Will’s New Thing – A day after International Women’s Day, how did WWE present women in 2017?

By Will Pruett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@wilpruett)

A year ago, I looked at WWE’s presentation of women through the lens of statistics. Today, I’ll provide an update to this piece asking whether WWE has improved in this respect in a year.

Let’s start with WrestleMania. I found a few nice statistics about WrestleMania and women’s matches on the show. Here they are, updated for 2018:

  • There have been 27 total matches involving women as participants at WrestleMania.
  • Of those 27, four have been mixed tag matches.
  • There have been 11 one-on-one women’s matches at WrestleMania events.
  • The last one-on-one women’s match at a WrestleMania was Melina vs. Ashley Massaro at WrestleMania 23. This, however, was a Lumberjack match with the rest of the women’s roster at ringside.
  • The last one-on-one women’s match not to involve other women was Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James at WrestleMania 22.
  • Out of the 21 matches that were supposed to solely feature women (example – not mixed tags), one was won by a man (Santino Marella at WrestleMania 25).
  • There has been a women’s match at every WrestleMania since WrestleMania 14, with the exception of WrestleMania 29.
  • The most matches with women as participants ever held at a single WrestleMania is three. WrestleMania 33 set this record in 2017.
  • There is an average of 4/5ths of a women’s match at every WrestleMania.
  • The longest women’s match at WrestleMania occurred at WrestleMania 32. It was over 16 minutes long.
  • The next longest match is the WrestleMania 33 four way for the Raw Women’s Championship between Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax.
  • The longest WrestleMania women’s match (before 2016) not involving male participants was Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James at WrestleMania 22. It was eight minutes, 48 seconds long.
  • The shortest WrestleMania women’s match was at WrestleMania 2. Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre was one minute, 25 seconds.
  • At WrestleMania 25’s 25 woman Battle Royal the match time divided by participant was 17.8 seconds/person.

There is a lot to celebrate in the above statistics. In the second WrestleMania of the “Women’s (R)Evolution” era, WWE set the record for most matches involving women at one WrestleMania. They also had the second longest WrestleMania women’s match in history. Kudos to WWE for doing so.

At the same time, WWE has yet to have a one-on-one women’s match involving no other women since WrestleMania 22 in 2006. That was 12 years ago. This is unacceptable. Imagine if we went 12 years without a singles men’s match at WrestleMania. It’s unfathomable and another example of WWE talking a big game about gender equality, but failing to actually follow through.

What about main events? Let’s look at how WWE’s women have been presented in main events of PPV’s, Raw, NXT, and Smackdown in the last few years:

  • In 2016, the first women’s pay-per-view main event in WWE history took place, as Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair met at Hell in a Cell.
  • In 2017, women did not main event a single pay-per-view.
  • 2018 started with women main eventing a “Big 4” pay-per-view for the first time with the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.
  • In 2015, Sasha Banks and Bayley became the first women to main event a NXT Takeover special. As of March 2018, this is the only time women have done so.
  • NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II was the last NXT Takeover with more than one women’s match. It was on August 20, 2016.
  • In 2017, women were featured in the main event segment of Raw 4 times. Men were featured in the main event segment of Raw 48 times.
  • In 2017, women were featured in the main event segment of Smackdown 4 times. Men were featured in the main event segment of Smackdown 48 times.
  • In 2017, women were featured in the main event segment of NXT 5 times. Men were featured in the main event segment of NXT 47 times.

Even WWE’s pioneer in equality, NXT, failed to even feature 10 main events with women in them. Across all three of WWE’s main weekly shows, women main evented 13 times in 2017. Add in pay-per-views and NXT Takeover specials and women main evented 13 times. There were 16 pay-per-views and 5 NXT Takeovers in 2017.

In these WWE televised events, men main evented 164 of a possible 177 shows. Women main evented 13 of 177 possible shows. Women main evented 7.3% of WWE’s main televised shows in 2017.

This is not encouraging. This is nowhere near equality. This does not back up WWE’s premise that women should be able to do anything. While it’s likely more than we would have seen five years ago, it’s still not enough.

A year later, and progress is a lot slower than it should be for WWE. We aren’t seeing them make radical strides towards women in main events. We are hardly seeing them try to put women in main events. 2017 was a year and a half after the “Women’s Evolution/Revolution” began and WWE was still satisfied with women in just 7.3% of their main events.

While there is a lot to be optimistic about in the future, including WWE signing Ronda Rousey as a major mainstream star and the promise presented in the Women’s Royal Rumble match, WWE is still doing the bare minimum to get by. This is not equality. This is not even a legitimate attempt at equality.

What I absolutely positively love in wrestling this week:

Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman – Look, the Mixed Match Challenge is the best WWE show at the moment. It’s entertaining, enjoyable, and I smile at almost every episode. The current highlight of this show for me is the budding relationship between Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss. They are both completely their own characters here, but they have an aura of friendship and potential romance I am all about. The MMC is amazing, as are both of these wrestlers.

What I absolutely positively love in the world this week:

American Vandal (on Netflix) – While I thought it would be immature to make an entire TV series about a high school student vandalizing 27 cars with penises, I hadn’t considered doing so through the lens of the true crime genre. It was easy to miss this great series last year, so go back and watch it! It’s a great feux-documentary about high school life, an amazing parody of true crime tropes, and an enjoyable way to spend a day.

SSMGOTW (Superfluous Shane McMahon Gif of the Week):

God bless that random crushable box for saving Shane’s life.

We’re Done Here:

This is one of those weeks where I’m reminded how much fun wrestling, and discussions around it can be. Let’s all get out there and share things we love and appreciate in this ever-expanding medium of wrestling!


Will Pruett writes about wrestling and popular culture at prowrestling.net. Of interest to him are diversity in wrestling and wrestling as a theatrical art form. To see his video series “What I Love About Professional Wrestling” subscribe to his YouTube channel. To contact, check him out on Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email him at itswilltime@gmail.com.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. You pretentious jackoff. If the only thing you can do is make asinine references to movies, showing you don’t understand anything about them or how they represent reality, and judge the state of women in WWE purely by quantity of matches, then you’re a non contributing zero.

    It’s clear that things for women are on the up yet you still invented a way to bitch about it since you’ve got nothing worthwhile to contribute. You’re “New Thing” is embarrassingly bad most weeks and trending downwards. It’s a shame you have a job related to pro wrestling.

  2. I don’t agree on the “pretentious jackoff” thing, but I do think quantity is not a good measure of equality, especially when there are like 90 male and 30 female wrestlers and more main events for guys makes a lot of sense. I also think that looking for gender equality on Vince’s WWE is unrealistic and even though it makes some sense to put the unbeaten superstar against the top woman of last couple of years (like you said on your last article), I don’t see Wrestlemania to close with a match that is not Roman v Lesnar or Cena v Taker.

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