wrestling / Columns

Top 7 WrestleMania Women’s Matches

April 7, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Trish Stratus Mickie James

WWE’s women are MAKING HISTORY again. This time three of them are going on last at the Showcase of Immortals, WrestleMania. For most of the past thirty-four years, it was silly to think that such a thing could possibly happen. Women’s wrestling was non-existent on most early WrestleMania cards. Then we went through the pillowfight & Playboy bunny phase. Eventually we entered the Diva era, and finally a couple of years ago we reached a point where the women were having some of the best matches on the card.

Before we take another step forward into the future, I think it would be fitting to look back at the past. It’s tough to realize how far we’ve come without remembering the past, so let’s take a look at the Magnificent Seven Women’s WrestleMania Matches.

7. WWE Women’s Championship vs. Molly Holly’s Hair: Victoria vs. Molly Holly (WrestleMania XX)

This match only made the card because Molly came up with the idea of getting her head shaved. She figured that WM XX would be a historic event and her haircut would be one of those WrestleMania Moments. Vince McMahon liked the idea so much that he re-used it at WrestleMania 23 for himself & Donald Trump. Molly & Victoria were popular in the Internet circles I traveled in at the time, but there wasn’t a tremendous amount of heat from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

Not that there was much time for heat to build. Molly dominated Victoria for a few minutes & tried to hit Victoria’s own finisher on her, but Victoria knew the counter and backslid Molly into a haircut. After some extracurricular activity, Molly got her haircut by Victoria while Ricardo “The Barber” Rodriguez looked on. I’m not 100% it was Ricardo, but it sure looked like him. They should have gotten Brutus Beefcake in for this.

I should point out that Jerry Lawler attempting to discuss underwear with Jim Ross during this match was tremendously awkward. Just not good business that doesn’t age well at all.

6. WWF Women’s Championship: Lelani Kai vs. Wendi Richter (WrestleMania)

Most of us grew up with women’s wrestling being a non-factor in the genre, but the ladies were vital during the Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection. Cyndi Lauper’s involvement with Wendi Richter made her a household name & her matches as anticipated as anything on the card not involving Hulk Hogan.

The first WrestleMania featured Richter challenging for the championship she had lost to Kai at The War to Settle the Score. Lauper was in Richter’s corner while the Fabulous Moolah was in Kai’s. Most of the offense in the match was pretty basic & repetitive. Lots of snap mares. However, the moves were well executed. You could see how they rose to the top of the women’s game at that time. They were the best among the Moolah trainees.

The fans really got into it when Lauper & Moolah got involved, and were all about Wendi’s babyface comeback. The title change got a tremendous reaction, and Wendi Richter was further cemented as one of the top WWF Superstars. At least until she left the company later in the year.

5. AJ Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins (WrestleMania 31)

The Bellas were top-notch at getting heat from fans & the rest of the Diva roster. AJ & Paige stood out from the rest of the pack, as they could work & didn’t look like the typical women that WWE would hire.

Paige ended up taking the lion’s share of the match while AJ got knocked off the apron and gathered herself on the floor. Nikki & Brie did their part in carrying things while Paige was solid in her role. AJ eventually got the tag & dominated most of the final part of the match. Nikki wound up tapping to the Black Widow to the delight of the San Francisco fans.

This would end up being AJ’s last wrestling match, and I’d say it was a good note for her to go out on. Unfortunately, Paige, Brie & Nikki would all follow her into retirement within four years.

4. WWE Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James (WrestleMania 22)

This match had possibly the most memorable buildup of any Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. Mickie debuted with WWE as a gigantic fan of Trish’s, to the point where she kissed her on an episode of Raw. Trish wasn’t really feeling it & told Mickie they needed some time apart, which led to Mickie tying Ashley Massaro up, knocking Trish out and kissing her again.

Trish was pretty obviously the babyface in the feud, but the Chicago crowd was solidly behind Mickie James here. Perhaps it was because Mickie was a fresh face while Trish had been champion for 448 days. Maybe it was because Mickie had indy cred and WrestleMania crowds love wrestlers with that. Or maybe the fans had an easier time identifying with the girl that got rejected than with the quintessential Diva of the time period. Heck, maybe they were into the whole HLA aspect of the feud & wanted Trish to go along with it. It was probably a little of each, but it was still one of the more bizarre cases of fan reaction I’ve seen.

The match had some solid work from the ladies, but was marred by some pretty obviously botched moves towards the end, including the attempted finishing move after Mickie went all presidential on Trish & licked her fingers afterward. This is pretty much anybody remembers from the match, which still makes it more memorable than most WrestleMania women’s matches.

3. WWE Women’s Championship: Victoria vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jazz (WrestleMania XIX)

Victoria entered Seattle as Women’s Champion and was up against her two toughest adversaries at the time. Jazz was a dominant figure in the women’s division, while Trish’s never say die attitude made her a threat to come out on top in any match. Trish certainly took the brunt of the attack from both women in this one.

The ladies didn’t get the amount of time you’d expect from a women’s title match these days, but they definitely made the most of what they had. Trish took a lot of punishment and came close to tapping to Jazz’s STF, but at the end of the day she was able to avoid Steven Richards’ failed interference, slip out of the Widow’s Peak and hit a Chick Kick to win the championship.

Some of you may say I only have this match rated so highly because of Trish’s ring attire. That’s purely speculation, but I will say that Trish’s ring attire didn’t hurt the match rating.

2. WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania 32)

This night marked the official transition from the Divas Era to the Women’s Evolution. The Divas Championship hit the skids, to be replaced with the strap that would become the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte, Becky & Sasha have had countless battles with each other before & after WrestleMania 32, but this still rates right up with the most important of them.

Just the opening sequence was a step ahead of what we’d seen in previous WrestleMania women’s matches. These folks were here to steal the show, and did everything in their power to do so. We saw frog splashes & suicide dives from Banks. Becky took out Ric Flair with a dive at one point, & Charlotte followed that up with a top rope moonsault to the floor. These are spots we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from these women, but it was still new to most of us in 2016. A furious sequence of submission moves nearly ended it, but somehow everybody survived.

As usual, Charlotte was the main target of her opponents’ disdain. As usual, it didn’t matter at the end of the day. Becky had to tap once Charlotte locked in the Figure 8. She had the chance to become The Woman that night, but had to settle for being The Man a couple of years later.

1. SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (WrestleMania 34)

Asuka won the first Women’s Royal Rumble and wanted to take on the best at WrestleMania. So even though she was a Raw Superstar, she opted to take on the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Asuka had been undefeated throughout her tenure in NXT & on Raw. Looking back, you had to figure that her first loss would come on a grand stage.

In something of a rarity for a WrestleMania title match, both women were faces. This meant there would be no chicanery, just the best woman emerging after pulling off the best combination of moves. Asuka had Charlotte on the verge of submitting several times, but the Queen would not be denied. She could only use one arm on the Figure 8, but Asuka still had to tap her undefeated streak away.

The Women’s Championship Triple Threat from WM 32 meant more, but this match was so much smoother. Charlotte moonsaulting into a triangle choke from Asuka & transitioning into a boston crab doesn’t sound like something that can happen, but these two just had perfect chemistry on this night. They had pretty good chemistry last week on SmackDown too. Wonder what it’d be like on a big stage again?

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The Magnificent Seven, Steve Cook