WWE in 2018: The year when women’s revolution truly beganhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/wwe-wrestling/wwe-yearender-2018-women-evolution-5502514/

WWE in 2018: The year when women’s revolution truly began

WWE ushered in a new era in 2018 which moved the focus from John Cena and Roman Reigns to the women with Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch the biggest stars. It also saw first women-only PPV in Evolution.

WWE Superstar becky Lunch with the women's roster
WWE Becky Lynch has emerged the biggest star on the roster – on and off the ring. (Source: WWE)

In July 2015, the WWE established the catchphrase “Women’s Revolution” with three of the biggest performers from the developmental brand NXT, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks making it into the main roster. With the phrase being used at multiple promos with almost every female athlete trying to establish that they are the ones to start the so-called “revolution”, it became the underlying theme of the women’s division.

From the Bella Twins to Sasha Banks; Bayley to Charlotte; Alexa Bliss to Nia Jax; even Alicia Fox and Natalya – every female wrestler in the roster claimed that they are the true pioneers of the movement. The WWE tried to sell it as well – first ever Women’s Hell in a Cell match, main events at Raw, Charlotte vs Sasha Banks over and over again; and of course, the first ever Iron Woman match – the pro wrestling industry tried every trick in the book to make women’s wrestling relevant again.

It worked for a while – but just like it happens with every storyline, it went flat later. The once NXT stars found themselves without much to do in the main roster. The division of brands saw Smackdown Live without a storyline for women’s wrestling and for months they carried on with the same match – every female to fight for the title.

But now, by the time the year 2018 comes to an end – the women’s revolution has truly come to the fore. Previous faces of the company John Cena and Roman Reigns are not around anymore to carry the brands on their shoulder and a new “Man” has emerged to shower the responsibilities – Becky Lynch.

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Call her the Irish Lass Kicker, or Becky Balboa, or the Ginger Head – or just Becky, she is what she claims she is right now – The MAN. A sudden shift in character from Lynch – from being the sweet, fun, weirdo to an angry, bitter and feisty champion – Lynch has done what only a few have been able to do before her – she made heels cool again. After competing in Last Woman Standing match against Charlotte, Lynch put herself on the map. With her Twitter banters and sneaky remarks, she put her new character out there in the real life.

And then she did what no one had done before – she got her face battered, bruised, bloodied and stood there among the crowd for everyone to watch – a perfect reminder of Stone Cold’s 3:16 moment from 1996 King of The Ring pay-per-view. She is now neither a heel, nor a face – she is a tweener – an extremely popular one at that, much like Steve Austin – and that’s the bottom line.

Everytime Lynch enters, the crowd gives the biggest pops. The chants of “Becky, Becky” ring out throughout the stadium. She even prompted Charlotte to try and copy her tricks of using Twitter banters and no-holds-barred attitude to regain her top spot.

With WWE introducing first ever women’s Royal Rumble, bringing on perhaps the biggest woman fighter in the world – Ronda Rousey, and launching a successful all Women’s pay-per-view, fittingly named Evolution – it looked imminent that their might be the rise of a women power by the end of this year.

Rousey lured the MMA fans to join the pro-wrestling bandwagon. Her other three UFC partners – Shayna Baszler (current NXT women’s champion), Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir – together called as the ‘four horsewoman’ of UFC – have also joined WWE, which further helped in the boost of women’s WWE wrestling among MMA circles.

The fact that ESPN star anchor, and former WWE commentator, Jonathan Coachman was an epic failure on his return, and was replaced by Renee Young – the first woman to be full-time commentator on Raw – further helped the prospects of the rise of the “Revolution” this year. Young was the only WWE talent that was visible on TV during the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia which only grew her stature as a commentator, and prompted discussions among the fans.

Now, as the Road to Wrestlemania begins again – there are literally demands from the WWE fans for first-ever women’s main event at the Grandest Stage of Them All. The injury to some of the biggest stars – Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt and Reigns – has left the WWE with limited substance and storylines to push for content. And Lynch, with her rivalry with Charlotte and Rousey has provided the perfect material to boost up seriously falling ratings. Hence, who knows, next year, the fans might actually see an all women’s Wrestlemania main event.