On the road to Wrestlemania, fans of WWE are often made aware of a variety of different stories and rumors circulating around the product (for a breakdown of Wrestlemania 32 and fantasy bookings, listen to “Book That!” here, a weekly wrestling podcast from MFST writer Brandon Reid and myself). This week, stories broke about impending plans within the WWE for a rebranding of their Divas Division. According to these reports, WWE plans to rename the division the “Women’s Division,” a rebranding that will also involve a changing of the championship belt. Its been a long time since the WWE referred to their female wrestlers as “women wrestlers” as opposed to “Divas” (since the early 2000s if I’m remembering correctly). This move, if proven to be accurate, is a major step in the right direction for the WWE in building legitimacy for their female competitors.

Throughout the Attitude Era (the time in which the popularity of professional wrestling reached its apex), wrestling promotions made some questionable decisions in regards to their female talent. Women were often objectified for their bodies, and most matches involving them usually had stipulations of some kind of sexual nature. This was a rough time in WWE, where women, often stripped down to very little clothing, were treated more as eye candy for male viewers as opposed to legitimate wrestlers. There were some exceptions, however, such as Trish Stratus and Lita, who were able to make a name for themselves for more than how they looked and had some of the best matches in WWE history, regardless of gender. That being said, when female talent was signed by WWE, the way they looked took precedence over their wrestling skill. (Side note: Stratus was one of the few exceptions who were signed for their looks but learned how to wrestle while in the business. She ended her career known more for her ability than anything else).

As stated previously, this would lead us into the 2000s, where the WWE would be rid of the Women’s Championship. They replaced it with the Diva’s Championship, rebranding the division as the Diva’s division altogether. This was a very interesting time for WWE; gone was the blatant objectification of women, yet the talent they signed were very weak in the ring. WWE was still prioritizing looks over talent, but they weren’t necessarily insulting their women either. Sure, the term Diva has its share of negative connotations, but WWE tried to redefine the term in their own way as representing strong and empowered women (it was a stretch, but these women were often involved in a multitude of philanthropy and charity work). Because of the lack of in-ring ability, anything Divas related in the WWE became a joke; an excuse to get up from your seat to use the bathroom or get a snack. No one cared, and it seemed like the Divas division would continue to wallow in squalor for the foreseeable future.

Then, NXT happened. With the advent of the WWE Network, WWE began to showcase the talent on their developmental roster with the women being the biggest highlight. Not only were the storylines credible and taken seriously, but the matches were incredible (Fatal Four Way for Charlotte’s Title, Sasha Banks v Bailey in Brooklyn, and a 30 minute ironwoman match to name a few). These matches weren’t just good for Divas matches, they were good, period.

However, while NXT continued to thrive, those who were called up to main roster have struggled a bit. They (Sasha, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch) have certainly raised the bar on the main roster, but it hasn’t been close to their developmental work. On Sunday, however, these ladies have a chance to do something very special.

It is almost a guarantee that the Divas Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania will be the best women’s match of all time. With the news of the rebranding, and the discarding of the ridiculous Divas butterfly belt for one that more closely resembles the WWE Championship, women’s wrestling is moving in a fantastic direction. Sure, you will still have your Eva Maries of the world, and the WWE now has the difficult task of explaining why their division has a different name than their hit E! show, but it doesn’t matter. These ladies aren’t Divas, they are women wrestlers, and they deserve what the increased spotlight that they will be getting moving forward.

https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/20150526_NXTDivas_LIGHT_HP.jpg?fit=642%2C361&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/20150526_NXTDivas_LIGHT_HP.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Kyle KirbyAnalysisEntertainmentRecent PostsWWEdivas,wrestlemania,wweOn the road to Wrestlemania, fans of WWE are often made aware of a variety of different stories and rumors circulating around the product (for a breakdown of Wrestlemania 32 and fantasy bookings, listen to 'Book That!' here, a weekly wrestling podcast from MFST writer Brandon Reid and myself)....Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?