Math is universal; it’s a universal language. As such, statistics exist as irrefutable data. When done correctly and accurately, when it comes to comparison and communication, the numbers don’t lie. Stats serve as a way to compare group A to group B, and in the case of women’s wrestling, it compares promotion A to promotion B.
Bell To Belles advocates for positive advancements in women’s wrestling, and that includes pointing out the differences in how women’s wrestling is treated and built compared to men’s wrestling. Are they given the same amount of matches? Are they given the same time? Are the rosters equal in numbers? These questions can be answered by stats.
Short answer? No. There’s a systematic pattern found throughout women’s wrestling data collected from any year past or present.
Bell To Belles wants a foundation that helps accurately track the advancement (or lack of) of women’s wrestling and how it’s treated. We’ve shared data in the past, but the best way to track advancement is to be consistent. 2022 will serve as a starting point for yearly data in the future. From here, we’ll collect women’s wrestling data every year, being sure to include data from the first half and second half of the year, as well.
Figures were gathered for promotions that have weekly TV programming; the thought being that TV wrestling reaches the most amount of fans, and thus has the most amount of influence. TV programming also included YouTube shows, which were also easily accessible, to get the bigger picture for the promotions involved.
Data was only collected from programming that had complete information available. Companies involved were WWE (separating RAW, SmackDown, NXT and NXT UK), AEW (separating Dark Elevation, Dark, Dynamite and Rampage), Impact, NWA. Shows were separated except where noted in the graph explanations. Thought MLW has consistent programming, they developed a women’s title and division mid-year, and so they were not included for 2022.
Categories included are women’s match %, women’s match time %, female roster %, women’s pay-per-view %, women’s pay-per-view match time %, women’s title %, cards with zero women’s matches, and cards with two or more women’s matches. Figures were collected for the first half of 2022 and the second half of 2022 for further comparison, and then combined for 2022 as a whole.
Information was collected from Cagematch, Wrestlingdata, and in some cases, by revisiting the recorded shows.
The idea is to compare women’s divisions to men’s divisions by calculating women’s data to total promotional data, getting a clear picture of differences in treatment, so only TV promotions with both divisions were included.
The above is a lot of information to digest. Don’t fear: graphic representation follows all of these words.
The main goal of this collection is to highlight the systematic treatment of women’s wrestling. You’ll be tempted to compare promotions, and that’s a fair action. But remember to step back and see the bigger picture: women are not treated equally.
Analysis will be provided minimally. Each reader should come to their own conclusions. Without further ado:
In the graph above and below, NXT UK had zero pay-per-views and NXT had zero pay-per-views in the first half of the year. Because show specific roster is shared in both WWE and AEW pay-per-views, that data was combined for one %.
In the above graph, titles from WWE shows were combined to accommodate the cross-brand WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. If at least one woman competed for a title, that title was included for women’s data.
The tables below show the changes from the first half of 2022 to the second half of 2022 (in %). Purple represents an increase, yellow represents a decrease. Remember that if the number of cards with zero women’s matches increase, the more negatively that reflects on the promotion.
As you can see, there’s rarely a huge jump in percentages. The idea that some fans clamor for more women’s wrestling equality, and the promotions fail to answer, is disheartening. The bigger picture here, is that women’s wrestling is simply not treated equally. It’s promising that Impact allows there women to compete for more titles, and it’s promising that NXT has a high % of women on their roster, but the fact remains the majority of the categories never reach close to 50%.
The data is only from 2022 alone, so perhaps we can remain hopeful for the future.