- WWE has seen the presence of women in various roles increase since the 80s.
- "Divas" in the 90s was used to refer to all WWE women, highlighting women in various roles.
- During Wrestlemania 32, the brand decided to drop the term "Divas", and refer to all performers equally as WWE Superstars.
- This women's month WWE DStv channel 128 has amazing shows featuring these extraordinary women showcasing their skills and discussing the trajectory of their WWE careers.
Now, more than ever, WWE fans have a myriad of female superstars to root for when watching their favourite shows.
The WWE brand has seen the presence of women in various roles increase since the 80s.
The introduction of the term "Divas" in the 90s was used to refer to all WWE women, highlighting women in various roles including superstars, managers, ring announcers and interviewers. During Wrestlemania 32, the brand decided to drop the term "Divas", and to refer to all performers equally as WWE Superstars. This was a step in the right direction by the brand as it was a declaration of WWE's commitment to moving women from the sidelines toward centre stage, and they now have more storylines than ever before.
It was NXT, WWE's developmental branch formed by Triple H in 2012, that brought to the fore the talent that women possessed. With the help of one-time WWE Women's Champion and Triple H's wife Stephanie McMahon, the brand was set to rebuild the female division.
"When Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley were all performing in NXT, it gave rise to Women's wrestling in our business," said McMahon who is the WWE Chief Brand Officer. It is because of this that many have achieved a lot in the business, such as winning a number of championship belts through NXT, SmackDown and Raw proving that they are just as great as their male counterparts.
"I think for parents to hear their daughters say, 'I want to be a WWE superstar,' [I think] that sounds amazing and it's a very powerful dream for me as a female wrestler," WWE Superstar Bayley said. She added: "It's helped out in a lot of different ways. It's opened fans' eyes and parents' minds and lets the kids know they're gonna be equal once they get here and pursue their dreams."
Bayley, who debuted in 2012, has won the NXT Women's Championship once before. She now performs under the SmackDown brand and is the current Women's Champion and Women's Tag Team Champion.
Many women are making waves in the WWE universe as superstars including the likes of Sasha Banks, who is the current Raw Women's Champion. Banks recently showed the world why she is called "The Boss" after winning her fifth Raw Women's Championship title.
Banks, along with Charlotte Flair who is the daughter of legendary superstar, Ric Flair, have five reigns, meaning that the 'Golden Role Models' now hold all of WWE's women's division titles that are available. And it was Flair vs. Banks at Hell in a Cell in 2016 that became the first match featuring women to headline a WWE pay-per-view event.They also headlined Raw together in October and November 2016, the first for a women's match since 2004.
Other women who have made names for themselves include Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch.
Trish, aka Queen of the Golden Era, made her debut in 2000 and as of 2013 is a WWE Hall of Famer. She has won the WWE Women's Championship title seven times before retiring last year. Stratus never fails to praise her fellow female superstars and last year commented on Becky Lynch's rise to the top of the cards in the women's division.
"It's about time, she is just like one of the hardest working people she deserves it, the bottom line is she is super talented. She deserves every accolade she's had, and to be here, it's been a nice journey to see that she's really worked for it and she's earned her spot," said Stratus.
The mother-to-be, who is currently on maternity leave, has made a big name for herself, becoming a one-time Raw Women's and three-time SmackDown Women's Champion.
This women's month WWE DStv channel 128 has amazing shows featuring these extraordinary women showcasing their skills and discussing the trajectory of their careers and what it means to be a female superstar in a male-dominated industry.
Some of these include SmackDown, which airs live on Friday evenings, and Monday Night Raw.
Compiled by Graye Morkel