Over the last year the WWE has finally begun to treat their female wrestlers with the respect they deserve in a meaningful manner. After the hashtag, give divas a chance, went viral and it became increasingly difficult to ignore the will of their audience, the so-called Divas Revolution began. When WrestleMania 32 came around at long last female performers were referred to as simply women yet again, after years of the far more condescending term Divas and things are looking pretty great.
In light of that, it could be pretty easy to forget how sad and unqualified the women who made their way to the ring once were. During the heyday of the Divas division, WWE put a far greater premium on hiring women for how they look in photo shoots than what they could actually do in the ring. Even during the much-vaulted era of Trish Stratus, Lita and the like, they shared their locker room with some women who had no business lacing up wrestling boots. Those are the women we’ll be looking at today.
15 Candice Michelle
In the case of this former WWE Women’s Champion, there are two extremely distinct eras in Candice’s in-ring career. Starting out as mere eye candy who was clearly afraid to take a bump and looked like she could break if she was hit by a strong wind, by the time she left the company she’d actually become credible. If it weren’t for her vast improvement under the tutelage of Finlay and Victoria, Candice would have found her way in our top five without a question. As things stand, she’s on the very outskirts of this list because despite absolutely earning fan’s respect, in the end, we can’t turn a blind eye to her atrocious beginning on such a huge platform.
14 Stephanie McMahon
The daughter of the head of the company, some people may believe that Stephanie got everything she has today because of her lineage and there is certainly some truth to that. Extremely good on the mic today, despite using that ability to make the actual wrestlers in her employ less valuable more often than not, in some areas Steph actually deserves more credit than she gets. On the other end of the spectrum, the fact that she once held the WWF Women’s Championship for nearly five months is clearly ridiculous. Far from the least coordinated listed here, she still needed to be carried to decent matches by opponents like Jacqueline and Lita. Fortunately for us and her placement on this list, she has very rarely found occasion to step through the ropes to compete and hopefully never will again.
When Alundra Blayze took the WWF Women’s Championship onto WCW Nitro and tossed it in the trash, it marked the end of any attempt to promote women’s wrestling in the company for several years. Then Sable joined the company on the arm of her then husband Marc Mero, quickly exceeded him in popularity and her momentum spurred the powers that be to bring the title back. Clearly deserving a great deal of credit for the nineties resurgence, her star power owed absolutely nothing to actual grappling skills. Remembered for appearing in various levels of undress, including several appearances in Playboy, Sable put butts in seats by showing off her butt and teats. Aside from a surprisingly impressive looking power bomb, christened the Sable bomb, she frequently looked awkward and uncomfortable in between bell rings.
12 Stacy Keibler
Brought over by the WWE when they purchased WCW, Stacy was actually a fairly credible athlete that had a background in cheerleading and dance. Blessed with incredible legs, she relied far too heavily on that asset in her WWE matches. You know things are pretty poor when a wrestler’s best-remembered move is kicking into the corner followed by holding a boot to your opponent’s throat. Typically repeating that move again and again and contorting herself into various poses to show off her butt, her matches often got the crowd excited but not for the reasons she may have wanted. If you’re Asuka, Daniel Bryan or Shinsuke Nakamura and your kicks look deadly, it is ok to be strike heavy in the ring. If you’re Stacy and your legs are long but don’t look incapable of hurting a fly, maybe you need a lot more skills.
Brought into the company to be a cast member on Total Divas, JoJo left that show after the first season and has since become a competent backstage interviewer. However, for a short time in the interim, there was an actual attempt to teach her how to wrestle and let’s just say there is a reason she quickly stopped. Debuting on Raw in a six person tag match, the company wasn’t confident enough in her to let her do anything but stand on the apron while even Eva Marie was tagged in. Getting in the ring for a pair of traditional Survivor series matches afterwards when she actually attempted to wrestle Alicia Foxx things looked awful. Involved in only three moves with the performer, it looked like Alicia was almost injured in each because JoJo rushed things so much, including a roll up somehow, which clearly angered Foxx who brutally planted and pinned her. The epitome of someone who had no business in the ring, she was a real danger to those she interacted with and may have taken our top spot if she wasn’t pulled from competition almost immediately.
We’ve just got to ask, what did Aksana possibly think was going to happen when she dropped her knee, unprotected, into the eye of her opponent, Naomi? Fracturing the orbital bone of someone who entrusted her body to her, unlike JoJo, Aksana had been consistently wrestling for some time when this careless and irresponsible move on her behalf took place. Everyone makes mistakes of course, but this Lithuanian wrestler never seemed like a great fit for the ring. Someone who seemed capable of serving as a manager, she could have had a far more positive tenure at the company if they didn’t seem to insist time and time again that they could train nearly anyone willing to put in work to wrestle.
9 Stacy “The Kat” Carter
Everything about Stacy “The Kat” Carter was horrible. In fact, had she not turned herself into a tiny doppelganger of Chyna, flashed her boobs and led to Jerry Lawler leaving the company we may have been capable of forgetting her crummy career. As things are, we will never forget her ear-splitting accent, annoying energy, and horrific matches. The fact that she can brag that she is a former WWF Women’s Champion, having defeated the underrated wrestler Ivory for the belt, is a pox upon the lineage of the company. Thinking of the fact that she dropped her title to Hervina, Harvey Wippleman dressed in drag, makes it seem clear that the people in charge, that allowed this to happen, must have been hopped up on something.
We’re guessing you may have forgotten that Debra, the ex-wife and ex-manager of both Steve McMichael and Steve Austin actually stepped in the ring some herself. Well, we’re sorry to have to inform or remind you that she actually held the women’s title for almost a month. Winning the once coveted title when she competed in an evening gown match, she had her garb ripped off, which should mean she’d lost the bout according to the rules. Except HBK, then WWF commissioner, ruled that she looked so good in her skivvies that she actually won. Taking part in awful matches in the days that followed like her unsuccessful defense against Ivory, she was barely even able to look halfway decent getting pinned.
7 Torrie Wilson
As with the aforementioned Stacy Keibler, Torrie was brought over from WCW when the WWF bought the company out but she was less capable than her peer, which really says something. Unbelievably hot, she could have been a good addition as a valet or manager, a role she’d previously done pretty well with men like Billy Kidman or Shane Douglas. For some reason, though, Vince McMahon and company felt the need to force her into matches year after year and even though she looked good on the ramp way, once she stepped through the ropes the bloom was off the rose. The worst part of her career, a long-standing feud with Dawn Marie over her father Al, is remembered for painfully bad promos that are amongst the worst the company and industry have ever seen. That has allowed some to forget how lousy the resulting matches actually were. We really envy those people.
Recently released by the WWE, Cameron entered into the business through Tough Enough, where she said her favorite match featured Melina and Alicia Foxx. Neither of those women made our list today but there is no way that anyone with any real knowledge of the business would have even considered a match between those two worthy of contention. There are several matches between women that could have been good options but her choice was laughable and on most occasions when Cameron competed in matches they were too. Even able to severely screw up a pin, while her efforts were broadcast to millions around the world, she attempted to pin someone when they were lying in the ring belly down. Screaming “count it, ref”, the moment was unintentionally hilarious but served as a great example of how little she knew what to do in the ring.
5 Rosa Mendes
Did you know that Rosa has been employed by the WWE for ten years?!?! We’d forgive you if you didn’t realize that, as she has spent most of that time nowhere to be seen but she actually took part in the 2006 Diva Search, which she lost, before getting signed anyway. Hypothetically speaking, if you were employed by a company that sold computers for a decade, would you not ensure that you knew that technology in and out? Well, despite receiving paycheques from the worlds’ biggest wrestling company for all that time Rosa never seems to have concerned herself much with becoming good at any art of their product. Recently made into a backstage interviewer, when given that opportunity she had no experience to draw upon. Seriously, what the hell did she do for all that time? Announcing and interviewing aside, the aspect she improved on the least has to be getting in the ring. She even took part in the match that revered wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer called the worst match of 2013, a full seven years into her time with the company. For shame Rosa, for shame.
4 Eva Marie
Consistently pestered with chants of you can’t wrestle, whenever she gets in the ring, we’re reluctant to admit it but Eva has actually improved of late. Then again, she really only had one direction to go and despite receiving one on one tutelage from Brian Kendrick, an immensely talented performer, she has only managed to become passable but stilted. That said, we will never forget the fact that she was put in the ring several times when she only had months in the company, most of which revolved around reality show recording instead of training. She may have mostly been put in tag matches but it wasn’t like these were training sessions where her more experienced co-workers could protect themselves without worrying how it appeared on camera. The fact that she managed to go without seriously injuring someone is a minor miracle and we sincerely hope WWE rethinks putting new, inexperienced performers in such perilous positions.
3 Ashley Massaro
The winner of the 2005 Diva Search, Ashley seemed poised to make an impact on the company but aside from taking that trophy, appearing in Playboy and competing on Survivor left with a whimper. By that, we mean that she left audiences making noises of pain for her opponents in the ring and fearing that she might be allowed to wrestle again. Once stepping in the ring with Torrie Wilson, a previous entry on this list, she made her competition look like a grizzled vet by comparison. Within seconds of the match starting, she was kicked in the stomach and was unintentionally knocked out of the ring. She attempted a crucifix pin to end the match and was so uncoordinated that her legs never got past Torrie’s waist. When Ashley wrestled it looked like she’d never seen a match before, save for the five minutes prior to her also awful music played.
2 Jackie Gayda
On July 8th, 2002, during a Raw telecast, a match that has gone down in history as one of the worst ever took place. Trish Stratus, arguably the best female wrestler ever, teamed with Bradshaw to take on Chris Nowinski and our pick Jackie Gayda. It’s pretty safe to say that blaming anyone but the two rookies would be foolish and since the match improved every second she wasn’t involved, Jackie has rightfully received the majority of the blame. Seeming to forget what she was supposed to do, Jackie sells attacks she wasn’t hit with, isn’t present when she is supposed to be and looks completely lost. Sure, that was only one match but she never had a good one and if you watch the moment she was supposed to receive a top rope bulldog (Stratusfaction) and think she wasn’t awful then please stop watching wrestling.
1 Kelly Kelly
When you go by the name Kelly Kelly and your utterly uncreative label isn’t the worst part of your act something is horribly wrong. Brought to television to perform stripteases on the relaunched ECW brand, Kelly spent some time dancing on our screens before inexplicably becoming one of the WWE’s most popular female performers. If we didn’t know better, we’d think that the so-called WWE universe was under some sort of mass hypnosis to not see through how ill-equipped for the role she was. Unable to even run the ropes in a non-embarrassing fashion, there was not a single movement she made while “wrestling” that looked right. Hell, we wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if she tripped over her own feet but she felt the need to attempt advanced wrestling moves like skinning the cat with predictably dreadful outcomes.
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