Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Four Horsewomen, NXT Style

Look at the Horsewomen. Look at the future.
Photo Credit:
Say the phrase "Four Horsewomen" to a random follower of combat sports/sports entertainment, and you might either get a puzzled look or you might get an excited MMA fan rattling off the names of Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke. The Four Horsewomen of MMA are almost as ubiquitous in the wrestling world as they are in their home sport, as they've banded up to sit in VIP seats at WWE shows or even gotten involved. Everyone knows about Rousey's involvement at WrestleMania, but Baszler at least has gotten her feet wet, accompanying reDRagon to the ring in Ring of Honor. I wonder if she's received her manager's license?

Anyway, the term "Horsewoman" conjures up images of the male counterpart, which is indelibly pro wrestling. Ric Flair has been the staple, and all but the final, weakest incarnation included Arn Anderson, but now, Flair's daughter Charlotte has taken her own coterie around her, and the company has co-opted the term for its stable of stud women wrestlers currently occupying the top of NXT. This grouping, profiled here on, is not an in-character stable right now. IN fact, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley battled for the NXT Women's Championship tooth and nail at Takeover: Rival. Banks and Bayley are mortal rivals, and Lynch gave Banks the fight of her life in perhaps the greatest match featuring two women in WWE history. But backstage, they share a bond forged by desire to be not only the best of their gender and better than the men, but to be great regardless of qualifier.

The interview with the four of them will repeat a lot of the same beats, but they bear repeating. For those worried about the future of women in WWE after Triple H takes over, they all credit him as a father figure. They want to steal the show and say to the men sassily "Follow that." They want to headline shows, and they want it to be called "women's wrestling" instead of having the Divas brand. And to bring it back to the beginning, they all cite Rousey as a major influence to their ambition and drive. While the MMA Horsewomen may have more cache now, the NXT version could end up transforming the mainstream business, and with key allies in the company rag as well as with the future administration of promotion, that chance looks a lot more likely than it did even five years ago.