In one move the WWE successfully destroyed the women’s division they spent so long building up by splitting the women down the middle between Raw and Smackdown, leading to both having a very shallow roster. While having female exclusivity on one show would have been weird, it’s going to be glaringly obvious over the coming months how bad of a decision this was, as even NXT call-ups Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax only boost each to a measly seven on Raw and six on Smackdown. And Eva Marie is part of that six, I’m not sure she really counts.
Thankfully, there are almost guaranteed to be more NXT call-ups down the road, with the roster still brimming in female talent with the likes of Nikki Storm, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Asuka. But even beyond NXT, the rest of the wrestling world has plenty of seasoned females who are ring-ready to kick butt in the squared circle if WWE feels they need the support in that division (which they do).
Between the TNA Knockouts division, all-female wrestling promotion Shimmer and plenty of other women’s divisions throughout the world, there’s a lot of talent to choose from. Here are my picks for the top 15 females WWE should sign.
15 Rosemary (Courtney Rush)
She recently debuted at TNA under the name Rosemary, forming the villainous stable Decay with Crazzy Steve and Abyss. She has been a part of TNA's renaissance in recent months. But before she was shot into super-stardom as Rosemary, she was Courtney Rush, a highly decorated indie wrestler that many knew had a great career ahead of her. She’s a former Shimmer Tag Team Champion, a title she held alongside Sara Del Ray, who went on to become a trainer at the WWE performance center. Holding that kind of accolade alongside someone the WWE believes to be a talented trainer can only improve a person’s ability, and it’s obvious that Courtney learned a lot from Sara during their tenure as a tag team, and she’s quickly become one of the standout personalities at TNA. If WWE need a multi-talented women to help bolster a roster, then keeping an eye on Rosemary’s TNA contract expiration date won’t hurt.
14 Cherry Bomb
A stalwart of the Canadian indie circuit, Cherry Bomb has gone to impress all over the world with a great technical style. She’s a likely candidate for any list of this nature made in the last few years, as fans have been desperate to see her throw the Best Superkick Ever at some of the WWE women.
Cherry Bomb has been an active wrestler since her teens, and now at 28 manages to show an impressive amount of experience despite being relatively young. She’s a former Shimmer and Shine Tag Champion, and recently signed to TNA under the name Allie. While this would make a potential WWE deal difficult, it’s definitely someone the WWE should be keeping an eye on. If this brand split is indeed for the long haul, the WWE will always be active in looking to fill both brands with talent. Whenever Cherry Bomb approaches the end of her TNA deal, WWE should be waiting in the wings.
13 Leva Bates
Known to the WWE audience as “Blue Pants”, Leva Bates has impressed NXT audiences before despite only being used as a local jobber. She briefly feuded with Alexa Bliss, and reportedly got in trouble backstage with other wrestlers for selling her own merchandise at NXT events, something that WWE-signed wrestlers weren’t allowed to do. Her controversy aside though, Leva is a fine wrestler with a small WWE fan-base already, and also has some of the “nerd cred” that works so well for Xavier Woods.
While her antics and cosplay may be a bit much for Vince McMahon to handle, her connection to the crowd is obvious to anyone watching, and she could really fill a plucky baby-face underdog role for the one of the brands' women divisions. Yes, she screwed up once in WWE, but the company has given second chances to talents before and Leva is someone worthy of one.
12 Marti Belle
A ruthless wrestler capable of playing a great heel, Marti Belle has been making waves in TNA during and after her run with “The Dollhouse” stable, though has struggled to breakout among the bigger stars in Jade and Sienna. But despite that she’s shown she can go in the ring and is constantly improving, and definitely has a future as a top heel on the WWE roster if they decide to sign her. While she doesn’t have a long career behind her like other women on this list, and she has held gold at several promotions, and would be a perfect acquisition to help bolster the rosters.
I predict big things in the future for Marti Belle, and if not this year then soon she’ll be seen as one of the top females in the business. Whether she does that under the name Raw, SmackDown or Impact Wrestling is up to Vince.
Ivelisse said she was released by the WWE for reporting Bill DeMott, the trainer who had a lot of allegations of abuse towards trainees while working for the WWE. He has since left the company after being hounded by allegations, and while I’m sure his career hasn’t recovered yet, Ivelisse has only gone from strength to strength.
After a brief appearance in TNA, she signed to Lucha Underground, where she became a two-time Trios Champion alongside Son of Havoc and Angelico. She’s shown a lot of improvement since leaving WWE, and even had a match for the Lucha Underground Championship against Mil Muertes earlier in the year. She’s also been competing at various indie promotions, and is the current Shine Champion. At 28, Ivelisse has already had a storied career, and a welcome return to WWE is the only thing that can cap it all off.
10 Saraya Knight
Saraya Knight is mostly known to WWE fans as “Paige’s mum”, although she is a very successful wrestler in her own right. She even won a tag title with her daughter at one point, and has feuded with her a few times throughout their careers. Because really, it’s a story that writes itself, and one Paige could really benefit from.
Saraya comes not only with an arsenal of moves and a devastating Camel Clutch as her finisher, but with years of ring experience and knowledge, something that can help her climb the ranks of the division. It’s tantalizing to think of Paige, a wrestler who has fumbled recently and lost countless championship opportunities, seeing her mother surpass her only conjures up thoughts of a potential feud that could really put Paige back at the top of the card, having great matches with her mother along the way.
Saraya obviously would not be brought in to work a full-time schedule, but it'd be great for her to make the occasional appearance in WWE. If you follow her on social media, you'll see that she has a very fun personality.
9 Velvet Sky
At 35, Velvet Sky is definitely entering the latter stages of her career, and despite extremely good runs in TNA and various runs in independent circuits, she’s never made a proper appearance at WWE (outside of the local jobber appearance every wrestler has done at some point). But due to her long-standing association with TNA, she’s definitely a known name, and has had a long time to hone her style and develop her ability in-ring. While WWE is presenting a PG show that is trying to treat women with a bit more respect, I doubt we’d see any “releasing of pigeons” as Tazz would gleefully shout during some of her TNA ring-entrances, but she can be a great addition to the roster.
A two-time Knockouts Champion, she’s definitely used to handling the pressures of being an upper-carder for a division, and I’m sure being drafted to the same brand as the Dudley Boyz would be a great draw for her to sign with WWE – after all, she is dating Bubba Ray.
8 Arisa Nakajima
If Asuka in NXT proves anything, it’s that female wrestlers in Japan are a lot more intense than the standard female wrestler in the west. This makes her an anomaly, an ass-kicking machine that can kick anyone down to the mat for a three count. And I love that Asuka is special in this, because she honestly is probably the best female Japanese wrestler in the world. But in a list of 15 females that the WWE should sign, I can’t miss out Arisa Nakajima.
There are a lot of talented women in Japan right now, but Arisa just as so much going for her. Whereas Asuka always looks terrifying, Arisa is just adorable. She’s a real cutie-pie, and embraces that with her finisher called the Cutie Special (adopted from one of her trainers Cutie Suzuki). But despite that, she wrestles just about anybody to the mat and snap their limbs off. Perfect as a plucky underdog or a dominating heel, Arisa could be the first female Japanese sensation to step on the path that Asuka is starting to pave for Asian wrestlers in WWE.
7 Santana Garrett
Despite not being signed to WWE, indie star Santana Garrett enjoys a healthy relationship with NXT, occasionally making an appearance as a “local wrestler” to job to Emma and Asuka. Outside of that though, Santana has been one of the hottest female wrestling stars in the world. She’s preformed in promotions all over the globe, and has captured more championships than even some of the best of all time, including NWA World’s Women Championship, Shine Championship and the Wonder of Stardom Championship. She’s also the current holder of a lot of championships across various promotions, showing the faith that’s shown in her ability to carry a division.
With her TNA contract coming to an end in December, there is really no reason Santana can’t go to WWE. We hear Cole call a lot of people “the hottest free agent”, but in terms of women’s wrestling, Santana really may be just that.
6 Cheerleader Melissa
Despite having a ring-name that suggests she’s nothing more than a valet, Cheerleader Melissa is actually one of the best female wrestlers in the world. That isn’t surprising, considering among many of the people who have trained her in the past include Daniel Bryan and Christopher Daniels.
A true technical innovator with a slew of different moves and holds to make opponents tap-out or be knocked-out, Melissa is a two-time Shimmer Champion and a two-time winner of the California based ChickFight tournament. She’s consistently shown she has the chops to go far in the industry, although that may have been her downfall in the past as far as WWE are concerned. With reports that wrestlers were told off for being too good in the ring and making others look bad, Melissa wouldn’t have been suited to the old WWE. But now? With the supposed Divas Revolution and shallow brand rosters? Melissa could be just what’s needed.
Despite only being part of the company for a couple of years, it’s hard to imagine the TNA Knockouts Division without Jade right now. This year has really been her coming out party, winning the TNA Knockouts Championship and becoming the Queen of the Knockouts. She’s shown consistent improvement, and though she isn’t perfect in the ring, she’s putting on matches that show TNA are right to push her right now. This is very much her year at TNA, and she’s only going to go on to dominate the division even more, with plenty of great matches in her future. Which is exactly why WWE need to be taking a keen interest in Jane.
As TNA rise in prominence thanks to the Final Deletion storyline and the excellent if strange work by Matt Hardy, Jade is going to be there to represent their women’s division, and her stock will only rise. She’s a great wrestler in the right place at the right time, and WWE should be keen to strike while the iron’s hot.
4 Nicole Matthews
WWE has done a great job of finding female indie talent that hasn’t quite gotten the break or exposure they deserve and turning them into superstars. For example, small-time indie wrestler Rebecca Knox became the Lass Kicker Becky Lynch. The tiny Mercedes KV was making waves at Chaotic Wrestling, but she only became the biggest woman in wrestling when she signed to NXT and became Sasha Banks.
It’s this exact transformation that awaits Nicole Matthews if WWE signs her. Nicole Matthews is a fantastic in-ring talent, able to cut great promos and put on stellar matches, although occasionally she does look a bit rough around the edges. While she has been Shimmer champion in the past, her reputation is mostly in her own land of Canada, where she wrestles the majority of her shows.
A huge talent with potential for stardom, Nicole Matthews could be a breakout star if WWE decides to take a closer look at her.
3 Gail Kim
Nearing 40, Gail Kim will be seriously thinking about retiring soon. And she is definitely not thinking about returning to WWE, after two terrible runs with the company she’s gone on record saying she hated. Gail Kim just loves working at TNA, where she’s gained a lot of respect from her peers, and is now considered one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time.
But man, what if? If WWE managed to convince her to have one last short run under the WWE banner, promising her it will be different, that she’ll get time in the ring and not be exploited for looks. If Gail Kim can have that one redemption in WWE, the company she never managed to impress at, it would make everyone look. The WWE would look good for having one of the most respected female wrestlers not only wrestle for them, but show that they’ve really improved their women’s division by wrestling for them. Gail looks good because she’ll finally get the chance to show off what she can really do on the biggest stage.
I don’t think it will happen. Gail will retire as a TNA legend and a WWE afterthought, but…what if?
2 Candice LaRae
Candice LeRae has now hit 30 years old, so she's right at the point in her career where she's seasoned and still going at an amazing rate. This would be the ideal time for WWE to sign her. LeRae has previously said she wouldn't be interested in going to WWE because they weren't taking their women seriously. With that notion seeming to change in WWE, LeRae would make an excellent fit in continuing to grow the division.
The Canadian is known for her work in Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Combat Zone Wrestling. LeRae also has experience wrestling men, as she teamed up with Joey Ryan to form the World's Cutest Tag Team.
LeRae would have a lot to offer the women's division in WWE and signing wrestlers like her is the approach WWE should be taking in growing their divisions on both brands.
1 Sexy Star
Yeah, she recently said she was leaving wrestling to pursue boxing, throwing her mask away in the process. But if WWE throw enough cash at her and promise her the world, there may be a chance she’ll be convinced to join the biggest brand in sports entertainment.
Is she the best female wrestler in the world? No, probably nowhere near that. But her connection with the crowd can't be understated. An absolute powerhouse in Lucha Underground, she’s been consistently one of the top faces since its inception, and her fan-base is only going to grow if she decides to stay in the wrestling business. The girl has the potential to be the most popular WWE women's wrestler of all time if booked correctly. But WWE will need to do a lot to convince her to rethink retirement.