“Raw” Women’s Champion Bianca Belair is firmly established as one of the top stars in WWE, and as a Black woman, she represents even more to many fans — a wider change across the WWE talent roster.
“I do feel like I’ve come into the WWE at an amazing time, where there’s a lot of Black representation on the roster, both the female side and the male side,” Belair said during an interview with ESSENCE. “I was fortunate to be the first Black female to main event WrestleMania, and I even earned an ESPY off of that match.”
Belair is technically correct — she won the “SmackDown” Women’s Championship from Sasha Banks in the main event of Night One of WrestleMania 37. Banks is also Black, meaning the two share the honor of being the first Black women to main event the Showcase of the Immortals, and they shared the ESPY victory, as well. Banks has been on the outs with WWE since walking out of “WWE Raw” since May, however, which may have been the source of Belair’s omission — though recent reports indicate Banks may be on her way back to WWE programming.
Belair lost her championship to a returning Becky Lynch at WWE SummerSlam 2021, but defeated Lynch to win the “Raw” Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 38. That led to a rematch at SummerSlam this past weekend, where Belair once again prevailed.
Those memorable title matches are just part of the bigger picture for Belair. She’s also proud of how she’s been presented on WWE programming.
“I’m blessed and fortunate to be in the WWE where I’m encouraged to go out there and be unapologetically myself,” Belair said. “Just showing up as myself and encouraging other people to do the same is amazing.”
Belair appears to be on course for a future title defense against Bayley, who made a surprise return at SummerSlam alongside Dakota Kai and IYO SKY (formerly known as Io Shirai in “NXT”). Belair and Bayley previously feuded over the “SmackDown” Women’s title in 2021, leading to major title matches at WrestleMania Backlash and Hell in a Cell.
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