3 Reasons Why the First 'WrestleMania' Women's Main Event Is a Game-Changer
WWE officially confirmed through a press release today that for the first time ever, women will be featured in a main match at WrestleMania when the 35th installment of that iconic event takes place this April. Ronda Rousey will defend the Raw women's championship against Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch before a capacity crowd at WrestleMania 35 from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
This is the latest milestone as the company builds on its mission to level the playing field and move closer toward gender equality. The news also comes off October's historic all-women's Pay-Per-View Evolution.
Evolution featured a newly retired Nikki Bella challenging Rousey for the championship. Before her story is made on April 7, here are three reasons why the match is such a game-changer.
Creates Mainstream Visibility
The signing of UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey and her debut appearance at the Royal Rumble was a huge shot in the arm for the women's division. A name that holds weight within sports and entertainment. The acquisition, along with the popularity of E! reality shows like Total Divas, brought new eyeballs to the product. The fact that Rousey, also the first female UFC champion, is headlining against Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch moves the needle.
Media have already taken notice of this movement with Flair included in ESPN Magazine's Body Issue last year. Lynch herself is a top merchandise seller, proof what "The Man" is resonating with fans. The three collectively have used not only TV but social media to become the hottest storyline in WWE history. And now they find themselves on top of the mountain in the featured spot, rewarded for their effort.
Shows What Was Once Impossible Is Now Possible
There was a time when women's matches were given only a minute or two in the ring. They'd be left off the events or had a match scheduled, only for it to be canceled. Needless to say, the female talent have had to work from the ground up to get to this point.
With the main event spot on WrestleMania it's the true catalyst that can take the perception of women's wrestling to the next level, a feather in the cap that can inspire a whole new generation of girls to consider taking up sports entertainment knowing what they have the potential of accomplishing.
Seeing women like Alundra Blayze, Trish Stratus and Lita were just some of the past superstars who helped blaze the trail we see added on today. Inspiration can lead to even more top tier athletes taking up the game. We've already seen it with Kacy Catanzaro, an American Ninja Warrior champion who made her own history already, as one of the latest shining examples. The possibilities are now endless with WrestleMania main-eventer now an attainable prize.
Confirms Women Are Capable of Headlining Any Show Inside & Outside WWE
WWE really drives the landscape of professional wrestling. There is the trickle-down effect. With this WrestleMania showcasing like never before, perhaps independent companies and other organizations will follow their lead.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in particular doesn't even offer a women's division, let alone uses them much at all. Although there are other promotions in Japan that do, NJPW has gotten criticism for being behind the curve when it comes to adding female performers to its roster. We've already seen the impact with events being held around the world with female stars prominently utilized.
On television, WOW Women of Wrestling is earning new viewers on AXS TV, and GLOW is among the most popular shows on Netflix. Having WrestleMania put the ladies at the forefront can help those fighting for gender equality in their own companies provide new opportunities. It shows they can draw a stadium crowd, shine on the world's stage — a true signal that the glass ceiling is broken.
WrestleMania 35, Sunday, April 7, Live 7/6c, Pay-Per-View & streaming on WWE Network