Women's Evolution was arguably the most important story for WWE in the 2010s, but they were not the only company pushing women’s wrestling. Female performers broke out in various companies in the wrestling industry. Most would eventually land a contract with WWE, but quite a few talented women would make their names elsewhere without needing the big stage to showcase their impact.
We will look at the best overall women to thrive in the wrestling industry outside of WWE. All the wrestlers involved here shined brightest thanks to the accomplishments in other promotions. Some had a handful of appearances in WWE, but none of them had a legitimate run in the company during the decade. Find out which ones had the best 2010s with the ten best non-WWE females of the decade.
10 Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong's run in WWE as Kharma barely ever took off as her release came before things could play out. Kong continued working in TNA for a short while with the legendary rivalry against Gail Kim once again resurfacing.
The recent return to the industry would see Kong become an important part of the AEW roster as arguably the biggest name in the women’s division. Kong even achieved success outside of the business when become an actress for the series G.L.O.W. on Netflix.
9 Priscilla Kelly
One of the more recent breakout stars in women’s wrestling has been Priscilla Kelly. The success in Evolve did help Kelly get a slot in the Mae Young Classic, but she never received a WWE contract after her elimination from the series.
Kelly has continued making her name on the independent circuit in controversial fashion. Some of the spots and matches have led to her making many enemies, but Priscilla certainly used it to become a major name. The independent run has made Kelly a top female wrestler to end the decade.
8 Madison Rayne
The consistency of Madison Rayne outside of WWE has made her a noteworthy women’s wrestling superstar. Rayne achieved most of her success in Impact Wrestling with two great runs always involved in the Knockouts title picture as a contender.
A short run in Ring of Honor made her a top female performer there before returning to Impact. Rayne even achieved a great opportunity at the first All In show in the women’s match against Tessa Blanchard, Chelsea Green and Britt Baker.
7 Taryn Terrell
WWE wanted Taryn Terrell to become a star for them with her great look and personality skills under the name of Tiffany in the late 2000s. The fit never worked out, but Terrell did get a better chance to showcase her skills in TNA.
A background in stunt work helped Taryn have some wild matches in the Knockouts division. Gail Kim and Terrell arguably had the best women’s feud outside of WWE in the 2010s. TNA saw Taryn become one of their most valuable female performers and a multi-time champion.
Riho has emerged as the breakout star of the AEW women’s division after becoming the first AEW Women’s Champion. The past success in Japan saw Riho delivering great work all decade as she was one of the first signings made by Kenny Omega in his VP role at AEW.
Riho does not look intimidating at first glance, but she clearly brings it in the ring. The underdog story in Riho’s matches makes her one of the most beloved wrestlers on the entire roster regardless of gender. A talent like Riho deserves credit for the success accomplished outside of WWE.
5 Tessa Blanchard
Tessa Blanchard only became a major name towards the end of the decade, but her success eclipsed most talents’ entire ten years. The instant success of Blanchard in Impact Wrestling proved she was one of the top performers on the entire roster.
Impact wasted no time making Tessa the top star of the Knockouts division. Blanchard became so popular that Impact had to put her in the male division for intergender matches since she was the best performer on the roster. Many will argue Tessa is the top overall female performer in any company right now.
Another standout talent to come from TNA’s Knockouts division is Rosemary. The star power of Rosemary reached new levels when she teamed with Crazzy Steve and Abyss in the Decay faction. All three wrestlers had superb chemistry, especially when facing the Broken Hardys in a long feud.
Rosemary continued to find more success in a singles role thanks to the unique character. Impact Wrestling still uses Rosemary today as one of the premiere women on the roster. WWE and AEW fans have hopes that she will make the jump to a bigger promotion in 2020.
3 Taya Valkyrie
The rise of Taya Valkyrie provided yet another success story of a wrestler training with Lance Storm. Valkyrie started breaking out for Lucha Underground before becoming a major superstar for both AAA and Impact Wrestling in their respective women’s divisions.
Both companies ended the year with Taya standing out as the face of their women’s divisions to great success. The most impressive thing about Valkyrie is that she continues improving which means we’ve yet to even see her peak as a professional wrestler.
2 Allysin Kay
Allysin Kay dominated the independent circuit for many years helping establish a stronger women’s division for the indie scene. Impact Wrestling eventually signed Kay to become a major part of the Knockouts division where she once again excelled.
WWE did bring Kay in for the Mae Young Classic, but they missed out by not getting her signed to a long-term contract. Kay is one of the top female wrestlers in the world currently appearing for Evolve, Shine, AIW and many other independent promotions.
1 Gail Kim
The iconic Gail Kim had an incredible decade after once again leaving WWE. Following a second disappointing WWE run, Kim continued showcasing her excellence as the top overall wrestler of TNA’s Knockouts division.
Impressive feuds against Awesome Kong, Brooke Adams, Taryn Terrell and many others showcased the excellence of Gail. The end of her career would see her have final retirement match against Tessa Blanchard showing she still as a top-level performer when hanging up the boots. Kim was the best non-WWE female wrestler of the decade and is considered the G.O.A.T. by many fans.