Every year, the WWE inducts a token women’s wrestler/diva into the Hall of Fame. An argument could be made that it’s easier for a female to get into the Hall because there have been fewer standouts over the years. Does Jacqueline really belong there? Probably as much as Koko B. Ware. The flip side of the coin says only one woman gets in per year vs. six or seven men. Were there six or seven times more male wrestlers than female? Actually, yes, and there still is about a 6-to-1 ratio. In NXT it drops to about 3-to-1. What this means is that it may be even harder for a woman to get into the Hall of Fame in the future if they continue on with the one-per-year model.
The role of women in wrestling has changed drastically over the years. Prior to the Vince McMahon years, female wrestling was a “special” attraction during live wrestling shows and every major star used The Fabulous Moolah as their agent. After she retired, the WWF only sporadically had a women's title with Alundra “Medusa” Blayze as the only notable star in about a 10-year stretch. There was the occasional valet, like Miss Elizabeth, but women were largely absent during the cartoonish ’80s and early ’90s in WWE. But then Sunny and Sable came along and changed the game. Suddenly, only female “managers” existed and they usually had big fake hair and big fake... you know what. When the Attitude Era faded, the sexual quotient of the Divas was dropped and wrestling talent began coming back. These days could be considered a new Golden Age for women’s wrestling. Women like Sasha Banks, Nikki Bella and Charlotte can punch their ticket for the Hall of Fame now. How long did it take you to forget about AJ Lee? How many weeks was it before you noticed Paige was off WWE television?
What happens if you’re a former diva or women’s wrestler who doesn’t make it into the Hall? As Velvet McIntyre, Sunshine or Cameron can attest, you’re forgotten. No matter how popular you were in the moment there’s always a better athlete, a sexier woman and someone who will click better with the fans right around the corner. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to jog our memories with a list that will leave you saying, “Oh, yeah, how could I forget about her?” Here are 5 women from WWE, WCW and ECW we forgot about.
22 WWE: Barbara “BB” Bush
In case you don’t remember the WWE career of the real life Kathy Dingman as Barbara “BB” Bush, we’ll remind you she also played Taylor Vaughn in TNA and Papaya in WCW. That doesn’t help at all, does it? Her biggest claim for fame in the WWE was being one of the participants in the Evening Gown Swimming Pool match for the WWE women’s title at the pay-per-view Stacy Carter revealed her breasts. It’s surprising it wasn’t BB who was slotted in that role since her four months in the company was little more than one bra-and-panties situation after another. She was once part of a stipulation where if her wrestler (Val Venis) lost, she would have to strip topless. He did, but Triple H - in his capacity as COO - ran out and covered her up before the audience could see the marvels plastic surgeons could do with silicone in 1999. Triple H of DX never would have done something like that. In this case, we side with the COO. After a table powerbomb by the Dudley Boyz a few months later, she was quietly released.
21 WCW: Major Gunns
Vince McMahon is often criticized for portraying women as objects and presenting a product that appeals to the 14-year-old horny boy in all of us. Even he couldn’t have put together The Misfits in Action, a WCW “stable” in the later years of the company. The members of the camouflage-clad clan all had names that were double entendres. Major Gunns (adult actress Tylene Buck) was named so because she had an ample chest. Van Hammer played Major Stash because pot references are funny and Hugh Morrus was General Hugh G. Rection because... nevermind. Buck’s role was essentially to bring her boobs to every show. Her biggest moment in a wrestling ring was turning on MIA and joining Team Canada because... does it even matter? This was WCW in 2000. Figuring out why they did anything at that point was hopeless.
20 ECW: Kimona Wanalaya
If an award was given to a female wrestling personality for having a name that seemed made up by a group of eighth grade boys, Kristina Laum would be a two-time winner. Twenty years ago, there were technical problems stalling the main event during a sweltering night at ECW Arena in South Philadelphia. The crowd was growing restless, but promoter Paul Heyman knew what to do several years before Vince McMahon ever caught on: Skin to Win! Heyman asked Laum, a former go-go dancer, to entertain the crowd while things got fixed. She happily obliged giving the live audience a nearly-topless show from the top of the ECW Arena, where commentary took place. After a lesbian-themed storyline with Beulah McGillicutty, Laum disappeared, but surfaced back in WCW a couple of years later under the name Leia Meow. Wherever the now-39-year-old Laum is, we hope if she has kids, they never find out about Mommy’s old job.
19 WWE: Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro could justifiably be seen as the Women’s/Divas division link between The Attitude Era and the Ruthless Aggression era. She had the hair and body of the typical diva, but was a decent wrestler and was clearly an inspiration for how Nikki Bella dressed prior to her neck surgery. Massaro was introduced to the WWE through the Divas Search and was the last one to pose for Playboy after several years of Wrestlemania-themed issues came out in March. Following Playboy, Ashley also appeared on the television show Survivor during her WWE run, but after being voted out on the second week, WWE didn’t mention much about Massaro’s miserable performance. Massaro left the WWE in 2008 after asking to be released to care for her sick daughter. Had that not happened and she had a few more good years, we might have been talking about a Hall of Famer, not about someone barely remembered by fans.
18 11.WCW: Miss Madness
Here’s a WWE Hall of Fame question for you: Will Molly Holly get into the WWE Hall of Fame? She had a distinguished run as champion, was on the losing end of a WrestleMania Hair vs. Hair match, was a quality worker for the time and didn’t lower herself to being another airhead in a thong. If the real-life Nora Greenwold makes it into the Hall alongside contemporaries like Lita and Trish Stratus, you can bet a lot of people will be shocked into remembrance that Holly actually began as “Miss Madness” in WCW during the last years of Randy Savage’s career. She played a beauty pageant contestant and walked to the ringside alongside Savage and his real-life girlfriend Gorgeous George. In interviews, she has credited Savage with teaching her a lot about the business and we hope she does make it into the Hall of Fame, but her debut as Miss Madness is completely forgettable.
17 ECW: Miss Congeniality
This is a very similar situation to Miss Madness, and not just because both sounded like or played beauty pageant contestants. Miss Congeniality entered ECW in July 1999 as Danny Doring’s girlfriend. She quickly re-adapted the name Angelica, which she used during her very brief Mexican and indie career. Her time in ECW lasted only about four months when the WWE signed her. After a couple months in their developmental organization, she debuted as a manager for Essa Rios. Miss Congeniality was none other than WWE Hall of Famer, Lita. Her WWE career is well documented, but everybody forgets she did work for one of the other “Big Three” organizations. She didn’t get too much of a storyline going in terms of working with Doring, but she was able to whip out a few lucha-style moves, catching the attention of Dory Funk, Jr., who introduced her to the WWE and Miss Congeniality became a forgettable name of the past.
16 WWE: Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix probably had the longest career of any woman in the WWE where we thought at any moment she was going to break through and became a superstar on the level of Trish Stratus or the Bella Twins. It just never happened. She was a good wrestler, better than 80 percent of her contemporaries, but with her larger build (not fat, muscular) she clearly did not fit Vince McMahon’s idea of the stereotypical diva in 2007 or 2008 when her career started gaining traction. Calling attention to her height and physically imposing presence, she had nicknames attached to her like The Glamazon and was put into situations other women weren’t, like beating Santino Marella in a match. If you took Trish Stratus and Chyna and made one wrestler, it would be Beth Phoenix. Unfortunately, she was also very injury prone, having trouble going more than a few months without injuring herself. Compared to most, she also spent a lot of time at Ohio Valley Wrestling where she gained a reputation as one of Paul Heyman’s favorite workers. She cited family reasons for retiring in October 2012 and now has two children with Edge.
15 WCW: Midajah
If we were going to give an award for the fakest looking women who has ever been part of wrestling, it would go to Midajah. Along with the seemingly required breast enhancement surgery, it appeared as if a plastic surgeon had got to her face and left it looking more artificial than when she first got there. Tasked with the unenviable position serving as Scott “Big Poppa Pump” Steiner’s valet, Midajah probably never had a fighting chance to get over. After leaving wrestling she fashioned herself as an exercise and health expert opening her own money-making website dedicated to health and fitness. Interestingly, in the “About Me” section, she makes no reference to her time in WCW. We took a look at her website. It looks like little more than links to health and fitness articles other people have written. In that aspect she’s presenting something as hers that really isn’t. That’s fake. That’s Midajah.
14 ECW: Chastity
The most ironic part about this entry is the woman’s name: Chastity. Dictionary.com defines the word as “the state of refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion.” Everybody got that? So, the real life Denise Riffle meets Raven and another industry wrestler named Corporal Punishment. Oh, she’s a real-life adult star as well. They agree to train her (whatever that means) and she debuts on the independent circuit as Brittany Bottoms. She began using the Chastity name after arriving in ECW. Staying just short of two years, her only contribution was a few thong-clad catfighting episodes with Beulah, before that was something seen on WWE every Monday night. She briefly resurfaced in WCW as Raven’s wealthy sister, but left that gig to return to the adult entertainment industry starring in the humorously named Tiger’s Wood.
13 WWE: Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes is the only woman in the WWE section of this list who actually still works for the company. She hasn’t been seen since early 2015 because of an extended maternity leave, but if you can tell us the last two people she managed, you’ve got an amazing memory because the dispute between Fandango and Adam Rose, both D-level wrestlers at the time, barely registered with the fans. She wrestled, but was never a major player, usually being used to build up whoever the next contender for the Divas title was or getting a rare victory on a show like Main Event. It took her five years to get a Wrestlemania match and the most television time she received, assuming you don’t count Total Divas, was as the manager for Epico and Primo, currently languishing as The Shooting Stars. Mendes gave an interview in March 2016 she was ready to return to the ring, but still hasn’t seen action. A lot has changed about women in the WWE since she left and it will be interesting to see if she is reintroduced to the world at all.
12 WCW: April Hunter
This woman could have had the acting chops of Meryl Streep, but she had the bust of the watermelon counter in the produce section at the grocery store. Brought into WCW as one of the many silicone-enhanced women who walked down to the ring with the NWO, Hunter was the definition of eye candy, likely getting the job because she’d done some work with Playboy shortly before her introduction. Once WCW went by the wayside, she wrestled a bit on the independent circuit and had quick stints in TNA in 2002 and 2009, but could never become a real “star” which is too bad because she’s a fascinating person according to all accounts. She was the only female trainee at Killer Kowalski’s school in Massachusetts, has studied photography, owns her own business and now, at the age of 42, looks better than ever as a participant in fitness competitions.
10 ECW: The Prodigette
Angel Orsini, known in the last days of ECW as The Prodigette, had the training and connections that would make most women wrestlers jealous. A martial artist and fitness model who was one of The Fabulous Moolah’s last students was first seen as the manager for a group called The Sideshow Freaks, including wrestlers Bilvis Wesley and The Musketeer. Yeah, we don’t like to talk about the last months of ECW either. After the promotion closed, she went on to tour the world and work in American women’s indie companies like Women’s Extreme Wrestling, using several aliases along the way. Perhaps because her build was more like Joanie “Chyna” Laurer than your average diva of the day, WWE stayed away because they didn’t need two Chynas. Orsini quietly disappeared from the wrestling scene around 2011.
9 WWE: Layla El
We would make the argument that of all the winners of the all Divas Searches the WWE held over the last 20 years, Layla El was probably the best combination of beauty and talent who ever won the competition. The fact you’re saying to yourself, “Layla El...Layla El...Layla El...Oh, yeah...her.” She’s the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the last woman to hold the WWE Women’s Title before the belt became known as the Divas Championship?” After winning the Diva Search in 2006, Layla bounced around as manager/valet for several wrestlers including William Regal. She started working as a wrestler in 2008, not making many waves until teaming up with Michelle McCool as LayCool. After a series of injuries kept her off TV for much of 2013 to 2015, and writers having few ideas for her creatively, Layla El quietly retired July of 2015. She could find her way into the WWE Hall of Fame one day, but they’re going to have to remind audiences who she was.
8 WCW: Daffney
Before there was Paige, there was Daffney. When she made her debut the goth movement had hit the mainstream and music like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson was popular so having a female character who could connect with the darker segments of the audience made sense and Shannon Spruill threw herself into the role. With long black hair, an all-black leather/plastic wardrobe and a shrill scream, it was a character we hadn’t seen before but as with all WCW creations at the end of its lifespan, Spruill was lost in the shuffle. One month before WWE bought WCW, Daffney was released from the company. She popped up on the indies and TNA but couldn’t get much traction with her career at that point. Along with wrestling, she spent a lot of time as a valet, managing 39 wrestlers throughout her career.
6 ECW: Peaches
If you’re a fan of old ECW, you’ll remember Peaches, who played the wife of The Sandman. Like Jimmy Garvin and Precious, they were an actual real life couple, but unlike the former Freebird, they didn’t mind sullying up their family a bit if it was good for a storyline. Lori Fullington worked as her husband’s valet back in the days it was known as Eastern Championship Wrestling. Her most notable angle was in a tag-team situation where Sandman was blinded and accidentally smacked her. When his vision cleared, he saw tag-team partner Tommy Cairo helping Peaches up. Apparently, your friend helping your wife up after you’ve hit her is reason to lose your mind. She left after that story finished, but returned two years later as part of a storyline with Raven. In this masterpiece, Raven had come and taken Sandman’s estranged wife and his son as members of his flock. This resulted in Peaches and Sandman’s seven-year-old son, Tyler, uttering one of the best lines a child ever has in wrestling, “Daddy, you’re a drunk. I worship Raven now!” We’ll probably always remember The Sandman, but the rest of the Fullington family is better left forgotten.