The current state of the women’s division in the WWE is perhaps the most impressive that we’ve ever seen. We now have some pretty tough gals (Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte) who promise to continue bringing credibility where it has lacked in the past and we could not be happier about that. Of course, that’s not to say that we haven’t pretty much always had at least one or two Divas who could actively impress each week. The problem was that competitors such as Trish Stratus and Lita were forced to carry an entire division, and they were not always given everything they deserved. Take, for example, the champions for the women’s division — how many times did we see either the Women’s or the Divas Championship on the waist of someone who quite simply had no right to wear the belt? The answer is: way too often.
The 2000s seemed to be particularly filled with Women’s Champions that made us question whether or not WWE even took the division seriously. Over the past 16 years, the Women’s Title has been held by 36 different people, with only about half of the reigns making any sense. There were countless times that we were left baffled by a title change and were forced to wait for any sort of explanation as to why the person in question deserved a title shot in the first place, let alone why they actually won. Receiving those answers was extremely rare and we slowly began to realize that there wasn’t a method behind this madness; rather just 100% madness that we were forced to accept and go along with. We still have quite a few questions we want answered, with the biggest one being why in the world the 2000s were jammed packed with so many random champions from the women's division. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never get our answer. However, we have decided to remind everyone just how ridiculously random these reigns were by listing the 15 most random WWE Women’s and Diva’s champions of the 2000s.
Don’t think for a moment that we feel all of these women were bad for the division. Some of them were, but not all of them.
15 The Kat
Although The Kat won her championship in 1999, she did have it at the beginning of 2000 and we definitely could not resist dropping her on the list. The only reason that this particular Diva was ever part of the WWE was because she looked great in skimpy bikinis. She had no in-ring talent whatsoever and that was well represented by the fact that the only way she managed to win the Women’s Championship was in an Evening Gown Pool Match. For this kind of match, we probably should have expected her to win, but we didn’t.
She was competing against Ivory, Jacqueline, and Barbara Bush. Although these three were not the absolute best wrestlers in the business, at least two of them had talents that far surpassed anything that The Kat had to offer. There was no logical reason for this reign other than the fact that she got naked a lot and sex sold, especially in that particular climate of pro wrestling. We can kind of understand putting her on the roster for that reason alone, but not giving her the Women’s Championship.
Chyna’s place on the list is not due to the fact that we never believed she could win the Women’s Championship. She was a strong competitor, very athletic, and had some pretty awesome in-ring skills. The reason why this one is so random to us is because of her previous three runs as Intercontinental Champion.
We didn’t really understand why she was being pushed back into the women’s division when she’d already established herself well enough as a competitor against the male wrestlers. There was no wow-factor to her reign and, as fans, we knew that there wouldn’t be because of the fact that she’d already proven herself against the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho. Chyna had also been the number one contender for the WWE Championship at one point, so it was really strange to see her fighting against women and taking a place on the roster as the Women’s Champion. It was definitely an honor she deserved, but it was extremely unexpected.
13 Mickie James
Mickie James is another wrestler who we weren’t so much surprised to see her as champion, but rather one reign in particular was rather random. Championships very rarely change hands on live events, so you can imagine our shock when we heard that in 2007 at a live event in Paris, Mickie James defeated both Melina (who was the champion at the time) and Victoria to become the Women’s Champion.
That was random enough as it was, but the show added to it when it was determined that since Mickie pinned Victoria and not Melina, the former champion deserved a rematch. Later on in the show, Mickie lost the championship, giving her the shortest title reign at the time. Nobody really saw a point to all of this aside from wanting to put on a really intense house show, which we can appreciate.
The one thing we can say is that at least this quick title change was given to someone who actually deserved another notch on their championship accomplishments as opposed to someone who wouldn’t be able to believably beat the champion. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss more about that later.
12 Nikki Bella
On April 23, 2012 Nikki Bella faced Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship. It was revealed that the match would be a Lumberjill match at the last minute, so with Nikki and Brie unable to pull of their special little switch, we were pretty sure that we were going to see Beth Phoenix retain.
During the match, Phoenix appeared to seriously injure her ankle (although there still aren’t definitive answers as to whether or not that was a work) and soon after we saw Nikki roll the Glamazon up and take the win. Although it could be argued that this win wasn’t all the random, it was still very surprising. Plus, if Beth’s injury was actually fake and the whole thing was designed to put the belt on Nikki, then that does make this win extremely random. That would mean that they set Nikki up to win because of an injury, which doesn’t make sense if they wanted to put her at the top of the Women’s division. Regardless of whatever outcome was meant to happen, this was definitely an odd victory.
In the terms of Maryse, the randomness of her championship reign is directly related to its status as the third longest combined reign rather than her actually being the champion. She definitely had a certain in-ring talent, she worked hard, and she could definitely work a storyline; but that in-ring talent was not much when compared to a few of her co-workers. Even Nikki Bella, who had a rather dismal performance in the ring for a while, greatly improved before she finally landed herself the reign that is now the second longest in history.
We’re left wondering why it was Maryse who was chosen to hold the championship this long as opposed to another female wrestler who had a stronger in-ring ability. It seems like a very random thing and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if we found out that WWE hadn’t taken notice to just how long she had spent as champion.
10 Brie Bella
Yes, the other Bella has made the list as well. Unfortunately for Brie, we actually find her originally winning the championship to be the random part. Brie managed to obtain the Divas Championship a year before Nikki did and around the time of her victory against Eve Torres, the Bellas’ talent was not quite up to par to what we would expect from a champion. Her opponent was known for her athleticism while she was more known for her looks and how well she portrayed a heel. On top of all that, Brie’s reign has become easily forgettable. Her time as champion was rather boring, which only solidified our reasons for being confused about her win.
This instance was random because it was very clearly not the time for a Bella to step into the title picture and it seemed as if everyone except for WWE knew that. Her position on this list is also reinforced by the fact that Kelly Kelly was the person who took the championship away from her. A surprising beginning, a boring middle, and an insulting end — not the best way to be known as a champion.
How many people actually remember Layla being the Divas Champion? It’s probably safe to say that aside from her “co-champion” reign as a part of LayCool, not a whole lot of people remember much else about Layla, including her time as Divas Champ.
Six days after Nikki won the championship from Beth Phoenix, Layla took the championship for herself and finally got an official title reign. As previously stated, we’re not sure whether Phoenix’s ankle injury was real or not, but it just seemed really random for Layla to be the one to replace her — even though it was a return from an injury of her own. If Beth’s injury wasn’t real, it makes no sense whatsoever. If Beth’s injury was real, then at least we can see it from the point of it was the easiest replacement rather than shifting the rest of the Divas division around in the event they didn’t have a backup plan in place. This was clearly just a good chunk of time where WWE was trying to surprise audiences with unexpected twists. It worked, but not in the way they were hoping.
8 Candice Michelle
Candice Michelle is definitely one of the more widely known WWE Divas. She played another huge role in the WWE’s stint of only using Divas as eye-candy. She barely ever showed off her wrestling talent because her time was primarily spent in all those Bra and Panties matches that she was involved in. So when she ended up beating Melina at Vengeance: Night of Champions for the Women’s Championship, we were all pretty confused.
We have a slight understanding that they may have been trying to prove that their female talent could be both eye-candy as well as good competitors, but to give her the championship is something that we will never understand because there was no point in Michelle’s career that she ever proved she deserved the honor. Her reign as champion for 105 days was random and irritating because the only real thing that Candice did for the Women’s division was taint the image of female wrestlers and set the expectations way too low.
When Paige made her debut on Raw, the last thing we were expecting was for her to end up as the Divas Champion. Considering the fact that it was her first night on the main roster and considering how young she was at the time, there was no way that it would have even crossed our minds. Even when AJ challenged her and said she’d put the title on the line, we didn’t see it coming.
Paige not only won, but she won rather quickly and actually became the youngest Diva to win a championship, as well as a bunch of other firsts. It was insane and just thinking about it still brings the feeling of shock because it’s so hard to believe. With AJ doing so well all around, we didn’t understand why Paige would be handed a championship on her first night on TV. It made a lot more sense once we found out that AJ was taking some time off to get married, but it still threw the fans for a loop.
6 Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Stephanie McMahon had not been a wrestler at the time that she received her first championship. At that point, all she had been was Vince McMahon’s daughter, The Undertaker’s target, Test’s fiancée, and Triple H’s wife. She had no previous wrestling experience and when she faced the Women’s Champion at the time, Jacqueline, we didn’t expect it to end all that pretty for Stephanie.
Naturally we figured that there would be some sort of interference, but we had no idea that Jacqueline would be targeted by X-Pac and Tori in order for Steph to pick up the win. When she was announced the winner, we all felt as surprised. The thing about this particular case is that the random and surprising part was not so much Stephanie winning, as it was her continuing on as champion for 146 days. Why? So that she could use the belt to prove how powerful her and Triple H were within the company? Stephanie had not done anything to justify her winning it and holding it for so long other than simply being born. This is yet another moment where an undeserving wrestler was praised for doing absolutely nothing and while it makes more sense in the storyline aspect, it makes no sense when trying to represent a group strong female athletes.
Remember that one time that Michelle McCool and Layla were co-champions due to a two-on-one Handicap Match they won against Beth Phoenix? In case you don’t, McCool had lost her championship to Beth Phoenix and invoked her rematch in the form of a two-on-one match. Layla ended up pinning Beth Phoenix but because the two of them were involved with the match, they suddenly became “co-champions.”
A little while later, they ended up splitting the belt in half and carrying on before winning the Divas Championship from Melina and becoming the Unified Divas Champions. The whole storyline was an absolute mess and fans still aren’t quite sure how or why this happened. This probably wouldn’t have been so random and confusing had they not worked the co-champions angle, but they did and it baffled us.
Even if you use the fact that this was when the Women’s Championship was retired as a way to explain this whole ordeal, it still doesn’t make any sense. There would have been way better and less random ways to go about a smooth retirement of the Women’s Championship. Instead we’re forced to remember this nonsense. Thanks a lot, WWE.
4 Alicia Fox
When you put Alicia Fox in a Fatal Four Way against wrestlers such as Maryse, Eve, and Gail Kim you can usually put your money on the fact that Fox is not going to emerge victorious. When the title is on the line, you can almost guarantee that Fox is probably only in the match to fill the extra spot. However, WWE fans were shocked to see that she finished that match as the new Divas Champion. To be perfectly honest, Alicia shouldn’t have been put in quite a few of the matches she was in due to her sloppy and somewhat careless nature of wrestling. So the fact that WWE awarded her with a championship was not only surprising and random, but it was a little frightening as well.
That’s not to say that Alicia had no talent at all or that she didn’t deserve to be a wrestler in the WWE. She was better than quite a few people on the roster, but the bottom line is that she didn’t offer enough to make herself championship material. This is the biggest reason why her reign was so random — we just didn’t feel like she qualified.
3 Kelly Kelly
The fact that we can even put Kelly Kelly on a list involving Diva Champions is frustrating. Kelly Kelly could barely run the ropes, let alone deliver a decent match. Yet on a special “Power to the People” episode of Raw in 2011, Kelly Kelly was voted as Brie’s opponent for the Divas Championship and she ultimately won the match.
It was honestly unbelievable and a lot of fans truly believe that WWE did not expect Kelly Kelly to be voted as the competitor and instead planned on Brie losing the title to either Beth Phoenix or Eve. When Kelly Kelly did win the vote, they basically had to suck it up and run with Kelly Kelly being champion. However, that’s not likely the case considering the fact that WWE is not one to sit back and let anyone take their power away. Had this been the case, WWE would have likely set her up to lose the belt the following week, but instead Kelly Kelly went on to have a 104-day reign — which consisted of her winning against Beth Phoenix at two major Pay-Per-Views.
So while we try and make excuses for this reign, the bottom line is that WWE made it happen and we will never understand why.
2 Jillian Hall
Although she could be relatively entertaining from time to time, the WWE Universe seems to have a general consensus that Jillian Hall was one of the least important Divas to enter the WWE. So when she defeated Mickie James in 2009 for the Divas Championship, we were all very confused. It made a little more sense when Melina was announced as the newest Raw draft pick and came out to defeat Hall only minutes after she won the title.
This reign (if you can even call it that) was one of the most random things WWE has ever done in regards to a championship. We realize that the idea was to have a heel beat Mickie rather than putting Melina and Mickie together in a match, but did it have to be Jillian? There had to have been a better heel on the show that they could have given that five second reign to; someone who could actually wrestle or who actually deserved to have their name on the list of champions, rather than someone who was primarily known for pretending she was Britney Spears and having The Boogeyman eat a “blemish” off her face.
We probably should have realized just how awful the 2000s were going to be for women’s wrestling when we started off the millenium with the most random and confusing title win we’ve ever seen. In case you didn’t know, on January 31, 2000 we saw a ‘Lumberjill Snow Bunny’ match between the Women’s Champion The Kat and Hervina.
The idea of a match between two women in a snow-filled pool surrounded by other women who kept them from leaving said pool was ridiculous, but what really took the cake was that “Hervina” was actually Harvey Wippleman in a really terrible disguise.
He ended up pinning The Kat and winning the Women’s Championship. The whole match was an atrocity and what made it worse is that everyone involved pretended like they had no idea this was a man in disguise up until he was interviewed after the match by Michael Cole. To this day, we are still baffled by this win and it’s extremely unfortunate that the whole thing will stay in the history books due to the fact that Harvey was the first and only male to win the Women’s Championship. The least WWE could have done is given us a decent match if they wanted a guy to win the belt. Instead they made a complete mockery of the championship and left us wondering whether or not they cared about the women’s division at all. Luckily, he only held the belt for three days before losing it to Jacqueline in less than a minute.