The WWE’s women’s divisions are as hot as possible in 2018, as they boast the largest and most talented female roster in wrestling history, but what about the women that came before them that paved the way for today’s stars? In this article, we are going to take a look at 20 female wrestlers from recent WWE memory, and split them up into two categories: 10 that they will likely bring back in the coming years, and 10 that, for whatever reason, won’t be seen on WWE TV in a full-time capacity in the near future.
Some are still in the wrestling business on the independent scene while others have left the business completely, but as you know with the WWE, they like to bring back these former stars, and while none have the star power of a Rock, Stone Cold or Undertaker etc, they would most likely all bring something unique to the current landscape of WWE.
So sit back and read along as we take a look at these 20 female performers, and what the WWE would like to do with them, if anything at all.
20 Won’t – Candice Michelle
Candice Michelle, like so many others, made it in the WWE purely on her looks, as she was one of many to grace the cover of men's magazines during her time with the world’s biggest wrestling company, but today, that just wouldn’t suffice. Today, the fans like engaging storylines and competitive, back-and-forth bouts with their women’s wrestling, and someone who only has the ability to pose in her underwear just couldn’t get that done. In addition to that, Michelle wasn’t even that big a name during her WWE days, as there have been many others like Sable and Stacy Keibler who have done more with their good looks during their wrestling days. It just makes no sense for Michelle to return from a WWE perspective.
19 Might – Layla
Throughout WWE history, there have been countless women hired solely for their looks, and the Diva Search was the epitome of this hiring process. Every once in a while, a wrestler breaks that stigma (e.g. Trish Stratus), and while Layla isn’t an all-time great, she became a respectable performer. We’ll get to Michelle later, but Layla was once part of a fantastic women’s tag team on SmackDown, and with the rumors of an impending women’s Tag Team Championship, it would make sense to bring LayCool back. As a solo act, Layla probably wouldn’t be of much interest to the WWE Universe, but as a team, these two ladies could have some great matches and give the tag division immediate legitimacy.
18 Won’t – Eva Marie
The whole point of the current evolution in women’s wrestling is to bring the talent of the female performers to the fore, and move on from the era of Divas, and unfortunately for Eva Marie, that’s exactly what she represents. After being released from the WWE, it looks like Marie has stepped away from the wrestling business entirely, and with her (lack of) talent for wrestling, it doesn’t sound like she’ll be back anytime soon. Sure, like others on this list, she may return for a one-off Royal Rumble appearance because spots need to be filled, but there is zero chance the WWE brings her back full time.
17 Might – Torrie Wilson
For most of the entries on this list, we’ve spoken about women hired solely on this list in a negative light, but Wilson is one that got past that and became a massive fan favorite, as evidenced by the massive reaction she received in the 2018 Royal Rumble. In fact, most would agree that Wilson looks better today than she did during her entire WWE career, and if she can get into ring shape, it would be good to see her return. Out of everyone on this side of the list, this is the least likely, but Wilson still has star power written all over her, and some of the interactions with today’s female roster would be amazing to see.
16 Won’t – Brooke Tessmacher
If this were still the mid-2000s, the WWE would be littered with people just like Brooke Adams/Tessmacher, who came to fame mostly in TNA as the partner of Bully Ray. While she became a big name in TNA, her time in WWE is often overlooked. She began in ECW as a member of the "Extreme Expose," and when other members like Kelly Kelly (we’ll get to her) worked hard and tried to become true wrestlers, Brooke didn’t and it saw her released from the company. In TNA, she played a fantastic character alongside the sadistic Bully Ray, but the WWE just doesn’t know how to book like that, and as such, there’d be no room for her these days. It's unlikely that there’s a desire from either side to make a return happen.
15 Might – Tessa Blanchard
The independent wrestling scene has several incredibly talented women, but the rosters aren’t quite as deep when it comes to true star power, and in that category, Tessa Blanchard could be considered the best in the world on the indies. She is currently reigning as Impact Knockouts Champion, and with her performances there, at All In and during the first ever Mae Young Classic, WWE has to be impressed, and will likely go "all in" on bringing her in. With her name, her look, and her obvious talent, Blanchard could be a megastar in WWE one day, and if she wants to truly make her mark, then WWE is where it needs to happen.
14 Won’t – Rosa Mendes
Over the years, the WWE have employed many people, and a lot of times they have kept these people on the books way beyond their worth, and the best example of that in recent years is Rosa Mendes. She wasn’t a good interviewer, she wasn’t a good manager, and in her decade-plus WWE career, she wrestled less than five televised matches, so why was she employed for so long? That’s a conversation for another day, but in this instance, we say with confidence that the WWE has no interest in bringing her back because they have no role for her.
13 Might – Victoria
During the era of Divas, there were a few women who stuck out heavily (Lita, Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix among others), but one who doesn’t get the credit she deserves is Victoria, who was having great matches in WWE before they encouraged their women to do so. Sure, she may be getting up there in age, but there are two rosters full of fresh matchups for her, and if she were to return, she would no doubt get a major reaction from the WWE Universe. We’ve already seen all the above names return, as well as the likes of Mickie James, so this seems to be a matter of "when," not "if" for Victoria and the WWE.
12 Won’t – Gail Kim
Gail Kim is one of the greatest female performers to ever step foot in a wrestling ring, but most of her high profile success came under the banner of TNA (where she is a Hall of Famer), rather than WWE, and there is some very real animosity between the two sides. Kim wrestled in the WWE for several stints, but wasn’t given the respect she deserves and has spoken out in interviews against the WWE. Although the WWE has made up with performers before, Kim just isn’t high profile enough. The company now has enough talent to the point where they don’t need her either, so don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, if ever.
11 Might – Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly made her name during WWE’s version of ECW for her incredible look, and in the following years, she improved a tremendous amount on her way to becoming Divas Champion and earning the fans' respect. Most people from this era have been forgotten by the WWE Universe, but the reaction that Kelly received upon returning in the 2018 Royal Rumble is clear that she’s still a big favorite, and it must tempt WWE to bring her back. There have been rumors that she will return to the company in a full-time capacity soon, and as she’s still young enough (31) to have an extended run, that’s something we definitely expect to happen.
10 Won’t – Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro was one of many women who came out on top in the WWE’s Diva Search, but like the majority of other winners, she just didn’t transition into wrestling the way they would have hoped, and she had a fairly disappointing WWE career as a result. However, Massaro didn’t carry the traditional look that WWE liked, which could have helped her career if her in-ring skills had of developed. Unfortunately, that never happened, and it seems that wrestling is well and truly in her rear-view mirror at this point. Again, a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble for a pop is a possibility, but even then, you have to imagine Ashley would struggle to keep up in the squared circle.
9 Might – Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool has everything it takes to be a star in the WWE Women’s division, and she climbed the ranks with ease during her career. Now, with much more competition, she could return and be one of the best in the company. Sure, she’s much older than the women competing today, but as we saw during her Royal Rumble return, she still has the potential to be a star in the company. With so many new names coming in through the Mae Young Classic, there’s a possibility that the WWE doesn’t go back to any of these former stars, but if they want to, Michelle McCool should be a name at the top of that list.
8 Won’t – Melina
For all her talents in the wrestling business, Melina just couldn’t avoid heat backstage during her tenure with the WWE, and although it would be good to see her matched up against some of today’s top talents, it’s just not worth it from WWE’s point of view. Due to this constant heat, Melina never got the chance to show what she could do as a solo performer in the WWE, and she’s done that on the indies since her departure. While there’s always a potential Rumble appearance in her future, a full-time run won’t happen, nor is the WWE Universe clamoring for one.
7 Might – Brandi Rhodes
Brandi Rhodes wasn’t a big name in the WWE under the name Eden Stiles, but since leaving with her husband Cody, she’s become a huge star in her own right, and with the cast of Being The Elite vowing to stick together, that should mean Brandi too. A lot of people don’t believe this is a possibility, but according to reports, The Elite are strongly considering WWE as a legitimate destination, and you can’t have Cody without Brandi, so this makes sense. Sure, she’s not as talented an in ring performer as others, but she can go if need be, and she just helps elevate Cody further into superstardom.
6 Won’t – Summer Rae
We’ve mentioned it quite a lot throughout this article, but the WWE had a very specific hiring policy for years, and blonde with a great body was it, so that fits Summer Rae to a tee, and now that they look for more talent, it’s unlikely that she will return. Upon being released from the company a year ago, it looks like Rae, real name Dannielle Moinet, has left the wrestling business entirely, and likely has no desire at all to return. During her days in NXT, Rae actually flashed a bit of talent in the ring but was used entirely as a manager on the main roster, and when that didn’t work out, she was left with nothing, so it makes no sense from either side to look for a reunion.
5 Might – AJ Lee
This entry was a toss-up to which side of the list AJ would appear on, but her and the WWE are reportedly on decent terms, and despite her husband and his issues with the company, it’s only a matter of time until she returns. There has been speculation that the return would happen at Evolution, and while that’s since been shut down by multiple sources, her return to full-time competition seems inevitable at this point. AJ shone brightly during her tenure in WWE despite poor opposition, but a return now would see her matched up against the likes of Lynch, Charlotte, Banks, Asuka, Moon, Rousey, and others, and that would mean great business.
4 Won’t – Aksana
Aksana was a very weird case in the WWE, as she debuted in the game-show version of NXT, and just stuck around for a while doing nothing of note. In fact, the most memorable thing that Aksana ever gave the WWE Universe was her weird relationship with Teddy Long on SmackDown, and with little name recognition and barely any talent, this just isn’t one that anyone wants to see. There is so much true talent in the wrestling business these days, that performers like this just don’t belong. While others worked hard to become competent in ring performers, Aksana didn’t, and now you’ll only ever hear about her on lists like this.
3 Might – Tenille Dashwood
The Women’s Revolution has been a big talking point in WWE over the past few years, and one question everyone always asks is, "Who started the Women’s Revolution in WWE?" There are many answers to that question, but the most common one is NXT’s Women’s Division, and that was put on the map by Emma (now going by Tenille Dashwood) and Paige, and it’s hard to see them not bringing her back at some point. Emma was always incredibly talented, and with her "mean girl/Evil Emma" gimmick, she was money, and WWE will realize that in the near future and take her back.
2 Won’t – Cameron
Brodus Clay should have been a star in the WWE along with his "Funkadactyls" Naomi and Cameron, and since he left the company, those two ladies have certainly gone in opposite directions. Naomi has become a star in the women’s divisions with her athleticism and unique, flashy entrance, while Cameron has faded away from the wrestling business altogether, and like it or not, that’s the way it needs to stay. If they had gone on to more success together, a reunion could have been quite fun, but with all the improvements women’s wrestling has made in the past few years, it’s just something that no one really wants to see.
1 Might – Kharma
Awesome Kong is one of the biggest names in women’s professional wrestling over the past 15 years, but that success came outside of the WWE, and she certainly has unfinished business in the ‘E. She made only one official appearance in the WWE, and that was in the men’s Royal Rumble, and with so many new, fresh opponents, it would be crazy for them to not consider another run for "Kharma." Sure, she’s not the wrestler she once was, but a quick, final run culminating in a hoss bout with Nia Jax should be way too good to pass up.