Women's professional wrestling
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Professional wrestling is a dramatic enactment of wrestling as a spectator sport. As is the norm for this sport, women's professional wrestling is organized by wrestling federations called promotions. Some promotions are exclusively for women, while others have separate divisions for women. Among the nations that have women's professional wrestling are Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some promotions such as WWE traditionally don't announce the weight of female competitors during their ring entrances due to the old adage "you don't ask a woman her weight".
Pro wrestler Madison Eagles and her husband Ryan co-founded the Pro Wrestling Women's Alliance (PWWA) in 2007. This independent promotion is affiliated with Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia, as well as with Shimmer Women Athletes and Global Force Wrestling of the United States.
It is the only all female wrestling promotion in Australia.
In Bolivian, female wrestlers called Fighting Cholitas dress in the traditional clothing of the Aymara people. They are the inspiration for the comic book Super Cholita, which premiered in 2007.
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The wrestling circuit Beauty Slammers: Ladies of Wrestling was founded in 2000.
NCW Femmes Fatales is an independent promotion founded in 2009; its headquarters are in Montreal.
In Japan, women's professional wrestling is called 女子プロレス (joshi puroresu), or joshi puro for short. Women's wrestling is usually handled by promotions that specialize in joshi puroresu, rather than by divisions of otherwise male-dominated promotions. Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, a men's promotion, had a small women's division that competed with women wrestlers from other promotions.
1960s – 1970s
All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (est. 1968) was the dominant joshi puro organization from the 1970s to the 1990s. AJW's first major star was Mach Fumiake in 1974, followed in 1975 by Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda (the "Beauty Pair").
In the early 1980s, Jaguar Yokota and Devil Masami became the stars of a second-wave of women wrestlers who succeeded the glamor-oriented generation defined by the Beauty Pair. That decade later saw the rise of the "Crush Gals" Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, a tag team who achieved a level of mainstream success as women wrestlers that not only was unprecedented in Japan, but unheard of in the history of women's professional wrestling. The Crush Gals' long-running feud with Kaoru "Dump" Matsumoto and her Gokuaku Domei ("Atrocious Alliance") stable was extremely popular in Japan; their televised matches were some of the highest-rated broadcasts in the history of Japanese television, and the promotion regularly filled arenas to capacity.
In the 1990s, US wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer rated several joshi puroresu matches five stars—a rarely awarded perfect score on the Cornette scale—in his periodical the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Prominent joshi wrestlers of the 1990s include Manami Toyota, Bull Nakano, Akira Hokuto, Cutie Suzuki, Aja Kong, Megumi Kudo, Shinobu Kandori, Kyoko Inoue, Takako Inoue (who is unrelated to Kyoko), Dynamite Kansai, and Mayumi Ozaki.
Late 1990s to present
Some joshi have a high-flying style that precedes the X Division of men's wrestling in North America. Since, for cultural reasons, women wrestlers are not divided into weight classes, these wrestlers compete for special titles comparable to the "junior heavyweight" class in men's wrestling. Arsion's Sky High of Arsion Championship (est. 1999) and NEO Japan's High Speed Championship (est. 2009) are two such titles.
In Mexico, professional wrestling is called lucha libre ("free fight"), and women wrestlers are called luchadoras.
The Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), or World Wrestling Council, has a women's division. The top of the division is the CMLL World Women's Championship. Keiko "Bull" Nakano won the first CMLL championship in 1992.
That same year, wrestling promoter Antonio Peña left the CMLL to form a new promotion called the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). In addition to the annual Reina de Reinas Championship (Queen of Queens Championship), AAA also organizes the World Mixed Tag Team Championship, in which tag teams of one woman and one man compete.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2016)
Pro-Wrestling: EVE is an independent promotion founded in 2009.
Other independent promotions include Bellatrix Female Warriors and the LCW Roses.
In the United States, there are two major professional wrestling promotions that have a unified division with a title: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). There are also a number of independent promotions with women's wrestling divisions and championships. The largest league of independent promotions is the National Wrestling Alliance. Two women-only promotions are Shimmer Women Athletes (est. 2005) in Illinois and its newer sister promotion, Shine Wrestling (est. 2012) in Florida.
The most widely known promotion in the United States is WWE. In WWE, female professional wrestlers are members of the Female Superstars division (formerly WWE Divas). Women compete in singles competitions and tag teams. The primary WWE championships for female competitors are the WWE Raw Women's Championship on Raw (which is the successor to the WWE Divas Championship, which in turn succeeded the original WWE Women's Championship created in 1956) and the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship on SmackDown. The NXT Women's Championship is contested for in WWE's developmental territory Women's division.
The women's division of professional wrestling has maintained a recognized world champion since 1937, when Mildred Burke won the original World Women's title. She then formed the World Women's Wrestling Association in the early 1950s and recognized herself as the first champion, although the championship would be vacated upon her retirement in 1956. The NWA however, ceased to acknowledge Burke as their Women's World champion in 1954, and instead acknowledged June Byers as champion after a controversial finish to a high-profile match between Burke and Byers that year. Upon Byers' retirement in 1964, The Fabulous Moolah, who won a junior heavyweight version of the NWA World Women's Championship (the predecessor to the original WWE Women's Championship) in a tournament back in 1958, was recognized by most NWA promoters as champion by default.
WWE has three active women's championships: two for their main roster's brands, the WWE Raw Women's Championship and WWE SmackDown Women's Championship, and one for their developmental brand, the NXT Women's Championship. The Fabulous Moolah is recognized as WWE's first Women's Champion, with her reign beginning in 1956. In 2002, WWE began what was called the WWE brand extension, where wrestlers and championships became exclusive to one of WWE's brands. At first, the Women's Championship could be defended on any brand, but later that year, it became exclusive to the Raw brand. In 2008, WWE created the WWE Divas Championship as a counterpart title for the SmackDown brand. The two titles were eventually unified in September 2010. The Women's Championship was then retired in favor of keeping the Divas Championship, which became briefly known as the Unified WWE Divas Championship. The brand extension ended in 2011. In April 2016 at WrestleMania 32, the Divas Championship was retired and subsequently replaced with a new WWE Women's Championship, which has a separate title history from the original. WWE then reintroduced the brand extension in July 2016 and the Women's Championship (now Raw Women's Championship) became exclusive to Raw. In August 2016, SmackDown created the SmackDown Women's Championship as a counterpart title. On WWE's developmental brand NXT, women compete for the NXT Women's Championship, which was established in 2013.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's flagship championship is the TNA Knockouts Championship. TNA calls its female wrestlers TNA Knockouts. The promotion formerly had a tag team championship, the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
Shimmer's main championship is the Shimmer Championship, and its tag team title is the Shimmer Tag Team Championship. Shine's main championship is the Shine Championship; its tag team title is the Shine Tag Team Championship.
WWE: Mae Young Classic
In 2016, WWE is announced a women's tournament for the Summer of 2017. The tournament is named after Mae Young. It was taped on July 13 and 14 at Full Sail University, the site of NXT and The Cruiserweight Classic.
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