It’s no secret that female performers are treated far better in NXT than on the main WWE roster, but it’s never been entirely clear whether this is just an anomaly or part of a bigger movement. Women get real characters, storylines and a chance to work in NXT, but they still largely flounder once called up. Are the NXT women just given more opportunities because things are naturally a bit more egalitarian in developmental, or are there people with power truly behind them?
According to the Wrestling Observer, it’s the latter. Word is both that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are major proponents of changing the way women are presented and used in both NXT and WWE. Stephanie has been pushing for more women in positions of power in all levels of WWE, and there’s a feeling that times are changing, and the audience is ready to accept women in a more central role. In particular, Ronda Rousey stealing the show at WrestleMania was a major eye opener for a lot of people in the company.
In his recent NXT conference call, Triple H talked up the increased prominence of women in his little corner of the WWE Universe…
“I’m proud that the recent NXT show in Philly was headlined by women. I think that what we are doing in NXT is changing the perception of what women do in the industry. It’s bubbling up and it’s happening. We’re creating change. We’re creating a different playing field. I’m happy about what that means for everybody.”
Man, I don’t know if I’ll ever quite get used to change-embracing, feminist Triple H, but here we are.
Unfortunately, there’s still one major roadblock facing women in WWE, and that roadblock’s name is Vince McMahon. So far, Vince is said to be unmoved by what’s happening in NXT, and he isn’t interested in making any major changes to the main roster women’s division. This isn’t necessarily a case of Vince being intentionally close minded, so much as him being cautious after trying to push women’s wrestling for the past 30-plus years with mixed success. Besides, by some measures, the current women’s division is already pretty successful. They have their own successful TV show! Summer Rae and Lana are starring in movies! If you measure the success of a women’s division by how many ladies are on TV making real money, the current women’s division could be the best in the company’s history.
That said, women’s wrestlers still aren’t getting enough opportunity to showcase what they were trained to do, and the way they’re portrayed could and should be a lot better. Is actual change going to come? At this point, it seems like it’s just a matter of time.