With Stephanie McMahon in both her roles as WWE Raw Division commissioner and WWE Chief Brand Officer, there’s always debate about how she’s presented, and one of the places controversy crops up most often is how WWE portrays her among other women in their employ.
While there’s no denying WWE’s made steps in the right direction on women’s wrestling over the past couple years, there’s always been a little debate about who’s responsible for the change, which has been called, at various times, the “Divas Revolution” or “Women’s Evolution”.
Recently, Stephanie was the latest prominent company figure to make the rounds at ESPN headquarters in Bristol. And during a stop at SportsCenter to chat with Elle Duncan, she addressed the issue of who deserves credit:
McMahon: It came about for a couple of different reasons.
One, my husband, Paul Levesque, known as “Triple H”… he’s in charge of all our talent development. And what he wanted was to recruit the most elite athletes in the world, male and female, and he wanted to give the platform to really train. So men and women were trained the exact same way. And not only that, then in NXT, which started off as our developmental brand… and is now a global touring brand, the women were actually given the same amount of time in their matches on television as the men, which had never really happened before. So this groundswell came about from our audience. And, of course, on the executive side a number of us had been advocating for this for a long time, but then, there was a match on Monday Night Raw and it featured a tag team match of our, what was then called the Divas division, that lasted all of thirty seconds, and our fans started a trend called “Give Divas A Chance” that trended worldwide for three days.
Duncan: So they’re really the ones who steered this?
McMahon: They were the ones. And their voice was so loud, and so strong that our chairman and CEO [Vince McMahon] responded and said “we hear you, keep watching #GiveDivasAChance”. And since then, at last year’s WrestleMania, again on our grandest stage, WWE Hall of Famer Lita came out to the ring and she announced that we were rebranding the Divas division to the Women’s division, she unveiled the new championship belt which evolved from a butterfly to a championship belt more akin to the men’s, and said that our female athletes are now going to be called Superstars – just like the men.
And since that time, our women have competed in main events from television storylines to pay-per-views and – we still have a long way to go, but we’re certainly getting there, and they’re incredibly talented – all of our women, and all of the women who’ve paved the way throughout history.