Women’s wrestling has captured the attention and pockets of fans across the industry.
In the year 2022, there’s still talk about all-women wrestling pay-per-views and shows. There seems to be a debate with some figures in companies giving reasons to not host another all-women wrestling pay-per-view.
As a fan of women’s wrestling, this thought process is heavily outdated and has a rich lineage with many women wrestling stars from both the independent and major wrestling companies that have proved women’s wrestling sells.
The undeniable star power in women’s wrestling.
Let’s start from the very beginning from 2002-2009 when WWE still viewed women’s wrestling in a not-so-good light. Women’s wrestlers received the scraps when it comes to matches and sometimes even television time. Still, there were women wrestlers ahead of the time who were making waves in the independent circuit and it all snowballed to where we are today.
There were many major names including Kacee Carlisle, Amber O’Neal, LuFisto, and Ruthless Lala who all have had major major roles with memorable matches. They stood out as unique figures most fans have never seen before. In many cases, they were the headliners and became stars that fans attend shows to see.
All these women marched to the beat of their own drums and were not like anyone seen on mainstream television very often. It rubbed people the wrong way that they took a hands-on approach to become game-changers for wrestling as a whole.
Of course, this is on top of Shimmer and wrestling promotions that allowed stars to carry titles that would otherwise be held by men. There was a lot of star power that lifted up the respective independent promotions that picked them up while mainstream wrestling was still struggling.
The star power of Kacee Carlisle in particular grew during that time, and it was instrumental for what happened in 2012, which was during her memorable reign as NWA women’s champion. Kacee became a major headline for any show she became a part of while champion.
Kacee’s reign was so big that it propelled Barbi Hayden to another level as she won the NWA women’s championship. For many, it was their first, second, maybe third time seeing Barbi in action. It was enough to show that Barbi is no ordinary competitor for going the extra mile against Carlisle.
This of course came during a time before there was ever an NWA Powerrr and it was spread out with no main flagship show. Kacee was using the power of social media to draw attention and followed through during the shows.
It started off as just a few individuals, but then it grew in numbers. Now there are many big-time names including Holidead who has built a brand of her own in a similar fashion as Kacee Carlisle to become one of the biggest names to not be signed to a major company.
There are many names signed and unsigned that have a larger-than-life brand, that was once unheard of, but now, it’s as common as a suplex. Whether it’s Sasha Banks or Janai Kai who has built up a big reputation that resulted in a strong following in the independent circuit.
The list goes on and there simply isn’t enough time to go through all the names, but they have made waves where they are right now and because of them. It’s all because of them, fans know certain promotions they didn’t know before in the circuit and fans have been introduced to more stars because of them.
Women’s Wrestling sells today more than ever.
That brings us to WWE when they had their first all-women pay-per-view in 2018. The card itself was special and there was a little bit of hope for WWE Evolution 2 or even making it an annual event to set the tone even higher than before.
This was a huge step up since WWE was on the wrong side of history with their constant cuts. After giving women their own Royal Rumble, having them main event pay-per-views, and participating in different match types, it seemed like it was about time WWE did this with the talent they have had on their roster.
It seemed like there would be room for another event, but of course, it hasn’t happened yet. It has been brought up numerous times and as the division continued to grow, it seemed like the right time to make it an annual event, but so far it’s just a conversation among legends and current stars.
Fast forward to NWA, who once went through the hardest times with their NWA women’s title being the saving grace of having their first all-women pay-per-view ever. NWA had a distinct advantage with stars from other companies being able to appear on the show.
That difference and advantage NWA Empowerrr had over WWE Evolution was noted, but both shows were special and carried importance for the next step forward. WWE has had no plans for Evolution 2, and as seen earlier, notable figures in NWA have doubts about the success of another Empowerrr event.
Even though there are doubts in the pay-per-view sector, there is an all-women wrestling show known as WOW Superheroes, which has been on television. Their technique and overall presentation are slightly different than other wrestling companies that have had time on television.
When looking at WOW, it tends to draw similar numbers as Impact Wrestling, which is impressive. Especially considering numerous stars on WOW are being introduced to a large audience for the first time ever, although they do have favorites such as Holidead and Jessie Jones, they still draw success with new competitors being at the center stage and telling their stories.
The fear is normally that fans won’t know stars, but WOW superheroes have taken an approach where if fans didn’t know them before, they know them now. Considering that they are drawing well over one hundred thousand viewers with fans getting to know these stars, it has been a success.
Even though WOW doesn’t have an annual pay-per-view event and is solely a television show with a season-to-season taping format in a similar fashion as Lucha Underground, they show us fans will support when there is a high amount of energy for women’s wrestling.
The future of Women’s wrestling.
There is always room for a lot more and currently, there’s a lot happening to pay attention to including Mission Pro Wrestling, WOW Superheroes, and still, a powerful lineup of a women’s division across all major and independent promotions as 2022 comes to a close and 2023 comes full force.
Women’s wrestling will continue to thrive and sell no matter if the major companies will bring all women’s pay-per-views or not. In the independent circuit, there has been everything from the return of Ruthless Lala to Shaloncé Royal winning her first OVW women’s championship as she continues her journey to become all-elite. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg when considering other promotions.
In Impact Wrestling, there are powerhouse stars to keep an eye on including Savannah Evans, Masha Slamovich, and Killer Kelly, who have all left a mark with their unprecedented domination in the knockout division as Jordynne Grace continues her reign. This is all while the rest of the Knockouts division chases the Knockouts tag titles or Digital Media championship.
In AEW, Jamie Hayter is in the midst of her first AEW women’s championship reign, and having contenders like Willow Nightingale along with the presence of the reigning TBS champion Jade Cargill and the ROH women’s champion Mercedes Martinez will be interesting to see if management can balance these larger than life personalities.
In WWE, Bianca Belair along with Bayley, Becky Lynch, and a stacked roster pretty much tells the whole story. With or without another all-women pay-per-view, women will continue to be a major highlight of RAW and Smackdown. With the recent surge of returns, it will lead to an interesting road to Wrestlemania for the women’s division next year.
In NWA, the women’s division continues to be the ultimate highlight of the show as Kamille continues her domination with undeniable contenders from top to bottom. That’s enough for a reckoning in the event they decide to do another all-women pay-per-view again. Whether it’s Kylie Rae or Allysin Kay, it’s a highlight that is once again the saving grace for the NWA brand.
Doesn’t matter if someone is a fan of one product to support a particular division or a fan of all of it. There’s enough women’s wrestling for everyone and it’s only going to continue to grow with the amount of star power getting signed and making themselves known in the independent circuit.
Needless to say, all of us believe women’s wrestling sells and the star power will only continue to increase for 2023 and beyond. Anyone who says otherwise clearly has not been paying attention the last few decades and they aren’t paying attention right now.