The first 28 WrestleMania (WM) events have contained 279 total matches. 25 of these matches have incorporated at least one female combatant. Have these 25 matches provided female wrestlers with a sufficient amount of time to showcase their talents on the grandest stage of them all?
These 25 female-inclusive matches combined for an average time of approximately 5 minutes and 2 seconds (5m 02s) from opening bell to closing bell. The remaining 254 matches in WM history contained zero female combatants, and those 254 male-exclusive matches had an average time of 10m 58s. On average, female matches don't even receive half of the match time that male-exclusive matches are afforded.
To further illustrate that point, consider this: 8.96% of all 279 WM matches have included at least one female wrestler, but these female-inclusive matches have only taken up 4.33% of the total match time in WM history. That doesn't seem very fair at all.
Now here are some tidbits related to these 25 matches:
- None of these 25 matches ever reached the 10-minute mark.
- 7 of these 25 matches ranked as the shortest match on its respective WM card. This occurred at WM 2, WM 16, WM 17, WM 19, WM 20, WM 22, and WM 23.
- WM 3 through WM 9 featured a grand total of one of these 25 matches.
- In fact, the first 13 WM events featured a total of just 5 of these 25 matches.
- At least one of these 25 matches has appeared on every single WM event between WM 14 and WM 28. Will a current WWE diva be able to escape the pre-show this year at WM 29 in order to keep that streak going for a 16th year?
- 11 of these 25 matches were Women's Championship matches. The average time of these championship matches is 4m 51s, which is actually shorter than the overall group average of 5m 02s.
- The Divas Championship, created in 2008, has been contested for a total of zero seconds at WM events.
- Only 4 of these 25 matches received two or more stars from Dave Meltzer. Sable and Marc Mero versus Luna and Goldust from WM 14 is the only one to receive 3 stars or more.
- Meanwhile, 12 of these 25 matches received zero stars or worse.
- Torrie Wilson competed in 4 of these 25 matches. The only one of her matches that lasted more than 4 minutes was the Battle Royal from WM 25.
- Trish Stratus competed in 5 of these 25 matches. The only one of her matches that lasted less than 4 minutes was the mixed tag match from WM 27 featuring Snooki.
- Beth Phoenix competed in 4 of these 25 matches. However she wrestled for zero seconds in one-on-one matches at WM events. Her four WM matches included a Battle Royal, a 10-Diva tag Match, and two regular tag team matches.
- None of these 25 matches ever opened or closed a WM event.
The plight of the female wrestler is actually worse than those deflating statistics immediately suggest.
Several of these 25 female-inclusive matches were still dominated by male talent. In fact, 3 out of the 4 longest matches in this group also included male wrestlers. So I decided to separate these 25 matches into two groups --there are 18 matches that are female-exclusive, and there are 7 matches that contain both male and female wrestlers. The match times for these two groups are provided below:
The 18 Female-Exclusive Matches:
- 8m 48s: Trish vs Mickie (WM 22, Title Match)
- 7m 17s: Trish vs Jazz vs Victoria (WM 19, Title Match)
- 6m 48s: Kelly and Menounos vs Beth and Eve (WM 28)
- 6m 16s: Trish vs Lita vs Jazz (WM 18, Title Match)
- 6m 12s: Richter vs Leilani Kai (WM 1, Title Match)
- 5m 56s: Beth and Melina vs Ashley and Maria (WM 24)
- 5m 08s: Sable vs Tori (WM 15, Title Match)
- 4m 53s: Victoria vs Molly (WM 20, Title Match)
- 4m 11s: Trish vs Christy (WM 21, Title Match)
- 3m 54s: Torrie vs Candice (WM 22)
- 3m 24s: 10-Diva Tag Match (WM 26)
- 3m 20s: Blayze vs Leilani Kai (WM 10, Title Match)
- 3m 13s: Melina vs Ashley (WM 23, Title Match)
- 2m 39s: Chyna vs Ivory (WM 17, Title Match)
- 2m 36s: Sable, Torrie vs Stacy, Miss Jackie (WM 20)
- 2m 25s: Terri vs Kat (WM 16)
- 1m 27s: Fatal 4-Way Pillow Fight (WM 19)
- 1m 25s: Moolah vs McIntyre (WM 2, Title Match)
The 7 Mixed-Gender Matches:
- 9m 38s: Chyna and Too Cool vs The Radicalz (WM 16)
- 9m 11s: Sable and Mero vs Luna and Goldust (WM 14)
- 7m 52s: Sherri, Savage vs Sapphire, Dusty Rhodes (WM 6)
- 6m 09s: Battle Royal with 24 Divas and Santino (WM 25)
- 6m 09s: Luna and Bigelow vs Doink and Dink (WM 10)
- 3m 53s: Sharmell, Booker T vs The Boogeyman (WM 22)
- 3m 15s: Trish, Snooki, Morrison vs LayCool, Ziggler (WM 27)
Further statistics worth noting:
- The average time for the 18 female-exclusive matches is 4m 26s.
- The average match time for the 7 mixed-gender matches is 6m 35s.
- The shortest mixed-gender match (3m 15s) is still longer than six of the 18 female-exclusive matches.
- 11 of the 18 female-exclusive matches didn't last five full minutes. Only 2 of the 7 mixed gender matches suffered that same fate.
- 2 of the 18 female-exclusive matches were pillow fights. This group also included a Playboy Evening Gown Match, a Catfight, and a Playboy Tag Team Lumberjill Match. Only one of these specific matches surpassed the 5-minute mark.
One final thing that stands out, is the WM dominance of Trish Stratus:
- 3 of the 4 longest female-exclusive matches included Trish as a wrestler.
- Trish's match time accounts for 33.2% of the total match time of the female-exclusive matches.
- Trish has also appeared in four championship matches throughout WM history. No other female wrestler competed in more than two such matches.
- When you also take into account the important non-wrestling role Trish played at WM 17 during the Vince vs Shane match, as well as WM 20 during the Jericho vs Christian match, it is obvious that Trish has been the most prominently featured female wrestler in WM history. What would these numbers look like if Trish didn't boost them up with several of her relatively lengthy matches?
The bottom line is that female wrestlers have always had an uphill battle when it comes to finding match time at WM events. The 13 earliest WM events rarely featured any female wrestlers at all. That situation has been improved over the last 15 years, but females still do not receive nearly the amount of match time that their male counterparts do receive.
And with Trish Stratus no longer around as a regular performer, the female championship scene at WM has disappeared altogether. Only 11 of the 25 female-inclusive WM matches were contested as one versus one battles. But as Mickie James vs Trish Stratus at WM 22 showed, interesting one on one stories can be created if WWE is willing to put forth the effort.
But they have unfortunately chosen the path of shallow gimmick matches and way too many random tag team matches. And somehow the most talented WWE female wrestler of the last 5 years, Beth Phoenix, gets lost in the shuffle without any meaningful WM feud or even a single championship match.
Female wrestlers have an extremely long way to go before they can be expected to gain some of their much-deserved WM spotlight.