Karla Gutierrez

Karla Gutierrez, Photo Editor

Women have been attempting to find their place in the world, from the right to vote to obtaining equality. In professional wrestling, however, women have always been looked down upon. They were looked at as sex symbols, instead of being considered for their athletic ability. Two decades ago, it was a rarity to see women wrestlers respected by the wrestling community as a whole. Some of these women included Chyna, Lita, Luna Vachon, Bull Nakano, etc. stood out because of how unique they looked and how strong they were.

In the past female wrestlers were only given three minutes to perform in front of an audience, in comparison to male wrestlers. People would label those three minutes as a “bathroom break.” Sometimes they weren’t even booked on the show. They were never given the time to tell a story until the Trish Stratus vs. Lita storyline occurred.

Trish Stratus and Lita were complete opposites from each other. Trish Stratus was the “eye candy” and the beautiful blonde that most people adored. Lita was the badass and daredevil, which captured the audience’s attention. The audience noticed their fire and aggression which lead them to the main event Monday Night Raw. That was the first time that women were the main event for Raw, which was a huge milestone. The main event card has always been for the guys so for the women to finally get their spot as the most important match for the first time ever, gives me goosebumps writing about it.

The aftermath for this match received a great response, but the company didn’t seem to have faith in the women; therefore, they went back to being the “bathroom break” for the show. Trish and Lita had retired when the women went on to be called “Divas” in 2008. The championship title went from being gold with red reading “WWE Women’s Champion” to a silver and pink butterfly reading “WWE Diva’s Champion.”

I was saddened that the company didn’t look at them as women wrestlers or superstars, as WWE likes to call them. No matter how many times they tried to prove that they were worthy, the women didn’t get the chance to show what they were truly capable of.

Around the same time, the developmental system, NXT, that is currently run by Triple H [COO of the WWE], allowed women wrestlers to wrestle more than 15-minute matches in a NXT event, in comparison to the time given in WWE.

There’s many factors of how the “Women’s Evolution” started, but I felt like it was sparked by AJ Lee, former Divas Champion and retired wrestler. Then Triple H ignited it with NXT. I can’t forget to mention the hashtag that trended for three days, #GiveDivasAChance, that started because the women had a 30-second match, which the audience felt was insulting and they spoke out about it.

Triple H gave wrestlers Sasha Banks and Bayley a match with no time limit at one of their pay-per-views called “NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.” This match was the most talked about than any other matches on the card. This match was considered “Match of the Year” in 2015.

In 2016, something finally clicked for WWE and women wrestler were finally given an equal status as male wrestlers, by being referred to as “Superstars.” With this introduction, they brought back the WWE Women’s Championship with a different look. From that point forward, the women have been creating history; two of them being this year. They did their first Women’s Royal Rumble and they will also have their first Elimination Chamber this upcoming year, which is a gruesome match that involves a big steel cage.

The women have been breaking barriers and have been setting the bar. The fact that they went from having dance competitions to fill time to having the same match stipulations as the men, demonstrates how far they have come. The only thing they need is to main event the biggest show in wresting, WrestleMania, wrestling’s version of the Super Bowl. I know in my heart that they will accomplish that.