Here’s to hoping for more growth in women’s wrestling across the industry.
As with any new year, there’s a lot to look forward to in professional wrestling. The industry seems to be on an upswing that should create many exciting moments for wrestlers, fans, and viewers across all promotions. One of the most important things to look for in 2023, is if this is the year that companies truly invest the time and resources into women’s wrestling that fans and athletes demand. Momentum from the last few weeks and months seems to point toward optimism.
In the early hours of December 29, Giulia batted Syuri for thirty minutes to become the new World of Stardom Champion. This brought an end to Syuri’s year-long run of dominance in Stardom. This match stands out as an example of the greatness that is occurring within women’s wrestling on a weekly basis. These ladies put on a showcase that fans want to see across all promotions and hopefully 2023 is the year when these matches become a frequent occurrence for more to see.
There’s a wealth of talent in North American wrestling between AEW, WWE, and Impact Wrestling. Many fans will point toward Impact’s women’s division as the best of the three. Impact’s roster boasts names like Jordynne Grace, Deonna Purrazzo, Tasha Steelz, and The Death Dollz, but where they excel is by giving them the time and presentation of top stars in the company. That’s a key delineation that is needed more across professional wrestling.
AEW and WWE have their own stars that do not need any introduction. But what both promotions need to recognize is that there’s money in dedicating ample time to the divisions they employ. A three-hour episode of Monday Night Raw should feature more than one women’s match. The same could be said about AEW, as three years into the promotion’s existence and the company still fails to feature more than one women’s match on their product as well.
Look back at how captivated fans were when Hikaru Shida and Jamie Hayter battled in the main event of the December 21 episode. These types of reactions can be more commonplace when the investment is made in those divisions.
2023 is already filled with opportunities for women to shine in wrestling
2023 is a few days away and there’s already big news in women’s wrestling. The Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone watch continues as her planned appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 17 and the rest of January can shake the foundation of women’s wrestling. The possibility of Banks appearing on the PPV on January 4, then showing up on AEW Dynamite on January 11, then competing in New Japan on January 21 is a real thing that will have ramifications.
Even New Japan is finally headed in a direction of progression. The company launched the IWGP Women’s Championship in 2022 with KAIRI becoming the first champion. Her match against Tam Nakano at Wrestle Kingdom 17 is one of the featured showcases of the night. Anyone debating about the top women’s wrestler of the year must consider names like Syuri, Giulia, Mayu Iwatani, and others that put on some of the greatest matches of the year while in Japan.
The opportunity is there within WWE as well. The promotion is building a young and talented roster in NXT and dedicating ample time to the group each week. Roxanne Perez can become the future of women’s wrestling in that organization. Bianca Belair is a massive star, one of the few new stars the company has created. Becky Lynch, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and even Ronda Rousey all have a part to play in furthering this division in 2023. There’s work to be done, but a seemingly growing interest in doing so.
Yes, professional wrestling is an industry dominated by men. But it’s time that a shift begins to occur where the women are given equal investment as the top draws, they’ve proven they can become. There are too many examples of success to deny it. Hopefully, the promotions wrestling fans love to watch make the strides to shine their brightest lights on women’s wrestling in 2023.