WWE SmackDown Women's Championship
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|WWE SmackDown Women's Championship|
|Date established||September 11, 2016|
|Current champion(s)||Rhea Ripley|
|Date won||April 1, 2023|
The WWE SmackDown Women's Championship is a women's professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE, defended on the Raw brand division. It is one of two women's world titles for WWE's main roster, along with the WWE Raw Women's Championship on SmackDown. The current champion is Rhea Ripley, who is in her first reign. She won the title by defeating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39 Night 1 on April 1, 2023.
The title was unveiled on the August 23, 2016, episode of SmackDown as the counterpart title to the then-WWE Women's Championship, which became exclusive to Raw as a result of the 2016 WWE draft. That title was subsequently renamed after the crowning of the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch. The SmackDown Women's Championship has been contested in the main event of three WWE pay-per-view events: TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in 2018 and, along with the Raw Women's Championship, WWE's flagship event WrestleMania in 2019, and by itself on Night 1 of WrestleMania in 2021. It was also the first women's professional wrestling championship to be defended in Saudi Arabia, which occurred at Super ShowDown in 2020. As a result of the 2023 WWE Draft, the Raw and SmackDown women's championships switched brands.
In July 2016, WWE reintroduced the brand extension wherein the promotion again divided its roster between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers are exclusively assigned to perform; the first brand split ended in August 2011. During the 2016 draft, reigning WWE Women's Champion Charlotte was drafted to Raw, leaving SmackDown without a women's championship. Immediately following SummerSlam on the August 23, 2016, episode of SmackDown, SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon and general manager Daniel Bryan unveiled the SmackDown Women's Championship (Raw's title was subsequently renamed). A six-pack elimination challenge was then scheduled for Backlash on September 11, 2016, to determine the inaugural champion. The six women who competed at SummerSlam in the six-woman tag team match were chosen for the six-pack challenge: Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya, and Nikki Bella. Lynch became the inaugural champion when she last eliminated Carmella. The NXT Women's Championship would become WWE's third main women's title when the NXT brand, the promotion's developmental territory, became recognized as WWE's third major brand in September 2019 when it was moved to the USA Network. However, this recognition was reversed when NXT reverted to being WWE's developmental brand in September 2021.
The championship belt design is physically identical to the Raw Women's Championship with the only difference being that the background of the center plate and the default side plates' globes are blue (as opposed to red) to symbolize its exclusivity to SmackDown. In what has become a prominent feature of the majority of WWE's championship belts, the side plates can be customized with the champion's logo. During Naomi's second reign, strips of multi interchanging colored LED lights were placed around the outline of the WWE logo and the outline of the belt to go with her "glow" gimmick.
The title headlined a pay-per-view event for the first time at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in December 2018, where Becky Lynch defended it in a triple threat Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match against Charlotte Flair and Asuka, which Asuka won; this was also the first women's TLC triple threat match. The title was then on the line in a winner takes all triple threat match in the main event of WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, where Flair defended the title against Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Lynch, who won the match. This was the first women's match to main event a WrestleMania – WWE's flagship event. At Super ShowDown in February 2020, the title became the first women's championship to be defended in Saudi Arabia, where Bayley retained the title over Naomi; this was only the second women's match contested in the country. The title would again be on the line in the main event of a WrestleMania, this time Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 in April 2021 where Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks to win the title; this was also the first time that two African-Americans headlined a WrestleMania and only the second women's match to main event the annual show. The title was defended for a second time in Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel in 2021, where Becky Lynch retained against Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks in a triple threat match.
Inaugural championship match
|Eliminated||Wrestler||Eliminated by||Method of elimination||Times|
Brand designation history
The championship was established to be exclusive to its namesake brand, SmackDown. An incident occurred in the 2021 WWE Draft where both the Raw and SmackDown women's champions were drafted to the opposite brands. To keep the titles on their respective brands, the champions swapped titles. However, this same incident occurred in the 2023 WWE Draft, but the champions instead kept their titles, thus the titles changed brands despite their namesakes.
|Date of transition||Brand||Notes|
|August 23, 2016||SmackDown||The championship was established for SmackDown after WWE Women's Champion Charlotte Flair was drafted to Raw in the 2016 WWE Draft, with Flair's title renamed to Raw Women's Championship. Becky Lynch subsequently became the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion at Backlash on September 11.|
|May 8, 2023||Raw||Champion Rhea Ripley is drafted to Raw in the 2023 WWE Draft, bringing the title with her to Raw as a result. The draft went into effect on May 8 and both Ripley and WWE Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair, who was drafted to SmackDown, kept their titles, thus establishing the SmackDown Women's Championship as a title for the Raw brand.|
As of June 5, 2023, overall, there have been 26 reigns between 13 champions and 1 vacancy. Becky Lynch was the inaugural champion. Charlotte Flair has the most reigns at seven. Bayley's second reign is the longest singular reign at 380 days, while Flair's fourth reign is the shortest at 4 minutes and 55 seconds. Bayley also holds the record for longest combined reign at 520 days. Asuka is the oldest champion, having won the title at 37, while Alexa Bliss is the youngest when she won it at 25.
Rhea Ripley is the current champion in her first reign. She won the title by defeating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39 Night 1 on April 1, 2023, in Inglewood, California.
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- ^ Young, Renee; Bryan, Daniel; Naomi (July 4, 2017). "How Naomi made the SmackDown Women's Title glow: WWE Talking Smack, July 4, 2017 (WWE Network)". WWE (YouTube). Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- ^ Powell, Jason (December 16, 2018). "Powell's WWE TLC live review: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs Asuka in a TLC match for the Smackdown Women's Championship, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the IC Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- ^ WWE.com Staff (March 25, 2019). "WrestleMania to feature first-ever women's main event". WWE. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- ^ Powell, Jason (February 27, 2020). "WWE Super ShowDown results: Powell's live review of "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship, Brock Lesnar vs. Ricochet for the WWE Championship, Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz and John Morrison for the Smackdown Tag Titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
- ^ Powell, Jason (April 10, 2021). "WrestleMania 37 results: Powell's live review of night one featuring Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the Smackdown Women's Championship, Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. AJ Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Titles, Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs The Miz and John Morrison". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
- ^ Hale, Andreas (April 11, 2021). "WrestleMania 37 match grades: Bianca Belair, Sasha Banks make history in instant classic on Night 1". Sporting News. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
A historic main event, two African-American[s] headlining WrestleMania for the first time...
- ^ Keller, Wade (October 21, 2021). "10/21 WWE Crown Jewel Results: Keller's report on Reigns vs. Lesnar, Big E vs. McIntyre, Seth vs. Edge in HIAC, Lynch vs. Banks vs. Belair, King and Queen tournament finals". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on October 22, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.