Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch, WrestleMania 32 (April 3, 2016)
Although they still had a long way to go, by 2016, WWE was finally presenting women’s wrestling more seriously. At WrestleMania 32, WWE legend Lita unveiled the brand new WWE Women’s Championship. The days of the Diva were over, well, for the most part.
There were no three better female competitors to solidify this new era of women’s wrestling than Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. These fierce athletes stole the show with a thrill-filled triple threat match. After a grueling bout, Charlotte Flair left as the first-ever WWE Women’s Champion.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, Evolution (October 28, 2018)
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are two of the best female competitors in the history of WWE. So no one was surprised when their Last Woman Standing Match stole the show at WWE’s first all-female event, Evolution, on October 28, 2018.
Lynch had always been a firm fan favorite, but it was around this time that she began calling herself “The Man,” and boy, did she earn the title in this bout. One of the match highlights was Becky diving off the ladder to send Flair crashing through the announce table.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair, Raw Main Event (November 28, 2016)
2016 was the year that Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair became the first women to headline a WWE pay-per-view, to compete in a Hell in a Cell match, and to main event Raw for the first time since 2004. Their fantastic chemistry also saw them become the first women to win the Pro Wrestling Illustrated award for Feud of the Year.
With so many highlights to choose from during the year of Banks and Flair, it’s hard to pick one. However, Bank’s Herculean effort and successful capture of the Raw Women’s Championship in the main event stands out.
Asuka vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, TLC (December 16, 2018)
After Charlotte Flair ended Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania 34, it took The Empress of Tomorrow some time to regain momentum – this was a crying shame, given her incredible in-ring talent. However, by December 2018, Asuka was once again in the main event picture alongside Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Their epic encounter was at the first-ever Women’s Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, and they did not disappoint. After a hard-fought and weapon-filled battle (and interference from Ronda Rousey), Asuka left with her first SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match (January 28, 2018)
2018 saw WWE continue to build upon the legitimacy of their Women’s division by holding another deserved first. The inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble Match took place on January 28, 2018. Competitors old and new came back for the ride, refreshing historic rivalries and pitching dream matches in the process.
The first-ever women’s Rumble bout was an ode to WWE’s female superstars of the past, present, and future. Although it was exciting to see WWE legends compete alongside current stars, the real highlight was watching Asuka win an accolade that will remain unique to her.
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks, Raw (January 29, 2018)
Asuka made her in-ring debut for WWE’s main roster at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in October 2017. From then on, she had a steady rise to the top of the card, working her way through the division to retain her impressive undefeated streak.
The night after the Empress of Tomorrow won the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match she faced one of her fiercest competitors yet. Asuka vs. Sasha Banks was a dream match for any fan paying attention, and they over exceeded the already high expectations. Asuka left victorious, but Banks gave her one helluva fight!
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, WrestleMania 34 (April 8, 2018)
One of the best things about this match was the suspense leading up to the event. When up against other competitors, both individuals could be almost guaranteed victory. But when facing each other, the win could have gone either way.
Charlotte Flair had her SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line, while Asuka had her gargantuan undefeated streak. These two warriors put on an instant classic, with Flair leaving victorious, ending Asuka’s streak after 914 days. Although fans knew the undefeated streak couldn’t last forever, it was still a shame it ended by way of submission.
Trish Stratus vs. Lita, Raw (December 6, 2004)
When many female wrestlers were just happy to be on television, Trish Stratus and Lita were busy putting in the work. Their rivalry wasn’t the best of the women’s division, but it was one of the best in wrestling history. These superstars were committed to doing their talent justice.
The hard work paid off in December 2004, when for the first time, a women’s match main-evented Monday Night Raw. After this epic bout, no one could deny Trish and Lita their place in the history books. We’re not crying, you’re crying. *Sniffle*
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, Survivor Series (November 18, 2018)
To add some context, Ronda Rousey had her in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34 back in April 2018. The Baddest Woman On The Planet took to pro wrestling like a duck to water, and by November of the same year, she faced Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series.
Both Rousey and Flair went into this match clearly meaning business and kept their game face on throughout the arduous bout. It would take a brutal beatdown (using weapons) from Charlotte Flair to even the odds. Believe it or not, WWE booked this unbelievable match last minute.
Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus, WrestleMania 22 (April 2, 2006)
Mickie James and Trish Stratus are easily two of the greatest female wrestlers in history. Individually, they have no shortage of accolades to their names, and their work together was equally spectacular. As far as women’s matches at WrestleMania, this is one of the best to grace the Show of Shows.
Of course, there was an infamous controversy, but that didn’t detract from the overall caliber of the match. Stratus and James kept fans on their toes for the duration, and people were genuinely shocked when Mickie left with the Women’s Championship.
Trish Stratus vs. Lita, Unforgiven (September 17, 2006)
Trish Stratus and Lita’s historic rivalry concluded at the Unforgiven pay-per-view, on September 17, 2006. It was the end of an era for these two trailblazing athletes in the tumultuous world of women’s wrestling.
Sure it was sad to see Trish’s first retirement from the business, but it couldn’t have been against a better foe. The event took place in Stratus’ hometown of Toronto, and the end of the match saw her apply fellow Candian, Bret Hart’s signature move, the Sharpshooter. Lita tapped out, and Trish retired with the Women’s Championship. A well-deserved hero’s send-off.
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn, Payback (June 16, 2013)
The storylines were generally a little high-schoolish for the women during the Divas era. Despite this, many of the women still put on a helluva show. When it comes to matches, there are many hidden gems buried beneath the lackluster creative of the day.
One of these was AJ Lee and Kaitlyn’s incredible encounter at Payback. Kaitlyn won the Divas Championship back in January and had fought off some strong contenders. Ultimately, her most challenging opponent was AJ Lee – who used mind games to gain an advantage. Lee ended Kaitlyn’s reign after 153 days in this epic match.
Victoria vs. Trish Stratus, Survivor Series (November 17, 2002)
At Survivor Series, 2002, Trish Stratus defended her Women’s Championship against Victoria. The Women’s division wasn’t synonymous with hardcore wrestling back in the early 2000s, so the fact they had a hardcore match was surprising for the time.
More surprising still was just how hardcore the match was. This bout paved the way for the future of women’s wrestling. The pair put on a total wrestling clinic leading Jim Ross to describe the brutal bout as “un-diva-esque.” Victoria stopped at nothing to leave with the Championship.
Trish Stratus vs. Victoria vs. Jazz, WrestleMania 19 (March 30, 2003)
WrestleMania 19 was one of the greatest shows in the event’s history, and the women didn’t disappoint. After the entrances, Stratus, Victoria, and Jazz got straight into the match, which made it feel even more intense.
Jazz and Victoria teamed up against Stratus, and Steven Richards interfered on the outside. Triple threat matches are notoriously hard to pull off, but this one made logical sense throughout. Against the odds, Trish won her fourth Women’s Championship, tying The Fabulous Moolah’s record.
Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Nikki Bella, Backlash (September 11, 2016)
After the brand split, some of the best women on the blue brand fought it out to become the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion. The match had a unique stipulation (a 6-pack challenge that followed elimination rules) that kept things interesting.
The division was still fresh, meaning the potential matchups were intriguing, and it felt like victory could be awarded to any one of the awesome six women taking part. After a quick succession of eliminations, Becky Lynch defeated Carmella for the belt.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair, Raw (February 13, 2017)
Bayley is one of few female wrestlers to be universally loved as a babyface and despised as a heel. She is a lifelong wrestling fan, and this shines through in her psychology and in-ring work. It’s hard not to respect a once in a generation talent when she’s in front of you.
But what happens when two great talents of their time face each other? Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair was intense and easily one of the best women’s matches to occur on Raw. Plus, Bayley left as Raw Women’s Champion.
Melina vs. Michelle McCool, Night of Champions (July 26, 2009)
Our next entry is another fantastic women’s match during the dark age of the Diva. We love to see incredible female athletes shine despite terrible creatives and storylines. Melina and Michelle McCool were not content to be eye-candy. They were serious athletes and proved it at Night of Champions, 2009.
Their Lumberjack Match for the Women’s Championship caught a lot of wrestling fans off guard who were pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the match. The short but sweet bout saw Michelle McCool retain her strap in this often overlooked classic.
Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano, SummerSlam (August 29, 1994)
Alundra Blayze became infamous by detracting to WCW in 1995. On her first appearance on Monday Nitro, she threw the WWF/E Women’s belt into a trash can. It would be another three years before WWF/E reinstated their Women’s belt.
Because of this controversial act, it would be easy to overlook Alundra Blayze and adversaries like Bull Nakano that helped to make the WWF/E Women’s division relevant in the early ‘90s. At SummerSlam 1994, Blayze and Nakano had a match well ahead of its time when women’s wrestling was largely ignored.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, WrestleMania 35 (April 7, 2019)
Women’s wrestling has had many history-making moments in recent years. At WrestleMania 35, on April 7, 2019, the Women’s division arguably reached the pinnacle of this history-making mountain. For the first time, female athletes didn’t just appear on the card, they were the main event.
Flair, Rousey, and Lynch put on a show stopper of a match. Although the ending was marred slightly due to a botch, fans were still happy to see Lynch become the first woman to hold both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships simultaneously.
Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Tamina, Smackdown (June 20, 2017)
The first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match was good, but the ending rightfully drew the ire of wrestling fans. Carmella won with a MASSIVE assist from James Ellsworth, who climbed the ladder and handed her the briefcase. Talk about ruining a history-making moment for the women’s division.
Fans were so annoyed that WWE redid the whole thing two days after the initial MITB pay-per-view. The match was pretty much identical with Carmella retaining – although she didn’t have too much help from Elsworth this time.
Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella, Evolution (October 28, 2018)
The biggest names from WWE’s Women’s Revolution came head to head at the first-ever female exclusive WWE show. Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella were the main event. It was the old guard trying to beat WWE’s latest attraction and take back the Raw Women’s Championship.
It highlighted how far the Women’s division had come, even since Nikki debuted on the main roster back in 2008. Ronda Rousey retained her title despite contending with Nikki and Brie Bella on the outside. It was the perfect end to the inaugural female-only event.