World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) made a historic announcement Monday that for the first time ever, a women’s division match will be the main event at this year’s WrestleMania. WWE performers Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch will close the show at WrestleMania 35 on April 7 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
A wave of young female talend has rejuvenated the WWE women’s division in recent years, and the company has certainly taken notice. Dubbed the “Women’s Revolution,” Rousey, Flair, Lynch and their contemporaries have broken a number of glass ceilings in the sports entertainment world.
In 2016, Flair and Sasha Banks became the first women in WWE history to main event any pay-per-view when they closed the Hell In A Cell event. In 2018, WWE held its first-ever all-female Royal Rumble event. Commentator Renee Young has also become the company’s first full-time female announcer.
Rousey Ups The Game
WWE and its female talent have gotten plenty of media coverage for the Women’s Revolution, but there’s no question Rousey has brought the most mainstream eyes to the division. Prior to her time in WWE, Rousey was the first American to win an Olympic medal in judo and was the first female championship in Ultimate Fighting Championship history. Rousey won UFC title in February 2014 and successfully defended it six times before losing it to Holly Holm in November of 2015.
Rousey made her in-ring WWE debut at last year’s WrestleMania, but will be entering this year’s event as the Raw Women’s Champion. Rousey will defend her championship in the main event against both Flair and Lynch.
Breaking: For the first time in @WWE history, a women’s match will be the main event of @WrestleMania! The historic Raw Women’s Championship match featuring @RondaRousey @MsCharlotteWWE @BeckyLynchWWE will take place on Sunday, April 7 at @MetLifeStadium and live on @WWENetwork pic.twitter.com/rPkvWtuaCZ
— WWE Public Relations (@WWEPR) March 25, 2019
Saudi Arabia Controversy
While WWE has repeatedly shone the spotlight on its talented batch of female performers in recent years, the Women’s Revolution has certainly not been controversy-free.
In February 2015, former WWE performer A.J. Lee called out WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon on Twitter, highlighting that female reporters “receive a fraction of the wages and screen time of the majority of the male roster” despite “record selling merchandise” and starring in “the highest rated segment of the show several times.”
In 2018, WWE began a 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia and dealt with harsh criticism about not allowing female performers to participate in its Greatest Royal Rumble show last April. Saudi Arabia is often a target of women’s rights activists due to its oppressive treatment of women.
The Greatest Royal Rumble was the first live wrestling event women were allowed to attend in the country. Saudi authorities apologized after the event for videos that aired featuring female WWE performers in their standard wrestling attire.
WWE shares are up over 400 percent on the past three years on the strength of huge new domestic and international TV deals.
WWE"s stock traded around $86 per share at time of publication.
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