• Charlotte in the purple (Getty) (Getty Images)
Here are ten women in professional wrestling you should be paying attention to.
By
Scarlett Harris

Source:
Zela
21 Apr 2016 - 7:25 AM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2016 - 7:30 AM

Sasha Banks

The 24-year-old who calls herself “The Legit Boss” is widely considered to be not only the best woman wrestler in the world today, but the best wrestler in the world, period.

Sasha Banks has told the story of her rise from wrestling fan to show stopping main eventer many times, but no amount of talking or writing about Banks can do her justice. You just have to watch her do the thing she seems born to do.

Matches to Watch:

Charlotte

Charlotte, the current and inaugural World Wrestling Entertainment Women’s Champion, is another woman “bred to wrestle”, being the daughter of one of the most decorated wrestlers in history, Ric Flair.

With a background in volleyball and personal training, Charlotte didn’t step into a ring until 2012, inspired by her late brother, a wrestler himself. She’s the perfect combination of athleticism and heritage, and watching her come into her own as one of the most gifted performers in WWE is a joy.

Matches to Watch:

Becky Lynch

Sasha Banks and Charlotte’s comrade in the abovementioned Triple Threat at WrestleMania last week was without a doubt the MVP of that match, despite being the underdog. Sometimes overlooked, Lynch always exceeds expectations and has become one of the most popular women in WWE who can always be depended on to deliver a stellar match.

Matches to Watch:

Bayley

Known as one of the Four Horsewomen with Charlotte, Banks and Lynch, Bayley is a fan favourite not only for her loveable, dorky wrestling fan gimmick but also for her in-ring work, which is perhaps second only to Banks. Acting as a matriarch of sorts for the women in NXT, she has brought out the best in her opponents, from the “monster heel” Nia Jax to the up-and-coming Carmella and Eva Marie.

Matches to Watch:

Bayley VS. Nia Jax NXT Women’s Championship Match at NXT Takeover: London.

Eva Marie

The most reviled woman in mainstream wrestling today.

Hired in 2013 especially for the reality show Total Divas, Eva did not have a background in wrestling nor, as the show portrays, did she show much of an interest in getting in the ring until she went to NXT a year ago.

Her place here might seem unwarranted as she’s still got leaps and bounds to go before she can legitimately compete with the other women I list. But Eva Marie shows that wrestling is not an innate ability and she’s putting in the work to slowly hone her skills.

Matches to Watch:

Asuka

Best known in Japan as Kana, Asuka made her stateside wrestling debut last year on NXT, exciting wrestling fans everywhere. Her devastating kicks and agility make her a unique addition to American wrestling and lead us to ask the question: who will be formidable opponents for Asuka now that she’s captured the NXT Women’s Championship from Bayley?

Matches to Watch:

Emma

One of the only women to give Asuka a run for her money is Melbourne wrestler Emma, who’s been ferried between Florida Championship Wrestling (now NXT) and WWE since 2011, becoming victim to the Total Divas era and WWE not really knowing what to do with its women wrestlers until NXT started to gain traction in 2014.

Since returning to NXT early last year, Emma has shone as a heel (bad guy… or woman!), forming an alliance with Dana Brooke who cheers Emma on in some of NXT’s best matches.

Matches to Watch:

 

WWE NXT TakeOver London 2015: Emma vs Asuka... by WomensOfWrestlingNetwotk

Kimber Lee

Arguably the most successful woman on the indie wrestling scene right now, Kimber Lee is a dual title holder at the time of writing, capturing the Shimmer Tag Team Championships with Cherry Bomb and being the first woman to hold Chikara’s major male title, proving that the women’s wrestling revolution is not just happening in WWE. (Chyna is widely considered the first woman to hold male gold in 1999 with the Intercontinental Championship.)

Matches to Watch:

Cheerleader Melissa

A former Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 50 Females list-topper in 2013, Cheerleader Melissa has wrestled all over the indies, capturing championships in organisations such as All Pro Wrestling, ChickFight and Shimmer. She is currently wrestling in one of the most exciting promotions on TV, Lucha Underground, as Mariposa.

Matches to Watch:

Melissa VS. Wesna Busic Submission or Knockout Match at Shimmer 26.

Santana Garrett

Perhaps the most decorated woman on this list, Santana Garrett holds no less than fourteen championships at the time of writing, from promotions such as Southern Championship Wrestling, where she is the Women’s and Cruiserweight Champion, American Pro Wrestling Alliance and Women of Wrestling.

She was named number four on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 50 Females this past year, beating out all but one (Sasha Banks) on this list. Garrett continues to enjoy success primarily on the indies, but is part of a new breed of women’s wrestler who occasionally makes appearances on NXT.

Matches to Watch:
Garrett VS. Aspyn Rose VS. Cherry Lane VS. Grace Storm VS. MJ Knight VS. Shaniah Arlyana VS. Shojo Machiko Seven-Way Nova Pro Wwrestling Women’s Championship Match, 2015. (Not available online.)
Garrett VS. Io Shirai Wonder of Stardom Championship Match at Goddess of Stars 2015. (Behind paywall.)

Author: Scarlett Harris is a writer and blogger at The Scarlett Woman, where she muses about femin- and other -isms. You can follow her on Twitter here.