9. The Women’s Evolution

7 OF 15

On the February 23, 2015 episode of Raw, a seemingly inconsequential 30-second bout between The Bella Twins and Paige and Emma’s team sparked a social media movement known as #GiveDivasAChance.

Born of frustration with WWE’s use of its female talent and the lack of opportunities presented them to prove themselves on the same level as men, it took off.

Meanwhile, in NXT, a quartet of females known as the Four Horsewomen were having the sort of matches that male superstars like CM Punk and John Cena typically have. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley repeatedly knocked it down, laying the groundwork for Natalya, Paige, and Emma last year.

The most well-known women’s matches on the NXT live event specials were now taking place. They also featured heavily on WrestleMania 32 after Flair, Lynch, and Banks were called up to the main roster. They made a mockery of it as well.

As women’s wrestling started to gain momentum toward the end of the 1990s, WWE came up with the term “women’s evolution,” a back-patting buzz phrase that designated it as a corporate goal. The position of female fighters expanded, their star power intensified, and their chances improved.

In October 2018, the first all-female pay-per-view, Evolution, was organized by WWE. It demonstrated that women in WWE are strong, autonomous, engaging, and interesting, and that people would come watch them.

It would not be the last bit of history the women of WWE would make by the decade’s end.