Nikki Bella claims it was actually the introduction of reality show Total Divas that sparked the current women's revolution in WWE.
Women in WWE have both witnessed and been a part of a dramatic change over the past few years. For an awfully long time, the women in the company were hired for their looks instead of their wrestling ability, and they were treated as such. The only thing that really remains of that bygone era under the WWE umbrella is their reality show, Total Divas. However one of the stars of the show, and the spin-off Total Bellas, Nikki Bella would argue that point.
Nikki is of the firm belief that it was actually the show Total Divas that set the whole women's revolution in motion, despite the fact it still uses the word Diva which now has no other place on WWE programming. Total Divas itself may only focus on the personal lives of stars like Nikki, her sister Brie, and many others, but she believes it was the launching of that show that got so many people watching the women of WWE.
Bella was interviewed during SummerSlam week by PWInsider and was questioned as to whether she believed that Total Divas got enough credit for growing WWE's current female audience. The former Divas' Champion was firm in the belief that it did not get enough credit, and that during the first couple of seasons of the show viewers of Total Divas were specifically tuning into other WWE programming to see the stars of the reality show doing their day job.
"I think [Total Divas] helped start the women's revolution, " said Bella to PWInsider. "Total Divas [led to] more women started coming to our show, like, 'I gotta check this out.' I remember when Brie was fighting Stephanie McMahon, so many women showed up because they were like, 'I can't believe she's fighting her boss, Oh My Gosh!' It was crazy for them to even imagine, like, 'She's gonna hit her? Like, This is nuts!' and so I think Total Divas has done so much for women's wrestling. It was the first time that we got an hour of TV to ourselves, to really showcase what women do."
What actually started the current women's revolution in WWE can be and has been attributed to a lot of different things. Female stars in other sports like Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey almost definitely inspired WWE to make a change. A lot of credit has to go to some of the Superstars who came up through NXT also. Paige, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch all moved the needle and proved that female wrestlers could and should be a lot more than a side show in WWE.
Nikki Bella certainly has a point though. The initial launch of Total Divas would have undoubtedly drawn in a lot of female viewers to WWE who previously wouldn't have been watching the product. Like she said during the PWInsider interview, people watching Total Divas heard about Brie's match with Stephanie McMahon and they wanted to see it. Despite the show being on a completely different network to WWE's other programming though, I would imagine that more WWE viewers watch Total Divas than vice versa.