One of the fans’ criticisms of World Wrestling Entertainment long lasting criticism continues to be suppressing the wrestling element of their product to ‘entertain’ their loyal audience, though small demographic censures WWE for going easy on the entertainment aspect of their product. It is a Herculean task to impress all types of WWE fans (though a bra and panties could cut the mustard), but WWE can never get rid of their black mark when it comes to overlooking female talents merely for their un-divaesque appearance.
WWE can boast all it wants about their Diva Revolution, but, as AJ Lee pointed out, WWE continues to subjugate women, blatantly cheating fans (as they always do) that they are offering enough opportunity for women to display their wrestling skills more than skin. As much as Vince McMahon wants male performers to be charismatic, he wants women to look good as he still somehow gives more importance to their beauty than wrestling abilities.
Sunny, whom WWE boasts as its first ever Diva, never wrestled in a WWE ring until 2009. Such was the plight of women, who were passionate about wrestling. Women were employed only as valets or managers, and it was not until Trish Stratus and Lita made the Chairman of WWE realize that his eye candies could impress the audience with their in-ring skills as much as their male counterparts did that he decided to offer a little more screen minutes to female wrestlers. Despite his realization, only a few female wrestlers have been signed for reasons other than their looks, and the following article looks at 15 divas, who have bypassed WWE’s norms to sign only pretty faces through the years.
15. Mae Young
Mae Young made her WWE debut at a ‘tender age’ of 76, and we are sure it was not her beauty that brought her to WWE after unprecedented success for a woman in other promotions. She became the first ever wrestler, let alone a woman wrestler to enter a competitive bout over the age of 80 when she vanquished LayCool in a 2-on-1 handicap match in 2010 Old School edition of Raw. Throughout her WWE career, she had given birth to a rubber hand and a certain Hornswoggle whilst also kissing the Great Khali and the Rock, amongst other men. Pat Patterson inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, and her legacy would live on.
14. Katie Lea Burchill
Given her close resemblances to veteran wrestler Chyna, many expected her to reach great heights with WWE, but WWE creative team threw her into an incest storyline with storyline brother Paul Burchill, thereby making it impossible to repackage her once they had scraped the disturbing idea. Though she had the dominant diva looks, she never achieved anything of note in WWE and was eventually released after three unfruitful years. Her TNA switch offered her a glimmer of hope, as she was twice crowned TNA Knockouts Champion. She is currently winning her bread on the independent scene and can rekindle her career, as she is still 35.
13. Luna Vachon
WWE ranked Luna Vachon 14th in their top 25 most impactful women despite giving her the pink slip due to backstage heat in 2000. She was never the prettiest diva in the locker room and wore freakish clothing and makeup to the ring. Alongside Sable, she embroiled in one of the most hardcore feuds women’s division had ever seen in WWE. She passed away at 48 from a drug overdose and led a very tragic life (as revealed in our article that looks at wrestlers, who had led heartbreaking lives). WWE will likely never feature a diva like her, as the PG audience no longer buys bizarre gimmicks.
Charlotte looks so gorgeous that she has earned herself an exclusive article on TheSportster that features her 15 most stunning pictures. However, it clearly was not her looks that brought her onto the scene but her father’s wrestling connections. Despite Ric Flair fathering two more boys, she looks the likely candidate to carry the torch thanks to her magnificent wrestling skill. In addition, the caliber of the divas around her and her chemistry with them will establish her as a Hall of Fame material. Every Randy Orton needs a John Cena to be highly successful, and she has her own John Cenas in Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch.
Victoria is one of the very few women wrestlers of the Attitude Era to be still active in the independent circuit, as she never really had the looks to follow in the footsteps of Torrie Wilson or Stacy Keibler into acting, modeling or becoming George Clooney’s girlfriend. She came across as an imposing figure, who offered a different dimension to the women’s division that had more of pink tops and high heels than strong wrestling moves. Currently running a resto bar in Chicago, she still maintains a good relationship with everyone in the industry, especially Chavo Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Bobby Lashley.
10. Beth Phoenix
WWE almost always has a muscular diva under its ranks, who could toss the likes of Bella Twins around for fun, and Beth Phoenix took up the very role during her run with Vince McMahon’s empire. Though she did not enjoy much success as Women’s Champion or Divas Champion, she is in line to become a Hall of Fame inductee in the near future. She became only the second woman after Chyna to enter a Royal Rumble bout, a feat that an archetypal diva never achieves. Currently with WWE Hall of Famer Edge, the Glamazon may never compete in a squared circle, but she remains one of the very few divas WWE did not sign just for looks.
Natalya splits opinion, with her disparagers slamming her for being too muscular to be an adorable diva though she boasts a huge fan following, who worship her for her beauty. However, it was her Hart Dungeon (as her Twitter bio reveals) upbringing and not looks that helped her land a WWE contract. Unlike Davey Boy Smith, she possesses outstanding wrestling skills to not just prolong her stay in WWE, but also earn critical acclaim for her work. Married to Tyson Kidd, WWE Universe will see more of the eager beaver couple in the coming years.
8. Sasha Banks
WWE faithful have always mourned over the company’s inability to replace talents with their upgrades, but WWE helped its fans overcome the loss of the charismatic AJ Lee by bringing her upgrade in Sasha Banks to the main roster. The Boss possesses every single trait – slick skill-set, fantastic mic skills, and exceptional charisma – destined to reach the laurels of Trish Stratus, Lita, and Mickie James, and claiming she earned her WWE contract for reasons other than her mesmerizing looks is a blindingly obvious statement.
A career-threatening injury dented Sharmell’s chances of becoming a WWE diva, but she still had a three-year-run with WWE as a valet after tying the knot with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T in 2005. Though she looked incredible for a woman of 35, WWE wanted her to accompany her husband to the ring only because of the storylines that they could carve out of the couple’s real-life marriage; Booker T’s feuds with Boogeyman and Kurt Angle revolved around her, with the latter two lusting after her (good ol’ WWE). Fans still fondly remember her for her stint as Queen Sharmell and long entrances with her better half.
WWE signed Jazz from then-bankrupt Extreme Championship Wrestling, and the New Orleans-born diva had an illustrious career with WWE, winning the Women’s Championship twice during a period dominated by Trish Stratus and Lita. Though her in-ring ability had always been on a par with any diva WWE had ever signed, she was never going to be featured in Playboy as she boasted a physique that could give many WWE superstars a run for their money. The mother of two currently plies her trade with Women Superstars Uncensored after being released from WWE for the second time in 2007.
In an era when WWE was keen on eye candies like Sunny, Chyna burst onto the scene solely by virtue of her athleticism and remained the most dominant diva of the early Attitude Era years. The interesting fact that she had more Intercontinental Championship reigns (two) than Women’s Championship reigns (one) speaks volumes about her uniqueness. She was so tough that she could even win a real life fight with more than half the male wrestlers in the current roster.
Thanks to her involvement in the porn industry and an infamous love triangle with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, she would likely never earn a Hall of Fame ring, but she currently leads a rather peaceful life, teaching schoolchildren in Japan.
4. Vickie Guerrero
One of WWE’s most cringeworthy angles centering around Eddie Guerrero’s death helped Vickie Guerrero land a job with WWE. She looked overweight and possessed no trait that WWE would generally look into whilst tabling an offer for a woman. However, she adapted excellently, even becoming SmackDown’s general manager towards the end of her WWE career. She was a unique worker, who elicited the exact response from the WWE Universe that WWE had wanted. She took up medical administration after bidding adieu to WWE and married Kris Benson last September.
3. Gail Kim
Gail Kim had two unfruitful spells with WWE, winning Women’s Championship just once for a wrestler of her aptitude. She was afforded fewer ring minutes than Alicia Fox and was involved in a cringeworthy love rectangle (apologies) with the Bella Twins and Daniel Bryan. She accused WWE Chairman Vince McMahon of overlooking her talent and branding her as a non-marketable diva after her second release. Her prowess is now given due recognition by TNA, a promotion known for appreciating females, as she has won TNA Knockouts Championship five times and Knockouts Tag Team Championship once with Madison Rayne.
While Bayley is a promising rising star in WWE, having lit up NXT the past year, her talents wouldn’t have been appreciated in previous eras. The WWE Divas Division prioritized looks over in-ring talent. There is no way Bayley could have competed with the likes of Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler or Trish Stratus in the looks department. Nonetheless, Bayley is extremely talented and her ‘hugging’ gimmick is super over in NXT. Hopefully she gets a chance on the main roster to show what she can do.
Kharma’s WWE debut was a long time coming as she had ruled the women’s division at Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and almost every single independent promotion she had worked with, including a handful of Japanese ones. However, unlike other WWE divas, she looked overweight and fish out of water in a division filled with pretty women. She relied completely on her wrestling abilities to achieve her dream of performing in a WWE ring. Her pregnancy would put her progress on hold, and she never bounced back after her child’s demise despite a cameo appearance in 2012 Royal Rumble. Despite her unorthodox looks, she could still return to WWE, given her uniqueness.
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