WWE has changed how they recruit women wrestlers in recent years. While the promotion used to make a habit of scouting for talent in fashion magazines, fitness competitions and other places attractive women hang out, they have updated their methods somewhat.
Nowadays WWE is chiefly hiring women who have a wrestling background. The standard for women's matches has increased significantly in recent years, so WWE knows they have to put high-quality athletes in the ring, not just women who look the part.
There are still those who believe that WWE's women should be chosen based more on aesthetics than ability, however, and as a result, there are still women handed WWE opportunities based on their looks. Even in these cases, however, there is no guarantee such women will get over with the fans. This isn't to say that some of WWE's current women Superstars aren't also attractive, only that their looks aren't the reason for their success.
Gone are the days when WWE audiences will blindly cheer an attractive woman over one who isn't as much so. In fact, the WWE Universe will boo an attractive woman straight out of the company if they don't think she measures up in the ring.
Here are eight women WWE hired for their looks, and seven who clearly were not, enjoy.
15 Hired For Her Looks: Summer Rae
Some might be surprised to see Summer Rae under the "Hired for Her Looks" category. After all, Summer was a professional football player when she was discovered by WWE in 2011. Naturally, the WWE was interested in her for her athletic background right? Not so fast, the football league they found Summer in was the Lingerie Football League.
Not that Summer didn't demonstrate she was a good athlete in the league, however, as she was named the defensive captain of the Chicago Bliss and played in the All-Star game one year. WWE might have been more interested in her for how she looked in her uniform as opposed to her ability to intercept passes though.
Currently, Summer is lost in the shuffle in the Women's Division. The 33-year-old has been with the company for six years but has yet to become a contender for a Women's Title.
14 Not Hired For Her Looks: Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke was hired by WWE because she was a professional bodybuilder, and Vince has taken a liking for this in the domain judging by the past. In fact, when they brought Brooke up from NXT, they were so high on her that they planned a long storyline and eventual feuded her alongside Charlotte Flair.
Brooke started off as Flair's underling, but there were plans for her to slowly rebel against her dastardly leader. The problem was the fans never got behind Dana and never seemed to get excited about the idea of Dana turning on Charlotte. The feud never went anywhere, aside from one match on Raw, and Dana was pushed to the bottom of the division along with Emma and Mickie James.
The 28-year old has now been with the company since 2013, but it's clear she is no longer thought of as a blue-chip prospect.
13 Hired For Her Looks: Alicia Fox
This is a throwback shot of Alicia when she entered the WWE, so yea, her look played a role. Many are surprised to learn that Alicia Fox is the longest-tenured female wrestler in the WWE at the moment. While technically Natalya has wrestled more matches, no female on the current rosters has been under contract to WWE for as long as Alicia Fox has.
The 11-year WWE veteran was discovered by John Laurinaitis while working as a fashion model. WWE at the time was more concerned with bringing in attractive women than they were athletes, though Fox has developed her athletic skills in the decade plus that she has been with the company. Fox's sister was also hired by the company at one point, though she never did make it out of developmental.
At the moment Alicia Fox is wrestling in the Raw Women's Division after a tumultuous breakup with cruiserweight, Noam Dar.
12 Not Hired For Her Looks: Becky Lynch
This isn't to say Becky Lynch is bad looking, only that it wasn't what got her a job with WWE. Unlike the female performers who are scouted from fashion magazines, Becky Lynch was a real wrestler for years before getting a shot in WWE.
The 30-year-old started training in her native Ireland at only 15 years old. She attended a camp run by Finn Balor, NWA: Ireland. Lynch toiled away working odd jobs to support her dream. She was a flight attendant, took acting classes and modeling gigs. Lynch was finally given her break by WWE in 2013. After a horrible Irish jig dancing gimmick, she drew inspiration from a Magic: The Gathering character to create her current persona.
A decade ago someone like Becky Lynch wouldn't be given an opportunity in WWE, but fans are fortunate that has all changed.
11 Hired For Her Looks: Lana
WWE hired CJ Perry, aka Lana, in 2013. Shortly after her signing, she debuted in NXT as Rusev's "social ambassador". The now 32-year-old was dating Rusev at the time, and the couple has since married.
It seems as though Lana was hired by WWE for the sole purpose of managing her boyfriend, Rusev. As of this writing however, Lana is currently wrestling on SmackDown's Women's Division, though she is having little success. Lana unsuccessfully attempted to take the SmackDown Women's Championship away from Naomi (although Natalya is now the new champion), and now appears to be forming an alliance with Tamina Snuka. Critics of Lana claim she is not a strong worker, but she has developed a significant amount. Though at the end of the day, most can agree she's best in the "eye candy" valet role.
10 Not Hired For Her Looks: Asuka
Formerly known as Kana, the 35-year-old Asuka was not hired for her looks when she signed with WWE in 2015. She was hired because she's a crazy good wrestler. Not that Asuka isn't attractive, only that isn't what got her where she is today.
Where Asuka is today is on top of NXT's Women's Division, a place she has held since NXT Takeover: Dallas on April 1st, 2016. Her lengthy title reign has surpassed many records, however, critics will point out her run has taken place in NXT, where she is being protected somewhat for her debut on the main roster, whenever that might be.
Asuka had a much darker side when wrestling in Japan. NXT fans are just now starting to take note. She began to turn heel earlier this year.
9 Hired For Their Looks: Bella Twins
Technically the Bella Twins are two people, but since we're talking about their looks it makes sense to group them together. They don't look as similar nowadays as they used to, however. The identical twins have become significantly less identical in a few areas over the years.
Before signing with WWE in 2006, the Bella Twins were models. Their most recognizable gig was as the Budweiser World Cup twins. They also appeared on a Fox reality TV show, Meet My Folks. These signings took place back when WWE recruited female talent from fashion magazines instead of independent wrestling promotions like Shine and Shimmer or small regional shows.
Despite not starting out as wrestlers, each improved throughout their career. Brie began adopting many of Daniel Bryan's moves, and Nikki teamed with John Cena at WrestleMania this year.
8 Not Hired For Her Looks: Bayley
When the WWE hired Bayley in 2012, it was not for her looks. In fact, Bayley has often talked about how she was bullied for how she looked as a kid. Bayley would claim that she was taunted for looking like a boy.
She began her pro wrestling career in 2008 wrestling under the name Davina Rose. Her first match for NXT she wore a mask, which is something we haven't seen a lot of in women's wrestling, aside from when the Fabulous Moolah dressed as the Spider Lady. It wouldn't be long until she would discover her "hugger" gimmick though.
Bayley was signed by WWE because by then the promotion figured out that they might be better off signing women who can wrestle. Unfortunately, Bayley has recently suffered a shoulder injury that caused her to miss SummerSlam.
7 Hired For Her Looks: Liv Morgan
NXT women's wrestler Liv Morgan is a lifelong wrestling fan and has a bright future ahead of her. She wasn't hired for her wrestling ability, however, which is not to say she isn't talented.
To put this in perspective, she was a Hooters model when the company signed her. Some say it was Enzo Amore, who used to manage a Hooters in New Jersey, that recommended her to the company. The two were thought to be an item at one point, and the rumors still persist today.
Morgan has cited Lita as a big influence on her and said she participated in backyard wrestling with her brothers as a kid. While the 23-year-old hasn't been on television since April, she has remained active on live event tours. She's even been on some main roster house shows this summer.
6 Not Hired For Her Looks: Sasha Banks
Not that Sasha Banks is not an aesthetically pleasing individual, but she wasn't hired by WWE for her looks. She was hired because she can have exciting wrestling matches, and she showed that early in her independent career.
Banks loved wrestling growing up and was said to be a big fan of All Japan Women's Wrestling since North American promotions did not have deep female divisions when she was a kid. Banks has listed other wrestlers such as Eddie Guerrero, as some of her other wrestling influences.
Under the name Mercedes KV, Banks wrestled in the local New England scene starting at the age of 18. WWE would come calling just a few short years later. After spending a few years in NXT the 25-year-old is now, along with others on the roster, revolutionizing women's wrestling and, is the current Raw Women's Champion recently dethroning Alexa Bliss.
5 Hired For Her Looks: Maryse
Maryse doesn't wrestle much anymore, but she did manage to team with her husband The Miz at this year's WrestleMania. She wasn't hired for her wrestling ability, however, Maryse was someone they picked up purely for her look.
Maryse had been a fan of wrestling growing up in Canada, but it wasn't her initial chosen career path. She spent years working as a model and competing in pageants, such as the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada competition, which she won in 2003.
WWE discovered Maryse as part of the 2006 Diva Search. Despite being eliminated second in the competition that year, WWE still saw something in her and signed her to a developmental deal. By 2008 she was on the main roster, where she would compete in the Divas Division for three years before being let go in 2011. She was brought back in 2016.
4 Not Hired For Her Looks: Natalya
Natalya is about as attractive as is possible considering she's the daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, but her looks were not what got her a job in WWE. No female in WWE history has wrestled as many matches as Natalya has. The 35-year-old signed her WWE contract ten years ago before her 25th birthday.
Natalya has assumed the role of something of a player/coach in WWE Women's Division. Considering nobody has had a bad thing to say about her in the decade she's been with the company, it is safe to say she is a well-respected veteran in the locker room. Her career has now take another turn for the better recently winning the SmackDown Live Women's Championship proving she's still got it while in the later part of her 30s.
3 Hired For Her Looks: Nia Jax
This one might be harder to believe, but Nia Jax was certainly not hired for her wrestling ability. When WWE hired her she was working as a plus-sized model and was not pursuing a career in wrestling. She didn't have any real wrestling experience at all.
Nia Jax was also 30 when WWE signed her, which is older than most female talent in WWE when they are hired. Her size was her appeal, however, as WWE wanted her to become the monster of their female division. She is also related to The Rock, which gave WWE the hope she would be able to learn to wrestle.
Critics of Nia believe she needs more seasoning before being put in championship storylines, but WWE doesn't seem to agree with that sentiment. Somewhere down the road, Nia Jax will be Women's Champion.
2 Not Hired For Her Looks: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair was hired by WWE within days of deciding she wanted to be a pro wrestler. She was already 26 when she decided to follow in her father's footsteps, but she made up for lost time fast in developmental.
After training briefly with Lodi (from Raven's Flock, remember him?) in Georgia, WWE scooped her up and sent her to NXT. Along with Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, Charlotte would put on great matches in NXT and pave the way for what would later be known as the Women's Revolution. Charlotte has already won the Divas Championship and the Raw Women's Championship (4x) since debuting on the main roster in 2015. Her father had a somewhat similar history with World Championships.
Flair was also in the first women's match to headline a WWE PPV, when she defeated Sasha Banks inside Hell in a Cell.
1 Hired For Her Looks: Eva Marie
The story of Eva Marie's tenure in WWE sums up the changing perception of modern women's wrestling fans. She's about as gorgeous as possible but fans completely rejected her for her lack of wrestling ability. Sometimes it seemed as though Eva Marie didn't even know the rules, or like wrestling, and the fans picked up on that.
Even NXT crowds, where live audiences are generally supportive of everyone, turned on Eva Marie when she continued to botch parts of matches. Only Corey Graves would sing her praises by the end of her run.
She failed a Wellness Test last year and was taken off of television. WWE and Eva Marie officially parted ways earlier this summer. The door has not closed on a WWE return from Eva Marie, perhaps as a valet or manager, but it is doubtful the promotion would ever allow her back in a wrestling ring as a performer.