It was announced by WWE today that they are calling this “Women’s Evolution Week” in honor of five years since their Women’s Evolution era began. Here’s what they put on their website:
Five years ago on July 13, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks arrived to Raw, signaling a change for women’s wrestling in WWE. In honor of this landmark night in sports-entertainment history, WWE will celebrate Women’s Evolution Week on its digital and social channels all this week.
Check back with WWE’s digital platforms each day this week for exciting looks back at landmark Women’s division moments in WWE, the trailblazing Superstars who paved the way and what lies ahead for the intrepid female competitors of the future.
There have been rumors that WWE might be doing a women’s only Evolution pay-per-view on August 30, so perhaps that will be announced this week if it’s actually happening. SummerSlam is scheduled for August 23.
WWE TOP 10 VIDEO – Women’s Evolution Debuts
Every once in a while I like to check out a WWE Top 10 video and comment on it. Since it’s a slow Sunday morning, let’s check out this new video that was posted today. The video doesn’t actually list the date of when these debuts happened, but lucky you for you, I provide that information.
10. The Riott Squad – November 21, 2017 on Smackdown
The trio of Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan debuted on Smackdown Live by attacking Natalya at ringside while she was in a match with Charlotte Flair. The Riott Squad was together for about two years, went on to win no titles and lost a lot of tag team matches, but they did win some matches due to the dreaded “numbers game” booking. I’m not knocking the group. I think they could have done a lot more damage together.
9. Nia Jax – July 25, 2016 on Raw
Nia Jax debuted on Raw when she defeated a local competitor. This was after the July 2016 WWE draft took place. Jax won a lot of squash matches in that initial few months. Jax won with a leg drop. I yawned.
8. Ember Moon – April 9, 2018 on Raw
The former NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon debuted as Nia Jax’s tag team partner against the evil duo of Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. Moon finished off Bliss with her Eclipse stunner off the top rope and it looked amazing. Sadly, Moon has been dealing with a ruptured Achilles in her foot since last September and there are concerns she may not be able to come back to action. Hopefully she does.
7. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville – November 20, 2017 on Raw
Paige returned to WWE after a layoff and announced that not only was she back, but she had some friends with her. It was the main roster debut of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, who attacked Mickie James and Sasha Banks while they were in the ring during a match. The friendship of Rose and Deville lasted until they broke up earlier this year on Smackdown.
6. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay) – April 10, 2018 on Smackdown
The IIconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay arrived on Smackdown when they attacked then Smackdown Women’s Charlotte Flair. It was a double team attack at ringside where they beat up Charlotte while nobody really cared to help the champion. Royce and Kay sent Charlotte into the steel steps and gave her a Powerbomb on the floor. It wasn’t shown on here, but shortly after this is when Carmella cashed in on Charlotte to become Smackdown Women’s Champion.
5. Asuka – October 22, 2017 at WWE TLC
After dominating the NXT brand with an undefeated run that included a long reign as NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka became a part of the Raw brand when she easily defeated Emma at the WWE TLC pay-per-view. Three months after that, Asuka would go on to win the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble in January 2018. You could certainly make the case that Asuka has been WWE’s best female performer in the last five years.
4. Shayna Baszler – February 10, 2020 on Raw
This was shown in black and white due to the graphic nature of the footage. Baszler attacked Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch from behind and choked her out. After doing that, Baszler bit Becky Lynch in the back of the neck and then there was blood coming from Baszler’s mouth. It was pretty silly to watch, but at least it was a memorable debut. This would set up their WrestleMania match two months later with Lynch winning to keep her title.
3. Bayley – July 24, 2016 at WWE Battleground
Sasha Banks was in a tag team partner against Charlotte Flair and Dana Brooke. The partner wasn’t known, but the fans were chanting for Bayley and that’s when the former NXT Women’s Champion Bayley showed up. The ovation for Bayley was pretty huge that night. It was one month later on the August 22 edition of Raw when Bayley officially became a part of Raw.
2. Ronda Rousey – January 28, 2018 at WWE Royal Rumble
It was the end of the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view in 2018 when Ronda Rousey made her first official appearance for WWE. It was long rumored, then denied by Rousey a day earlier and of course it still happened. With Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Royal Rumble winner Asuka in the ring, Rousey entered to a huge ovation. Rousey got in the face of thre three women and pointed at the WrestleMania sign even though she didn’t face any of them at that WrestleMania. Rousey went over to Stephanie McMahon to stare at her. That was her WrestleMania opponent in a tag team match.
1. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks – July 13, 2015 on Raw
The introduction of Becky, Charlotte and Sasha to Raw happened five years ago on Raw with Stephanie McMahon in the ring scolding Divas Champion Nikki Bella, who was backed by sister Brie and Alicia Fox. Stephanie said that she wants this revolution (they later stopped saying revolution and then said “evolution” all the time), so she brought more new women to the main roster. Stephanie introduced Becky Lynch and Charlotte as part of a stable with Charlotte (no Flair on the name at this point, but that would come in the future). There was a third trio of women with Naomi and Tamina with Stephanie McMahon introducing their new ally Sasha Banks. At the time, Banks was the current NXT Women’s Champion and would be in NXT for a few more months before being on the main roster full time. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for this. It led to a fight between the nine women with Charlotte, Becky and Sasha all applying their submission moves on Team Bella at the same time. There were more “this is awesome” chants from the crowd.
At the time, WWE referred to their women as divas, which was a term dating back to the late 1990s with Sunny, Sable and others. At the following WrestleMania 32 event in 2016, WWE dropped the “divas” term and rebranded it the Women’s Division by re-introducing the Women’s Title. In July 2016, when WWE split Raw and Smackdown again, the one Women’s Title became two with Raw getting the Raw Women’s Championship while Smackdown had the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
I thought the list was pretty good. They didn’t feature women like Alexa Bliss and Carmella even though they debuted in the last five years and had a lot of success. Both of them were late draft picks on the Smackdown brand in 2016.
The order that they ranked the women in was accurate. I would definitely have Charlotte/Becky/Sasha in the top spot because that was a huge difference-maker for the women’s division while Ronda Rousey is clearly second. If it was up to me, Asuka would be at 3 or 4 just because of how important she has been in the women’s division, but I get why Bayley is at 3 too. I would move Baszler to at least 5 because she’s not that big of a deal compared to Asuka. The women in the 6-10 range are still developing in some ways although Jax is a former champion. The others could be future champions, except for Sarah Logan who was released and is now pregnant. Best of luck to her.
I’m intrigued to see what kind of content WWE does this week to celebrate the five years of the Women’s Evolution (or revolution) when they started to care more about the women’s division. I just hope they don’t try to frame it like Stephanie McMahon is the reason for it. The real reason is the fans were sick of women’s matches being so short and they wanted more meaningful feuds and matches. I think it’s fair to say that WWE has done a pretty good job of that in the last five years.