The year 2009 was considered to be a very dark time for women's wrestling in the WWE. Though the TV-PG rating rendered bra-and-panties matches and Playboy magazine covers obsolete, WWE's female talents at the time were given an average of two minutes on RAW and SmackDown (women's matches were slightly longer on WWE Superstars and the pay-per-views) while taking part in match stipulations such as pajama pillow fights, bikini contests and costume matches as well as competing in multi-woman tag team matches with no backstory whatsoever.
WWE's treatest of women continued until 2015 when angry fans voiced their displeasure regarding a 30-second throwaway tag team match between the Bella Twins versus Paige and Emma on RAW. At that time, FCW Wrestling was rebranded as NXT Wrestling as NXT's female talents started to get more distinct characters and more meaningful storylines and are not treated as eye candy. It was also the NXT shows on the newly launched WWE Network that fans' attitude towards women's wrestling had changed. Though the likes of A.J. Lee and Paige totally defied the model Diva archetype, it was Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley (AKA the Four Horsewomen) who not only proved that women could be just as good if not better than the men but also destroy the glamour model type made famous by the likes of Kelly Kelly and Maryse. In addition, the Horsewomen had unique personalities and are not cookie-cutter compared to most of the 2009 WWE Divas roster. The Horsewomen also had plenty of charisma, something that most of the 2009 Divas didn't have.
The Horsewomen's WWE success helped paved the way for very talented women who didn't fit the Divas mold such as Asuka, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley and Shayna Blaszler. It was Triple H who helped change the WWE Women's Division as he trained the women the same way as the men by allowing the women to punch and strike each other and not pull each other's hair. In addition, fans also have stopped using women's matches as an excuse to use the bathroom or get a snack as fans now watch women's matches.
Fast forward to 2021. Ever since Nick Khan became WWE's president last year, he started to phase out Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's backstage powers and have given them to John Laurinaitis and Bruce Prichard. It became very evident that Laurinaitis and Prichard were not fans of women's wrestling and much of women's match times have been increasingly been given to men which may explain why women's action on SmackDown had declined as of late.
Fans would have cared less back in 2009 but these days fans care more about the WWE Women's Division as fans' respect towards the women has grown as of late.