In the era of the Women's Revolution, more women are hired by the WWE based on their wrestling abilities. However, this hasn't always been the case. For years, the WWE hired women straight from modeling catalogs, the fitness model industry, or even worse, the Diva Search. While many of these hot women would prove to be pretty faces, some of them actually contributed something major to the world of professional wrestling.
At a certain point in time, hot chicks were the center of wrestling. During the Attitude Era, fans enjoyed watching Bra and Panties matches, whale tails, and if they were lucky, seeing their favorite WWE Diva in Playboy. The WWE's current product has very much shifted away from this, but it was during this time where women were able to prove that they were a marketable commodity by themselves. Without women like Sable and Torrie Wilson, it is very likely that we would not see The Four Horsewomen, Naomi, Carmella and Alexa Bliss having the spotlight like they do today.
Some of the most iconic women of all time had no experience on the indy circuit prior to WWE. The company took a major risk in hiring women that were easy on the eyes, and that risk sometimes paid off. Whether these women became great in-ring technicians, solid managers or anywhere in between, many women were able to escape the mold of being considered "just another pretty face." These 15 women were just able to do it better than the rest.
15 Miss Elizabeth
Starting this countdown off is none other than the original First Lady of Professional Wrestling (sorry, Maria). Elizabeth was a refreshing change from other female wrestling personalities at the time. She had an elegant, classy and beautiful look that separated her from the more athletic likes of the Fabulous Moolah and Sherri Martel. Commentary regularly made notes of her appearance, and it's hard to deny that Elizabeth looked beautiful throughout her 15-year career in the sport.
However, Elizabeth contributed something special to the business: the ability to manage and have a character without really saying much. She would start talking more frequently during her time in WCW, where she occasionally wrestled near the end of the run. However, her unprecedented loyalty to the Macho Man will never be forgotten, and fans fell in love with Elizabeth by just looking at her. There will never be another woman like her.
14 Alicia Fox
The WWE's favorite Fox is the longest-tenured female on the roster and is often regarded as one of the company's most athletic female Superstars. She was recruited to join the company alongside Kelly Kelly after being seen in a fashion catalog by John Laurinaitis. In a time where she was surrounded by a plethora of Diva Search rejects, Fox's in-ring skills, including her beautiful Northern Lights Suplex, were able to stand out from the rest of the competition. She's also been able to keep up with the newer crop as part of the Women's Revolution, which is a testament to her athletic ability.
With her loyalty to the company, willingness to partake in whatever storyline and, of course, her in-ring talent, it's hard to remember that Alicia Fox wouldn't likely be with the WWE if it wasn't for the former Johnny Ace seeing her in a modeling catalog.
Despite placing fifth in WWE's 2004 Diva Search, Maria Kanellis was hired anyway and sent down to OVW. She would shortly make her debut on the WWE main roster as a backstage interviewer and slowly transition her way into a manager and wrestler. Maria has admitted she was never the best wrestler, and that takes respect. However, despite being beautiful, Maria was also able to get over with her ditzy gimmick. Fans who are more familiar with her recent work may know her as the First Lady of Professional Wrestling (or SmackDown Live), and this Diva Search reject has overwhelmingly reinvented herself into a fresh character that's also much better in the ring.
Unlike most other Diva Search contestants, Maria stayed in the business after leaving WWE for the first time. That truly shows her dedication to the business.
12 Candice Michelle
A former Go Daddy girl, Candice Michelle made her WWE television debut as a Diva Search contestant who could touch her tongue to her nose. While that's not necessarily the most attractive thing in the world, Candice arguably was one of the most beautiful women in the competition. Despite not making the final round, Candice received a WWE contract. She would also end up posing for Playboy, leading to a match between her and Torrie Wilson at WrestleMania 22. The following year, Candice made history by becoming the first Diva Search contestant to ever win a title in the company. Candice wanted to be seen as more than a pretty face, and while she was an absolute beauty, she was also very fun to watch in the ring.
The 2006 Diva Search wasn't the most entertaining, but Layla's charisma helped her skate to the top of the competition relatively quickly. During a time where women in the WWE were branded as sexy, smart and powerful, Layla was just that. The former Miami Heat dancer had one hell of a pout, and would contribute her dancing skills to ECW's Extreme Expose program with Kelly Kelly and Brooke. She wouldn't be pushed as a wrestler until her time in Lay-Cool, which would prove to be one of the greatest female pairings the WWE has ever produced. As a part of Lay-Cool, Layla truly shined on the mic, while still looking FLAWLESS. She'd also rack up not just one, but two different titles during her time in WWE.
10 Eve Torres
The winner of the last televised Diva Search, Eve Torres would prove to arguably be the most successful of anyone who ever won the contest. Yet her initial appearances saw her participating in bikini contests and other gimmick segments to get her over, largely based on her looks at the time. Before getting into the ring more frequently, she would partake in dance contests with fellow Diva Search winner, Layla.
Yet while she was hot, her in-ring abilities would begin to improve exponentially, eventually leading her to three Divas Championship reigns. She's also one of the best heels the company has seen in the past decade, regardless of gender. She retired from the ring a few years ago dedicate more time to her women's self defense academy under the umbrella of her husband Rener Gracie's MMA school.
9 Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler was one of two females whose WCW contracts were bought out by the WWF, the other being Torrie Wilson. Like Torrie, Stacy got into the business in large part due to her looks. Stacy first appeared in front of WCW audiences as a member of the Nitro Girls dance troupe, which she won a contest to join. Her 41-inch legs gave her more than a unique look. It made her the object of many men's affection. Her legs would be a huge part of her gimmick, regardless of whether she portrayed Ms. Hancock, the Dutchess of Dudleyville or Super Stacy.
Her ring entrance is also one of the most iconic of all time, mainly because so many red-blooded women were teased at the possible sight of her assets. Stacy had legs, and she knew how to use them.
8 Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly was signed to the WWE when she was a mere teenager and began appearing on the main roster within days of her signing her contract. Her gimmick? Hosting the striptease show, Extreme Expose. She literally performed stripteases to get the fans riled up, only to be interrupted by her on-screen boyfriend at the time, Mike Knox. Kelly Kelly is often cited as one of the problems of the WWE Divas Division of the late 2000s and early 2010s, but during her peak, no one was as over as Kelly.
As Kelly grew more comfortable in the ring, she finally won the Divas Championship five years after her main roster debut. Kelly Kelly still remains popular among fans today, appearing on the E! show WAGS and also trending on Twitter after simply being backstage at a Raw taping. Maybe fans want to see the WWE #GiveKellyKellyAChance, again?
7 Michelle McCool
This former school teacher wasn't very memorable during her time on the WWE Diva Search, yet the WWE still hired her anyway. And thank God they did. Originally playing a fitness instructor-type role on SmackDown, Michelle would be seen in the eyes of many fans as a southern bombshell. By 2008, she was becoming one of the most pushed women the company had seen in years, and her in-ring performances more than warranted that. Prior to the current four horsewomen, McCool was considered to be one of the WWE's prior top four women alongside Beth Phoenix, Melina and Mickie James.
Undisputedly the best wrestler to come from the Divas Search, McCool is more likely to be remembered for her contributions to wrestling. But before she was a wrestler, she was a smoking hot school teacher from Palatka, Florida.
6 Torrie Wilson
After getting backstage at a WCW show, Torrie Wilson was asked to escort Scott Steiner to the ring. Torrie Wilson was the ultimate blonde bombshell in wrestling for nearly a decade, and the definitive diva of SmackDown for its earlier years. Torrie Wilson was one of the WWE's most popular divas during her seven-year tenure with the company, and it's hard to not see why. With a charming smile and bubbly personality, fans couldn't help but love her. Perhaps that's why her heel run with Vince's Devils didn't last long.
With two Playboy covers and a Golden Thong Award, Torrie Wilson was also supposed to be the company's first Divas Champion. While that never happened, Torrie Wilson's longevity as one of the WWE's top women earns her a spot this high on this list.
The WWE wanted an attractive female to come in and perform news segments during its programming. Interestingly enough, they called Tammy Sytch, who would first be introduced to the WWE Universe as Tamara Murphy. Yet Murphy's gimmick wouldn't last long as she evolved into the First Diva that we all know as Sunny in 1995. The next year, Sunny was declared the most downloaded celebrity on the Internet.
While Elizabeth was beautiful, Sunny took sex appeal to places the WWE had previously never seen. Sunny ushered in a new generation of women, proving that they could be marketable by themselves, whether it was by their looks or otherwise. She's credited with being the company's first true 'Diva' and starting a revolution of sorts in the mid to late 90s.
4 The Bella Twins
Nicole and Brianna Garcia auditioned for the Diva Search in 2006, but didn't make the final cut. Nearly a year later, the models signed WWE contracts and were sent to Florida Championship Wrestling to train. Throughout their first WWE tenure, the twins were often viewed and treated as a novelty act. When Raw needed women to escort its Special Guest Hosts, it was The Bellas that often did that. They also participated in bikini contests frequently, and despite both of them being pushed to win the Divas Title, they were never treated as serious wrestlers. That all changed when they returned to the company in 2013, and they both improved leaps and bounds in the ring. Whether you agree or disagree that
The Bellas got their start in the business due to their looks, you cannot deny that they are the biggest female stars the WWE has produced since at least AJ Lee, if not Trish Stratus and Lita.
All the women wanted to be her, and all the men wanted to come see her. Sable was magnetizing, and she wasn't afraid to show off her body. According to a shoot interview by Jim Cornette, Sable was hired alongside her husband, Marc Mero, after joining him at WWE's offices for a meeting. Management was apparently fixated by her beauty, and she and her husband made their WWE debuts at WrestleMania XII. Sable's star would inflate on her own, as she began coming out in iconic bodysuits and evening gowns that perfectly showcased her beauty and figure. Yet she would eventually make her way into the ring, delivering Sablebombs to anyone that got in her way. Eventually, she would become the Women's Champion and tease the fans with her infamous Grind.
Lita wasn't the conventional pretty girl, but she was still hot. Management knew it, too. Before she was ever paired with Essa Rios, she was one of Godfather's Hos. Only the prettiest of the pretty were ever allowed a spot in Godfather's iconic group. Lita would later become iconic in her own right as a member of Team Xtreme, in large part due to the whale tail that she incorporated into her look. Lita was a different kind of sexy. She wasn't necessarily the girl you would take home to your parents, but she was the girl you'd want to talk to your brother or your friends about. She was unconventional, and at a time where that wasn't nearly as acceptable as it is now, it made Lita more unique and attractive.
1 Trish Stratus
Many call Trish Stratus the best women's wrestler the WWE has ever produced, and that really cannot be denied. The WWE produced Trish Stratus from the get go. A former fitness model who covered numerous magazines, Trish Stratus made her WWE debut in early 2000 as the manager for T&A. Unlike other women in the company like Molly Holly, Lita and Ivory, Trish wasn't initially seen as a wrestler. Instead, she was seen as an attractive blonde who wore revealing clothing to the ring. But Trish would prove that her looks were nothing compared to the star that she soon became. After nearly two years in the company, Trish shocked the world when she captured the Women's Championship. She refused to pose for Playboy, and didn't want to brand herself as just another pretty blonde chick. She connected with the crowd in a way that no woman has done ever since. Trish Stratus was the best, and there may never be another woman like her.
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