The year 2021 was regarded as a ray of optimism. A glimmer of optimism that some kind of normalcy would return. We were on the edge of our seats as wrestling fans, eager to see our favorite wrestlers in person and meet with our peers with whom we may have swapped wrestling stories online for a year. WWE works tirelessly to entertain and divert us from the terror and despair that will grab us in 2020. Women, in particular, cranked it up even more in 2021. Their company, on the other hand, was not so liberal with the chances provided.
We witnessed a disappointing Queen of the Ring tournament that promised more than it delivered, and tragically, throughout the year, a deluge of talent that we never imagined would be released was released. This was a tremendous blow to the new generation of WWE fans who tuned in because of the female talent acquired in previous years. The corporation appears to be returning to the muscled physique/Barbie doll concept for ladies that they enjoy revisiting every few years. This is upsetting since there are so many women who do not fit that description yet contribute so much to the table.
On a more positive side, the constancy of women from all four horsewomen, Bianca Belair, Shotzi Blackheart, Doudrop, Liv Morgan, Dana Brooke, and others, assisted us in continuing to promote the product. Natalya and Tamina were the underdog story of the year, and it was such a delight to watch them because of my long-standing admiration for them and anger that they would never have the opportunity that they deserved. Hopefully, the year 2022 will be rewarding for both ladies.
In NXT, factions like Toxic Attraction demonstrated how important a brand can be while attempting to win over a character. Mandy Rose has thrived with this transition, displaying a ferocity in her fighting style and mic work that fans have thoroughly loved. Indi Hartwell has made it a point to have people speak about her every time she’s appeared on NXT this year. Starting with her coupling up with Candice Lerae earlier this year, and then with her unexpected brush with cupid’s arrow, as she is now romantically connected with the quiet, but dangerous Dexter Lumis. This unusual coupling has produced some amusing comedy situations.
This year, Zoey Starks and IO Shirai were a tag team that deserved some notice. They had some excellent matches, especially the tag team ladder battle from Halloween Havoc in October. This year, Raquel Gonzalez was the undisputed leader of the women’s category. Her matches with Rhea Ripley, IO Shirai, and her tag team with Dakota Kai demonstrated that she had successfully transitioned into the NXT system and was on her way to taking the heads of all of her adversaries.
We’ll have to wait and see what the new year holds for WWE and NXT.
NWA was being counted out a little during the pandemic’s peak owing to their inability to do weekly gigs for months. Thunder Rosa, on the other hand, brought the championship to AEW and demonstrating that she was a formidable foe. Serena Deeb’s title was changed in 2021, and then Kamille’s. Kamille’s championship reign has ushered in an Amazonian-style period. She stands in front of her opponents with a smug grin, rips them apart, and caps it off with a spear.
NWA was wise to capitalize on the fans’ desire for an all-female PPV, so they took Mickie James’ goals seriously and organized the Empowerr event. This event did an excellent job of not only honoring the women who came before it but also showcasing the future generation of bright women for the next year. NWA is making certain that the jobs behind the scenes are as inclusive. Jazz and Madusa book the women every week, and the results are spectacular.
AEW’s women’s division has had a slower start than, say, the NWA’s, but there is certainly amazing promise and ladies who are already displaying their main event abilities. DMD Britt Baker has held the AEW women’s championship with pride and has made it known that she has no plans to relinquish it. So, of course, an alpha female like Thunder Rosa was the ideal opponent to bring out the vicious side of Baker’s nature throughout their battle. With their rivalry that should’ve ended on Rampage, Diamanté and Big Swole helped draw attention to AEW’s weekly YouTube program Dark.
Jade Cargill stood out in the women’s category as a white-haired powerhouse. Jade came in with a lot of confidence and a determination to get to the top. Her dominant bouts, albeit not short in length, demonstrate that with time and more experience, Jade may be a valuable addition to AEW. Kris Statlander, with her incredible wrestling talents and otherworldly personality, is a viable candidate for a future AEW champion. Tony Khan has stated unequivocally that he would prioritize the women’s division in the future.
This began with the women’s tournament, which crowned the first TBS women’s champion. Serena Deeb and Shida have received a lot of acclaim for their match throughout the competition, and the passion that ladies like Nyla Rose are showing is fantastic to watch because it signals that the quest is on in 2022.
MLW has been a reliable promoter that knows how to put together MMA and pro-wrestling-inspired contests. I’ve been a fan for a few years, and in the latter months of 2021, MLW announced the addition of a women’s category and the launch of a tournament to crown a featherweight champion. Holidead, Willow Nightingale, and Nicole Savoy have demonstrated the division and the variety of styles that might be on exhibit. This may be a lighthouse for female wrestlers who want to show off their mixed martial arts experience while simultaneously enjoying wrestling.
This year, Ring of Honor has been the buzz of the town. It’s incredible how quickly board member Maria Kannellis was able to establish a successful and in-demand women’s section. The summer competition did an excellent job of demonstrating how many ladies are deserving of that distinction. In my perspective, Ring of Honor was quite effective in developing a true babyface in Rok-C. This age of wrestling is so focused on producing heels or individuals who are in the gray area, but it is crucial to have someone in wrestling who the crowd is cheering for and who gives the heel a true protagonist.
The future of the Ring of Honor as a whole is uncertain, therefore I genuinely hope that these amazing women can return.
Impact Wrestling has maintained its position as a leader in showcasing the top talent in its women’s division. Fans were overjoyed to witness the return of the all-PPV women’s Knockouts Knockdown, which featured Awesome Kong’s Hall of Fame induction and a touching homage to the recently dead Daffney. Impact will now feature a female X-Division, it was just confirmed.
Deonna Purrazzo has elevated Impact to new heights with her outstanding championship reign and ability to snag belts from other companies such as AAA. Deonna broke open that taboo door and dominated every promotion she attended. Deonna made it obvious a few weeks ago that her New Year’s objective is to reclaim the ROH women’s title from Rok-C. The Virtuosa is on a killing spree.
Women, particularly women of color, have never had it so well in the indie wrestling scene. There have been gatherings designed to provide a safe refuge for them. The Black Girl Majik exhibition, for example, did an excellent job of displaying ideal matches and demonstrating how many amazing black women are heating up the independent scene. Trish Adora has retained the Pan Afrikan World Diaspora championship for another year, demonstrating that many indie companies have no qualms about including a female champion who will fight men or women.
More women are being given the opportunity to work as bookers, agents, producers, and trainers for major wrestling companies. Robyn Reid, Gail Kim, Mickie James, Jazz, Madusa, Molly Holly, and others. They have demonstrated that there was a significant gap in not having women develop and collaborate with other females to tell stories in their rings in a unique way. That only they are capable of achieving.
Thunder Rosa has taken on a massive responsibility by being an active wrestler and the owner of Mission Pro Wrestling. In a short period of time, it has grown into a flourishing corporation that attracts viewers from all across the country.
Pro Wrestling Eve has produced a plethora of talent that we now admire in big companies. Toni Storm, Doudrop, Kay Lee Ray, Jinny, and other female celebrities One of their main goals this year will be to assist wrestlers in unionizing and get the wages they deserve. Pro Wrestling Eve joined a labor union in 2019, Equity UK to be exact. This is a union for performers, and professional wrestlers should be regarded as such.
We’re in 2022, and the issue of wrestlers unionizing is still being debated. When Zelina Vega was released from her WWE contract earlier this year, she tweeted about her support for unionization. This is completely ludicrous, given how often these athletes risk their lives. Because of how brief their careers are compared to someone who works a regular 9 to 5, health insurance, paid vacation time, and a pension should be a guarantee. More women have raised the large disparity in salary, so maybe these two issues will be addressed more in the next year.
Despite Covid constraints, the firm attempted to supply regular content to Stardom wrestling throughout the year. In the early summer, a wonderful Cinderella competition was held in front of a small crowd at Korakuen Hall for three evenings over the course of three months. After beating Maika in the finals, Saya Kamitani was crowned the champion. Stardom will make a significant debut on January 5th, when they will compete in a special bout at the NJPW WrestleKingdom 16 PPV. This is a fantastic cooperation, and I’m looking forward to seeing this match and working with NJPW.
AAA wrestling has had several spectacular moments as a result of mixing their greatest talent with other top-tier talent from other organisations. During Triplemania, we saw Faby Apache and Deonna Purrazzo compete for the Reina de Reinas title. That night, Deonna became a double champion, a title she has retained ever since.
Taya Valkyrie returned to her old stomping grounds, AAA, after being released from WWE, to announce that the Reina de Reinas title is hers to take. Taya Valkyrie is the champion who has held the belt the longest. So she’s going to do everything she can to reclaim it.
This coming year will see the elimination of ageism, union rights, mental illness awareness, and more promoters working together to put on joint events, as well as ideally more women putting their thoughts into future plots and feuds.
Let’s hope for even greater development in 2022!