|WWE Raw Women's Championship|
The Raw Women's Championship belt with default side plates
|Date established||April 3, 2016|
|Date won||August 23, 2020|
The WWE Raw Women's Championship is a women's professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE, defended on their Raw brand division. It is one of the top singles championships for women among WWE's three main brands, along with the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship on SmackDown and the NXT Women's Championship on NXT. The current champion is Asuka, who is in her second reign.
Introduced as the WWE Women's Championship on April 3, 2016 at WrestleMania 32, it replaced the Divas Championship and has a unique title history, separate from WWE's original Women's Championship and the Divas Championship. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. As a result of the 2016 draft, the championship became exclusive to Raw with a subsequent rename and SmackDown created the SmackDown Women's Championship as a counterpart title. In 2019, NXT's Women's Championship became the third main title for WWE's women's division. The Raw Women's Championship was the first women's title to headline a WWE pay-per-view event at Hell in a Cell in 2016 and, along with the SmackDown Women's Championship, was also defended in the main event match of WWE's flagship event WrestleMania in 2019.
On April 3, 2016, WWE Hall of Famer Lita appeared during the WrestleMania 32 pre-show: after recapping the history of women's professional wrestling in WWE, she declared that WWE's women would no longer be referred to as WWE Divas, but as "WWE Superstars" like their male counterparts. The term "Diva" had been criticized by some commentators, fans, and several past and present female wrestlers, including then-Divas Champion Charlotte, as diminishing the athletic abilities of female wrestlers and relegating them to "eye candy". Lita also unveiled a new title belt and revealed that the Divas Championship would be retired in favor of a new WWE Women's Championship. The inaugural champion was determined by a triple threat match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks later that night, which was originally scheduled for the Divas Championship. Charlotte, the final Divas Champion, became the first WWE Women's Champion by winning that match.
Following the reintroduction of the brand split in July 2016, then-champion Charlotte was drafted to the Raw brand, making the championship exclusive to Raw. It was subsequently renamed to Raw Women's Championship after SummerSlam in August, when SmackDown created the SmackDown Women's Championship as a counterpart title. The NXT Women's Championship would become WWE's third main women's title when the NXT brand, formerly the promotion's developmental territory, became WWE's third major brand in September 2019 when it was moved to the USA Network.
When the title was introduced, it shared its name with the original Women's Championship. However, the new title does not share the same title history as the original, which was unified with the Divas Championship in 2010, with the combined title inheriting the latter's lineage and history. WWE acknowledges the original championship as its predecessor, and notes that the lineage of female champions dates back to The Fabulous Moolah's reign in 1956.
The championship was the first women's title to be defended in a WWE pay-per-view main event, which was at Hell in a Cell in October 2016; this was also the first-ever women's Hell in a Cell match and the first women's match to main event a WWE pay-per-view. At the event, Charlotte (whose ring name was lengthened to Charlotte Flair) defeated Sasha Banks to become a three-time champion. After two years, it was again featured in the main event match of a pay-per-view, which was the first-ever all-women's pay-per-view Evolution in October 2018, where Ronda Rousey retained the title against Nikki Bella. Rousey then defended the title in a winner takes all triple threat match against SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in the main event of WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, which Lynch won. This was the first women's match to main event a WrestleMania – WWE's flagship event. On May 10, 2020, the championship became the first in history to be directly rewarded as a result of winning the Money in the Bank ladder match (taped April 15, 2020), which was revealed when the case was opened by Becky Lynch the following night on Raw. Lynch announced that she was forfeiting the title due to pregnancy and announced the Money in the Bank match winner, Asuka, as the new champion.
Brand designation history
When the championship was unveiled, there was no brand division as that had ended in August 2011. From its inception until the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016, then-champion Charlotte defended the title on both Raw and SmackDown.
|Date of transition||Brand||Notes|
|July 19, 2016||Raw||WWE Women's Champion Charlotte was drafted to Raw during the 2016 WWE Draft.|
The title was renamed to Raw Women's Championship after SmackDown introduced the SmackDown Women's Championship.
Championship belt design
The Raw Women's Championship belt is similar in appearance to the WWE Championship belt (introduced in 2014), with a few notable differences. The strap is smaller for the women, and white, as opposed to black. The die-cut WWE logo in the center plate sits on a red background, as opposed to a black one. The small print below the logo reads "Women's Champion". Gold divider bars separate the center plate from the belt's two side plates. In what has become a prominent feature of the majority of WWE's championship belts, the side plates feature a removable center section, which can be customized with the champion's logo; the default side plates feature the WWE logo on a red globe. This was the first women's title in WWE with customizable side plates.
In what has become a tradition since fall 2014, WWE has presented custom WWE Championship belts to winners in both male and female professional sports with the side plates commemorating the achievement. In September 2018, WWE began presenting custom Raw Women's Championship belts to winners in just female sports. The first of these was given to the Seattle Storm for winning the 2018 WNBA Finals. Custom Raw Women's Championship belts have since been presented to the United States Women's National Soccer Team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, a team that previously received a custom WWE Championship for this feat in 2015, and to Bianca Andreescu for winning the 2019 Women's US Open.
As of October 28, 2020, there have been 18 reigns between 8 champions. Charlotte Flair, then known simply as Charlotte, was the inaugural champion. Sasha Banks has the most reigns at five. Becky Lynch's sole reign is the longest at 399 days while Banks' fourth reign is the shortest at 8 days. Asuka is the oldest champion, winning the championship at the age of 38, while Banks is the youngest as she first won the title at 24 years old.
- When she became the inaugural champion, her ring name was just Charlotte.
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Lita introduced the all-new WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania, and revealed that Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will compete for this title tonight.
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- Powell, Jason (October 30, 2016). "Powell's WWE Evolution live review: Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella for the Raw Women's Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing match for the Smackdown Women's Championship, Mae Young Classic Finals". Pro Wrestling .NET. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
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- Pappolla, Ryan (September 26, 2018). "Triple H sends custom title to WNBA Champions Seattle Storm". WWE. Retrieved September 26, 2018. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- Triple H [@TripleH] (July 8, 2019). "An inspiring performance and fourth FIFA Women's World Cup win for the U.S. Soccer Women's National Team. Congratulations to Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and the entire team and coaching staff for helping us all believe in One Nation One Team! This custom WWE Women's Championship should help continue the celebration!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- WWE.com Staff (July 10, 2015). "Megan Rapinoe celebrates with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- Triple H [@TripleH] (September 8, 2019). "Her first appearance in the US Open .. Her first grand slam title.. The first Canadian to win the US Open... And now her first WWE Raw Women's Championship to celebrate! Congrats Bianca Andreescu!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.