WWE Women's Championship

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WWE Women's Championship
The current WWE Women's Championship belt with default side plates (2023–present)
Details
PromotionWWE
BrandSmackDown
Date establishedApril 3, 2016
Current champion(s)Bayley
Date wonApril 7, 2024
Other name(s)
  • WWE Women's Championship
    (2016, 2023–present)
  • WWE Raw Women's Championship
    (2016–2023)
Statistics
First champion(s)Charlotte Flair[a]
Most reignsCharlotte Flair
(6 reigns)
Longest reignBianca Belair
(1st reign, 419 days)[b]
Shortest reignBianca Belair
(2nd reign, 1 minute and 35 seconds)
Oldest championAsuka
(41 years, 243 days)
Youngest championSasha Banks
(24 years, 181 days)
Heaviest championNia Jax
(272 lb (123 kg))
Lightest championAlexa Bliss
(102 pounds (46 kg))

The WWE Women's Championship is a women's professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE, defended on the SmackDown brand division. It is one of two women's world titles for WWE's main roster, along with the Women's World Championship on Raw. The current champion is Bayley, who is in her second reign.[c] She won the title by defeating Iyo Sky during night two of WrestleMania XL on April 7, 2024.

Established on April 3, 2016, at WrestleMania 32, it replaced the Divas Championship and has a unique title history, separate from WWE's original Women's Championship and the Divas Championship. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. As a result of the 2016 WWE Draft, the championship became exclusive to Raw and was renamed the Raw Women's Championship while SmackDown created the SmackDown Women's Championship as its counterpart. As a result of the 2023 WWE Draft, the Raw and SmackDown women's championships switched brands, with the Raw Women's Championship reverting to its original name of WWE Women's Championship, while the SmackDown Women's Championship became the Women's World Championship.

The title was the first women's championship to headline a WWE pay-per-view and livestreaming event, which occurred at Hell in a Cell in 2016. It also headlined WWE's only all-female event, Evolution in 2018. Along with the SmackDown Women's Championship at the time, it was also defended in the main event match of the 35th edition of WWE's flagship event, WrestleMania, in 2019.

History[edit]

Inaugural and record six-time champion Charlotte Flair, pictured here with the original design of the championship belt (2016–2023).

The championship was established on April 3, 2016. During the WrestleMania 32 pre-show that day, WWE Hall of Famer Lita appeared: after recapping the history of women's professional wrestling in WWE, she declared that WWE's women would no longer be referred to as WWE Divas, but as "WWE Superstars" like their male counterparts.[1] The term "Diva" had been criticized by some commentators, fans, and several past and present female wrestlers, including reigning Divas Champion Charlotte,[2] as diminishing the athletic abilities of female wrestlers and relegating them to "eye candy".[3][4] Lita also unveiled a new title belt and revealed that the Divas Championship would be retired in favor of a new WWE Women's Championship. The inaugural champion was determined by a triple threat match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks later that night, which was originally scheduled for the Divas Championship.[5][6] Charlotte, the final Divas Champion, became the first WWE Women's Champion by winning that match.[7]

Following the reintroduction of the brand split in July 2016, reigning champion Charlotte was drafted to the Raw brand, making the championship exclusive to Raw. It was subsequently renamed the Raw Women's Championship after SummerSlam in August, when SmackDown created the SmackDown Women's Championship as a counterpart title.[1] The NXT Women's Championship would become WWE's third main women's title when NXT, the promotion's developmental brand, became recognized as WWE's third major brand in September 2019 when it was moved to the USA Network.[8] However, this recognition was reversed when NXT reverted to being WWE's developmental brand in September 2021.[9]

As a result of the 2023 WWE Draft, the Raw and SmackDown women's championships switched brands and there were no title changes for either championship before draft results went into effect on May 8. The issue of the Raw Women's Championship being on SmackDown was then resolved on the June 9, 2023, episode of SmackDown. That night, WWE official Adam Pearce unveiled a new championship belt to reigning champion Asuka, with the title subsequently reverting to its original name of WWE Women's Championship.[10][11] The SmackDown Women's Championship subsequently became the Women's World Championship on June 12.[12]

The championship was the first women's title to be defended in the main event of a WWE pay-per-view and livestreaming event, which was at Hell in a Cell in October 2016; this was also the first-ever women's Hell in a Cell match and the first women's match to main event a WWE pay-per-view and livestreaming event. At the event, Charlotte (whose ring name was lengthened to Charlotte Flair) defeated Sasha Banks to become a three-time champion.[13] After two years, it was again featured in the main event match of a pay-per-view and livestreaming event, which was the first-ever all-women's event Evolution in October 2018, where Ronda Rousey retained the title against Nikki Bella.[14] Rousey then defended the title in a winner takes all triple threat match against SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in the main event of WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, which Lynch won. This was the first women's match to main event a WrestleMania – WWE's flagship event.[15][16] On May 10, 2020, the championship became the first in history to be directly rewarded as a result of winning the Money in the Bank ladder match (taped April 15, 2020), which was revealed when the briefcase was opened by Becky Lynch the following night on Raw. Lynch announced that she was forfeiting the title due to pregnancy and announced the Money in the Bank match winner, Asuka, as the new champion.[17]

The title shares its name with the original WWE Women's Championship. However, the newer title does not share the same title history as the original, which was unified with the Divas Championship in 2010 and subsequently retired. WWE acknowledges the original championship as its predecessor,[1] and notes that the lineage of female champions dates back to The Fabulous Moolah's reign in 1956.[5]

Brand designation history[edit]

When the championship was unveiled, the brand extension was not in effect as that had ended in August 2011. From its inception until the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016, reigning champion Charlotte defended the title on both Raw and SmackDown.

Date of transition Brand Notes
July 19, 2016 Raw WWE Women's Champion Charlotte was drafted to Raw during the 2016 WWE Draft.
The title was renamed to Raw Women's Championship on September 5, 2016, after SmackDown introduced the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship.[18]
May 8, 2023 SmackDown Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair was drafted to SmackDown during the 2023 WWE Draft.
The title reverted to its original name of WWE Women's Championship on June 9, 2023.[10][11]

Championship belt designs[edit]

The original design of the championship used from 2016 to 2023.

The WWE Women's Championship belt uses the "Network Logo" design that was first used by the WWE Championship when it was introduced in August 2014 with a few notable differences. When it was originally unveiled, the die-cut WWE logo in the center plate sat on a red background, as opposed to black, while the small print below the logo read "Women's Champion", and the strap was smaller and white as opposed to black. The belt featured the same side plates, divided from the center plate by gold divider bars. In what has become a prominent feature of the majority of WWE's championship belts, the side plates feature a removable center section, which can be customized with the reigning champion's logo; the default side plates feature the WWE logo on a red globe. This was the first women's title in WWE with customizable side plates. The title retained this design when it was renamed as Raw Women's Championship in September 2016.[5]

On the June 9, 2023, episode of SmackDown, WWE official Adam Pearce unveiled a new design for the title which reverted to being called the WWE Women's Championship. It uses the same "Network Logo" design, but with similarities to the men's Undisputed WWE Universal Championship that was unveiled on the previous week's episode of SmackDown. It retains the smaller white strap and the side plates of the previous design, but in matching the men's title, the WWE logo is now encrusted with black diamonds on a gold nugget-textured background while the small print below the logo now reads "Women's Undisputed Champion" (although it was never contested in a unification match to bear the name "Undisputed", it simply appears on the belt to match its male counterpart).[10][11][19]

In what has become a tradition since fall 2014, WWE has presented custom WWE Championship belts to winners in both male and female professional sports with the side plates commemorating the achievement.[20] In September 2018, WWE began presenting custom Women's Championship belts to winners in just female sports. The first of these was given to the Seattle Storm for winning the 2018 WNBA Finals.[21] Custom Women's Championship belts (originally the red design, but then the gold version beginning in 2023) have since been presented to the United States Women's National Soccer Team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup,[22] a team that previously received a custom WWE Championship for this feat in 2015,[23] to Bianca Andreescu for winning the 2019 Women's US Open,[24] and to the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces for winning the 2021 and 2023 WNBA Finals, respectively.[25][26]

Reigns[edit]

Two-time and current champion Bayley, shown here in her first reign when the title was called the Raw Women's Championship.

As of May 20, 2024, there have been 28 reigns between 12 champions. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. She also has the most reigns at six. Bianca Belair's first reign is the longest at 420 days, while her second reign is the shortest at 1 minute and 35 seconds. Becky Lynch has the longest combined reign at 535 days (560 days as recognized by WWE). Asuka is the oldest champion, winning the title at the age of 41, while Sasha Banks is the youngest when she won the title at 24 years, 181 days old. Only two women have held the title for a continuous reign of one year (365 days) or more: Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair.

Bayley is the current champion in her second reign. She defeated Iyo Sky during night two of WrestleMania XL on April 7, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ When she became the inaugural champion, her ring name was just Charlotte.
  2. ^ 419 days as recognized by WWE.
  3. ^ Her first reign was when the title was still known as the Raw Women's Championship.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Raw Women's Championship". WWE. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Konuwa, Alfred (March 30, 2016). "Is WWE Planning To Rebrand Its Divas Division?". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Tufayel (April 4, 2016). "WrestleMania 32: By Dumping the 'Divas' Branding, WWE Makes Its Biggest Step to Gender Equality". Newsweek. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Gass, Dorathy (June 20, 2014). "Wrestlemania 32: How The Women Stole The Show". Wrestle Newz. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "All-new WWE Women's Championship introduced at WrestleMania". WWE. April 3, 2016. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016. Lita introduced the all-new WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania, and revealed that Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will compete for this title tonight.
  6. ^ Caldwell, James (April 3, 2016). "4/3 WrestleMania 32 PPV Pre-Show Results – Caldwell's Complete Report". Pro Wwrestling Torch. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Caldwell, James (April 3, 2016). "4/3 WrestleMania 32 PPV Results – Caldwell's Complete Live Report on Mainland PPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Csonka, Larry (May 10, 2016). "Triple H Discusses NXT as a Third Brand, Putting Talent in a Position to Succeed, More". 411Mania. Archived from the original on April 4, 2023. Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  9. ^ Currier, Joseph (December 3, 2021). "Preview and Predictions for 'NXT WarGames'". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Barnett, Jake (June 9, 2023). "WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (6/9): Barnett's review of Jey Uso's decision, Asuka presented with the WWE Women's Championship belt, MITB qualifiers featuring Butch vs. Baron Corbin, Santos Escobar vs. Mustafa Ali, Michin vs. Bayley, and Shotzi vs. Iyo Sky". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c "WWE Women's Championship". WWE. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  12. ^ Defelice, Robert (June 12, 2023). "Rhea Ripley Crowned Women's World Champion, Given New Title Belt On 6/12 WWE Raw". Fightful. Retrieved June 12, 2023.
  13. ^ Keller, Wade (October 30, 2016). "Keller's WWE Hell in a Cell PPV Report 10/30: Owens vs. Rollins, Sasha vs. Charlotte, Roman vs. Rusev – live coverage". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on November 3, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Powell, Jason (October 28, 2018). "Powell's WWE Evolution live review: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella for the Raw Women's Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing match for the Smackdown Women's Championship, Mae Young Classic Finals". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  15. ^ WWE.com Staff (March 25, 2019). "WrestleMania to feature first-ever women's main event". WWE. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Keller, Wade (April 7, 2019). "WrestleMania 35 event results 4/7: Keller's match report and analysis including Lesnar vs. Rollins, Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Lynch, Bryan vs. Kofi, Batista vs. Triple H". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on September 21, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "Raw highlights: May 11, 2020". WWE. May 11, 2020. Archived from the original on May 12, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Babos, John. "WWE Raw & Smackdown Live Spoilers: WWE Raw Rebrands 2 Championship Belts Following Smackdown Live's Lead!". Www.insidepulse.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2023. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  19. ^ Flanagan, Neal (June 9, 2023). "New WWE Women's Championship belt presented to Asuka". POST Wrestling. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  20. ^ "Custom WWE World Championships in the sports world: photos". WWE. Archived from the original on September 16, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  21. ^ Pappolla, Ryan (September 26, 2018). "Triple H sends custom title to WNBA Champions Seattle Storm". WWE. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  22. ^ Triple H [@TripleH] (July 8, 2019). "An inspiring performance and fourth FIFA Women's World Cup win for the U.S. Soccer Women's National Team. Congratulations to Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and the entire team and coaching staff for helping us all believe in One Nation One Team! This custom WWE Women's Championship should help continue the celebration!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ WWE.com Staff (July 10, 2015). "Megan Rapinoe celebrates with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  24. ^ Triple H [@TripleH] (September 8, 2019). "Her first appearance in the US Open .. Her first grand slam title.. The first Canadian to win the US Open... And now her first WWE Raw Women's Championship to celebrate! Congrats Bianca Andreescu!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ WWE Staff (October 18, 2021). "Stephanie McMahon commemorates Chicago Sky's WNBA championship with custom WWE Title". WWE. Archived from the original on October 18, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  26. ^ Triple H [@TripleH] (October 25, 2023). "Building their own dynasty… one championship at a time. Congratulations to the back-to-back @WNBA Champions, @LVAces" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. ^ Keller, Wade (August 5, 2023). "WWE SummerSlam results (8/5): Keller's report on Reigns vs. Jey, Seth vs. Balor, Cody vs. Lesnar, Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Belair, Logan Paul vs. Ricochet". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on August 6, 2023. Retrieved August 5, 2023.

External links[edit]