Charlotte Flair. Becky Lynch. Sasha Banks. Bayley. The Four Horsewomen led the Women’s Evolution and changed Sports Entertainment forever. Now, learn the full story behind their rise in WWE!
Women’s grappling has come a long way from its humble beginnings in seedy circus sideshows and burlesque houses. From Laura Bennett to Cora Livingstone, Mildred Burke to Madusa Miceli (Alundra Blayze), Trish Stratus to Beth Phoenix, every era has had its top drawing female superstar. What makes this current period of women’s professional wrestling unique is that there is an insanely deep pool of talent. There isn’t just the one woman at the top of the mountain. There are four, the original “Four Horsewomen” of NXT. (Don’t get me started on that other stable using the same moniker.)
The story neatly weaves between television storylines and the reality of how these four ladies solidified their friendship while growing as performers and athletes together at NXT’s Performance Center, before they were called up to the big leagues. Well, three of them, anyway. The conflict arises when all the women are called up to WWE’s main roster except for everyone’s favorite underdog, Bayley, who then struggles with watching her three besties live out her childhood dream. She’s heartbroken, but if she’s going to get her own promotion, she’ll have to find her motivation and work harder than she ever has before.
Dennis Hopeless does an insane job scripting this WWE ongoing. In an age of pro wrestling where kayfabe has been declared all but dead, he’s basically tasked with writing a modern Apter Mag. He actually references the issue in this chapter, when Bayley has trouble reconciling her real life feelings and her kayfabe feud with Sasha Banks. It’s a fine line, and Hopeless walks it with extreme confidence and nuanced flair.
I always love seeing Serg Acuna’s name attached to these Boom! Studios WWE books. Acuna’s attention to detail is ludicrous. Likenesses are ridiculously accurate. One of my favorite sequences, not only in this book, but in the entire WWE ongoing, features The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Dusty’s there, doing what Dusty did, inspiring the next generation of WWE Superstars to make their mark on the industry. Everything from Dream’s expressions and posture to the deep forehead scars is all dead on. It’s a touching and well executed tribute to one of the greatest men to ever lace up a pair of boots.
WWE Volume 4: Women’s Evolution takes a character that is already over as one of WWE’s top babyfaces and somehow manages to make her more likeable than she already was. This book seamlessly blends TV storylines, back stories, known personal histories, and believable backstage workings to give diehard WWE fans a complete experience.
WWE Volume 4: Women’s Evolution SC collects WWE issues #14 – 17. Published by Boom! Studios, available 19 December 2018. Written by Dennis Hopleless, illustrated by Serg Acuna and Kendall Goode (chapter 3, pages 1-7, chapter 4, pages 8-14), color by Doug Garbark, letters by Jim Campbell, cover by Dan Mora.