In case you hadn’t heard, WWE had a Divas Revolution last year. Since then, we’ve seen the booking of the women’s division improve and their matches be given more time (well, most of the time). The current crop of women are all working hard to show that they can work just as hard as the men, and we’ve seen stars created out of Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte during their year on the main roster.
When you look at the past for WWE’s Divas division, there have been a lot of great wrestlers to come through. While some of them were given decent runs during their tenure, some arguably weren’t given the chance to truly impress, and in this current age of pushing women in sports, they’d be a great fit to come back to the company and show what they’re capable.
On the other end of the scale, there are a few women currently on the roster that you can’t help but think…don’t quite belong in the new look of the division. In fact, given the chance, I’d happily replace them with some of the women of yesteryear.
So, here are 10 women who would fit well in the new Women’s division, and five who really don't belong.
What a strange run Kia Stevens had in the WWE. She exploded onto the scene after weeks of vignettes by attacking Michelle McCool after a match in May 2011 and continued a reign of terror on the division before finally…crying. She just started crying. Apparently, it was due to an unplanned pregnancy that eventually led to her taking a leave from the WWE. She wouldn’t return until the Royal Rumble in 2012, where she would become the third woman to compete in the Rumble in a surprise return. That would be her only match however, as she soon left the company.
She had one match and was in two games, WWE ’12 and WWE ’13. A strange run, and definitely not one she’ll be remembered for.
But she will remembered for her run in TNA and her work in the independent circuits. She’s won championships all over the world and was named the best female wrestler in the world in 2008. Outside of the WWE, she’s carved a very esteemed career, and it’s looking like the time may be just right for her to attempt another WWE run.
15 Molly Holly
Molly Holly was a great competitor, being involved a lot of great storyline and teams during her five-year tenure in WWE. Most memorable was her stories with her cousins Crash Holly and Hardcore Holly, and her tenure as Mighty Molly, the superhero sidekick to The Hurricane, who she betrayed to steal the Hardcore Championship. After that she started challenging for the Women’s Championship, having a villainous, self-righteous character who had a distaste to the way most of the Divas used their bodies to get further. Though, weirdly for a heel, she was making a good point about the state of the division.
After a decent run she left to focus on her family and life, although hasn’t closed the door on a return. While she might not have the star power name as some other previous Divas, she was always a great worker who could help a lot of the newer talent in the ring.
Victoria had a very long career with the WWE, spanning from Chyna encouraging her to train in 2000 to finally leaving in 2009. In that time however she only won the Women’s Championship twice, despite her continually improving throughout her career. Like many other women who left the WWE before the “Divas Revolution” happened, she found much more success in TNA, whose Knockouts division was being treated with more respect and esteem than the WWE Divas Division.
Victoria is currently touring independent circuits after leaving TNA in 2013, and although she was gifted more championship opportunities, she has said she preferred working for WWE, not ruling out a future return. Whether Vince McMahon would accept her now she’s on the wrong end of 40 is another story altogether, but after a long career and a proven ability, she definitely needs to be considered if they seek to bring back an old Diva.
13 Gail Kim
There’s almost no way Gail Kim would ever return to the WWE. There’s rumors of Jim Ross having to show Vince McMahon Asian adult entertainment in order to convince him that people would find Gail Kim attractive, which while is ridiculous enough to be true, doesn’t speak as much as what Gail herself has said in the past. Completely mistreated, never respected, always shoved to the side – she’s had two runs in the WWE, and she admitted she only went back the second time because she thought things would be different. They weren’t, and now she’s having a great career in TNA.
Ranked as the no.1 woman in the world by PWI in 2012, and a multiple championship holder in TNA, Gail Kim has all the talent and charisma to lead a division, but WWE’s mistreatment of women in the past has completely ruined any chance of her returning despite the division being better.
12 Alundra Blayze
Oh, Alundra. three Time WWE Women’s Champion, a WCW Cruiserweight Champion, first female to win PWI’s Rookie of the Year, a two time IWA Women’s Champion in All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, and several other championships the world over…Yet you’ll always be remembered for putting one of them in a bin.
She had a fantastic career and is one of my personal favorite female wrestlers of all time, yet she retired in 2001 after WWE bought out WCW because she saw the way the big companies were going – bra and panties matches, and not wrestling. A real shame, though she did find a new love in the monster truck business, using her WCW name “Madusa” as the name of her truck. She’s won awards in that field, showing that she is multi-talented in the field of sports.
At age 52 and already a hall of famer, it’s very unlikely Alundra will ever step into a WWE ring again, and she’ll forever be a what-if scenario.
11 Beth Phoenix
The Glamazon Beth Phoenix had a great career in the WWE, and was one of the few women of the era who seemed to actually get respect through her wrestling ability. She’s the second woman to ever compete in the Royal Rumble, even knocking out The Great Khali during the 2010 bout. When she retired in 2012, she proudly said that “you haven’t seen the last of Beth Phoenix”, and now in a post-revolution world with new talent for her to work with, doesn’t seem like a great time for her return?
Now a mother to Edge's two children, she seems to be quite content in concentrating on her family life, and after several years away from the ring it’s beginning to look less likely she’ll be returning. But still, a guy can dream – and wouldn’t seeing Beth Phoenix face off against Sasha Banks be special?
10 Mickie James
Despite being remembered for her incredibly cringe-worthy feud with LayCool where she was referred to being “Piggie James” for being apparently overweight in the WWE’s eyes, Mickie James was one of the best female wrestlers on the card during her run, and even had some great feuds with Trish and Lita during her tenure at the WWE. Since she was let go (despite being more over and a better wrestler than LayCool, who stayed) she’s gone on to compete in Mexico and TNA, showcasing her ability wherever she can. Still competing today, Mickie James is in great shape and can slot right into the current division.
As long as Charlotte and Dana don’t resort to fat jokes, a second run can help put the LayCool feud behind her, and cement her legacy in WWE to what it should be – a great wrestler who can put on a fun match.
Lita had a long career in the division, with many memorable moment such as being part of Team Extreme with The Hardy Boyz, valeting with Edge and having a long rivalry with Trish Stratus. After retiring from the WWE in 2006 at Survivor Series, she briefly toured the indie circuits before returning to WWE in a producer role. Seen on camera as a Tough Enough trainer and a regular pre-show panelist, she’s currently working as part of the creative team.
Although she remains active, her high-flying style might not suit a 41-year-old with almost ten years gone since she regularly competed, but her knowledge of how to put a match together and her extensive arsenal of moves means she could still have a short and exciting run with some of the new women on the scene.
8 Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus had a large role to play in the women’s wrestling boom that happened in the early-2000s. She entered the company as a fitness model with little wrestling experience, and was mostly given valet roles. However, she showed a dedication to improving her ring-work, and quickly became a big crowd favorite. During the course of her career she won seven Women’s Championships, and was involved in some amazing feuds with Mickie James and her career-long rival Lita. While she was often put into sexually provocative situations, as was most women at the time, she always showed in the ring that she was more than just looks – Trish could kick some serious ass.
Since retiring from wrestling in 2006, she’s gone on to open up a yoga studio which has been heavily successful. If she ever wanted to return to the WWE for one last run however, the current Women’s Division would happily welcome her back with open arms. She’s still very active and would be able to shake off any ring rust quickly, and could put on some classics with the current roster.
7 AJ Lee
As long as the WWE and CM Punk continue to butt heads, I doubt AJ Lee would ever return. Which is a real shame, because arguably AJ Lee started the whole revolution in the Divas division, putting on the best matches she could with a parade of non-wrestling divas the WWE sent out to the ring, trying her hardest to change the perception of women in wrestling on the grandest stage. With a great in-ring move set and one of the best “out of nowhere” submission finishers I’ve seen in the WWE, she was always a delight. A huge favorite even today, many are clamoring for her to return.
Unfortunately, her and her husband CM Punk are quite happy to be away from the company, and having been retired from in-ring competition for over a year, it’s beginning to look like we’ve seen the last of AJ Lee in a squared circle. But at 29, she’s still young enough to not rule anything out. And let's be honest, it just feels so weird to have WWE start treating the women a bit more seriously just after one of the best females ever walked away.
6 Don't Fit In
5 Alicia Fox
It’s unfortunate to put this name on this list, as I actually really like Alicia Fox and think even now she still shows potential to grow as a performer. But unfortunately, the WWE doesn’t seem to see her the same way, and she’s barely been on television since Nikki had to leave for neck surgery. But while I believe Nikki still has a place as a member of the “old guard” for the Divas division, Alicia has been somewhat ignored long enough by the top brass that any return to the championship picture she’ll make now will be an obvious filler feud.
Maybe if she came back with a powerful push behind her with some great writing and story-lines leading to fantastic matches, it could save her from the purgatory she finds herself in, but with Bayley and possibly Nia Jax being called up soon, and Carmella and Alexa Bliss waiting in the wings after that, it looks like there’s simply not going to be time for Alicia Fox.
When you have to stop referencing a wrestler’s full name because their father was accused of murdering someone, it’s never a good sign for that wrestler’s career. It’s especially not a good sign when that wrestler has only really been the beefy bodyguard to more popular characters anyway.
Between managing The Usos and Santino Marella, and being a bodyguard to AJ and Naomi, she’s very rarely had a chance to shine on her own. Her gimmick of being a bigger and stronger lady in a typically smaller-framed division gave her a great edge for a while, but it seems the WWE is really hot on Nia Jax right now which could hurt Tamina in the long run. With all the new call-ups, her lack of TV time and the controversy surrounding her father, it looks like her career in the WWE could be over.
And to be honest, Nia Jax is more entertaining than her, so I won’t be weeping too much as she walks out the door.
3 Rosa Mendes
Also known as “Not Appearing On This Raw”. She was barely on TV in 2015 before she went on maternity leave, and now it looks like there’s not going to be much of a place for her upon her return. She’s never been great in the ring, and I feel her time in the WWE has been wasted – she’s barely made an impact, and I doubt she’ll be making one upon her return. The women’s division, especially as thin as it is, will always need a few low-carders to job on occasion, but I feel even that position is filled by the likes of Summer Rae and possibly Naomi (though she does deserve better).
Rosa Mendes is simply a case of bad timing. She had to leave during an influx of new talent, and now the division has moved on without her. For the benefit of her career, she should be looking to move on rather than returning to the WWE.
I see a lot of defense for Natalya, but honestly, the last few months has proved that the division has passed her by. She’s always been an awful talker, constantly reminding me of the type of old woman you meet who never shut up about her ailments, and although her technical ability is fine the rest of her ring-work is atrocious compared to some of the other divas. When Natalya is in a submission move, she looks like she’s smiling more than wincing, and when she screams it sounds like a 40-year-old smoker crying out because the corner shop has closed and she’s out of smokes.
I can only hope her recent heel turn gives her a new breath of life, but I’ve never been a fan of Natalya and watching her take screen-time away from far better talent makes me sad.
1 Eva Marie
The wind is certainly blowing a certain way, and that way is in the opposite direction of Eva Marie. A woman hired for her looks over her ability, she’s been training her in-ring ability for three years, and although we’ve seen marginal improvements, she’s nowhere near the level WWE should be expecting of one their stars. To think that on NXT she’s alongside Bayley and Asuka, and on the main roster she’s alongside Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch is just mind-boggling. Every time she’s in the ring it cheapens the product, and although she is attractive, she’s not worth the damage she could do to the brand.
It might seem a lot to say she’s actively damaging the brand, but I’ve never believed her in the ring. Her promos sound forced and painfully scripted, and her in-ring work looks so rehearsed. Everyone knows WWE is fake, but I expect a level that can help suspend my disbelief, something that Eva continually fails to provide.