Out of all of the divisions in WWE, the Women’s division has certainly undergone the most transformation in the past 20 years or so – we used to see performers like Alundra Blayze be portrayed as a pure female athlete who was dominant over the division. Over time, this dynamic was removed from women’s wrestling in WWE, and the Attitude Era transitioned away from females who could perform well in the ring, and more attention was given to those who looked good in a swimsuit versus who could perform arm drags. While this pivot may have angered purists, at least it still had women featured in a prominent (albeit sometimes degrading) way on WWE programming. There would also be another important transition in WWE’s outlook on women’s wrestling, as it would transition to be essentially non-existent in the mid-2000s and there would be weeks on end where a women’s match would not even be featured on television, let alone on pay-per-view.
Thankfully we are in an era where women’s wrestling is being treated relatively equally as men’s wrestling, and there are quality female matches each week on WWE programming. While the WWE female talent pool is at its peak now, there were plenty of lows – not every woman on the roster can be considered the best, and there has certainly been at least one female talent every year who can be considered the least talented on the roster. Sometimes these women stick out like a sore thumb, and other times their stints in WWE have been so short they're forgettable.
20 2000 – The Kat
When a female wrestler is only known for her tendency to expose her breasts on television and participating in matches such as Thong Stink-face Matches and Snow Bunny Matches, there is a high likelihood that she is not the most talented professional wrestler. Stacy “The Kat” Carter was employed by WWE from 1999 to 2001, and will likely never make the WWE Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport (regardless of the fact that she was one of the first naked women that WWE fans saw in their youth). The only record that Carter holds in WWE is being the first case of intentional nudity during a WWE broadcast, as she purposely showed her “kitties” at Armageddon 1999 and again at Insurrextion 2000 following an arm-wrestling match with Terri Runnels.
WWE sure has come a long way in terms of how they present women’s wrestling, as you can never imagine a wrestler like Charlotte or Asuka subjecting themselves to being featured in Chocolate Pudding matches.
While she was never going to be confused with a top-tier athlete in WWE, she was given a championship run due to her popularity with the fans. These days, The Kat is happily married to Nick Cvjetkovich, better known as Kizarny who had a cup of coffee in WWE in 2008 – beyond her husband she has removed herself entirely from professional wrestling.
19 2001 – Terri Runnels
The “crown” for 2001 goes to The Kat’s partner in crime from the early 2000s, Miss Terri Runnels. Formerly known as Marlena during her partnership with Goldust, Terri transitioned into a woman with a very simple gimmick – she was thirsty before thirsty was a thing! With the nickname She-Devil, Terri would manipulate any man she was involved with such as Meat, The Hardy Boyz and Perry Saturn, but was never known for her in-ring prowess. In fact, any time Runnells participated in in-ring competition, she was only involved in gimmick matches or contests where she would need to show off her body.
Just like The Kat, Terri also has a piece of trivia that we cannot forget about her career – despite being used as a backstage interviewer for the twilight of her career, Terri was also a former WWE Hardcore Champion, having won the championship during the 24/7 rule, where anyone could win the title anytime as long as a referee was present. While that championship may not be the most prestigious in WWE history, it was still won by some of the most revered wrestlers in the WWE such as Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and The Undertaker – I suppose that we also have to include a “wrestler” who spent most of her time in the ring in lingerie.
18 2002 – Jackie Gayda
The reason Jim Ross was one of the most incredible commentators of all time is because he had the ability to make us truly understand how either impressive or dreadful a match was through his commentary. When he referred to a match as bowling-shoe ugly he was able to help audiences understand just how awful it was. Now, when he exclaimed at the end the July 8th 2002 RAW match between Jackie Gayda and Christopher Nowinsiki versus Trish Stratus and Bradshaw that “mercifully, it’s over” the audience understood he was mentioning this because the match was truly one of the worst that we had ever seen, and it was all because of one person. That title goes to the one, the only Jackie Gayda who had the match named in her honor as “That Jackie Gayda Match”.
Gayda was one of the “winners” of the second instalment of Tough Enough, but showed that she was certainly not ready to be featured during in-ring competition as there has not been a match this poor on RAW since her she was featured and then immediately sent back to Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental for some more work on her in-ring abilities. Gayda accomplished very little in WWE following this match, as the stigma certainly followed her for the rest of her career, and she puttered around as mainly a valet to her future husband Charlie Haas until 2005 when she was released.
17 2003 – Shaniqua
As you can see, WWE’s initial incarnation of Tough Enough didn't contribute much in terms of talent from its second season (other than Kenny King and Matt Morgan). Linda Miles was the second winner of this season alongside the aforementioned Jackie Gayda, but she was seen as someone who would likely be the more successful due to her athleticism and progression during the competition. However, it seems that WWE was incorrect in choosing either woman as a winner as they have both ended up on this list for how they showed up while a part of the WWE roster.
While Miles – who eventually debuted with the name Shaniqua on the SmackDown roster – did not have as disastrous showing as Gayda, she didn't show up well enough to be considered a success story.
Shaniqua was positioned as the 'dominant' manager of The Basham Brothers, who was actually shown to be stronger than them in some cases as they needed her in order to win several matches. While this sounds like it could be an interesting gimmick, the issue was with Shaniqua’s portrayal of the character – she was a godawful actress! Each time she appeared on camera her acting was cringe-worthy enough to make fans tune away, which ultimately led to her being removed as the Bashams' manager and her release in 2004. Since leaving WWE, she has not participated in any wrestling event, which is indicative of how she even feels about her legacy in wrestling.
16 2004 – Carmella DeCesare
Before WWE’s focus on their female athletes requiring actual athletic ability, they found their talent the same way that someone looking to pose for a magazine would be found – they held competition called the Diva Search, and attempted to find their next female star through a variety of games and segments. While you would think this focus would involve athleticism or need to prove yourself as a wrestler, the segments were focused on meaningless “competitions” such as seducing a male wrestler or a bikini contest. As you would assume, this contest didn't produce many future superstars of the female roster, particularly when it came to one of the final competitors of the competition.
Carmella DeCesare was the runner-up of the competition to eventual winner Christy Hemme, but was featured heavily during her broadcasts because the other competitors despised her. As evidenced in the infamous Diss the Diva segment of this competition, each participant was given the chance to spout insults at the other women, however they saved all of the ammunition for DeCesare, with the segment crossing the line with obscenities in her direction. While this would be a sure-fire way to create one of the strongest heels in wrestling, it fizzled into absolutely nothing as DeCesare didn't have any desire to actually win the competition or even be a part of WWE, as she quietly left the company after losing without signing a contract.
15 2005 – Francine
Those that watched ECW during its hey-day instantly recognize Francine as the Head Cheerleader to former ECW World Champion Shane Douglas, and know that she was one of the most premiere managers for the company. Francine rarely wrestled in the ring, but was used very well as a heel manager who would interfere in the matches of those that she managed, including Justin Credible and Shane Douglas to World Championship wins. When ECW folded in 2001, Francine did little in the wrestling world other than short stints with TNA, until she returned to WWE’s ECW brand during its reincarnation.
Unfortunately for Francine, her legacy from the original ECW didn't remain intact when she joined the new brand – WWE attempted to treat her in the same way other female wrestlers were by placing her in bikini contests and cat fights instead of using her proven strengths as a manager. The sad reality that her “shining moment” in WWE was participating in an Extreme Cat Fight with Ariel at the awful December to Dismember event means she was certainly not on the same level as the other performers in WWE. While this is also the fault of WWE Management for not putting her into a position to succeed, Francine didn't show much during her time with the company when she could have done much better (I suppose this could also be said about many things regarding WWE’s treatment of the ECW brand).
14 2006 – Kelly Kelly
So nice they named her twice, and while she would eventually improve into being a credible Divas Champion in 2011, her first year with the company as a member of the ECW brand was awful. However, if you think about the fact that she was signed to WWE when she was only 19 without any prior experience in wrestling, management should've known what they were getting. In addition, when you give an inexperienced performer a poor gimmick – such as an “exhibitionist” who enjoys stripping on television, there aren't many places they will go.
Kelly’s first year in ECW had her alongside many different men as their valet, including Mike Knox and eventual real-life boyfriends Andrew “Test” Martin and CM Punk, where she was not featured in the ring very often and was mainly treated poorly by those she was managing.
Ultimately, this would lead to her being “saved” by another male on the roster before she was eventually mistreated by them as well, leading to her always being put in a “damsel in distress” position.
While this may have worked for other performers at the time, Kelly’s inexperience with on-camera performances was very apparent here and was immediately exposed (see what I did there?) for her lack of talent. For example, while she was portrayed as someone who loved showcasing for the audience, she hilariously had an issue with removing her top during one of the ECW broadcasts leading to a lot of stalling by the announce team at the time, and also had very few dance moves apart from pointing her fingers and arms out towards the audience.
13 2007 – Trinity
Another prime example of WWE receiving a talent from TNA and not knowing at all what to do with them, so perhaps it's not fair to place Trinity here, but her minimal (and largely forgettable) appearances for WWE left so little to the imagination. Trinity made a good name for herself in TNA alongside Michael Shane as his valet, as she would regularly perform moonsaults to interfere during his matches, however none of this excitement transferred over to her time in WWE.
Perhaps all that Trinity is known for during her time in WWE is the fact that she once wore caution tape as a bikini during the kind of segment she was regularly involved in – bikini contests. Knowing that Trinity was capable of much more than strutting around in skimpy bikinis makes this entry sad, but unfortunately this is how she was used during her short stint with the company. Most people tend to forget that she even transitioned to WWE for several months in 2007, and those people have become even more diminished since a Google search of “Trinity in WWE” brings up 90% pictures of former SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Naomi, whose real name is Trinity Fatu. This Trinity we are referring to has since retired from professional wrestling to focus on her movie stunt career, which is ironic considering that her work was also hidden during her time in WWE.
12 2008 – Cherry
Hopefully WWE will learn someday that not every valet should be an in-ring performer. WWE has a track record of taking talent that is featured alongside a wrestler or tag team and trying to transition them in to an in-ring career when the athleticism and drive to be a performer just is not there, and it is very evident each time that they step in to the ring. When in her role as a valet for the Deuce n’ Domino tag team, Cherry did well in her role and even managed the team to a WWE Tag Team Championship win during their time together, but honestly did not do much to help the team achieve it as she rarely got involved in their matches. In this role, Cherry would likely not have made this list as she was largely forgettable as a manager, however WWE attempted to transition her into a wrestler in 2008, and her inabilities in the ring were quickly evident.
Cherry’s time in the ring was clunky and uncoordinated, despite being featured in matches alongside ring veterans Natalya and Victoria because it was just not what she was meant to do.
While she did have some prior wrestling experience on the independent circuit prior to joining WWE, it was not enough to be featured on this large of a stage as her inexperience was very evident. It seems that WWE management saw this as well considering that she was released from her contract only four months after being featured as a wrestler on her own.
11 2009 – Tiffany
This is an interesting case where WWE featured a female wrestler in a poorly-received role while she was with the company, but then she would go one to much greater success in another company. When Tiffany debuted on ECW programming she was put into a leadership role and eventually made the GM of the brand in 2009, leading to her being featured heavily in on-camera speaking roles, which was not her strength. She was featured in the role until ECW folded as a brand at the end of the year and didn't accomplish much in her role other than to have people question what exactly was “extreme” about having Tiffany as the GM.
While WWE’s ECW brand was a shell of what the original ECW stood for, Tiffany is one of the last things I would want to remember about a brand that stood for extreme violence and hardcore wrestling as this is certainly not what she exemplified as I'm sure Paul Heyman or Todd Gordon was never featured in a Halloween Bikini Contest during their time as ECW GM. Thankfully, Tiffany would eventually transition to TNA and go on to be one of the most successful Knockouts the company has ever produced, with her reign of 279 days as Knockouts Champion being a record for the company. Was this just a case of WWE not recognizing the talent they had? Or was Tiffany really just that bad of a GM?
10 2010 - Alicia Fox
Would you believe it if we told you Alicia Fox has been under WWE contract since 2006?Alicia Fox seems to be someone who really could have benefitted from a developmental territory like NXT being around when she first started with the WWE, as she has always shown flashes of potential, but never seems to remain relevant for long on WWE programming. Back in 2010, Alicia Fox actually held the Divas Championship, for seemingly the only reason being that she had been in the company for a while. She hasn't won the title since then, which is saying something, considering she has been employed for so long. Fox would eventually drop the title to Melina after just under two months with it, which just makes it a token reign on her WWE resume.
A few years later, Fox adopted the 'crazy chick' persona but has mostly been lost in the shuffle throughout her time on the WWE roster, particularly since the Women's Revolution started. Fox has not been seen on WWE television for most of 2018 as she recovers from a tailbone injury and after all these years on the roster, you wonder if she'll be part of the next batch of releases by the company.
9 2011 – Ariane (Cameron)
As we have already learned, WWE doesn't have the greatest track record for producing talent from the Tough Enough competitions as have already seen from the 2002 and 2003 entries on this list, however both of those entries were from winners! We haven’t even approached how poorly some of the non-winners have done.
Prior to becoming a member of the Funkadactyls on WWE television as Cameron, Ariane was on the revival of Tough Enough in 2011 and certainly made an impression on fans everywhere.
During the first episode, she was put into the Bottom 3 and was being grilled by host Steve Austin about her passion for the business, which equated to her saying her favorite match was between “Melina and Alicia Fox”, prompting Austin to roll his eyes with sarcasm at her lack of knowledge of the business.
Ariane was promptly removed from the show following this due to her lack of passion and knowledge of the industry, but her short time on the air during Tough Enough was more than “enough” for fans as we are still cringing when we think about this moment.
What is even more upsetting about this moment is that in less than two years following this incident, Ariane would be employed full time by WWE and would be featured on weekly television. Thankfully, Cameron has revealed that she has a new favorite wrestling match and it is the WrestleMania III classic between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat, however a moment like this is almost unforgiveable.
8 2012 – Aksana
She may not have come from Tough Enough but the all-female season of the NXT reality show was also chalk-full of some rather un-talented female wrestlers who did not have any business being in a wrestling ring. While the competition did produce two great stars for WWE in AJ Lee and Naomi who would go on to become long-reigning Women’s Champions, it also produced some very poor talent. Aksana was a member of the NXT competition, who (surprise, surprise) did not have much wrestling training prior to joining WWE developmental, which was all too apparent from her time on WWE programming. While having someone who is less-than-talented on a “reality show” is unfortunately the norm when it comes to WWE, it could almost be understandable if she was only featured sparingly as a member of the competition.
Unfortunately, this was far from the case – Aksana was not only placed fourth in the competition but she was given a storyline that stretched far too long and even had her featured on the main roster before the much more talented women in the competition. Aksana’s story was that since she was from Lithuania she could not stay and wrestle in the United States, and therefore would need someone to marry her so she could stick around – naturally this meant that her mentor Goldust would fall in love with her and marry her (all within the span of two weeks, I might add). As it usually goes with WWE weddings, Aksana turned on Goldust and slapped him once the marriage was official so she was able to receive her green card. The entire angle was a huge farce and only proved why Aksana was a poor choice to be featured so heavily from the program.
7 2013 – JoJo
I wish I could say that this is WWE’s last foray into bringing in a model and trying to turn her into a wrestler, but it certainly is not. As a member of the Total Divas reality show, JoJo Offerman was featured in the show’s first season despite not having been seen on WWE programming. It was evident that JoJo was brought on for a combination of her looks, singing ability and young age and certainly not due to her knowledge of wrestling. While initially JoJo was only featured on the reality show, as well as some light backstage segments during WWE television, it was very clear that she would not have an in-ring career.
Unfortunately, this would not last forever and JoJo would eventually become get in the ring during the Total Divas versus the True Divas storyline, which was certainly not good for her prospects as a wrestler as she was surrounded by much more talented wrestlers like Natalya and AJ Lee who only served to exemplify her negatives. For instance, during her first in-ring match on the October 7th 2013 episode of RAW she was never actually tagged in to the match as the other women were more able to take care of the physicality. When she actually did step in to the ring, she would be one of the many women to “earn” the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for Worst Worked Match of the year from the 14-woman tag team match from Survivor Series 2013. Thankfully, JoJo has since transitioned to a role as the main ring announcer for WWE events, but we will never forget how uncoordinated she was for her few appearances.
6 2014 – Bella Twins
It may sound strange in retrospect to list The Bella Twins as the least talented women on WWE’s roster for this year when they were featured so heavily on WWE programming, and have even been called the faces of the Women’s roster, however it cannot go unnoticed how awful their time on screen was during this time. 2014 was a big year for WWE, as Daniel Bryan would finally complete his “impossible dream” by winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, but his championship win would begin impacting his wife Brie Bella, as she would begin getting harassed by Stephanie McMahon as she wanted Bryan to relinquish his Championship. Brie would refuse, and would ultimately end up facing McMahon herself in a match at SummerSlam that year. However, her own sister Nikki would shockingly turn on her during the match, leading to the two of them feuding.
While this initial premise does sound like a good formula for a solid feud between two women, the way it was executed did very little favors for Brie and Nikki.
This would lead to multiple in-ring segments between the two women which only served to showcase their awful acting abilities, including the infamous segment in which Nikki would say to Brie that she “wished she died in the womb". Future years would prove that both women were more than capable in the ring, however these segments proved that neither of them were born actresses.
5 2015 – Rosa Mendes
When looking at the current women on the WWE roster, there are few women that have been with WWE for close to ten years – the longest tenured woman currently is Alicia Fox clocking in at 10 years on the main roster and 12 years total with the company. While the tenure of the average female wrestler in WWE has diminished, the workrate has certainly increased over the years, however there was a clear exception in 2015. It seemed that after WWE released a congratulatory message to Rosa Mendes on their website in 2015 about her hitting a 10-year milestone with the company, everyone started to realize that she was still on the roster and how little she had accomplished in that time frame.
With WWE’s focus on the “Divas Revolution” in 2015 and female wrestlers with great wrestling abilities being brought on to the roster, it really served to highlight how untalented some of the previously employed females on the roster were in comparison. Rosa Mendes was employed with WWE over a period where they would go months on end without featuring a women’s match on television or a pay-per-view, so it must've been easy for her to fly under the radar with the company. Conversely, at a time where women were breaking ground with the matches they were doing for WWE, she stuck out like a sore thumb. She would not last much longer with WWE, and made her final appearance with the company in 2016 before leaving to have her first child.
4 2016 – Eva Marie
I will have to give credit where credit is due – Eva Marie sure did try her best to achieve success as a wrestler, however it was still outside of her realm of ability to perform as a top-tier wrestler. As another former model turned potential wrestler, Eva Marie was brought in to WWE in 2013 as a member of the Total Divas reality-show cast, and her in-ring appearances at that time were certainly dismal as well (believe me, she was very close to being featured on that year as well), however she became refocused on her in-ring career in early 2016 and began training hard. Alongside her trainer Brian Kendrick, she attempted to get into in-ring shape and get herself up to speed with the other women in WWE’s developmental territory.
Like I said, I will give Eva credit for trying to get better, however it was apparent that she just didn't have the natural ability to be successful in the role – her timing in the ring was always off, and she always seemed unnatural with her opponents, so much so that the fans in NXT instantly saw through her abilities and would not accept her when she was on camera. Despite her lack of talent in the ring, she was transitioned to the main roster again in 2016 where her lack of ability was even more apparent next to some of the greatest female wrestlers. Mercifully, Eva Marie would part ways with WWE in 2017 ending the constant struggle to make her appear as a credible wrestler, and it seems that both parties are pleased with how things have ended.
3 2017 – Summer Rae
As we have seen with these entries, it's not always the lack of in-ring talent which makes a female wrestler the least talented on the roster, it's often their acting ability that really makes them stick out like a sore thumb. Summer Rae did make some good strides with her in-ring work over her years with WWE to the point that she was a passable wrestler on the roster, however when put in a position to have her acting abilities used, it was a very rough experience. This was no more apparent than during the infamous love storyline featuring Summer Rae, Dolph Ziggler, Lana and Rusev which not a single one of these performers benefitted from participating in. While Lana did her best with her performance during this angle, it was Summer Rae who was featured more so which meant that she had more opportunities to be featured poorly. When I think of this angle, all I can hear is Summer’s shrill voice professing her love for Rusev in the ring, or her whiny pounding the mat when he left her for Lana.
None of the “performances” that she gave were worthy of being on camera, and must have been cringe-worthy for any member of WWE management to be watching.
This angle was unanimously hated by fans, and Summer Rae was a big part of why due to her abilities, which unfortunately were on full display throughout.
2 2018 – Dana Brooke
According to my calculations, even though we are only half way through 2018, I think it's safe to say that we already have our “winner” for the least talented member of the female roster for 2018. As a prime example of being brought up from NXT too soon, Dana Brooke has been treading water since joining WWE’s main roster and is likely on the short list to be “future endeavored” come WWE’s annual fall cleaning of their roster. Brooke has been relegated to being a manager for Titus Worldwide which is as close to a kiss of death that a wrestler can receive in today’s wrestling climate, and when she is featured in the ring her lack of ability is very apparent. As an example, her handspring splash maneuver looks as if she is falling over on her opponent, and does not look like a passable wrestling maneuver when she performs it in the ring.
When comparing her against one of the best women’s rosters we have ever had in WWE this year, she is clearly one of the lesser developed wrestlers and all around poor performers left on the roster. There is little room for redemption in terms of her career as most fans already see her as a poor performer and are just counting the days until she is released from WWE – unless something drastic is done with her in-ring abilities, I’m afraid that the writing (and numbers) are on the wall for Dana Brooke.
1 Bonus: B.B. - 1999
We'll take it back to the past for a quick flashback, as once again, this should show you just how far the WWE has come as a company in terms of showcasing their women. B.B. first began appearing as an EMT on WWE television in various segments. Eventually, the WWE began using her in their prestigious matches, such as Gravy Bowl matches, Evening Gown matches and Swimming Pool matches. She took part in several Women's Championship matches. She even participated in a very degrading match called a Holiday Topless Top-Rope Match, featuring Val Venis and Hardcore Holly. It basically worked like strip poker in which the wrestler who was tossed over the top rope would see their female representative have to remove one article of clothing.
B.B. also took part in the WWE's Miss Rumble 2000 swimsuit competition. As you can see, she wasn't really part of anything that required actual wrestling. Eventually in February of 2000, B.B. was put through a table by The Dudley Boyz, which would be her last WWE appearance, in one of the shortest tenures in the company's history. She would eventually go to WCW as Papaya where she made only two appearances before once again being taken off television.