First introduced in the '90s, the term “Diva” has become synonymous with female talent in the WWE. Though they’ve e moved away from it in recent years, referring to a female wrestler in the WWE as a Diva still feels like the natural thing to do. But Divas are different from what they were a decade ago. Initially just used as eye-candy, women in the WWE are becoming better performers, to the point that sexualizing them isn’t as necessary as it once was. Rather than watch them for their looks, fans are getting more and more inclined to view these matches for the quality they bring.
So if you look at it, there are two types of women wrestlers out there; those who are actually just there for the look, and those who can actually wrestle and add to the community as professionals. Now, we’re not saying one is inherently better than the other, but you have to admire those women who get into the business and through practice and hard work, manage to become respectable wrestlers. But you do have to appreciate the beautiful ladies that have come and gone over the years too. So let’s look at 8 Divas who are all about the look and 7 Women who can actually wrestle.
17 All About the Look: Stacy Keibler
Coming over to the WWE from the WCW, Stacy Keibler never really seemed like she’d be one of the company’s biggest draws due to her skill in the ring. Right off the bat you could tell that Stacy fit the Diva prototype at the time and that was the reason she got the job. Stacy was, and still is, a looker. Incredibly beautiful, Stacy was often put into matches to show off her physical assets and pump up the crowd with some raunchy wrestling but was never much of a wrestler herself. We all know how she got so popular and why she remains such an admired figure in wrestling history. But let’s not kid ourselves; she just wouldn’t last in today’s WWE.
15 Can Wrestle: Nikki Bella
This one might be somewhat disputed among fans, but at the end of the day Nikki Bella has had a pretty solid career. But she isn’t really that remarkable of a talent compared to some of her peers. Still, she’s greatly improved since first joining the WWE with her sister Brie. While Nikki’s skills improved over the years, Brie kind of stayed stuck in the same place. Some would say that she was riding her sister’s coattails. Regardless, Nikki is a solid talent in the WWE right now. Though she’s also incredibly attractive and that might alter some people’s perception of her as a performer. But in this case, we’re giving her the credit she deserves as a performer – not as eye candy.
14 All About the Look: Aksana
Another former bodybuilder, Aksana had a pretty short career in the WWE. Joining as a developmental talent with FCW, Aksana waited a few years before making it to the main roster. She was certainly beautiful and that couldn’t have hurt her odds going forward. But the look it seems was all she possessed. It’s not just that she didn’t have the skills to keep up with others in the ring, but her inability to properly wrestle would put whoever was in the ring with her in danger due to her terrible form and instincts. You could argue that she was lucky to have made it to the WWE at all. Though we all know why she did.
13 Can Wrestle: Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks has been a breath of fresh air for the WWE since she first joined. Showing that she’s not just about the look, Sasha has proven to be quite the capable wrestler. One could even argue that she’s one of the better female wrester’s the WWE currently has under contract. The fans love her and really, it’s no surprise as to why. As the WWE moves forward with an emphasis on actually having their female talent emphasize skill rather than look, girls like Sasha are going to sore and get even more popular as time goes on. Let’s not forget how awesome last year’s Hell In A Cell match between her and Charlotte was and look to that as an indication of what’s to come.
12 All About the Look: Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn stated her career out as a fitness model and actually won an award for bodybuilding in 2007 at the age of 20. In 2010 she joined NXT and shortly after that, she was on the main roster. At first glance, she looked like she had all the tools to succeed in the WWE. Great looks, a good physique and some attitude in the ring. But sadly, her skill level just wasn’t there. Despite years of development and a considerable push that included a Divas Championship, Kaitlyn just couldn’t adapt to the skill level required to be a professional wrestler. She just wasn’t fit for it. She was beautiful though, and one has to assume that’s why she lasted as long as she did.
10 Can Wrestle: Alexa Bliss
The current Raw Women’s champion, Alexa Bliss is yet another outstanding example of good women’s wrestling in today’s WWE. She’s been getting more and more popular recently, and it’s not just because of her outstanding looks. Alexa is a solid wrestler. She has the talent and skill and looks to be dedicated to her craft in all aspects. Both talented and incredibly beautiful, Alexa is what the ideal modern female wrestler looks like. Not someone who only has a roster spot to serve as eye-candy, but a solid performer who justifies their being in the ring with their skills. At 25, she looks to have a long and fruitful career ahead of her. One we’re sure to keep an eye on.
9 All About the Look: Summer Rae
We haven’t seen Summer Rae since the draft last summer, all due to injury. But even when – or if – she does come back, it’s hard to imagine her finding much success in the WWE’s current landscape. Summer is one of the last few Divas hired more for her looks rather than her actual skill as a wrestler. It’s not that hard to see that her time in the WWE is running out. Having been recruited back in 2011, Summer has pretty much gone off the radar. It’s hard to imagine her finding very much success among the current layout of female talent in the WWE, as most are already better than her in terms of skill – with some possessing much more natural talent.
8 Can Wrestle: Trish Stratus
Most of us will remember Trish Stratus for her incredibly good looks, inescapable charm and salacious attitude both as a performer in and out of the ring. But what most forget is that Trish wasn’t all good looks. She was actually a pretty decent wrestler for her time. Though not as skilled as some of the women you’ll see in the WWE today, Trish proved herself a decent wrestler and if you looked at what she was like at the beginning of her career, you’d notice some obvious improvement over time. Still an all-time favourite, Trish left her mark on wrestling in a big way and likely won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Though it doesn’t look like she’ll be making any surprise appearances anytime soon.
7 All About the Look: Sable
As opposed to Trish, Sable never really grew out of her role as eye-candy for the fans. Simply put, she was never really all that talented in the ring, and was only used as a draw for her incredible sex appeal. Sable definitely had the look needed to be a successful WWE Diva though. Most will remember her feud with Jacqueline and the steamy Bikini Contest that culminated, with Sable infamously revealing nothing more than two black hand-prints covering her breasts. It’s hard to be thought of anything more than a sex symbol at that point. She was only really used in some of the WWE’s steamier segments and we’re really only talking about her now if it has to do with her husband, Brock Lesnar.
6 Can Wrestle: AJ Lee
AJ Lee kind of represented a turning point for WWE Divas everywhere. AJ was one of the first Divas to be taken seriously for her efforts in the ring, not just her good looks. That tradition continues strongly with this current batch of female wrestlers in the WWE, but AJ is someone we’ll always remember. She had great energy, was entertaining to watch and developed a very loyal fan base. Of course, her relationship and subsequent marriage to CM Punk is one of the more notable aspects of her time with the WWE, but it doesn’t overshadow what she did as a professional. Fans still cry out for her return, and while you should never say never, this isn’t something you should expect to see happen any time soon.
5 All About the Look: Maria Kanellis
As most of these go, Maria Kanellis was actually a model prior to her joining the WWE. It seems as though hiring beautiful women with experience in the entertainment industry, and then putting them in a ring so they could “wrestle” was a key part in finding Divas a decade ago. A Divas Search contestant, Maria was nothing more than someone to keep the fans eyes glued to the TV. It wasn’t because of her skills. She was booking in a lot of the more revealing matches like Bra and panties matches and Lingerie Pillow Fights. She was let go in 2010 and like many WWE rejects has made her way to TNA, where she’s finding some success.
4 Can Wrestle: Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch is a perfect example of someone who has a dream and works hard to make that a reality. Aspiring to be a wrestler since she was young, Becky spent most of her life wrestling around the world, practicing her craft before finally making her way to the WWE. It started out rough, but her career quickly took off and she’s found her place as one of the most technical and entertaining wrestlers you can find right now. But as good as she is in the ring, Becky is also one of the better looking female wrestlers out there right now. The WWE really seems committed to matching the beauty of the Divas with the technical ability and skill desired by fans – and Becky’s the full package.
3 All About the Look: Kelly Kelly
In 2006, Kelly Kelly became the youngest Diva on the WWE’s roster. An impressive feat sure, but while Kelly had all the physical traits and right personality to make her go over well with the fans, it’s about all she brought to the table. Her technique was absolutely awful, especially in regards to how she runs the ropes. Looking at her matches, it’s easy to ascertain that the ability just isn’t there. Though she did manage to accumulate some popularity due to her personality and appearance, Kelly was never much of a standout wrestler and had it not been for her fantastic looks, would’ve never made it to a promotion as recognized as the WWE.
2 Can Wrestle: Charlotte
You can say that the wrestling gene is strong in Charlotte, as it seems as though she inherited her father’s talent and ability as a performer. The daughter of Ric Flair, Charlotte has done well for herself in recent years and is arguable one of the greatest female wrestlers of all-time. She’s stepped out of Ric’s shadow and has made a name for herself on her own. She was the final Divas Champion as well as the first ever person to be named Women’s Champion. Though she’s one of the older Divas on the roster, Charlotte’s career looks like it’s on the right track. She’s doing pretty well for herself and is still one of the more popular female wrestlers out there. If she can continue on this way for a few more year’s she’ll have had one of the better careers in recent memory.
1 All About the Look: Eva Marie
The one good thing you could say about Eva Marie is that she at least tried to better herself as a wrestler. From the get go, you could tell that she was brought in for one reason, to attract viewers and glue their eyes to the screen. But as the quality of female wrestlers at this point had kind of turned viewers off of the “traditional” Diva Eva embodied, she didn’t go over very well with fans. Her attempts at bettering herself in the ring, while admirable and showing some commitment to her craft, were unsuccessful and ultimately bore no fruit. We probably won’t be seeing her in the WWE for much longer until her contract expires and it’s likely that she’ll move on to modeling in favor of wrestling in the future.