WWE has been rightfully criticized by its fan base for not doing enough to promote women of color on its main roster product, and Nia Jax pointed out another example of this on the promotion’s main social media account.
In 2018, Nia Jax won the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 34 and Asuka won the SmackDown Women’s Championship at TLC, but they are the only two women of color to win titles on the main roster this year. Furthermore, Asuka is the only woman of color to main event a Pay Per View this year, and she did so in a Triple Threat match with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
WWE has always had a diversity problem, even as they like to promote themselves as an agent for change. While they do a better job of bridging this gap in 2018 than they did a decade ago, wrestling needs to see more meaningful change going into 2019.
Nia Jax called out WWE on Twitter for sharing a post on their main Twitter account that celebrated the Women’s Division’s success in 2018, but only shared images involving white women. She responded with emojis representing women of color with the excellent hashtag, #WeHereToo
Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Billie Kay, and Peyton Royce were all featured, but other wrestlers like Nia, Asuka, and Naomi had big moments on the main roster but were not featured.
Other positives include Naomi winning the first WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, Asuka winning the Royal Rumble, and Nia winning the Evolution Battle Royal, but The Boss and Hug Connection’s booking, the initial Evolution poster that only featured blonde white women, and the recent Mandy Rose/Naomi storyline are examples of why WWE still has room for improvement.
NXT has done a better job in this regard, as all of the NXT Women’s Champions this year – Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane, and Ember Moon – are women of color.
Furthermore, it isn’t easy to speak out with constructive criticism of your “employer” (WWE Superstars are independent contractors, hence the air quotes), especially something that involves said “employer” not equally promoting the people who work for them, so I commend Nia for her courage.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and speaks out about important issues, such as racism and body shaming. Even though fans dislike her for injuring Becky Lynch before Survivor Series, Nia has done plenty of positive things for the world this year, hence why she won the #SeeHER now Award.
Even though this was a small thing, it’s Twitter posts like this and PPV posters that exclude women of color which show the subtle ways WWE doesn’t treat its superstars equally. I hope this is something WWE becomes more aware of, and we’ll see if they take steps to doing better in this regard as we head into 2019.