the WWE, the Women's Championship is definitely in ascendance. The idea of a female title match at WrestleMania is now not in the realm of idle conjecture. Even if that doesn't happen, we can expect women to play an increasingly prominent and equal role in wrestling programming. And based on their in-ring chops, that's a good thing.