The rise of women’s wrestling in WWE has seen many historic moments come in the company. Ladies like Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, and others have been the names featured for the movement. Evolution will mark the first-ever all-women PPV for WWE to celebrate the past, present, and future of women’s wrestling. Between Evolution and the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble this past January, we know the names that WWE loves to celebrate for their past. Obvious names like Trish Stratus and Lita get rightfully honored for their impact in WWE’s women’s division despite competing in a time with fewer opportunities. However, there are some surprising choices of the names WWE celebrates like Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, and Torrie Wilson. It ultimately comes down to which wrestlers have a good relationship with the company.
There are many talented ladies that get no mention in the documentaries and promos about the history of women’s wrestling in WWE. Diehard fans are the only ones to keep their WWE legacies in their memories. Quite a few women in WWE have been overlooked for various reasons and borderline erased from the company’s history. Some of them have a negative relationship with WWE that sees them blacklisted. Others didn’t make enough of an impact to stay relevant enough for WWE to work with them. A few have no interest at doing anything WWE-related. Find out which ladies you’ve forgotten about. These are twenty former WWE women’s wrestlers that only the hardcore fans remember today.
Cherry had a run in WWE, working primarily a manager. The tag team of Deuce and Domino was a unique gimmick of stereotypical '50s greaser characters. A decision was made to have a female manager with them that rode roller skates.
There were a few occasions where Cherry would get in the ring for matches, especially against her rival Maryse. However, fans typically forget her due to most of her run coming as a manager for a forgettable tag team. WWE released her faster than expected due to creative not having a role for her. Cherry no longer wrestles, but she is one of current star Natalya's best friends.
Jazz is one of the women that deserves way more recognition than she gets for her time in WWE. Her in-ring skills had her as arguably the best wrestler in the women’s division. Trish Stratus did not get to the next level as a top female star for the division until her matches with Jazz.
Jazz's toughness added another element to the women’s division in WWE at the time. A prior run in ECW was impressive enough to get her a spot in WWE. Jazz did well enough to win the Women’s Championship. Sadly, WWE never brings her back for any of the historical acknowledgments.
18 Amy Weber
WWE found a lot of female talent in the Diva Search contests back when they only wanted to hire former models. Many top stars of today like the Bella Twins, Maria Kanellis, and others found their introduction to WWE during the contests. One of the less memorable Diva Search contestants was Amy Weber.
Despite not winning, Weber secured a contract with WWE that saw her on the main roster within months. Amy was part of JBL’s Cabinet faction as his assistant. Personal issues with other wrestlers such as JBL and Randy Orton led to Weber requesting her release from the company and leaving the industry forever.
17 Serena Deeb
Serena Deeb's WWE run is likely forgotten unless you were a big fan of the Straight Edge Society. Deeb struggled to get television time or much opportunities until CM Punk added her to his faction, as she shaved her head as a sign of devotion. The time spent in the stable ended abruptly when she was spotted breaking kayfabe away from the ring, which upset WWE officials and Punk.
Deeb recently returned to WWE behind the scenes. She is one of the coaches currently at the Performance Center, offering insight to the new prospects in the company. Very few fans have any memory of her WWE on-screen career, but Serena is making an impact today behind the scenes.
Tough Enough was the first major reality television project by WWE. A huge deal with MTV saw WWE air the show with new hopefuls trying to secure a contract with the company while training. Veteran wrestlers trained them, and WWE wanted to find future stars.
Nidia and Maven were the first two to win contracts in Season 1. Unfortunately, Nidia only saw minimal success on the main roster. Her best run came as the manager of Jamie Noble. The comedic couple worked perfectly together, leading to Noble winning the Cruiserweight Championship. WWE split them up, and Nidia would get released after a few lackluster years.
15 Jillian Hall
Jillian Hall had a couple of different characters in WWE, but very few people have any memory of her. WWE never viewed Hall as anything more than a second-tier performer leading to a lack of success. Hall’s first role was the assistant of JBL that saw her have a giant defect on her face as a ‘comedic’ aspect.
Most fans are shocked to realize Jillian is a former Divas Champion. The reason for this is Hall losing it seconds after winning it for another comedic moment at her expense. A few years of playing an intentionally bad singer gave her more time, but it ended with a release and forgotten legacy.
14 The Kat
Stacy “The Kat” Carter was one of the top women of the Attitude Era that few fans remember. Her introduction to professional wrestling came when she married Jerry Lawler. Despite the drastic age gap, Carter and Lawler were an item. WWE liked Carter's look and hired her as The Kat.
The Attitude Era featured women only getting pushed for their looks and taking part in matches involving scantily-clad outfits. Kat found success as the top face of the women’s division in 2000. WWE eventually grew tired of her and released her shortly into her career. Lawler left with her until the two split up months later, leading him to come back to the WWE.
Shelly Martinez received an opportunity on the WWE main roster thanks to the ECW brand. WWE was hoping to have unique characters find success to make ECW stand out. Martinez played a vampire character named Ariel. She worked with fellow vampire Kevin Thorn as his valet.
Both wrestlers had chemistry together and often at least provided decent segments together. However, ECW was so bad that no one cared about the roster. Ariel's run ended due to behind-the-scenes issues with other wrestlers. Ariel strongly disliked her time in WWE and may be happier that most fans forget it.
One of the few credible athletes hired for the women’s division during the Attitude Era was Tori. The run of Tori featured her going back and forth between matches and managing. Tori’s best run in WWE came as part of the D-Generation X stable.
Kane was dating Tori in an angle that made him relatable to the audience for the first time. Tori, however, turned heel and broke his heart by aligning with his enemy X-Pac. It led to her helping DX win matches by taking huge bumps and using her stuntwoman background. Following her departure, Tori did not ever get any opportunities to return to WWE.
The idea to bring back ECW as a third brand was among the biggest busts in wrestling history. Francine was an ECW original that connected with that smaller fan base in the '90s. WWE decided to bring her and a few other ECW originals back to launch the third brand.
Francine did not have much of a role on ECW television. She completely lost her spot after just a few weeks of the show's start. Vince McMahon was not a fan of her work at all. Francine got released a few months after joining the company. Only a handful of WWE fans have any memory of Francine ever working for WWE.
Shaniqua was one of the oddest characters in the Ruthless Aggression Era. WWE hired Linda Miles after winning one of the contracts from the second season of Tough Enough. Miles' background in college basketball made her a good athlete, but WWE decided to have her play the rather controversial Shaniqua.
Brothers Doug and Danny Basham were a tag team managed by Shaniqua, who exerted her influence in a dominant manner. The run did not work out for the three as Shaniqua received heat backstage for having a huge ego. WWE released Shaniqua just months into her run, and she left the wrestling business altogether, now focusing on her work as a women's college basketball referee.
9 Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro's WWE career had a lot more potential than the average fan would assume today. That's because Massaro was the winner of the second-ever Diva Search contest. A connection with the audience during the competition helped her earn a contract, thanks to winning the fan vote.
Ashley had a lot of love from the fanbase after officially joining the company. A few years of success saw her receive a singles match at WrestleMania, challenging for the Women’s Championship. Massaro would trend downhill before opting to leave the company to deal with a family issue. WWE has not done business with her since then and most fans forget she was in the company.
The original "game show" version of NXT surprisingly created a lot of future stars for WWE. NXT’s all-female third season saw AJ Lee, Naomi, and Kaitlyn all go on to have championship reigns. However, there were a few forgettable names to come from the season and get a run on the main roster.
WWE gave Aksana a chance to break out in a bigger role. Her lack of in-ring skills held her back from getting to the next level as a credible star in the women’s division. Her most memorable run was as the girlfriend of Cesaro, after leaving Teddy Long for him. It was a terrible angle that left no impact on the viewer.
7 Ryan Shamrock
The Attitude Era featured many women getting hired mostly for their looks as eye candy characters. Alicia Webb was one of the ladies to get a chance as a character. She played Ryan Shamrock, the storyline sister of former MMA fighter Ken Shamrock, often getting involved in storylines together.
Ryan had on-screen romances with Goldust and Val Venis at different points. WWE did not seem to enjoy her work as much due to the limitations of her skills. WCW hired Shamrock towards the end of their run as Symphony, the manager of lower-card wrestler The Maestro. It did not lead to enough success, and she would get phased out of the mainstream wrestling world.
6 Joy Giovanni
The first season of the Diva Search led to many women getting hired. Christy Hemme won the contest, but runner-ups Maria Kanellis, Candice Michelle, and others received contracts as well. One of the more popular ladies to get hired was Joy Giovanni.
WWE placed her on the SmackDown brand within a few months of receiving her contract. Joy was involved in a short-term storyline as the girlfriend of Big Show. That ended quickly, and she struggled to find consistent television time moving forward. Giovanni was released and only had one more return as part of a battle royal years later.
5 Dawn Marie
Many former ECW stars found great success when joining WWE like Rob Van Dam, Tazz, and the Dudley Boyz. Not many women to make the same jump achieved such success. One of the ladies to have some good moments was Dawn Marie.
SmackDown featured a long feud between Torrie Wilson and Marie as the two fixtures on the brand. Dawn was a very impressive heel that contributed whenever she was called upon. A controversial end featured WWE firing Marie during her pregnancy. Dawn left WWE and never received another return to the company. Despite a lot of solid television time, Marie doesn’t have as much of a legacy as some of her peers did.
4 Jackie Gayda
The second season of Tough Enough featured WWE changing things up by changing the rules from one man and one woman winning contracts to the two best competitors getting hired. Jackie Gayda and Linda Miles were the two winners of the second season to earn contracts.
It proved to be a poor decision by WWE to hire them and place them on television so quickly. Gayda struggled to progress in the wrestling aspect of the job. Many of her matches were embarrassing, with noteworthy botches. Gayda was transitioned into a manager, but WWE still wasn’t impressed with her. It led to her getting released and slowly leaving the wrestling business afterward.
The woman shown here is known most for her time in Impact Wrestling under her real name of Taryn Terrell. However, it could be a surprising realization that she used to work for WWE under the name of Tiffany. Her biggest role was the General Manager of the ECW brand running the third brand without much in-ring action on her end.
WWE didn’t believe Tiffany had the skills to become a legitimate wrestler and wanted to focus on the personality portion of the gig. Her release came faster than expected thanks to backstage issues. Impact gave her a chance many years later and the name Taryn Terrell became credible in the industry.
2 Kristal Marshall
Kristal Marshall received a contract with WWE after finishing strongly in the Diva Search. The look, charisma and overall potential of Marshall made her a hot commodity for WWE. Kristal's lack of in-ring skills resulted in her achieving most of her success as a non-wrestling character.
Marshall’s relationship with Teddy Long was the biggest angle she took part in during her WWE career. Her release came when she refused to take part in a romance storyline with Edge like the one with Lita. Kristal didn’t feel comfortable with the role, which caused WWE to release her. A short run in Impact Wrestling continued her career before leaving the industry.
TNA Wrestling was known for signing any former WWE names to hit the open market, but there are early instances of the other scenario. WWE did sign a few TNA names that stood out among the new stars in the industry. One of the names to get signed by WWE was Trinity.
Trinity was best known on TNA for her stunts. As a legitimate stuntwoman, Trinity would dive off the top of steel cages and deliver dangerous, yet exciting moves. WWE signed Trinity to become part of the ECW brand. The failure of ECW saw her run end with little to no impactful moments. It led to the end of her wrestling career.