It’s been another jam-packed year of exciting WWE action, full of historic moments and unforgettable achievements.
This year was a game changer for women’s wrestling, which has rapidly become just as popular as the men’s side of the sport.
As the curtain falls on an exhilarating 2021, GiveMeSport Women looks back at five of the most iconic moments featuring WWE’s female superstars.
5. Rhea Ripley wins first title
Rhea Ripley burst onto the scene after making waves on NXT, where she became the first ever UK Women’s Champion. Despite only making her main roster debut in March, she has quickly established herself as a fan favourite on Monday Night Raw.
The Nightmare made an instant impact when she challenged former red brand champion Asuka to a title challenge.
On night two of WrestleMania 37, less than a month after her debut, Ripley defeated The Empress of Tomorrow to clinch the Raw Women’s Championship and become the first ever female Australian champion in WWE history.
4. Nikki A.S.H cashes in
The former Nikki Cross introduced WWE to her new gimmick this summer — the ‘Almost a Superhero’.
While some criticised the new persona, the new Nikki A.S.H proved her doubters wrong with one of the most iconic moments of the year.
After qualifying for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, the Scot fought off her seven opponents on the pay-per-view to reach the briefcase, guaranteeing her a title match opportunity.
A.S.H wasted absolutely no time and cashed in her contract the following night against Charlotte Flair on Raw, who she defeated to win the red brand title for the first time in her career.
3. Bianca Belair historic win at Royal Rumble
Bianca Belair has enjoyed a decorated 2021 and one of her most influential moments came back in January at Royal Rumble.
The EST of WWE took part in a 30-woman match, where all participants were fighting for a spot on the WrestleMania 37 title card.
Belair was the final woman standing after last eliminating Ripley. Not only did she set a new record for longest time in the ring at 56 minutes, but Belair’s victory made her the first African-American star since The Rock to win a Royal Rumble match.
2. Becky Lynch returns
An ongoing theme throughout 2021 was the speculation over Becky Lynch’s return to the ring.
The Man went on hiatus in May 2020 to give birth to her first child, Roux. After 15 months away from the company, she finally made her long-awaited return at SummerSlam.
Lynch gatecrashed Belair’s scheduled title match against Carmella and defeated The EST in just 26 seconds to claim the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
She has since embraced a heel turn and adopted her new nickname Big Time Becks.
1. Belair and Banks headline WrestleMania
The most iconic and influential moment of 2021 came when Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks headlined WrestleMania 37.
The SmackDown rivals became the first Black women in history to headline the pay-per-view in front of more than 25,000 fans. Belair and Banks closed the show with their title clash, which saw The EST of WWE win her first championship.
Despite their onscreen feud, the two women couldn’t help but break character and celebrate both the build up and the climax of the moment.
“I love the fact that this is not just something that’s just about me and it’s not just about making history. It’s about going out and representing for women and for Black women,” Belair said.
Banks echoed: “This is the first time ever that two African American women will be headlining at WrestleMania. So this is crazy because it’s bigger than me and I think that’s what the beautiful thing is.”
It’s certainly been a year to remember for women’s wrestling and 2022 promises to deliver even more action, excitement, and empowering moments.
You can watch Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown live every week in the UK on BT Sport.