WrestleMania 35 is coming up soon and features by far the biggest women’s wrestling angle in the history of the PPV. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch is the show’s main event and it’s the logical climax to both a months-long, high-profile storyline and WWE‘s Women’s Revolution/Evolution that’s been going on for around the past five years. This article looks back at how we got to this point by ranking all the women’s matches in the history of WrestleMania from worst to best (like we did previously with Survivor Series and SummerSlam), from the ladies of the ’80s to the Playboy gimmick matches to the NXT Four Horsewomen.
A note before we begin: Mixed tag matches have been left out of this ranking in the interest of length and focusing on the history of the women’s division over the decades, no disrespect meant to Snooki, Ronda Rousey, Queen Sherri, etc. There have been mixed tag team matches at seven WrestleMania shows, with women only wrestling in that context at three of those (WrestleMania 6, 14, and 27.) (On a related note, no women wrestled on WrestleManias 3-5, 7-9, and 29.)
27. Torrie Wilson and Sable vs. Miss Jackie and Stacy Keibler, WrestleMania XX
The worst women’s match in the history of WrestleMania is the first Playboy-branded one, but far from the last. Torrie Wilson and Sable were on the cover of Playboy and Miss Jackie and Stacy Keibler feel professional jealousy about this, so they’re going to fight on the Grandest Stage Of Them All! It’s a “Playboy Evening Gown match,” but the babyface team of Sable and Wilson decide to take their gowns off because they’re feeling “restricted.” Keibler joins in, but Jackie decides to leave the ring instead, so her opponents grab and strip her. Their team never even agreed to strip! That wasn’t a stipulation of this match!
After a few minutes of bad-looking wrestling, Miss Jackie is further sexually humiliated by having part of her underwear pulled down and her ass slapped while she’s being pinned. So in addition to the wrestling part of this match being very weak, the story it tells has a pretty dark element of non-consensual voyeurism. The issue of Playboy it advertises is probably more entertaining even if you’re not sexually attracted to women.
26. The Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre, WrestleMania 2
This 1986 match for the WWF Women’s Championship is terrible in a much different way. McIntyre is definitely one of the best North American female wrestlers of this ear, but her opponent, heel champ Moolah, is 63 years old. Their minute or so of wrestling looks okay, but the match quickly ends with Moolah pinning McIntyre while one of her legs is very clearly on the bottom rope. The only reason the ref doesn’t see this is because he’s looking at her shoulders more closely than any official has ever looked at any shoulders – even though the pin is happening extremely close to the ropes! It makes so little sense that it’s hardly even a nefarious heel victory; it’s just stupid.
25. Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle, WrestleMania 22
Wilson vs. Michelle in a Playboy Pillow Fight is part of the Vince’s Devils breakup angle and is honestly so bad it’s good. The ring has a mattress in it and pillows in every corner, which, if you think about it, makes this the hardest type of wrestling match to win because almost everything in the ring makes it more difficult to damage your opponent. I’m also pretty sure that the fact that all these objects can be used as weapons and Michelle at one point brings out scissors to try and cut off Wilson’s evening gown and is not stopped by the ref means this is actually a type of deathmatch.