In recent years, WWE has put a great deal of emphasis on women’s wrestling. The last WrestleMania --the company’s biggest event-- was headlined by female superstars.WWE is quick to point out how far the women’s division has come, and it appears to be a big part of their plans going forward.
After all, the biggest star in the organization at present is a woman by the name of Becky Lynch. To celebrate this “Women’s Evolution,” let's take a look at some of the very best women’s title holders in WWE history.
10 Molly Holly
This will be a controversial pick, as the WWE doesn’t give Holly the same kind of attention as the Trish Stratuses of the world. However, the native of Forest Lake, Minnesota, was a phenomenal performer and two-time WWE Women’s Champion. In truth, she was the best female in-ring performer of her era – just go back and watch the footage.
Holly was also one of the first modern female champs who became a star without relying heavily on sex appeal – making her a sort of precursor to the “Women’s Evolution.” Unfortunately, she didn’t perform in an era when the technical aspects of women's wrestling were appreciated as much — still, she was a significant and under-appreciated champion.
9 AJ Lee
AJ Lee and her husband CM Punk didn’t leave the WWE on the best of terms. As a result, the company rarely mentions her these days. However, she is still recognized as three-time WWE Divas Champion and held the strap for a combined total of 406 days.
The 5-foot-2 starlet out of Union City, New Jersey could certainly go in the ring. However, it was her exceptional mic skill that set Lee apart from many of her contemporaries. In fact, there was a brief period, during which she portrayed an authority figure, that Lee was the most popular performer in WWE. She’s still only 32 years of age, so a comeback certainly isn’t out of the question.
8 Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks has made plenty of headlines lately, and her future with WWE seems uncertain at this time. That being said, even if she never sets foot in a WWE ring again, “The Boss” will go down as one of the great female wrestlers of her time.
This product of Fairfield, California has the perfect blend of athleticism and natural charisma that can’t be taught. She still only 27 years old, and is already a four-time WWE Women’s Champion. She’s also secured her place in history as one of the first women to headline a pay-per-view and to win the women’s tag titles.
7 Beth Phoenix
She may already be in the WWE Hall of Fame, but that hasn’t stopped Beth Phoenix from continuing to build on her wrestling legacy. “The Glamazon” is a three-time WWE Women’s Champion and was the youngest person to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Phoenix helped dispel the myth that strong women can’t be feminine. In 2010, the powerhouse out of Elmira, New York became only the second women to enter (the men’s) Royal Rumble. Her hard-hitting style made her one of WWE’s top stars in the late-2000s. Now that she’s back in action, Phoenix could find herself even further down our list in a few years.
6 Mickie James
James has had a wrestling career that spans over 2 decades, and she’s still going strong. Throughout what’s sure to be a Hall of Fame career in WWE, Richmond Virginia's own has captured the WWE Women’s Championship an impressive five times thus far.
One of the top female performers of her era, James has consistently delivered quality matches throughout her career. Her stalker storyline involving Trish Stratus in the mid-2000s was some of her best work, and one of the most memorable angles involving female performers. James’ athleticism and down-home charm have helped her become one of the sport's all-time great female stars.
Lita is one of the many deserving Hall of Fame performers on our list. During her time in WWE, the high-flyer managed to win the WWE Women’s Championship four times in all. Now 44 years of age, Lita still performs for WWE audiences from time to time.
The native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was one of the first female high-flyers to become a major star. She was also one of the few WWE stars who came across as cool with seemingly little effort. At the height of her run, she was one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster during the Attitude Era.
4 Becky Lynch
If she continues to maintain the momentum she has now, Becky Lynch will be further down our list in short order. As it stands, “The Man” is four-time WWE Women’s Champion and recently unified the Raw and SmackDown titles at WrestleMania 35. She is also one of the first women to headline WrestleMania.
Lynch may not be as athletic as stars like Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey, but she has more than made up for it in other ways. The “Irish Lass Kicker” has become one of the best performers on the mic and has a social media game that’s second to none.
3 The Fabulous Moolah
Many of the women featured on our list are still active or only recently retired. This isn’t due to any sort of bias, but rather because women’s wrestling has only really taken off over the last couple decades. However, there are still some old-school pioneers worth acknowledging – like The Fabulous Moolah.
Moolah held the women’s title for around 28 years, which is enough to warrant a spot on the list in and of itself. She also helped the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection take off in the 1980s. In 1999, the South Carolina product became the oldest WWE Women’s Champion of all-time – having won the strap when she was 76-years-old.
2 Trish Stratus
Toronto’s Trish Stratus is almost universally regarded as one of the greatest female performers to ever set foot inside a WWE ring. The Hall of Famer, Diva of the Decade, and seven-time WWE Women’s Champion is one of the most decorated stars WWE has ever produced.
Stratus was one of the few females from the Attitude Era who had the in-ring ability to go with her movie star good looks. The blonde starlet’s natural charisma allowed her to connect with in fans in a way few stars have been able to before or since. Trish Stratus managed to stand out in an era loaded with some of the biggest stars in wrestling history.
1 Charlotte Flair
Even though Charlotte Flair has only been a part of WWE’s main roster since 2015, she has already established herself as the greatest female star of all-time. “The Queen” has had a record-setting eight title reigns throughout her relatively short career.
Like her Hall of Fame father Ric Flair, Charlotte Flair is an extremely well-and performer. She’s athletic, can talk, and can be counted on to deliver a quality match night in and night out. Flair has a ton of charisma and movie star-like prescense about her. She is arguably the most complete wrestler on the WWE roster – male or female.