WWE's 'Four Horsewomen' reflect on past, present and future

Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch stand together in the ring after Bayley and Banks squared off at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. The Four Horsewomen, as they've come to be known, have had numerous era-defining matches against one another. WWE

When Monday Night Raw returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time in nearly 10 years on Monday night, it will do so with a match befitting the WWE's flagship program coming back to its unofficial home.

A tag team bout pitting Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair against Sasha Banks and Bayley is the culmination of a month's worth of buildup on WWE TV, which will feature Sunday at Clash of Champions in a pair of women's title matches.

The group, collectively known as The Four Horsewomen, has been on the leading edge of a groundbreaking era in women's wrestling in the WWE. All four women debuted with WWE's NXT developmental brand between 2012 and 2013, and their careers will forever be intertwined because of what they both accomplished together and also against one another.

From their February 2015 Fatal Four-Way match at NXT TakeOver Rival, through era-defining matches in NXT like Banks vs. Bayley, a WrestleMania triple threat between Banks, Flair and Lynch, and ultimately the first ever women's match to main event WrestleMania, which featured Flair, Lynch and Ronda Rousey, it's impossible to overstate their impact.

Monday's tag team match will mark just the second time all four will be in the same match since leaving NXT (the first was Survivor Series in November 2016). Before that, the last time they had all been in the same ring for a match was an NXT house show on May 15, 2015, in Philadelphia -- the day The Four Horsewomen name was coined as both a tribute and a play on the legendary Four Horsemen faction, helmed by Charlotte Flair's father, Ric.

Flair, Lynch, Bayley and Banks spoke to ESPN to reflect upon their journeys together in the WWE and moments that shaped their careers.

What are your earliest memories of the rest of the 'Four Horsewomen'?

Sasha Banks: The first one I met was Charlotte Flair. We were in class together doing a drill and our coach told us to lock up and instantly we just snapped -- the chemistry was just there. From the instant of the lockup, I knew I would be making magic with her in the future in that ring.

Charlotte Flair: The very first time Sasha and I locked up in the ring, [WWE developmental trainer] Sara Del Rey was like, "Wow, that's chemistry." I'll remember that forever.

Bayley: The first day I met Sasha, they kicked everyone out of the gym, except for me and her, and the trainers and told us to have a match. We had never met, I didn't know her at all.

Banks: I was Bayley's tryout match when she first came down to FCW/NXT. And the chemistry was just right there, too. They just told us to go out there -- I didn't know anything about her -- and just have a match. We did and it was just magical.

Bayley: Charlotte and Paige took me around and introduced me to everyone at FCW in Tampa. Charlotte was kind of like the leader. Maybe leader isn't the right word. But I felt like Charlotte was always kind of the mom of the group.

Flair: When Becky came in later, she was just this larger than life, charismatic, nicest person I've ever met. Not that she was so nice, she just had that charm -- that Irish charm. She had taken time off for a few years, so it was just a matter of time to figure out things again, to feel where she was in the ring.

Becky Lynch: The other three saw how much I loved this, how much I wanted this to work and things weren't easy for me. We all kind of worked together and we were so competitive, we always wanted to one-up the other person. We all wanted to do a better job. Nobody wants to be left behind. I think that really pushed us to grow and keep improving.

Banks: Becky was really cool. Me and her became friends and it turned into B.A.E. -- Best At Everything. We were a tag team for a little bit.

Lynch: I was always the underdog, the one that wasn't the shiny one in the spotlight. I was probably the comedian of the group, I suppose, when we began. The clown, if you will. The one always making jokes and things, trying to be nice to everybody and get along with everybody. Bayley was like that, too.

When did each of you realize what the Four Horsewomen could be?

Bayley: For me, it was when we had the Fatal Four-Way at NXT TakeOver: Rival in February 2015 when I knew as a group we had a chance to be something special and make history.

Flair: I knew that we were all talented, but when the four of us faced off together I think it was the first time you realized, wow, there are four individual stars with characters, and the depth of the division in NXT at the time and just the chemistry the four of us had together. I think that's what stood out the most.

Banks: I feel like that match is what really put us on the map and how people started calling us The Four Horsewoman. We just wanted to make magic and we wanted people to care. We wanted people to watch our matches and go, "Wow, these girls can definitely change the game." And now here we are.

Lynch: We all had similar ambitions. We're all very different people and we all love this business. We all come from such different walks of life, but we just had an ambition and a drive and just wanted to do well.

Flair: It was one of the first NXT traveling shows when we left Florida. NXT was going out of state. We had a Fatal Four-Way [at a non-televised event] and that's when we were first called The Four Horsewomen. It wasn't like, OK, we're gonna call ourselves this. Someone called us this and we were like, this is us. I hate to use the word organic, but it was very organic. I just remember we were being interviewed and they took a picture of the four of us backstage.

Lynch: I do remember sitting around doing an interview with all four of us in Philadelphia. It was when NXT was just starting to travel. We were there at the beginning of all that stuff when NXT was taking off. We had gone from wrestling in front of 30, 40 people to now we were traveling and selling out any arena or theater we were going to. We were watching NXT grow and The Four Horsewomen was such an important part of that.

Bayley: We didn't necessarily talk to each other about making history or changing anything. It was more just something understood between us.

Banks: Before, they were telling us we had to train like "Divas." No one ever explained what that was. We wanted just to be superstars and we wanted to do it just like the men. Every class, every house show, every match we just wanted to make special and we wanted people to say, "Whoa, these girls are amazing and they can actually have a better match than the guys." That's what I wanted every time I went out. I think they had the same mentality, too. I think that's why we were all just so connected. We worked our butts off for people to respect our craft in the ring.

What has it been like for each of you to see how far women's wrestling has come since you joined Raw and SmackDown?

Lynch: When we were in NXT, you could see women on the main roster were only getting two- or three-minute matches. You could see the fans were like, we could see what they're doing down there in NXT. We can see that women's wrestling can be awesome, that it could be great. And from there, we knew once we came up to the main roster, we were gonna make one hell of a difference.

"I hope the future holds the four of us in a Fatal Four Way in the main event of WrestleMania. That's what I hope the future holds. I'm not saying it's this year, next year, the next or the next after that. But eventually I truly believe that the Fatal Four Way will be a main event match at WrestleMania." Charlotte Flair

Banks: I really felt like during WrestleMania 32, when they introduced the new women's title and dropped the Divas title and dropped the name, it told us, "You're not gonna be in your own little section."

Lynch: We all just wanted to be the best. But we knew as well that we couldn't be the best alone. I've been saying that for ages. You can't do this alone. You need competition, you need people to step up, you need people who are gonna challenge, people who are gonna push you to your limits. I can't main event WrestleMania by myself. I need people to do that. I think we all did that. We pushed each other.

Bayley: The women being in the main event of WrestleMania 35 was incredible. It was something we had talked about, but actually seeing it happen was something different. It was amazing.

Banks: From having the women's match cut at WrestleMania 29 just before they went out to women main eventing, the growth is just so beautiful to see. To be a part of it, I'm so blessed to be here at this time.

Flair: If there hadn't been The Four Horsewomen, I wouldn't have been in that spot. It took the four of us together, working together all the way up from NXT to the main roster to get us to that point. There wouldn't have been a "Queen" without a "Boss." There wouldn't have been a "Boss" without "The Hugger." There wouldn't have been "The Man" without the "Queen." All four of us needed each other to get to where we are today. And that's my opinion. I just hope that at WrestleMania 35 that Bayley and Sasha felt as much a part of it, because they were very much a part of it.

What does this match at MSG mean to you?

Bayley: The four of us will always be tied together and having a match with all of us in a place like MSG is special. I came up to the main roster last and this is one of the only times we've all been in the ring together on the main roster.

Lynch: It's a pretty big moment especially in somewhere like MSG, which is so historical. It's a whole different kettle of fish now and I'm a whole different woman now.

Banks: It's really crazy to know that I'm gonna be in the ring with these girls that I started with and I haven't been in the ring with them for a very long time.

Flair: Our stories are so intertwined if you go back to the beginning. But I will say for Monday, this is the first time that the four of us have been on Raw together -- just the four of us in a solo storyline.

What does the future hold for the Four Horsewomen?

Bayley: They've all been champions and they probably will be champions again. But now it's me. I don't think any of us are content or satisfied, even though we've achieved so much.

Lynch: Just more main events. Just constantly main eventing and generating interest, whether it's the main event or not. And that's what we're doing. Look, that's all I've ever wanted -- for women's wrestling to be the coolest thing on TV, for people to be talking, for people to have opinions, for people to be so invested they can't miss our matches.

Banks: I want to main event every pay-per-view, I want to main event every TV, I want to main event every house show. I want it just like as the guys do -- I want to have it all. I'm never gonna be satisfied. Even when I get that, I'm gonna want more. That's just the kind of person that I am.

Flair: I hope the future holds the four of us in a Fatal Four-Way in the main event of WrestleMania. That's what I hope the future holds. I'm not saying it's this year, next year, the next or the next after that. But eventually I truly believe that the Fatal Four-Way will be a main event match at WrestleMania.