WWE's Stephanie McMahon on the women's wrestling revolution, women's Royal Rumble and Monday Night Raw

Stephanie McMahon, WWE's chief brand officer.
Stephanie McMahon, WWE's chief brand officer. Photo credit: Getty

Monday Night Raw has been WWE's flagship show for 25 years - revolutionising the sports entertainment world and providing some of the most memorable television for wrestling fans.

Stephanie McMahon is not only a wrestling fan - she is part of wrestling royalty. The daughter of the legendary Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon has been a part of the industry since the day she was born.

Indeed Monday Night Raw holds fond memories for the 41-year-old mother of three. Not only was it the brainchild of her father but it was also where she met her husband, WWE performer Triple H (Paul Levesque).

But as Raw heads towards celebrating its 25th anniversary, McMahon takes great pride in the role women now play compared to that of 1993, when they were nothing more than an afterthought.

Wrestling's women revolution has been a long time coming for most fans of the squared circle.

Despite periods few and far between when the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, Chyna and AJ Lee had central roles on WWE programming, for the most part 'Divas' were reserved for the odd bra and panties match or playing the third wheel in a love triangle storyline.

Trish Stratus and Lita shared a high profile match on Raw in 2004.
Trish Stratus and Lita shared a high profile match on Raw in 2004. Photo credit: WWE supplied

Those days are well and truly in the rear view mirror. McMahon's husband has played a major role in bringing women to the forefront of the business.

Levesque's role as a talent recruitment executive has seen him search the world for the best female wrestlers on the planet.

Stephanie McMahon and her husband Triple H.
Stephanie McMahon and her husband Triple H. Photo credit: Getty

Combine that with giving those women a more central role on shows like Raw - it is now often the men playing second fiddle on key storylines.

McMahon, WWE's chief brand officer, says it didn't happen by accident.

"What my husband started doing was to recruit elite athletes from all over the wall - be it male or female," she says.

"The elite women were trained as the men were. He started giving them the opportunity to tell stories in the ring the same as the men.

"The result was a huge groundswell of our audience chanting and cheering for our women.

The key point was in 2015, McMahon says.

"We had a women's match that lasted all of 30 seconds and the fans created [a] hashtag (#GiveDivasAChance) - it trended worldwide for three days.

"Fans were calling for more athleticism, more character development and better storylines for our women.

The Royal Rumble is arguably WWE's second biggest yearly event behind Wrestlemania - and for 30 years the main event match has been reserved for men.

Now women will get their chance to shine on the same night as their male counterparts in their own match.

McMahon got emotional when she reflected on the night she made the historic announcement, on Raw, in December. A moment she admits was her favourite in over 20 years appearing on the show.

"We all broke character that night and we had a very real moment with each other but also with the audience," she says.

"I had the chance to acknowledge the women who were in the ring with me, the women of WWE and women who has ever stepped foot inside a wrestling ring," she said.

"When the fans chanted 'yes' - I got goosebumps from head to toe. It was an emotional moment."

McMahon wasn't privy to the mind-set of her father when he launched Raw on cable television on January 11 1993.

Sixteen-years-old at the time, McMahon said that despite her love of wrestling since she can remember, she had other things going on at the time and doesn't recall watching episode one.

But she still gets chills when discussing what she thought the first time she watched Monday Night Raw.

"I was a junior in high school back then and I think I was probably just trying to figure out who I wanted to be in life - I wasn't necessarily part of those conversations (with my dad) at that time.

"I have watched WWE programming the duration of my entire life but I do not remember the very first Monday Night Raw, but what I do remember is the feeling I got the first time I did watch Raw.

"I remember feeling that something had changed - there was a shift.

"We went from Saturday morning programing to suddenly becoming a live TV show.  Out tag phrase was uncooked, uncut and uncensored. It was this direct connection to the audience.

"It felt electric and I still remember that feeling, even now when discussing Raw."

The 25th Anniversary of Raw airs live on Sky TV (the Box) Tuesday 23rd January 2pm.



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