The world (well, most of the world) was saddened to hear about the passing of Hugh Hefner. The creator of Playboy Magazine, Hefner died at the age of 91, peacefully passing from natural causes.
Hefner was considered everything from a cultural revolutionist to a male chauvinist. Starting up the magazine at a time when shows like I Love Lucy couldn’t even say the word pregnant on television, Hefner put nude women in his magazines, and it became a cultural phenomenon. While the Internet changed the way the magazine was published, the history of Hefner and Playboy arguably change the landscape of male entertainment, and his impact was felt everywhere, including the WWE.
Many of the most popular Divas posed for Hefner’s magazine. Here are the seven names we recognize most.
7. Maria Kanellis
Now back in the WWE, Kanellis was popular for some time in the late 2000’s, and she was a contestant in the 2004 Diva Search. When Maria posed for Hefner, it was the first time any photos of her nude were seen anywhere.
Maria left the WWE for some time but stayed in the wrestling industry working the independent scene and marrying an independent wrestler now known as Mike Kanellis in the WWE.
6. Ashley Massaro
She’s had an up and down career since she left the WWE, but while she was there, she was one of the more popular Divas. Ashley Massaro won the 2005 Diva Search and made the cover of Playboy in 2007. She’d been in the magazine before, but when she graced the cover, she was much more popular and it was under a different name. The first time around, she used the name, Ryan MacKenzie.
5. Candice Michelle
Candice Michelle did surprisingly well in her WWE career considering she wasn’t one of the favorites in the Diva Search, nor did she come close to winning it. But, she became a household name when she starred in a series of GoDaddy commercials during the Super Bowl and for a not very well known skin flick she had done before her WWE tenure.
4. Christy Hemme
Her tenure in the WWE wasn’t terribly long, but it was memorable. After winning the Diva Search in 2004 (a contest she beat for Playmate of the Year Carmella DeCesare to win), Hemme didn’t waste much time and posed for Playboy in 2005.
She left the WWE not long after that and reappeared in TNA where she had a prominent role as an on-air talent and actually helped with some of the storyline booking for a while. She was a ball of energy, and it was both her looks and her personality that made her popular among the fans.
She was the first female wrestler to compete with men on a regular basis, and she changed the face of the WWE by joining D-X and becoming a force both in front of the audience and behind the scenes. When she first arrived in WWE, she was built like a powerlifter, but after some work added female features that when combined with her popularity, made her an easy choice for Playboy.
She graced the cover twice. Once in 2000 while still employed by the WWE, and then again in 2002 after she’d left. After her final appearance in the magazine, things went downhill for Chyna who starred in a variety of adult films, had drug and depression issues, and passed away not long ago.
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2. Torrie Wilson
Still considered one of the most attractive women to ever be a part of the WWE, Wilson looks as good today as she did when she posed for Playboy in 2003. It wasn’t the only time she was in the magazine, and she’s the only female WWE talent to be employed by Playboy and still working on the roster when she was in the magazine.
Wilson also posed with Sable on the cover and will be remembered often for her involvement in all sorts of Diva gimmicks matches and beauty contests. She was also a mainstay in the Vince McMahon storylines where he was kind of a pig.
Sable is considered one of the most interesting stories when it comes to the WWE. She first came in as Marc Mero’s wife. Then when they split, she hooked up with Brock Lesnar, eventually marrying him. In between, she posed for Playboy in 1999.
She left the company shortly afterward and was tangled up in a lawsuit against WWE that the two sides eventually worked out. By the time she returned, another issue came out with her on the cover and then an exclusive magazine just about Sable came out. She’s been featured in Playboy three times.
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