Early on during the five-hour extravaganza that was WrestleMania 32, WWE Hall-of-Famer Lita announced that they would be retiring the Divas Championship and replacing it with the WWE Women’s Championship. And henceforth, the female competitors would no longer be referred to as Divas, but superstars, just like their male counterparts. So technically, Charlotte retained her championship by defeating Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, but she’ll be referred to as the first WWE Women’s Champion – of this era at least.
So Charlotte joined Kalisto as the only two superstars to retain their titles at WrestleMania. Kevin Owens lost his Intercontinental Championship in the multi-man ladder match that Zach Ryder won. And of course, Roman Reigns defeated Triple H to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. The New Day lost to League of Nations, but the WWE Tag Team Championships were not on the line. The triple threat match for the WWE Women’s Championship was widely regarded as one of the top matches of the night.
Charlotte retaining was not always set in stone, however. According to PWInsider, WWE officials did not make the decision to keep the title on Charlotte until a few days before WrestleMania. Many within the company were under the impression that Sasha Banks would win the match due to the response she has been getting from live crowds and the support backstage. Over the course of the final week leading up to the big show, officials were going back and forth on whether Charlotte or Banks would win, ultimately deciding on Charlotte. Of course, she got some assistance from her father, Ric Flair, who prevented Sasha from getting back in the ring at the end. The WWE Women’s Champion did an interview with wwe.com after the match to discuss the dirty finish.
“Am I standing here with the title? I said I would do anything it takes to get to the top. That’s what I did. I’m the Women’s Champion. No it doesn’t tarnish anything. They just have to fight that much harder. It was two on one, why couldn’t I have my Dad with me? I was defending my title.”
Note in the report that WWE officials were debating between Charlotte and Sasha Banks. It was apparent that Becky Lynch was a long shot to win despite growing support. Charlotte forcing Becky to tap out leaves the door open for the champ and Sasha to continue a feud for the WWE Women’s Championship, with some speculating that Banks will chase the title until a high-profile pay-per-view like SummerSlam. WWE realizes the draw the women have become, with Sasha assuming the role as the top babyface in the division.
From the champion who holds the WWE Women’s Championship to the actual title itself. Officials had been planning to debut the new belt on Monday Night RAW, the night after WrestleMania, but plans were changed to include Lita ushering in the new era on the bigger stage. The new belt design is similar to that of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, only smaller with a white strap. The change has brought mostly positive reviews as they discard the bulky butterfly design of the Divas Championship. Nikki Bella, who made an appearance during the other woman’s match on the card, will go down as the longest-reigning Divas Champion in WWE history.
It’s certainly a new era in sports entertainment for the women. They no longer will be referred to as Divas. They’ve done away with the Divas Championship and replaced it with a more respectable WWE Women’s Championship. WrestleMania featured two women’s matches, and last year, there was hope that Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon could have squared off. It’s a new day. Yes, it is.
[Image via WWE]