Each yeah, WrestleMania is the biggest WWE show of the year. It's considered the "Super Bowl of wrestling" for a reason. The company always looks to stack the show and give fans a great show filled with WrestleMania moments. However, it wasn't always the case for the female side of things.
For a long time, the women of the WWE were looked at as a bathroom break for fans and not taken seriously. Even on the year's top show, the women were an afterthought. That has changed in recent years to the point where the ladies headlined the entire show in 2019.
We've scanned the 35 years of WrestleMania to pick out the highs and the lows for the women.
During the 2000s, WWE had something of a partnership with Playboy. Whenever a WWE Diva would pose in the magazine, they'd get pushed into a key spot on the grandest stage of them all. That was the case with Ashley Massaro back in 2007.
Massaro had won the Divas Search to get her contract two years prior. During her time with the WWE, she hadn't improved much as a wrestler. Though Melina could put on a solid match, she didn't mesh with the inexperienced Massaro. The end result was kind of a mess and including the rest of the women's roster as lumberjills around the ring didn't help.
The introduction of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at Elimination Chamber 2019 was a big deal. It gave the suddenly stacked women's division something else to fight for and added a new dynamic. Bayley and Sasha Banks won them and seemed set for a lengthy title reign.
In their way at WrestleMania were three teams. The powerful duo of Nia Jax and Tamina; the returning tandem of Beth Phoenix and Natalya; and the boastful Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. The match saw all eight ladies get a chance to shine before the IIconics snuck in and found a way to capture the titles.
We're going all the way back to 1986 for this one. Back then, the women's division was kind of just the Fabulous Moolah dominating things. At one point, she held the championship for an unfathomable 28 years. Moolah defended her Women's Title against Velvet McIntyre on the big stage here.
Their encounter was a big bag of nothing. It barely lasted a minute and Moolah won in easy fashion. Not something worth checking out. McIntyre recovered enough to win the title a few months later, but Moolah took it back in just six days.
Before WWE pushed the idea of a "women's revolution," this was the gold standard for a Women's Title match at WrestleMania. Trish Stratus was the alpha female in the company and had reigned as champion for over a year. In late 2005, Mickie James debuted as a crazed superfan of Stratus.
The next few months saw them engage in one of the most intriguing storylines in WWE history. It culminated when James turned on Stratus and they met at WrestleMania. The battle was evenly matched at times, but it felt like James had her number. In front of a hot crowd, James picked up the win and began to write her Hall of Fame story following a classic.
The silver anniversary of WrestleMania was meant to be a celebration. For the women, the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal was announced. In it, ladies from the past and present competed to wear the crown. Fans were eager to see the return of their favorite Divas. Unfortunately, this whole situation was mistreated.
The participants were forced to make their entrances at once, in a rushed fashion, and as background noise to a random Kid Rock concert. Then once the contest began, people got eliminated with no fanfare and we barely got to see who was involved. To cap it all off, the crown was won by male superstar Santino Marella in drag. Many viewed it as a slap in the face to the division.
The history-making match. For the first time, the women were honored by closing out WrestleMania as the main event. It took some big names to do so. Former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey, multi-time Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, and the hottest star in the company Becky Lynch did battle with the highest of stakes on the line.
Both Rousey's Raw Women's Title and Flair's Smackdown Women's Titles were on the line. Despite the live crowd being tired after watching six hours of content, they were on their feet for this hard-hitting contest between three of the best to ever do it. An intense war came to an end when Lynch scored a surprise pin on Rousey to capture both titles. She walked out of WrestleMania as "The Man."
During the late 1990s, the most popular star in the WWE was undoubtedly "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. But Sable made a strong case for that number two spot. When she appeared on the cover of Playboy, it sold in record numbers. By 1999, Sable held the Women's Title and needed an opponent.
That's where Tori came in. She entered as an obsessed fan of Sable, who the champion treated poorly. It led to a WrestleMania match, but one that wasn't interesting. They only wrestled for five minutes, yet it was too long for their skillsets. Neither woman was even a serviceable wrestler and it led to a match filled with sloppy moments.
Between NXT and the main roster, Asuka held an unbelievable 914 day undefeated streak. That included a 510 day reign as the NXT Women's Champion that only ended because she relinquished the title. Asuka also won the first Women's Royal Rumble and earned the right to challenge for the gold at WrestleMania.
When she picked Charlotte Flair and the Smackdown Women's Title, fans salivated. This was the most decorated woman of the era facing the unstoppable challenger on the biggest stage. After a showdown worthy of the billing, Flair stunned the world by making Asuka tap out to the Figure Eight, ending her streak. In terms of quality, it was a fitting contest for that streak to come to a close.
Coming into WrestleMania 2000, Stephanie McMahon held the Women's Title and wasn't a wrestler, so there was no title defense on this show. Instead, Terri Runnels and The Kat competed in a "catfight."
When a women's wrestling match is dubbed a "catfight," you know it isn't going to be any good. These girls just focused on their looks throughout the contest with Terri even getting her pants ripped off. There were shenanigans with the referee and the managers at ringside, Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. It was the peak of women being nothing more than eye candy in the WWE.
In the summer of 2015, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks were brought up from NXT to ignite the "women's revolution." By the time WrestleMania rolled around, they were the biggest female names in the company and collided in this huge match. If they didn't deliver, the push for women to be taken seriously may have flopped. To add to the pressure, they competed in front of over 100,000 in attendance.
The Divas Title was retired on this night and the winner would earn the returning Women's Championship. These three women went out and stole the show, having the best match on the card. There were close calls, twists and turns, and a hot crowd throughout. Though Banks was the crowd favorite, it was Flair who made Lynch submit to pick up the victory.