Women in the wrestling business tend to have a much shorter shelf life than their male peers.
Using WWE as an example, the average female on the roster tends to have a tenure of under five years with the company, and many of them are let go for the most ridiculous of reasons. Many of these alleged reasons are all over the place in terms of stupidity, ranging from an accident involving a self-checkout lane to a pregnancy. You would think that a company that is keen on promoting women as equals to their male superstars would try and maintain as many women as possible, yet it lost many women before their potential was truly tapped into.
As WWE promotes the Mae Young Classic, it has a record number of women on its roster, yet a limited amount of opportunities. While SmackDown Live's women's division is absolutely thriving and seeing almost all of its women on television on a weekly basis, the same cannot be said for RAW and NXT. We may be in the middle of a so-called Women's Revolution, but that revolution has definitely slowed down since two years ago. We've seen women who used to be on RAW and SmackDown every week placed on 205 Live and treated like an afterthought. Female superstars who used to frequent NXT tapings are lucky to work a single match or promo throughout a taping of four episodes. And some talent are starting to be more vocal about not getting opportunities on television.
The WWE hasn't always made the smartest choices with its women in the employment or booking departments. Here's eight women that were let go for ridiculous reasons, along with seven women that are definitely on the chopping block in WWE.
15 LET GO: Gail Kim
We all know that Gail Kim has made history as a pioneer in the TNA Knockouts Division. That only came after her run with the WWE ended on a terrible note. When she was first released in 2004, Gail was told by WWE management that they wanted to take the division "in a different direction." This direction ended up involving multiple Diva Search contestants and promoting women more for their looks instead of their wrestling abilities. Jazz and Nidia were also let go at the same time as Gail Kim, and an influx of pillow fights and gimmick matches followed.
While Gail would return to the WWE in 2009, she would end up jobbing to many Diva Search contestants and model-like wrestlers whose in-ring abilities were nowhere near Kim's.
14 NEXT: Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox can say something that very few women in WWE can ever say. Ms. Foxy is a 10-year veteran with the company whose time dates back to Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2006. Signed alongside Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox is one of the few "model-type" wrestlers who became technically sound in the ring. However, the one-time divas champion, who is arguably the most underrated female wrestler of the decade, has been reduced to the girlfriend of multiple cruiserweights on 205 Live. Alicia Fox has an established character that gets people talking. When she wrestles as a heel, she can be very much over with the crowd. Yet the WWE seems to want to switch things up with her a bit too much in order for her to truly get established. This may speak on Fox's ability to fill multiple roles, yet this ability can be taken advantage of, and ultimately cost Fox a job with the company. Eventually, this can be used as an excuse for creative having nothing for her.
13 LET GO: Serena Deeb
Some fans may recognize Serena from her days in the indies, TNA or in the WWE with CM Punk's Straight Edge Society. However, she was fired from the company shortly after wrestling her first match for not living her gimmick in public. In an era where kayfabe is commonly broken thanks to social media, this was an unexpected surprise. Serena had been one of the hottest commodities in the indy circuit for years prior to her signing with the company. To let her go for consuming alcohol - which is perfectly legal - is a drastic measure. However, she is competing in the company's Mae Young Classic after retiring from the business for two years. A WWE return could be in the pipelines if her performance is well-received by management.
12 NEXT: Aliyah
On the WWE Network's Breaking Ground, one of the show's key storylines was Aliyah's struggle to find her character and improve her in-ring abilities. We saw Devin Taylor get released for the same reasons on the show, and Aliyah could very much be next. While her in-ring abilities have improved, her new The Cats Meow character simply is not getting over with the fans. Recently, she received massive heat from the crowd for eliminating Rachel Evers, an indy starlet, from a Battle Royal. Aliyah is supposed to be a face. Yet her character feels so bland that her reaction really depends on her opponent, not on her. She needs more time to flesh out her character, or else she will not succeed with the company much more.
11 LET GO: Maria Kanellis
After seven long years, Maria Kanellis found love and finally returned to the WWE. But when she was let go, she was one of the company's two most popular women alongside Mickie James. As a matter of fact, she was crowned Diva of the Year at the Slammy's two months before her departure. What led to her departure? Her desire to pursue a singing career. She began working on an EP and the WWE apparently wasn't happy with her pursuing outside projects. Ironically, Mickie James would do the same thing and be released from her contract two months after Maria. Maria wasn't inactive on television, either. She had just began an on-screen program with Matt Hardy weeks prior to her release.
10 NEXT: Summer Rae
When it comes to the women's revolution, Summer Rae wasn't too involved. She was too busy feuding with Lana in one of the most poorly-received feuds in recent memory. At least Summer Rae was by far the highlight of the feud. Regardless, Summer Rae has been out of action for a year with an undisclosed injury. Despite being reportedly cleared to return to in-ring action around WrestleMania, we haven't even seen Summer Rae wrestle on house shows. The WWE could take advantage of the increasing mainstream attention she has received, including a spot on Maxim's Hot 100 list, but they have yet to incorporate her into an on-screen storyline.
With her long period of inactivity, it seems that WWE has nothing for her. And after Mick Foley publicly bashed her in-ring abilities to a fan on Twitter, it's possible that others in WWE think the same way as him. It's a shame, because Summer Rae has so much potential.
9 LET GO: Emma
This release was silly for many reasons, but most notably because it only lasted for a few hours. Emma went to purchase an iPad case at Wal-Mart and used a self-checkout lane to do so. However, she didn't realize that the iPad case didn't scan, as plenty of people have done at self-checkout lanes have done in the past. Emma would be arrested for suspicion of sixth-degree larceny. Shortly after news of the arrest broke, the WWE decided to fire Emma for the alleged theft of a $30 iPad case.
Within hours, the WWE reinstated Emma, while stating she would receive punitive action for her violation of her law. Emma ended up performing community service, and the charges were dropped. Needless to say, this would establish quite an awful precedent for a company who has had many talents receive no known punishments for having multiple DUI arrests.
8 NEXT: Dana Brooke
The sad truth with Dana Brooke is this: She was bumped to the main roster way too early. She needed more time in NXT to flush out her move set, to find her identity and truly become comfortable in the ring. Her character on-television feels like a genuine rib. Trying to become her own protege and stand up for herself, Dana often looks silly with the way she is booked. She's a natural athlete, a fitness model and is more than capable of showcasing that. However, she doesn't seem to grasp crowd and in-ring psychology very well.
Arguably the most heelish babyface on the roster, Dana Brooke doesn't really seem to connect with the crowd in ways that other female talents do. It's only a matter of time before the WWE realizes this and hands her her pink slip, despite being relatively high on her during her time with Charlotte.
7 LET GO: Alundra Blayze
Alundra Blayze is one of the best women's wrestlers of all time. Some may say that she is the best women's wrestler that America has ever produced out of any era. Yet in late 1995, the WWE decided to release her from her contract while she was Women's Champion. By releasing its Women's Champion, the company abolished their women's division for years. The budget-cut move would not be tolerated in this day and age, but back then, women's wrestling was not as sought after in the states.
That didn't stop Blayze from having matches with Bull Nakano that to this day remain some of the best women's matches in the company's history. This release would ultimately lead to the infamous trash can incident that strained Blayze's relationship with the WWE for nearly two decades.
6 NEXT: Eva Marie
We know Eva Marie isn't going to be coming back to the ring anytime soon. Yet she is still listed as a member of WWE's roster, and the company has not officially announced her release yet. They may end up quitely moving her to the Alumni section like they've done with other women who have gone mainstream, such as Stacy Keibler. Yet the point remains: Eva Marie's departure from the company is inevitable. It could have already happened, but the company has yet to acknowledge it in any way, shape or form.
Maybe they're hoping to capitalize on someone who may be a future mainstream star, but it's clear that Eva Marie's current focus lies outside of wrestling. Why waste her spot when there are so many people that want it more?
5 LET GO: Francine
Seeing Francine inside of a WWE ring outside of ECW's One Night Stand shows was an absolute shocker. The Queen of Extreme was brought on to the company to help relaunch its ECW brand alongside a few other ECW originals. Sadly, Francine barely got to do much with the company besides bikini contests at house shows and a brief on-screen feud with Ariel. Internet rumors suggest that Vince McMahon didn't think that Francine was attractive enough to be a WWE Diva. It's a shame, because Francine is one of the most underrated heel managers of all time. Without Francine, we wouldn't see characters like Shane Douglas, Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer evolve in the ways that they did. Francine helped make characters, and she deserved to do so on the grandest stage of them all.
4 NEXT: Tamina
Tamina has been with the WWE for a long period of time, but fans can't say that she's done too much with the company. Despite being on the main roster for more than seven years, she has yet to capture any sort of gold with the company. In any storyline that she's a part of, Tamina has always felt like she was just "there." She hasn't been involved in many feuds for the belt, and she always feels secondary to another character, most notably AJ Lee. She's currently developing an on-screen alliance with Lana, but who knows where that will lead to. Her injuries could also come back to haunt her. Tamina has had multiple serious injuries over the past few years that could make WWE management wary of investing too much into her. What does Tamina have to contribute to the business? It's really hard to say, because the answer is "not much."
3 LET GO: Mickie James
Fans were shocked to see Maria released in February of 2010, yet the shock value was even greater for Mickie James's release two months later. In January of that year, Mickie James won the Women's Title from Michelle McCool, bringing an end to the disgusting Piggie James storyline. Internet rumors suggest that Mickie James held up travel while on an overseas tour, and that the company wasn't happy with her dabbling into music, just like Maria Kanellis. Additional rumors also claimed that the WWE wasn't happy with Mickie James' weight. That's a disgusting reason to let someone go, especially in a company that tries to promote anti-bullying and acceptance of everyone for who they are. Thankfully Mickie let bygones and bygones and returned to WWE late last year.
2 NEXT: Paige
The more fans find out about Paige's relationship with Alberto El Patron, the more they realize that Paige may be someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship. Dirt sheets suggest that the company is not happy with the couple's relationship, and it is understandable to see why. However, it is unfair and unprofessional to punish Paige for it. Despite her life story being tied into the upcoming WWE Studios film, many in the company allegedly feel that being tied to Paige is a bad idea, citing her Wellness Policy violations, sex tape leak and other personal life incidents as reasons. Many of these reasons are rooted in pure sexism, and it is unfair for Paige to be targeted the way that she is.
1 LET GO: Dawn Marie
Dawn Marie's star was brightest in ECW, but that doesn't mean that her WWE run was terrible. Her feud with Torrie Wilson, despite having some very disturbing moments, provided viewers with a decent amount of entertainment. In 2005, Dawn Marie announced that she was pregnant. During her pregnancy, Dawn was released from her contract. Not surprisingly, a lawsuit soon followed her firing. Since then, the WWE has supported both Rosa Mendes and Brie Bella during their pregnancies by keeping them both under contract. But Dawn Marie was apparently more than a decade behind the curb.
We hope the WWE has since realized their mistake from the event, because it was such a disgusting thing to do to one of their talents. Could they not have waited a few days more?