Rumble, Women, Rumble: The WWE's Women's Revolution Is About To Go Over The Top
Nineteen years ago, history was made inside a WWE ring when the late Joanie 'Chyna' Laurer became the first ever female entrant into the Royal Rumble. A year later, not only was the Ninth Wonder of the World making her second successive appearance in the 30-person over the top rope battle royal for a chance to face then WWE Champion Triple H at WrestleMania, but she also went into the event as the joint holder of the Intercontinental Championship, with Chris Jericho.
And while Chyna lost her half of the IC title, that night, there was potential for her inclusion in the men's division to kick start a revolution in the WWE. Yet, this being the Attitude Era, where bra and panties matches reigned supreme, the big takeaway from the 2000 Rumble event with regards to the female involvement was the Miss Rumble Swimsuit competition, where the likes of Terri Runnels, Jacqueline, Ivory and The Kat gyrated around the ring while Jerry 'The King' Lawler got far too excited for public consumption. Oh and Mae Young... actually, the less said, the better.
Anyway, fast forward almost 20 years and, thankfully, the WWE women's division is in a much more positive place, thanks to the 'Women's Revolution' that has been undertaken over the last few years, beginning in NXT and then evolving even further on the main rosters of Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live.
Since Chyna's pair of appearances in Rumble matches two decades ago, the closest the women of WWE have come to making the annual battle royal their own was in 2010, when Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix entered, eliminating the Great Khali in the process, before being dumped out by CM Punk.
This Sunday, however, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, history will be made, when the women will compete in their own 30-woman Royal Rumble match on the WWE Network and PPV, with the winner going to WrestleMania to face whoever the Women's Champion on her brand is, come 8th April.
The match marks the latest history making moment in the women's division's relentless progression over the last two years, with female Hell In A Cell and Money In The Bank matches now in the history books, with 2016's Hell In A Cell event headlined by Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks - the first time two women had ever main evented a WWE PPV.
Divas have been a thing of the past since WrestleMania 32, where Charlotte, Sasha and Becky Lynch fought over the right to become the new WWE Women's Champion, a title that has since spawned a SmackDown equivalent. And two of the women at the forefront of the Women's Revolution are the aforementioned Banks - a four time Women's Champion - and Carmella - the first ever Women's Money In The Bank winner.
Making history as the FIRST ever & TWO TIME undisputed Ms MITB was by far my favorite moment of 2017. To those of you who hated on everything I did this year, stay tuned for what I'm about to do in 2018... I'm just getting started! pic.twitter.com/yToFQhT6Jy- MS Money in the BANK (@CarmellaWWE) December 31, 2017
We caught up with both superstars, last week to get their thoughts on the upcoming, history making match and what it will mean to them.
"I'm so excited. I've been pumping up my cardio game like crazy knowing I could be the first entrant and hopefully stay in it for the whole sixty minutes." said Banks.
"I'm extremely nervous and excited to see who the surprise entrants could be be. I can't wait for it to happen."
When asked about the prospect of surprise entrants, which have become a mainstay of the men's match since it's inception, Banks added, "I would love to see Trish and Lita of course, Beth Phoenix, Molly Holly, Jazz, Jacqueline - all the women I grew up watching. Madusa would also be amazing.
"Even the girls from NXT would be awesome to see: the Iconic duo and maybe Ember Moon. The list is endless because we probably only have about thirty girls with Raw and Smackdown combined so we need those extra girls."
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Carmella agreed with Banks' choices of legendary names like Stratus and Lita, with Ms. Money In The Bank saying, "Obviously I would love to face Trish Stratus and Lita as I grew up watching them. To potentially share a ring with them would be a dream come true.
"The sky is really the limit for the women," added the Princess of Staten Island, when asked about what could possibly be next for the women of the WWE.
"I think all the women in the WWE would agree that to headline WrestleMania would be huge or to headline any of the 'Big Four' Pay-Per-Views (WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series) would be the next step, I would think. But yeah, to be in the main event of WrestleMania would be unreal."
The last stop for Banks before this Sunday's Rumble, however, is a big one, with the 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw taking place across two venues; The Manhattan Center, home of the first ever Raw and the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, where Banks famously tore the house down with former foe and now best friend Bayley at the inaugural NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in 2015, in a match many have called the greatest women's bout in history.
With countless legendary names announced for the nostalgia heavy show, tonight, which will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports Arena at 1am tomorrow morning, Banks revealed that she's incredibly excited to be rubbing shoulders with several Hall of Fame names.
"I'm so excited. I can't believe it's been 25 years - that's how old I am so it makes me think that I'm old.
But I'm really excited because we're broadcasting from two places - the Barclays Centre and the Manhattan Centre and I'm hoping I get to go to the Manhattan one because that's where Raw began.
"I'm looking forward to the legends: Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Bella Twins are coming back so I get to see Brie and Nikki but it's really cool for me, not just as a performer but as a fan and being able to celebrate such a historic moment for Raw.
"We've been on TV for so long, it's the longest-running show in the network so we're doing it; we're taking over!"
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When asked to name her favourite moment in Raw's 25 year history, the former Women's Champion struggled to name just one. Although poor Mae Young did manage to standout among all Banks' fondest memories of the show.
"Man, there's so many - I can't just choose one. I loved everything Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon did, what Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle did - the Dudley Boyz putting Mae Young through a table - that's one of my highlights.
"I remember my mum being like 'oh my God no you can't be doing this!' and stuff like that. I just remember her being horrified that this is what I wanted to do with my life and now she's my biggest fan ever!"
"There's so many moments from the past and so many memories I've got to create - winning the women's championship against Charlotte in Los Angeles was a huge highlight."
But who are you backing to be the last woman standing in this Sunday's Royal Rumble match? Will Sasha book her ticket to a third consecutive WrestleMania title match or will Carmella once again make history and earn herself a second guaranteed title shot, to go alongside her Money In The Bank contract?
Have your say in the comments section, below.
Featured Image Credit: WWE
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