Championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE
|WWE Raw Women’s Championship|
The Raw Women’s Championship belt with default side plates
|Date established||April 3, 2016|
|Current champion(s)||Becky Lynch|
|Date won||April 8, 2019|
The WWE Raw Women’s Championship is a women’s professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE, defended on their Raw brand. It is one of the top singles championships for women among WWE’s three main brands, along with the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship on SmackDown and the NXT Women’s Championship on NXT. The current champion is Becky Lynch, who is in her first reign.
Introduced as the WWE Women’s Championship on April 3, 2016 at WrestleMania 32, it replaced the Divas Championship and has a unique title history, separate from WWE’s original Women’s Championship and the Divas Championship. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. As a result of the 2016 draft, the championship became exclusive to Raw with a subsequent rename and SmackDown created the SmackDown Women’s Championship as a counterpart title. In 2019, NXT’s Women’s Championship became the third main title for WWE’s women’s division. The Raw Women’s Championship was the first women’s title to headline a WWE pay-per-view event at Hell in a Cell in 2016 and, along with the SmackDown Women’s Championship, was also defended in the main event match of WWE’s flagship event WrestleMania in 2019.
On April 3, 2016, WWE Hall of Famer Lita appeared during the WrestleMania 32 pre-show: after recapping the history of women’s professional wrestling in WWE, she declared that WWE’s women would no longer be referred to as WWE Divas, but as “WWE Superstars” like their male counterparts. The term “Diva” had been criticized by some commentators, fans, and several past and present female wrestlers, including then-Divas Champion Charlotte, as diminishing female’s athletic abilities and relegating them to “eye candy”. Lita also unveiled a new title belt and revealed that the Divas Championship would be retired in favour of a new WWE Women’s Championship. The inaugural champion was determined by a triple threat match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks later that night, which was originally scheduled for the Divas Championship. Charlotte, the final Divas Champion, became the first WWE Women’s Champion by winning that match.
Following the reintroduction of the brand split in July 2016, then-champion Charlotte was drafted to the Raw brand, making the championship exclusive to Raw. It was subsequently renamed to Raw Women’s Championship after SummerSlam in August, when SmackDown created the SmackDown Women’s Championship as a counterpart title. The NXT Women’s Championship would become WWE’s third main women’s title when the NXT brand, formerly the promotion’s developmental territory, became WWE’s third major brand in September 2019 when it was moved to the USA Network.
When the title was introduced, it shared its name with the original Women’s Championship. However, the new title does not share the same title history as the original, which was unified with the Divas Championship in 2010, with the combined title inheriting the latter’s lineage and history. WWE acknowledges the original championship as its predecessor, and notes that the lineage of female champions dates back to The Fabulous Moolah’s reign in 1956.
The championship was the first women’s title to be defended in a WWE pay-per-view main event, which was at Hell in a Cell in October 2016; this was also the first-ever women’s Hell in a Cell match and the first women’s match to main event a WWE pay-per-view. At the event, Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks to become a three-time champion. After two years, it was again featured in the main event match of a pay-per-view, which was the first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view Evolution in October 2018, where Ronda Rousey retained the title against Nikki Bella. Rousey then defended the title in a winner takes all triple threat match against SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in the main event of WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, which Lynch won. This was the first women’s match to main event a WrestleMania – WWE’s flagship event.
Brand designation history
When the championship was unveiled, there was no brand division as that had ended in August 2011. From its inception until the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016, then-champion Charlotte defended the title on both Raw and SmackDown.
Championship belt design
The Raw Women’s Championship belt is similar in appearance to the WWE Championship belt (introduced in 2014), with a few notable differences. The strap is smaller for the women, and white, as opposed to black. The die-cut WWE logo in the center plate sits on a red background, as opposed to a black one. The small print below the logo reads “Women’s Champion”. Gold divider bars separate the center plate from the belt’s two side plates. In what has become a prominent feature of the majority of WWE’s championship belts, the side plates feature a removable center section, which can be customized with the champion’s logo; the default side plates feature the WWE logo on a red globe. This was the first women’s title in WWE with customizable side plates.
In what has become a tradition since fall 2014, the WWE has presented custom WWE Championship belts to winners in both male and female professional sports with the side plates commemorating the achievement. In September 2018, the WWE began presenting custom Raw Women’s Championship belts to winners in just female sports. The first of these was given to Seattle Storm for winning the 2018 WNBA Finals. Custom Raw Women’s Championship belts have since been presented to the United States Women’s National Soccer Team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a team that previously received a custom WWE Championship for this feat in 2015, and to Bianca Andreescu for winning the 2019 Women’s US Open.
As of March 29, 2020, there have been 15 reigns between 7 champions. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. She is tied with Sasha Banks for the most reigns at four. Becky Lynch’s current reign is the longest at 356+ days while Banks’ fourth reign is the shortest at 8 days (9 days as recognized by WWE). Alexa Bliss has the longest combined reign at 398 days (396 days as recognized by WWE). Nia Jax is the oldest champion, winning the championship at the age of 33, while Banks is the youngest as she won the title at 24 years old.
Becky Lynch is the current champion in her first reign. She defeated previous champion Ronda Rousey and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair in a Winner Takes All Triple Threat match to win both titles in the main event of WrestleMania 35 in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 8, 2019 (although she lost the SmackDown title at the following month’s Money in the Bank event).
- When she became the inaugural champion, her ring name was just Charlotte.
- “Raw Women’s Championship”. WWE. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
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- “All-new WWE Women’s Championship introduced at WrestleMania”. WWE. April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
Lita introduced the all-new WWE Women’s Championship at WrestleMania, and revealed that Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will compete for this title tonight.
- Caldwell, James (April 3, 2016). “4/3 WrestleMania 32 PPV Pre-Show Results – CALDWELL’s Complete Report”. PWTorch. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- “Triple H Discusses NXT as a Third Brand, Putting Talent in a Position to Succeed, More – 411MANIA”. www.411mania.com.
- Powell, Jason (October 30, 2016). “Powell’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 live review: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship, Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship, Roman Reigns vs. Rusev for the U.S. Championship”. Pro Wreslting .Net. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
- Powell, Jason (October 30, 2016). “Powell’s WWE Evolution live review: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella for the Raw Women’s Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Mae Young Classic Finals”. Pro Wrestling .NET. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- “WrestleMania to feature first-ever women’s main event”. WWE. March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- “Custom WWE World Championships in the sports world: photos”. WWE.com. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
- Pappolla, Ryan (September 26, 2018). “Triple H sends custom title to WNBA Champions Seattle Storm”. WWE. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- Triple H [@TripleH] (July 8, 2019). “An inspiring performance and fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup win for the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team. Congratulations to Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and the entire team and coaching staff for helping us all believe in One Nation One Team! This custom WWE Women’s Championship should help continue the celebration!” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- WWE.com Staff (July 10, 2015). “Megan Rapinoe celebrates with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship”. WWE. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- Triple H [@TripleH] (September 8, 2019). “Her first appearance in the US Open .. Her first grand slam title.. The first Canadian to win the US Open… And now her first WWE Raw Women’s Championship to celebrate! Congrats Bianca Andreescu!” (Tweet) – via Twitter.