The women’s side of WWE, and hence pro wrestling in general, has changed more than ever over the last few years. No longer are female performers seen merely as models for fans to ogle at, and nowadays when Vince McMahon hires women for his company he takes their wrestling ability into account rather than just what they might look like in a bra and panties match. One thing that hasn’t changed is Superstars being either loved or loathed back stage, and it never will. This is something that spans the entire locker room by the way, but for the purposes of this article we will be focusing on the females of WWE, both past and present.
The whole nature of pro wrestling may be that it’s all an act, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real life friendships and real life animosities between Superstars. Don’t believe everything you see on screen. Just because Bayley and Sasha were tearing each other apart in NXT that doesn’t mean they had to be pulled apart back stage. Subsequently just because two Superstars are friendly when the cameras are on doesn’t mean they’re best mates in the locker room. It can be a tricky thing separating what’s based in reality and what is merely an angle or a story line in WWE. Lucky for you though we’re here to help. This list details 10 of WWE’s women that are loved in the locker room and 10 who are maybe not so much.
20. Loved: Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix made a welcome return to the WWE family recently, even if it was for one night only. The Glamazon retired from in ring competition a while ago now and since then has started a family with fellow ex-wrestler Edge. At the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony we saw Phoenix for the first time in a while as she was deservedly inducted into the HoF. Fun fact, Beth’s induction means that her and Edge are the first husband and wife pairing to both become Hall of Famers. When Phoenix returned not only did she still look great, but we were instantly reminded of how nice and genuine a person she is. No doubt she reconnected with some old friends while she was back, and likely imparted some invaluable wisdom on some newer faces.
19. Hated: Zahra Schreiber
The current women of WWE have worked extremely hard to create the fantastic image they have for themselves right now. The last thing they need is someone coming along to ruin that, which they potentially had in the form of now ex NXT talent Zahra Schreiber. First up came the Seth Rollins scandal that involved nude photos of her being leaked on The Architect’s social media. Nude photos are of course not enough to hinder an entire women’s revolution, as we now well know. A second scandal followed however picturing Schreiber with Nazi memorabilia in the background. Anyone like that is hardly going to be popular with their peers, and that’s something even WWE doesn’t want to fight against as she has since been released.
18. Loved: Naomi
Naomi has been a part of the WWE fold for a lot longer than you might realize. The current SmackDown Live Women’s Champion has been under contract with the company since all the way back in 2010. That’s why her title win prior to WrestleMania 33 was a pretty big deal because it was Naomi’s first in her seven years at the company. Not only was it a long time coming for the tenured Superstar, but by all accounts it was a crowning moment for someone who is an all round great person. Naomi’s in-ring product might not be the best, but outside of the realms of WWE she’s a popular person as well as a great step mom to her husband Jimmy Uso’s children.
17. Hated: Mickie James
Mickie James recently returned to WWE to face Asuka. Considering her history with certain people who are still under the employ of WWE that came as quite a shock. What was even more shocking was when the former multi time Women’s Champion was kept on by Vince McMahon and placed on the show that those she had an awkward past with worked on. Mickie’s first stint with WWE started to wind down after a controversial affair between her and the one and only John Cena. Cena was married at the time and Mickie was engaged, so things got messy. Rumor has it that John used his pull back stage to sully Mickie’s name and clearly it worked. Cena got the right people to join him in his dislike of Mickie and shortly after their affair she left the company.
16. Loved: Mae Young
She may not be around any longer, but there is no denying the fact that the legendary Mae Young is beloved by men and women alike, both in and out of the locker room. For starters her name will be immortalized even more so than it is already when the Mae Young Classic takes place on the WWE Network later this summer. While the likes of Trish and Lita quite rightfully get a lot of credit for paving the way for today’s female competitors, before them there was Mae. Young’s career spanned well over 60 years, and for the majority of that time it wasn’t just wrestling that was male dominated it was society as a whole. Mae’s contributions to the business should not be taken lightly and thanks to the Mae Young Classic she will never be forgotten.
15. Hated: Lita
Speaking of the Mae Young Classic, joining Jim Ross in the announce booth for the inaugural tournament will be fellow Hall of Famer Lita. You might be slightly taken aback to see Lita on this side of the list because in the present day I imagine that she is far from hated when she’s around back stage. In the mid 2000s that was a different story however. Lita was involved in one of the most infamous love triangles in WWE history, because it was real life and Vince McMahon decided to take advantage of it and make it into an angle also. Lita truly broke the heart of Matt Hardy. So much so that he left the company for a while as Lita continued her relationship with fellow WWE Superstar Edge. It was pretty low and both her and Edge were probably pretty unpopular in the locker room at the time.
14. Loved: Sasha Banks
The love for Sasha Banks from fans and fellow wrestlers back stage is seemingly limitless. The Boss really does seem extremely down to earth and that’s probably why she’s so well liked. She is of course famously good friends with Bayley, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Banks is also close with New Day and makes regular appearances on Xavier Woods’ online show, UpUpDownDown. Lucky for her she’s also the kind of person that’s popular with some of the higher ups in WWE. Triple H is a big fan of her of course after trusting Sasha to headline an NXT Takeover with Bayley paid off in a major way. NXT General Manager William Regal is also a big fan and has said that Sasha is one of the best signings he’s ever made.
13. Hated: Lana
Lana has been a part of the WWE roster for a long while now. However for most of that time she has served as a valet to her real life husband Rusev. As of very recently however The Ravishing Russian has turned her attention to performing in the ring. Despite only being an active part of SmackDown Live for a few weeks, Lana has already had a number of title shots against current Women’s Champion Naomi. While none of the roster seem that phased on screen, I can’t imagine it’s sitting well with her peers back stage. Lana is far from a polished in ring performer yet she has walked straight on to Tuesday nights and begun competing for the championship. Plus she will be a part of the number one contender’s match at Battleground despite having more than enough chances to become champion recently as it is.
12. Loved: Carmella
Carmella may play a whiny, annoying Superstar on SmackDown Live each week, but in reality the Princess of Staten Island is far from that persona. By all means Carmella is more akin to the Superstar she played before her heel turn. In NXT she would successfully work the crowd with her routine on the way to the ring, but for some reason that didn’t translate to the main roster. Not only is she well liked by her peers, she’s best friends with Bayley for starters who is still yet to come in this list, but she’s also caught the eye of her superiors. It’s not a coincidence that Miss Money in the Bank was separated from Enzo and Cass. Triple H saw something special in her and is clearly a big fan of Carmella.
11. Hated: Alundra Blayze
Alundra Blayze is about to play a part in WWE’s upcoming Mae Young Classic as a back stage interviewer. Nowadays she is in and out of WWE and undoubtedly imparting wisdom on today’s ladies. However there was a time over 20 years ago where she would have been the scourge of not just the female locker room but all of WWE. While holding the company’s Women’s Championship Blayze jumped ship to WCW at the height of the Monday Night War, taking the title with her. On the orders of Eric Bischoff she showed WWE the ultimate sign of disrespect by throwing their championship in the bin live on television. It not only effectively spit on WWE but also all the women who were competing there at the time.
10. Loved: Becky Lynch
Some stereotypes really do ring true, and not all of them are offensive. One great example of that is Irish people being friendly and fun loving. SmackDown Live Superstar Becky Lynch personifies what the rest of the world thinks about Irish people. Whether it’s on screen or behind the scenes, the former Women’s Champion always seems to be having the time of her life and it has understandably made her extremely popular back stage. Her friendship with fellow Superstar Charlotte Flair is well documented via social media, but her popularity doesn’t stop there. As discussed on Chris Jericho’s podcast Talk Is Jericho, Becky is a big fan of terrible puns and it sounds like telling her one or two is enough to befriend the Lass Kicker.
9. Hated: Dana Brooke
Someone who is somewhat floundering on Raw at the moment is Dana Brooke, and that’s pretty surprising. It’s no secret that Vince McMahon is a big fan of impressive physiques, and as a body builder that is something Brooke has. Her stunted progression in WWE is not why she appears on this list though, rather the alleged reasons that have gotten her to the station she currently finds herself at. Rumor has it that Dana is not well liked back stage because she is supposedly attempting to sleep her way to the top. If true she wouldn’t be the first woman to apparently try that method of career progression. The main name that crops up when this subject emerges is Dolph Ziggler. The Show Off has a bit of a track record when it comes to this area, so it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if the rumors turned out to be true.
8. Loved: Renee Young
With the exception of The Miz and Maryse, there surely can’t be many in the WWE locker room that don’t get along with Renee Young. To refer back to Becky Lynch and some stereotypes being true, have you ever encountered a more friendly Canadian than the host of Talking Smack? There is no back stage interviewer with more authority than Young at the moment and it’s easy to see why. She brings the best out of all the wrestlers she interviews and as you can tell from her time on Total Divas, gets along well with plenty of her fellow employees outside of work hours. She gets along so well with one of them that they married each other. I’m of course talking about Dean Ambrose. They seem like a bit of an odd couple, but clearly it works.
7. Hated: Sunny
Another throwback female now, and one that caused an awful lot of turmoil behind the scenes when she was a part of the WWE locker room, Sunny. Sunny has had a lot of ups and downs, not just in her career but throughout her life in general. The main time she would have probably been making a lot of waves back stage was when she had an affair with Shawn Michaels during the ’90s. At the time Sunny was with fellow pro wrestler Chis Candido, so understandably the locker room was probably pretty split. There were also rumors that Sunny was sleeping with the married Bret Hart, and although both parties categorically denied the accusations it will have undoubtedly lowered her popularity even further.
6. Loved: Trish Stratus
This list has featured a fair few trail blazers when it comes to women’s wrestling. There are perhaps none more iconic than Trish Stratus. What’s pretty different and unique about Trish is that she was actually brought into the WWE fold based on her looks, but due to training and hard work became an incredible wrestler. On top of that despite how she was often portrayed on television, she was a great and popular person to boot. Another Canadian too, as I said some stereotypes really do exist for a reason. Trish was and still is best friends with fellow Hall of Famer, Lita. Their wrestling careers ran parallel to each other and they began changing the game for the women we watch today.
5. Hated: Eva Marie
We covered Lana and her fellow Superstars’ dislike of her because of the Ravishing Russian’s lack of in ring ability. Well Lana’s claim to that crown is dwarfed in comparison to Eva Marie’s. The other women of WWE were so vocal and open about their feelings towards Marie and her attempts to become an in ring performer that the company decided to air some of the performers’ grievances on Total Divas. The reality show tracked Eva’s quest to become a better wrestler while the likes of Nikki Bella and friends vocalized their opposition to Marie. For starters All Red Everything was afforded a training base in California and didn’t have to earn her crust at the Performance Center like everybody else. Unsurprisingly it led to Eva seemingly making very few friends in the business.
4. Loved: Natalya
Maria Kanellis may claim that she is the first lady of SmackDown Live, but in actuality that title probably belongs to Natalya. Nattie’s unbroken tenure with WWE means that all of her peers likely go to her for advice and although she isn’t exactly ancient, she acts as a kind of mother figure to the rest of the women’s locker room, at least on Tuesday nights. While the story line realms of WWE will have you believe that she’s nothing more than an annoying, crazy cat lady, outside of the ring and behind the cameras she is so much more than that. There is likely not anyone back stage that has a bad word to say bout Natalya, plus her impressive route to a career in WWE via her grandfather’s famous dungeon will have likely earned the locker room’s respect.
3. Hated: Paige
Paige is going through somewhat of a tumultuous time at the moment with her partner Alberto Del Rio. Since being suspended from WWE last year under their wellness policy things seem to have gone from bad to worse, and she hasn’t exactly been making friends along the way. While her leaked photos and videos wouldn’t have caused conflict for the most part, an act being performed on the NXT Women’s Championship in some of the footage probably wouldn’t have pleased many, especially those who have held the belt since. Not only will she have angered some former NXT Women’s Champions, but she is clearly causing Vince McMahon and Triple H pretty big headaches at the moment as well.
2. Loved: Bayley
Who in their right minds doesn’t love Bayley? She may very well be the nicest person to ever grace a wrestling ring. In fact she might be too nice to even be in the pro wrestling business at all, but nevertheless we’re glad she’s a part of it. It’s hard to imagine that someone with a personality like Bayley’s isn’t universally loved back stage. We know for a fact that she is extremely good friends with both Carmella and Sasha Banks, the latter of which she also wowed crowds with in NXT. Her and Finn Balor are also very good friends. The likes of Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss have used Bayley’s love of pro wrestling when she was a child against her in angles on Raw, but I bet even they are reluctant to do it to someone who is as nice and inoffensive as Bayley.
1. Hated: Nikki Bella
Where to begin with Nikki Bella. There are a fair few reasons that this half of the Bella Twins isn’t exactly well liked by many in the locker room that she shares with them. For starters it’s widely assumed that Nikki basically get whatever she wants in WWE because she is the fiance of John Cena. There is certainly evidence pointing towards that being true. Two specific women with axes to grind when it comes to Nikki Bella are Maryse and Maria Kanellis. Both ladies are now back under the employ off WWE, however both have also claimed they would have been back long before now if it wasn’t for Nikki. Allegedly Bella blocked the rehiring of the two women as she felt they may threaten her position in the company. Whether that’s true or not, Maria and Maryse certainly believe it to be.
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