Much has been made about how WWE has changed its views on women today. For years, it was quite obvious women were hired just for looks; the more attractive, the better. To be fair, many of them would turn out to be as talented as they were beautiful: Trish Stratus, Lita, Melina and more proved to be more than eye candy. But too many were just getting by on looks alone, showing off in swimsuit contests and not doing much in the ring. Things have shifted with NXT allowing women to be treated far more seriously as workers. Bayley is hardly a knockout but her in-ring talents are sensational and has won folks over. There have been women more beautiful than Charlotte but she’s proven herself a champion as well to stand out. Today, WWE is respecting women more on their wrestling skills rather than just looking gorgeous to stand out more.
This leads one to look at the past and how some women hired wouldn’t pass muster with WWE today. In some cases, it’s because of lack of real wrestling ability and not that notable. Other times, they can be frankly not the “ideal” person to push in terms of face or body. But the flip side is women who were way too sexy to be taken seriously as workers today. So we're not going by who wouldn't be re-hired today, but rather if that lady had come around today, would she get a contract? Here are 15 former Divas WWE would probably never hire today and shows how much things have changed for women in the company.
Hiring the wife of a worker is nothing new in wrestling. It goes back decades and some ladies are able to make it work out great (Elizabeth is a shiny example). However, Sharmell wasn’t exactly what one would call that notable for the company. She got attention aiding husband Booker T winning the US title and then put in the nutty feud with the Boogeyman. She did shine as the “Queen” to his “King Booker” act and looked great in the gowns but did nothing in the ring.
She did get a chance in TNA and it resulted in possibly the worst women’s match in wrestling history. The fact was, Sharmell was only around to help out her hubby, nothing else to offer and thus hard to see her getting hired today. If nothing else, that one horrific match should show some just aren’t cut out for in-ring stuff and Sharmell was a royal failure there.
14 Stacy Keibler
She will always admit the reason WWE hired her from WCW was because of those legs. Those stunning 42-inch gams were amazing to look at and WWE made sure to have her show them off nicely in a variety of hot outfits. Combine that with her lovely looks and Stacy was an instant winner. But in terms of actual wrestling talent…well, she didn’t quite reach that same level. Her matches were mostly her doing kicks and stretching out her legs to attack, but nothing too sensational.
She was more used in managerial roles and did impress by taking bumps from an RKO to getting smashed through a table. But Keibler was always about looking hot rather than being that good in the ring. Thus, while her legs might get her attention in today’s WWE, the de-emphasis on eye candy means Keibler would have missed her star-making time in the company.
13 Candice Michelle
To be fair, Candice Michelle would transform into a good worker, holding titles and impressing with better ring skills than expected. However, WWE today is getting away from hiring women just to be good looking without much else and thus Candice wouldn’t be high on their list of desired hires. She stood out with her racy appearances in commercials, especially the Go Daddy Super Bowl ads. Her dance moves and tight outfits also got attention but just off her looks, proven by her “Playboy” appearance.
Again, it should be noted how Candice improved with training to be a good in-ring worker, even using her former dance moves for some fun maneuvers and still looking hot despite suffering injuries. However, today, WWE stays away from hiring a lady on looks alone so it's unlikely Candice would get the same shot at the big time.
12 The Kat
Even among other Divas, Stacy Carter looked rather small and not that imposing. She started off with the company as an “assistant” to Debra. She then moved onto a bit mentored by Chyna, even dressing up as her although hardly looking tough. The Kat got infamy winning the women’s title and then stripping off her top on live PPV that would have been instant termination today. Kat continued to show off in various bits like fighting in pools and constantly coming out with revealing costumes.
She and real-life husband Jerry Lawler worked together and she was in a program involving forced to join the Right to Censor when she was suddenly cut. Lawler quit to support her only to find months later Carter was cheating on him and thus had to his return. Carter had nice moments but her actions and lack of imposing size means she’d be unlikely to get that shot today.
11 Nicole Bass
There are faces that just don’t work for wrestling. To be brutally honest, Nicole Bass had one of them. When Chyna took off as a huge success, WWE tried to replicate that elsewhere. Enter Bass, a tough woman and former bodybuilder with a very imposing appearance. She was brought in as the bodyguard to a heel Sable and pushed as a monster. However, she lacked the same aura and charisma that won fans over to Chyna, coming off rather poorly. Having her in stuff like a bikini contest was nuts as her muscular build did not lend itself well to showing off too much. Bass left the company in a cloud suing them for sexual harassment although the case was later settled. It’s brutal but sadly true that Bass’ looks and build might be too much for WWE to take a chance on someone like her today.
10 Bertha Faye
This was one of the sadder cases of WWE “dumbing down” a perfect worker. With her amazing build and imposing size, Rhonda Sing was a huge hit first in Canada, then in Japan. She was pushed as a monster, terrific crushing women and could have been the same in WWE. Instead, they gave her the character of Bertha Faye, a “trailer trash” fat girl in pigtails and bad outfits (not to mention a horrible theme song). She was prevented from doing her really awesome moves to just smack folks around and while she won the Women’s title, it wasn’t really a good run.
Indeed, her dropping of the belt coincided with the division being phased out and Bertha was released. The sad fact is that Faye was always judged for her weight and in today’s WWE, that would be very unlikely to get her hired despite how good she really could be.
9 Bull Nakano
She was one of the best workers of her time but not one you’d see sought out by WWE. Indeed, her being hired in 1994 was a surprise given how massively different she looked. A skilled Japanese worker, Nakano was notable for a bulky build and a massive Mohawk that made her look like a demented Marge Simpson. She and Alundra Blayze had a terrific match at SummerSlam ’94 and Nakano won the belt later that year. They swapped it and Nakano was to have a feud with Bertha Faye but was fired for a drug charge she claims was BS.
Today, Nakano is a golfer and stunning fans by dropping weight and looking a knockout. She was impressive but hardly had the great looks one would expect of today’s Divas and that hairdo would have been way too distracting. Nakano should be notable for being a great worker of her time but not one likely to get her shot in WWE today.
8 Trish Stratus
Before you start yelling, you have to remember how it was. When Trish Stratus debuted in 2000, she looked hot as hell to be sure. However, she was also clearly eye candy of the highest order and little more than a hot manager. With her busty build, Trish flaunted herself constantly with her tight outfits and showing herself off nicely. That included the famous “table videos” trying to seduce Bubba Ray Dudley which would be too risqué today. It took some training to unlock Trish’s amazing ability to become one of the best female workers of her era and thus prove herself a legend. But few could ever have imagined that when she started as Trish was just way too sexpot for today’s WWE. It’s ironic that training turned her into a huge star but today, Trish might be judged too much on her beauty and lack of a wrestling background prior to WWE to get that chance.
7 Ashley Massaro
The Diva Search may have given a few hot looking ladies but very few of them were able to back it up in the ring. Ashley Massaro is a key example, the woman having a distinctive look with her “punk” edges and such. She looked hot in the outfits, baseball cap and more but lacked any real ability in the ring despite attempts to push her. A “Playboy” spread boosted her up a bit but it was soon clear Ashley was just getting by on looks rather than any real talents.
She gained infamy being on “Survivor” with a famous bit of having to go right to the location in ten pound boots. Massaro was released with talk of her having a rough ego backstage that rubbed people the wrong way. Between her look and attitude, she might have gotten interest but her lack of in-ring skills would have made a career in WWE less likely.
6 Jackie Gayda
That match. To this day, it’s cited as one of the single worst female in-ring performances in wrestling history. Hired after a run on “Tough Enough,” Gayda teamed up with Christopher Nowinski against JBL and Trish on an episode of “RAW.” It was nothing short of a travesty, Gayda’s timing off, unable to do even the most basic of moves and just terrible in the ring. A performance like that would earn you an instant pink slip today as even NXT would be hard pressed to do anything with her. Gayda’s later feuds added up to very little, just her looks, which weren’t as hot as the other Divas of the time. She was pretty much just around to support husband Charlie Haas and when he was released, so was she. It’s hard to see her hired today but one match like that would have led to her pink slipped in no time.
5 Katie Lea Burchill
The gorgeous British worker got a nice breakout in OVW, showing some promise. In WWE, she was pushed as the “sister” to Paul Burchill during his nutty pirate gimmick and stunning in some sexy outfits. However, her pushes were rough, going more for her sexuality and tight outfits. That included a “goth” look for a time but nothing major in terms of really looking great. It took a move to TNA as Winter for her to become a champion and star to stand out a whole lot better. Burchill had a good look but not quite the tight training most in WWE know today and that was looked down on a bit because of her looks. Sad to say but Burchill might have been a bit too curvy to work for WWE today despite how she proved herself later elsewhere.
A very impressive worker, Jazz had a great build thanks to bodybuilding that made her stand out well. It served her in the early years of the 2000s revival of the women’s division, looking tops in the ring against Trish, Victoria and many others. But Jazz was more about her physical gifts than showing off in a swimsuit, something that might hurt her in some ways. There’s also how she was a bit too muscular at times as WWE does enjoy their women having a more svelte appearance. True, her good skills and toughness might get her hired but it's harder to imagine her pushed more as Jazz was rather unique but in a way that makes it harder to imagine her working in WWE today.
3 Torrie Wilson
Unlike Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson primarily kept the same role in WWE throughout her tenure, remaining in a managerial, or other type of non-wrestling role. Wilson never won the Women's Championship and when she did wrestle, she was mostly used in swimsuit competitions or various matches where the primary objective was for the Divas to flaunt their assets. Torrie was first noticed by WCW officials when she was visiting her boyfriend at a show and when the company went out of business, her looks made her a must-hire in WWE's eyes. However, with Torrie never really being a serious wrestler, and never known for great promos, it's unlikely WWE would see much value in her today if someone like her was coming around.
Sable was yet another hire that was brought into the business because she happened to have a husband in the industry as well. If you'll also recall, Marc Mero was earning a lot of money in WWE back in the late 90s, even having a higher salary than Steve Austin at one point. Sable didn't have a wrestling background, and as the WWE shifted toward their Attitude Era, Sable was featured a lot more prominently, but it was to be the sex symbol of the era, rather than serve as a role model to young women, as today's wrestlers are.
While some would make an argument for Sunny to be on this list, she had a background in wrestling coming into WWE and was very talented on the mic so she had some merits despite not being an amazing wrestler.
While Sable eventually became Women's Champion, being Women's Champion in the Attitude Era was a little different than holding that title today.
She was imposing, to be sure. Joanie Laurer was a bodybuilder and very striking with her height and build. But her looks, frankly, weren’t that hot and Vince McMahon probably wouldn’t have given her a second glance. But Triple H and Shawn Michaels were impressed by her coming up to them at a hotel to ask about being in the business. Hunter thought the idea of a female bodyguard would be terrific and managed to talk Vince into giving her a shot. It worked out with Chyna giving Hunter real heat to push him as a major star at last. She was impressive knocking down guys and giving all she could, mostly silent but very tough. As time went on, WWE did have her get surgery to become more feminine which many feel ruined her aura a lot. She left in a cloud and went on her infamous spiral leading to her death so it’s striking how Chyna today probably wouldn’t get into WWE.