The State of Women’s Wrestling in North America

Hello, I am Roy and today we will be taking a glimpse at women’s wrestling. It is no secret that for years women’s wrestling has been overlooked and treated as “less than” in major promotions. There was a time when women had to have their own promotions, such as Women Of Wrestling and Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, just to be featured in matches where they could be taken seriously. The Attitude Era, which is looked at by some fans as the “best period of wrestling, had women in Bra and Panties matches, Pig Pen matches, and even Bikini Contests. That is not counting the lack of time given to matches featuring women either. But there were some glimmers of hope with Lita and Trish Stratus being able to main event an episode of RAW for the Women’s Championship during that era.

Back in the early 2010s something amazing happened, people started to really take hold of women’s wrestling. The Divas era was coming to an end and the Women’s Revolution was being ushered in by talent such as AJ Lee, Paige, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Becky Lynch (just to name a few). There was a strong focus of this upcoming class of women’s talent that would take the wrestling world by storm and make people take notice. Most notably during the early stage of this Revolution was the WWE ppv Evolution, which was an all women’s pay per view that received praise and fanfare from people in the company as well as the fans across the world.

Fast forward just a few years and we get three women: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Ronda Rousey MAIN EVENTING a Wrestlemania. This is a huge step in the eyes of fans and is seen as ground breaking. With the exception of Wrestlemania 39, there has been a women’s main event match at Wrestlemania the past 4 years. There could have been one at Wrestlemania 39 but both nights were focused on The Bloodline, sorry Rhea and Charlotte maybe next year. But why recap all of this? Isn’t this supposed to be about the state of Women’s Wrestling now? Well it is.

Over the past 2 years, there has been a steady decline in women’s wrestling within North America. It is no fault of the wrestlers at all. As a matter of fact, the current female stars in both WWE and AEW are some of the greatest women’s wrestlers in mainstream television ever. Women such as Bayley, Asuka, Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, Jaime Hayter, Rhea Ripley are all at the top of the game in mainstream wrestling and there are countless others that are on par with their abilities. So the question becomes, why is this even an issue? I mean I just laid out all these great things so women’s wrestling must be doing great right now right? That’s the problem, it isn’t. Or at least you would know if it was.

See the issue now in North America is the time given to women wrestlers. It’s the storylines that are presented and less about the presentation of them anymore. See I said earlier that right now is the greatest era of women’s wrestlers there has ever been. But you wouldn’t know it if you exclusively watch WWE and AEW. While AEW relegates their women’s division to one match per show and may have two backstage segments, the match usually gets about 8-10 minutes. On the other hand WWE will spread out the women’s division throughout the show but they really only total about 15 minutes air time. This is something that we as fans need to address. There needs to be less of “if you want good women’s wrestling then you should watch STARDOM” (which is not a shot at STARDOM they are fantastic) and more advocating for women to be featured more.

It is not all doom and gloom though. Impact and NXT have been showing that with the mix of good storytelling and good talent, you can in fact make a women’s division mean something. But that’s still the issue. Around 200k-400k people watch Impact on a weekly basis and about 500k-650k watch NXT. The least watched wrestling programs are the ones having compelling storylines for their women and the ones treating them on the same level as the men of the company. Perhaps we will get to a point where AEW will have multiple women’s matches per show and WWE will give women just as much time to tell their stories as the men do, but for right now we get what we get. Therefore, what is the State of Women’s Wrestling in North America? Limbo.