2016 has been a breakout year for women's wrestling. From the breakout of The Four Horsewomen on the WWE roster to the back and forth historic feud between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, the women in WWE have carved out their own spot on not just the roster, but the main event spots. While Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Bayley have been putting on some of the best women's matches in WWE history, the only problem is that these four wrestlers can only bring the division so far and the WWE needs to bring in new talent to keep this blossoming division as interesting as it has been this year. WWE has been going around all of the best independent wrestling events and scouting the best of the talent around the world. Rumors of a female WWE tournament similar to the Cruiserweight Classic has also been talked about, which would mean even more female talent going to the WWE. But the independent scene has plenty of wrestlers who do not fit on a WWE roster. Women who don’t fit the WWE style, have gimmicks that are too weird or who are far too old for the WWE. WWE needs to find the correct talent to keep its women divisions flourishing, but they can't get weighed down by too much talent of the wrong talents. Below is a list of the women wrestlers WWE should look at and the ones WWE should avoid.
15 Should Sign: Melina
The biggest thing currently hurting the WWE since the roster split has been the lack of depth on the rosters, Melina would be a way to fix this problem. WWE fans have already been introduced to her, so it wouldn’t take much to remind them of how much of a talent she is. The women Bret Hart called “one of the best wrestlers in the world” would be a solid addition to SmackDown and could give young women like Becky Lynch or Carmella great matches. Melina is also a five-time Women’s Champion and could be a great heel champion for Smackdown Live, as their roster is lacking female heels more than the Raw roster. Melina would be a great addition also because she has wrestled the WWE style before and has stayed active in the independents since leaving WWE. It will be easy for her to hop back into the swing of things instead of having to go to NXT to develop.
14 Shouldn't Sign: ODB
ODB is a ten year wrestling veteran that is currently signed to Ring of Honor, but she has also had long runs in TNA from 2007-2014, where she was a TNA Knockout Champion. She tried out for Tough Enough back during their season, but didn't end up making the cut. ODB is also coming off a loss at TNA's Total Nonstop Deletion, but that isn’t why WWE would most likely not sign her. ODB has been wrestling for a decade now and when you watch her, it shows. ODB doesn't wrestle interesting matches anymore, as she goes back and forth from doing her famous moves, then plays with her breasts before the match is over. The women’s revolution needs to have the best wrestlers from around the world, not performers who are on the decline. ODB still has plenty to offer to the wrestling world, we just don't see it in the WWE.
13 Should Sign: Cheerleader Melissa
Fans of independent wrestling might know her as Cheerleader Melissa, while Lucha Underground fans might know her as Mariposa. TNA fans might know her from a slew of other names she wrestled under, like Raisha Saeed or Alissa Flash. However you know her, you know Cheerleader Melissa is one great wrestler. Melissa has been wrestling since the age of 17, training under The American Dragon, Bryan Danielson (who you likely know as Daniel Bryan). She has wrestled everyone from NXT head trainer Sara Del Ray to most of the women on this list. Melissa could add a lot to the division, as she is a well traveled indie darling who could give a good rub to anyone on the roster. Adding her would automatically add depth, and a championship competitor, to either Raw, SmackDown Live or NXT.
12 Shouldn't Sign: Faye Jackson
Faye Jackson is a breakout star in the Women of Honor division in ROH, along with appearing on many other indy shows. She is also an actress and model, but the problem with WWE signing her is not about her look or her abilities, but her similarity to Nia Jax. The WWE would most likely hesitant about signing someone who fills the same role as another wrestler already on their roster. Two monster heels destroying women could each be on a different shows, but the feuds and stories would always end up being similar, as the WWE writers love to repeat themselves. Faye would have a much harder time creating a niche in the WWE for a new and interesting character, meaning they should just avoid signing her.
11 Should Sign: Kimber Lee
Kimber Lee has been one of the fan favorites on the independent scene for years. Whether she was with Combat Zone Wrestling, where she was the first women to graduate from their wrestling school, or Chikara, where she was the first women to hold their Grand Championship the main title, fans naturally flocked to her. Kimber Lee would be a huge addition to any roster, as she could be a fan favorite face, similar to Bayley. Kimber Lee is also the protege of new cruiserweight Drew Gulak, which could be worked into a storyline when she is added to the main roster. Kimber Lee works the independents, fighting some of the best make wrestlers in the world, so the women of WWE should be no problem for her. There's been a rumor circulating that Lee and her best friend, who we'll get to soon, have already been signed by WWE, but it hasn't been confirmed by WWE yet. We've seen these reports before and they've sometimes led to nothing, so we've included Lee here.
10 Shouldn't Sign: Rosemary
After eight years of wrestling for different independent promotions, Rosemary finally landed herself in TNA, where she became the manager of Decay faction. Rosemary is also the TNA Knockouts Champion and seems to have found the perfect place for herself down in Florida. TNA lets her flesh out her character alongside one of its biggest names in Abyss, while also letting her hold the highest title a women can hold in the brand. While she could fit onto the WWE roster nicely, would she ever be a top star like she is in TNA? Unlikely. In just one year, Rosemary has been a part of two championship runs and a part of The Hardy Deletion series. Leaving now on such a hot run would probably be a huge career mistake for her and WWE would likely have no idea what to do with her.
9 Should Sign: Deonna Purrazzo
A recent episode of Women Of Honor opened with Deonna Purrazzo talking about how she was one of the best wrestlers in the world. Purrazzo has only been wrestling for a few years, but has already appeared in NXT, SmackDown Live, Women of Honor, Chikara’s King of Trios and TNA. Quite an impressive list for such a young girl. While Purrazzo has appeared on NXT, she has yet to sign a contract and her move to Women of Honor might mean she is staying with that promotion for a while. NXT needs as many talented women wrestlers as they can get their hands on after losing The Four Horsewomen, meaning Purrazzo could be a great fit for NXT, before moving onto the main roster.
8 Shouldn't Sign: Sexy Star
Fans who have watched Lucha Underground for the last three seasons have seen the rise of Sexy Star first-hand. Sexy has been booked at the top of Lucha Underground and is one of the most fleshed out characters they have created. We have seen her overcome her fears, fight back against her captors and become the first woman to win the Lucha Underground Championship. Sexy Star is great in the ring and has the skills to wrestle with some of the best men in the world, but two things keep her from getting into the WWE. The first is simple; Sexy Star only speaks Spanish and while it would be great to have WWE write better Latin characters other, it has been noted that WWE wants nothing to do with superstars who don’t know English. Most WWE fans are likely not watching Lucha Underground (even though they should), so they haven’t seen her fight against the odds for three seasons, so they won't have the same backing for her. Instead, WWE would probably unmask her, change her name, and give her a lame Spanish gimmick. Sexy Star has also shown interest in starting to box professionally, as she is married to a boxer, something WWE would never allow. It is best for both parties if Sexy Star stays with Lucha Underground.
7 Should Sign: Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler is an interesting case because she's not just a pro wrestler, but she also has legitimate MMA experience. Baszler has fought for MMA organizations like UFC, Elite XC and Strikeforce. Shayna was also picked by Team Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter, which is a link the WWE would love to emhasize to their viewers. Shayna has been wrestling on the independent circuit since 2015, but she's already won multiple titles. It was reported that she had a tryout for the WWE this past September. With her MMA experience, WWE should give her the Brock Lesnar treatment, by making her look like a real threat. Since coming back from UFC, Lesnar has been one of the most over stars. With that in mind, Shayna could be the Women’s Revolution answer to Brock Lesnar. They could take the gimmick they gave to Daria Berenato, which is failing, and give it to a more fitting wrestler, Shayna Baszler.
6 Shouldn't Sign: Christy Hemme
You might remember Christy Hemme from winning the 2004 WWE Diva Search or from her years with TNA. There is no doubting that Hemme is an extremely attractive women. but that needs to be what the growing women’s division needs to stay away from; just hiring people for their looks. Sure, she might get a huge pop like Mickie James did at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, but the difference between Hemme and James is their wrestling ability, as Mickie James is revered for her in-ring work, while Hemme has never really shown much ability in the league. Hemme has gone on to pose for Playboy and is still active on the independent circuit, but that is most likely where she should be staying from now on.
5 Should Sign: Heidi Lovelace
Heidi Lovelace is another independent star who deserves a spot on the WWE roster. Similar to Kimber Lee, there's rumors she's already signed with WWE, but we'll believe it when we see it from the WWE. Lovelace has an interesting look that could be huge for the WWE. Think of a women who's similar with CM Punk, then think of all the places they could go with that. Lovelace has plenty of experience and is a former Young Lions Cup Champion in Chikara. Bringing her into the WWE brings not just another good looking model, but a hard hitting wrestler with an interesting look. Lovelace is young at 25 with six years of wrestling experience and could be a huge addition to any roster she is added. Her departure would be a huge hit to the indies she wrestles for regularly, like Chikara or Shimmer.
4 Shouldn't Sign: Daffney
Daffney has done everything a female American wrestler can do... except wrestle for WWE. Daffney has wrestled for WCW, TNA, and Shimmer. While she is a very successful wrestler, Daffney isn’t what the women’s division needs at this time. Daffney is far too old to start a career at WWE, she'd likely need months of training for the WWE style and probably some time spent in development, which is time Daffney doesn’t have to spend. She can instead continue her successful career on the independents instead of moving up to the WWE. Even when Sting, who is much more famous than Daffney, moved to the WWE, they booked him poorly. It is hard to imagine WWE booking Daffney any better, so we don't see any need for them to pursue signing her.
3 Should Sign: Candice LeRae
This 14-year veteran has wrestled all over the indies from Chikara to Pro Guerilla Wrestling to Women of Honor to Shimmer. Adding her to either Raw, Smackdown Live or NXT would be a huge addition to the work rate in their respective brands. While WWE is moving forward with the Women’s Revolution, the roadblock they have hit is not having enough veteran talent. Some of their older wrestlers are more models than wrestlers, which is one thing the WWE should be trying to change. Well, LeRae is a veteran who could help with that change. LeRae is also the wife of NXT Tag Team Champion, Johnny Gargano, giving her a link to the company. The two would regularly wrestle both with and against each other on the indies, so it would be interesting to see how they could book their relationship on the show.
2 Shouldn't Sign: Thunderkitty
Thunderkitty is a very interesting wrestler because she commits to her gimmick of being from the 1940s extremely well. She uses an old school style of wrestling and presents herself as someone who has been around since the beginnings of professional wrestling in the United States. Check her Shimmer fan page and they have her listed as debuting in 1945. The problem with this awesome and unique gimmick is that WWE will without a doubt ruin it and make it awful. Vince has no idea how to book these kinds of gimmicks anymore. Just look at how The Vaudevillains have been booked since moving up from NXT and imagine how badly booked someone like Thunderkitty could be booked. She is better off staying away from the WWE and being in control of her own gimmick.
1 Should Sign: Io Shirai
Anyone who watched the recent episode of Lucha Underground, where Black Lotus Triad fought Pentagon Dark, will speak highly of the third Triad participant Hitokiri, who had one of the best performances in the Lucha Underground Temple. The wrestler who played her was Stardom wrestler Io Shirai, who went toe to toe and beat Pentagon Dark. Shirai did one of the craziest jumps off the side of Dario’s office. With the success of both Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka in NXT, WWE should try to get more superstars who wrestle Strong Style because it's one of the most interesting wrestling styles today. Io Shirai could be the perfect NXT star to finally dethrone Asuka, as it seems no one on the roster will be able to beat her. Plus with women now competing in all sorts of different stipulations, Io Shirai would be perfect to perform huge spots, just like the one she performed on Lucha Underground.
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