Finally, it seems as though the WWE Four Horsewomen are set to dominate the main roster’s Women’s division.
It’s been a long time coming but recent developments have put all four of the NXT originals in the spotlight. Sasha Banks’ return and Bayley’s heel turn have been major storylines on WWE television over the past few weeks.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch is still ‘The Man’ and Charlotte Flair is still…well, Charlotte Flair.
But why has it took so long to get to this point?
Multiple factors have stalled the careers of Charlotte, Becky, Sasha and Bayley at different times over the last few years. But right now, all four women are in strong positions and sit atop the rest of the females in WWE.
So now seems like a good time to look back at how we got here. Here are 10 milestones of the rise of the WWE Four Horsewomen.
1. NXT TakeOver: Rival (11th February 2015)
The origins of the Four Horsewomen can be traced back to NXT TakeOver: Rival.
The Horsewomen had began to make names for themselves as individuals prior to this event. However, TakeOver: Rival is when people started to look at them as a group that were changing the business.
Charlotte was NXT Women’s Champion and put her belt on the line in a fatal-4-way match. As opposed to the main roster at the time, the women were presented as a significant part of the show.
They were given the chance to showcase their abilities as in-ring performers. It’s fair to say they made the most of this opportunity.
Sasha Banks won the match to capture the Championship but in truth, all four women were winners on this night. They established themselves as the future of WWE and this really felt like the beginning of a movement.
No longer were the women going to be content with being a special attraction match. They were out to prove that they can do whatever the men can do. They were here to take over.
2. Three Horsewomen Arrive On Raw (13th July 2015)
Whilst a revolution was beginning in NXT in 2015, women’s wrestling on WWE’s main roster was still lagging behind.
The likes of AJ Lee and Paige were laying the ground work for the future, but there were still issues. The Bella Twins were atop the division and the times allotted to women’s matches were limited.
That was until the saviour of women’s wrestling, Stephanie McMahon, decided to make a change. On the 13th July 2015 edition of Raw, McMahon announced the arrival of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks.
Bayley was conspicuous by her absence on this historic night as she was left behind in NXT. However, the call-ups of the other three of the Horsewomen was enough to inject some optimism.
The follow up to this angle was far from perfect and led to a lacklustre feud between three makeshift stables. Alicia Fox, Brie Bella and the Divas Champion at the time, Nikki Bella, made up the terrifying trio, Team Bella.
Lynch and Charlotte aligned with Paige to form the creatively named ‘PCB’. Meanwhile, Banks formed Team B.A.D. with Naomi and Tamina.
Despite the disappointing follow-up, this moment is still classed as a milestone as it signified the beginning of change.
3. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn (22nd August 2015)
Although Sasha Banks had been called up to the main roster, she was still NXT Women’s Champion at the time. She would eventually drop the title to Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in an all-time classic match.
Brooklyn was the first TakeOver to take place outside of Full Sail University. It was billed as NXT’s ‘biggest stage yet’ and Banks and Bayley undoubtedly stole the show.
Bayley’s journey to the title was an excellent example of long-term storytelling, one of WWE’s best in recent years. It culminated in a critically acclaimed match and had everyone involved in the business talking about women’s wrestling.
After the match, Banks and Bayley embraced in the ring and were later joined by Becky and Charlotte. This was the first time that the idea of the Four Horsewomen was referenced on WWE television.
The success of this match led to another historic match at NXT TakeOver: Respect a couple of months later. Sasha and Bayley competed in the first ever women’s Iron Man match. This was also the first women’s match to main event a WWE pay-per-view.
4. WrestleMania 32 (3rd April 2016)
The women’s match at WrestleMania 32 was a significant milestone for a multitude of reasons.
At the WrestleManias prior, the women were either in throwaway matches or jumbled altogether in a meaningless battle royal. That’s if they even got on the card at all!
However, WrestleMania 32 was different. The women’s triple threat was a marquee match and one of the most promoted features on the card. Charlotte, Becky and Sasha were featured prominently on all the promotional material for the event.
WWE also used this moment to make a significant change to the overall presentation of the females on the roster. They would no longer be referred to as ‘Divas’ and would simply be classed as ’Superstars’.
A new Women’s Championship belt was presented to the winner of the triple threat match, replacing the hideous butterfly belt.
As for the match itself, the women unsurprisingly delivered and had what many believed to be match of the night. At WrestleMania 32, three of the four Horsewomen placed themselves at the forefront of the Women’s Revolution.
But what about Bayley?
5. Bayley Arrives On WWE Raw (22nd August 2016)
Bayley eventually arrived on Raw thirteen months after her fellow Four Horsewomen debuted on the main roster.
She had made an appearance as Sasha Banks’ mystery partner at Battleground the month prior. But Bayley was officially called up the night after SummerSlam 2016 by then Raw General Manager, Mick Foley.
In front of a hot Brooklyn crowd, where Bayley obviously has history, she received a warm reception. People were genuinely delighted to see her get her long-overdue call-up, what could go wrong?
Well, pretty much everything to be honest. Stop-start stories and baffling booking decisions ran her character in to the ground. The happy, huggable babyface schtick just became tedious and boring after a while.
The legions of fans that were solidly behind Bayley slowly dissipated and she became a shell of her former self. It was sad to see after an NXT run that seemed to promise so much for the future.
Nevertheless, her arrival on Raw meant that now all Four Horsewomen were on WWE’s main roster.
6. WWE Hell In A Cell 2016 (30th October 2016)
Sasha Banks and Charlotte feuded over the Raw Women’s Championship for much of 2016.
The latter half of the year in particular saw the two women essentially play ‘hot potato’ with the belt. There were six title changes in a six-month period, all involving Banks and Flair.
The numerous battles saw Sasha vs. Charlotte named PWI’s ‘Feud of the Year’ in 2016. Their most notable bout came inside the cell at the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view.
This was another historic moment for the Horsewomen as it was the first ever women’s Hell In A Cell match. Not only that, but it also became the first women’s match to main event a main roster WWE PPV.
Whilst it wasn’t the greatest in-ring match of the Sasha vs. Charlotte feud, it was the most memorable. It was another significant milestone in the Women’s revolution and Banks and Flair were at the forefront of change.
7. WWE SummerSlam 2018 (19th August 2018)
While Sasha and Charlotte were making history on Raw in 2016, Becky was leading the SmackDown women’s division.
Lynch was prominently featured on SmackDown, but she never received the critical acclaim that her fellow horsewomen were getting at the time. In the months and years that followed, Becky faded into the background and became an afterthought of the women’s revolution.
However, in 2018, Lynch began to gain momentum as she went on a winning streak. She defeated almost everyone on the SmackDown roster, earning herself a shot at the Women’s Title at SummerSlam 2018.
But Lynch didn’t receive a one-on-one match against the then Smackdown Women’s Champion, Carmella. Becky’s old rival and fellow Horsewoman, Charlotte Flair, was arbitrarily added to the match.
This only helped fuel the crowd support for Lynch and she was the clear fan favourite in the match. So when Charlotte stole the win from Becky’s grasp at SummerSlam, the fans were as angry as Lynch.
Following the match, Becky slapped Charlotte and assaulted her former friend in an apparent ‘heel turn’ in WWE’s eyes. Instead, this moment made Lynch the company’s top babyface and gave birth to ‘The Man’ persona.
8. WWE Evolution (28th October 2018)
Becky and Charlotte feuded after SummerSlam and faced each other in a ‘Last Woman Standing’ match at Evolution.
Evolution was WWE’s first ever all-women’s pay-per-view. This concept would have been unthinkable a few years prior and showed how much the business had changed.
It’s fair to say that Ronda Rousey was the finishing touch in getting to this point. However, the Four Horsewomen were the core building blocks in making it all happen.
Rousey headlined the event against Nikki Bella, but Lynch vs. Flair was the true main event in the fans’ eyes.
The ‘Last Woman Standing’ match was a brutal and captivating spectacle. It received high praise from multiple wrestling personalities and is considered one of the greatest women’s matches in WWE history.
Lynch won the match and retained her SmackDown Women’s championship, cementing herself as the hottest thing in all of WWE.
9. WWE WrestleMania 35 (7th April 2019)
The rise of women’s wrestling continued and reached it’s pinnacle at WrestleMania 35.
More history was made and the Horsewomen were unsurprisingly at the centre of it. Becky and Charlotte, along with Ronda Rousey, competed in a triple threat match in the first women’s main event in Mania history.
But, it wasn’t a smooth ride to the groundbreaking event. The storyline got very messy in the build to WrestleMania 35 with multiple arrests and suspensions. Not to mention Charlotte once again being shoe-horned into the title picture.
Despite this, it was the clear and obvious choice to main event the show and was there on merit.
As for the match itself, well that wasn’t perfect either. Firstly, the match came at the end of a seven and a half hour show. Therefore the crowd were already burnt out by the time it began.
Also, the finish was anti-climatic as Becky rolled up Rousey for the pin, seemingly out of nowhere.
It was far from perfect but will be looked back upon as a historic moment regardless. Becky celebrating her victory is the defining image of the event and will be an iconic moment in women’s wrestling.
10. Bayley’s Heel Turn (2nd September 2019)
It’s too soon to call this a milestone for the horsewomen. But if the follow-up fulfils it’s potential, Bayley’s heel turn could be looked back on as a significant moment.
Charlotte and Sasha have always had a sense of star power since their arrival on the main roster. Becky had blew hot and cold before finding ‘The Man’ persona and becoming one of WWE’s top stars.
Meanwhile, Bayley has floundered for numerous reasons. Over the last year or so in particular, she has been the odd one out when it came to the Four Horsewomen.
But her recent heel turn on last week’s Raw may have changed that. Bayley has been an afterthought despite multiple title reigns, but her recent actions have got people invested in her character.
She now joins Becky, Charlotte and Sasha as the prominent stars of the women’s division. This was where people expected them to be when they first started making names for themselves four years ago.
It’s been a long time coming, but the NXT originals now look to be where they belong. Was Bayley’s heel turn the final piece of the puzzle to put the Four Horsewomen at the top of the WWE pyramid?