Though it strangely didn’t receive much hype during the RAW broadcast, which is surprising, considering she was featured prominently on the show, Bianca Belair has officially become the longest-reigning black champion in WWE history, surpassing MVP’s 2007-08 United States Championship run by three days and counting.
Discussing what the title reign means to her on The Whole Story Podcast, Belair noted that while she’s only been on the main roster for a few years, her success has been a whirlwind.
“It means everything to me,” Belair said via Fightful. “I feel like I’m still fairly new to this. I know I’ve had a lot of success very quickly, but I’ve only been on the main roster for, [I’m] going on my third year. So to know that I’m currently the longest-reigning black champion in WWE history, it’s something that’s really hard to put into words. It’s an honor, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right, and it really puts, not pressure but significance on how big this moment is, and that it’s not just about me. I think that’s what I love about it the most is that I feel like it’s not just about me. It adds a why to what I’m doing. It’s representation, it’s inspiring others.”
Initially winning the strap off of Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, Texas, Belair has successfully defended her title on 10 occasions, with wins over Sonya Deville, Bayley, Alexa Bliss, and Lynch twice, including in a Triple Threat at Hell in a Cell 2022. If she can take care of business against Asuka at WrestleMania 39, Belair will officially enter Year 2 of her title reign, but even if “The Empress of Tomorrow” comes out on top, assuming the match is held on Day 2 of “The Showcase of the Immortals,” it will have still been 365 consecutive days between when “The EST of WWE” won the belt on April 2nd, 2022 and when she lost in on April 2nd, 2023.
Bianca Belair believes her WWE title reign is inspirational.
Later in her interview with The Whole Story Podcast, Belair detailed a story heading into WrestleMania 37, where Montez Ford, her real-life husband, and his daughter from a previous relationship put into perspective just how noteworthy her main event spot on the show meant to all around the world.
“Something that stuck with me that my husband said when we were talking about WrestleMania 37,” Belair said. “When I was one of the first black females to ever main-event WrestleMania, my husband, I think he had just turned 30, and he was saying, ‘I’m 30 years old, and this is the first time we’re seeing this.’ My stepdaughter, I think she was around eight or nine at the time, he said, ‘She’s eight years old, and she saw it at eight years old, so imagine how that’s gonna impact her, seeing it at a such a young age.’ So that really stuck with me, knowing that, where WWE is right now, it’s an amazing time where these unprecedented moments are happening, and I’m able to make my title reign be something that’s bigger than me, and it can inspire people and let them know that [if] you want to go do something, you go after it and you keep going with it as long as you can. So I’m riding this wave. I hope I’m doing it right. I want to be representation, I want to be inspiration, and I just really want my title reign to be more than just about me, and that’s what it’s becoming, and I think that that’s special.”
Belair makes a really good point about perspective. To older fans who have been with WWE since darn near the beginning, watching someone like Belair headline WrestleMania may lead to some culture shock, but for young fans like Ford’s daughter and even for someone like Ford, who falls somewhere in between the two, the presence of a star like “The EST of WWE” at the top of the card crashes that glass ceiling and normalizes that anyone can be a star within the promotion if they connect the right way. Whether her title reign ends at WrestleMania 39 or runs further, to King and Queen of the Ring, Money in the Bank, or even SummerSlam, Belair’s reign with the RAW Women’s Championship has been historically significant not just because it lasted longer than MVP’s United States Championship reign but because of how it has changed the perspective of what a main event star can be within the WWE at large.