The revolution in women’s wrestling has been swift and bloodless. The meteoric rise for female talent culminated in Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks headlining a major WWE event last year. But how far can this ascension go? A headline match at WrestleMania might not be too far away. And a certain Ronda Rousey could well be involved…
If you watched the excellent Mae Young Classic, then you’ll know the future is bright for WWE and women’s wrestling. The tournament shone a spotlight on the next generation of female talent in the industry; Kairi Sane, Dakota Kai, Toni Storm and Piper Niven were just a handful of wrestlers who excelled during the tournament. But the competition also highlighted the increased use of MMA fighters in the WWE. Shayna Baszler, in particular, is certain of a big push after she finished as runner-up to Sane.
Baszler’s run in the Mae Young Classic also brought out some of her MMA compatriots to the show as Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke and Rousey herself, all supported Baszler at ringside during her matches. Together, these four fighters were dubbed the “Four Horsewomen” of the MMA during their career. But three of the “Four Horsewomen” of the WWE (Flair, Bayley and Becky Lynch) were also present, and, of course, they had a confrontation with the MMA women:
Inevitably, this tease of a potential rivalry between the two stables got people talking, and once again hinted at the idea of Rousey wrestling in the WWE. This is nothing new, as she’s already made several appearances in the company over the years. And Stephanie McMahon (also a close friend of Rousey) has repeatedly made it clear there is an offer for her to compete in a WWE ring. But speculation reached fever pitch this week, when Flair herself called out Rousey for a future match:
So, could this happen? And might it even be the match to close the show of shows? It’s a definite possibility, but the card might be stacked against it. WWE has somewhat cooled on women headlining pay-per-view events recently. It’s been a whole year since the Flair vs. Banks match topped the card at Hell in a Cell in 2016, and we haven’t seen these two – or any other women – in a PPV main event since. This may have been due to disappointing numbers for the show, or simply because interest has cooled in the current women’s division big feuds.
The WWE played the Banks vs. Flair, or Bayley vs. Flair, card a few too many times, and it seemed that fans grew tired of seeing these same matches. Whilst the talent on the main roster is clearly evident, it’s also clear there needs to be some fresh blood to re-ignite the revolution. In the coming months, Asuka could well be that spark in the division. She absolutely dominated the NXT roster, and became a big-draw name at Full Sail University in the process; if Asuka is used this well again on Raw, she’ll no doubt do the same on a much bigger stage.
But the WWE knows that Rousey will be the fighter to get the public talking. Vince McMahon has always used household names outside of wrestling to draw in a larger, more mainstream audience. From Mike Tyson to Mr. T to Muhammad Ali, bringing in the big names gets you the big PPV numbers, and Rousey will be no different. And while she is headline-worthy, she also knows the wrestling product inside out. And her wrestling Flair will be a huge deal if it happens.
With potentially no Undertaker or Cena to rely on at WrestleMania 34 next year, it might just be Rousey and Flair who become the women to fill the men’s boots. And if that happens, then the women’s revolution will finally be televised to a global audience.