The years of 2002-2008 have taken on the nickname of “The Ruthless Aggression Era” by fans. It was a term used by Vince McMahon in 2002 to try and fire up the younger workers and John Cena used it as he made his debut against Kurt Angle. While it was home to some bad stuff, it also showcased great work like SmackDown rising high, Brock Lesnar, cruiserweights and more. That’s not to mention the rise of stars like Cena, Randy Orton, Batista and others. It’s also seen as the high mark era of the Divas in WWE, a time when they were actually given a lot of time and attention. True, much of it was the classic bikini contests and gimmick bouts but you also had really top workers given training and the opportunity to show it.
Today, WWE has pushed a focus on real wrestling but the ladies of this era were able to combine beauty with some real skill and win folks over. Some were more pretty faces, others amazingly skilled but all combined to push this division nicely. WWE capitalized on their looks with annual photo shoots and DVDs to show their amazing beauty and sex appeal that made their appearances ratings gold. So many amazing ladies, many of them legends in their own way, some moving onto other companies but all combining to make this period in the company’s history top notch. It’s hard to narrow it down but here are the 15 hottest Divas of this era and how they helped push WWE to must-see entertainment in both looks and talent.
15 Molly Holly
After runs as stuff like “Mighty Molly,” WWE finally decided to give Molly a push as just a regular worker. She did well, her character one of a straight-laced gal which led to a nutty bit of Trish accusing her of having a fat rear end and they ran with it. The truth was, Molly was quite attractive with her short black hair and even without flashing her body in bikinis, she had a great build and her excellent ring work backed her up. Even when she was shaved bald, she looked terrific and while she was set to clash against the other Divas on their antics, Molly was hot in her own way and a great face for the era.
14 Lillian Garcia
She was best known for her announcing and her singing the national anthem that anything in the ring. However, Garcia was also a great knockout in her dresses and the occasional bikini shoot, lovely looks with her dark blonde hair and terrific legs. Garcia carried herself as a pro, the occasional fun interview mixing with people but mostly a lady to kick a show off right and in fine style as many a WWE fan fondly remembers her voice backed with a great body.
After helping reinvent the image of women in WWE, Rena Mero had a well-publicized falling out with the company, leaving and filing a sexual harassment suit. In 2003, she made a surprise return, talking in WWE Magazine on how she’d let her ego get the better of her before and having another shot. She still had one of the best bodies around which she showed in a Playboy spread with Torrie Wilson, rocking her evening gowns, leather and a variety of skimpy outfits.
She left to spend more time with her family but this second chance redeemed her name and stamped more of her legacy as the sexpot who truly helped change the Divas into their current state.
12 Dawn Marie
Already hailed as one of the sexiest ladies of ECW, Dawn managed the jump to WWE and did a fine job remaining among the hottest alive. She and Torrie Wilson had a nutty feud but Dawn still looked stunning with seducing Al and showing off her body constantly and you could count on her showing her body off in as little as possible. While she was let go as part of a massive cost-cutting move in 2004, Dawn Marie added more to her legacy as one of the sexiest women in wrestling history to remember.
Underrated among great female workers, Victoria was pushed as a nutcase but a powerhouse to boot, her black hair and leather outfits matching her wild ring style. She and Trish had a fantastic feud to push Victoria up nicely and while her face turn in 2004 didn’t work well, she did dominate as champion for a while. Being a heel suited her better and while she didn’t show off her body as much as the other women around, Victoria was one of the best workers for WWE in this period and helping get the division respect for ring stuff as well as hot bodies.
10 Gail Kim
Pushed hard from the start, the Toronto native won a battle royal in her debut for the Women’s title and did a good job defending it, showing her great ring skill. She also showed her looks with her Asian features, dark hair and lithe body showed off in various tight outfits. Shifting between face and heel, Gail relied on her ring work to get ahead which did lead her lost a bit among the other workers and was cut in 2004.
She moved to TNA to start the Knockouts division, making a brief return to WWE in 2008 but is back in TNA now. With her great drive, skill and exotic looks, Kim’s WWE stay may have been brief but very memorable.
9 Christy Hemme
The first winner of the Diva Search, Hemme’s ring work was…not good, to give her a break. It was obvious her looks were what got her the job and in that regard, she certainly had what it took. Her lush dark red hair was a standout as were her good bust and legs and she showed it all proudly in Playboy for a best-selling issue. As much as she tried, she never clicked well in WWE, let go to become an announcer in TNA but when she was on screen, Hemme at least kept fans’ eyes on her for a wicked redhead, something guys always love to enjoy.
8 Mickie James
Already a top worker on the indie scene, Mickie came into WWE as a bright gal and uber-fan of Trish Stratus who soon turned into an obsessive stalker. This led to the 'Mania match where the crowd actually cheered the “psycho” Mickie and boosted her up nicely. While she preferred to work on wrestling, Mickie was always a great looker with her brown hair, wonderful curves and amazingly athletic body on full display, having a blast in Halloween costumes and fun to see constantly. WWE did hurt her image with the “Piggy James” storyline that pushed her out of the company and to TNA but her time in WWE showed Mickie as a great worker who could also be sexy as hell and energy to burn that made her hotter.
Redheads just stand out more and Maria did that quite well with her curves, long legs and nice bust. After a few rough starts, she found her niche as the dim bulb interviewer making crazy cracks and statements to make folks laugh. She soon got more of a push in the ring, not the best there but with her great body, you could ignore it as she went all out in costume events and a great spread in Playboy while working with the likes of Santino and others. Having left WWE, Maria has spent time as a smarter gal in ROH and currently TNA but fans still remember the ditzy ginger who got so much attention for showing redheads do have more fun.
6 Torrie Wilson
A survivor of WCW, Wilson was easily pushed in WWE thanks to her lush blond hair and killer body, which she showed off in a memorable Playboy spread. True, her feud with Dawn Marie over her “father” Al was a nutty thing but it did lead to them going at it well and you could always count on Torrie to show off in costumes and bikini shoots better than most Divas around.
Her in-ring stuff wasn’t much but Torrie knew her strength was on her looks and definitely showed that to the utmost for what remains one of the hottest blondes to ever grace the WWE and a highlight of this sexy period.
At first just the hot manager for MNM, Melina got attention for her variety of outfits and hot Latina looks with dark hair. Of course, what’s best remembered is her ring entrance, that great hop and leg split before sliding into the ring that never failed to win attention. She moved to actual wrestling to look even better, great in the ring with her long legs and good build used well, getting into various feuds and top notch in sex appeal.
She sadly let her ego get the best of her, getting in numerous clashes backstage and eventually fired after some rough altercations. Still, for much of this era, Melina was among the truly hottest ladies in WWE and always doing her best to back up her entrance with real talent to go with the looks.
4 Candice Michelle
Debuting as the classic “sultry minx,” Candice got attention as the former “Go Daddy” girl in nice coats to yank off and some good dance moves. But what impressed was how well she managed to click as a wrestler after some training, turning into a really good worker who bounced back from injury to reign as Women’s champion and mixing her sex appeal with good skills. While released in 2009, Candice was a great showcase for how a hot body could turn into a real wrestler and also killer in a Playboy spread to win so many fans to her side.
3 Stacy Kiebler
Those legs. That’s what you think of with Stacy, those amazing 42-inch long legs that she always put on full display in the shortest skirts and shorts possible. Her in-ring work may not have been impressive but that was secondary to that great body with long blonde hair and a killer smile. Whether doing those killer dance moves, managing the Dudleyz and others or just rocking a bikini, Stacy was always a gem to watch and would use it for some fame outside of wrestling to show that when a woman has a pair of legs like that, she can go very far in sexiness.
Already a great star for WWE, Lita had to take a year off due to a bad neck injury suffered shooting “Dark Angel.” When she returned, she kept to her great style of high flying, her red hair and tattoo always making her stand out. Even when she was put in the terrible Kane program, she kept her spirits up. Of course, in 2005, it changed majorly when her affair with Edge hit the news and she embraced it for a heel turn. It made her even hotter, flaunting her body more with a wicked edge and getting fans going wildly. While she retired in 2007, Lita left a great legacy during this time as a true vixen who fans loved to hate.
1 Trish Stratus
Who else could top the list? At first just eye candy, Trish underwent training to unlock a stunning physical ability that made her one of the best workers in the company, pulling off fantastic moves and great matches. Even better, of course, was her amazing beauty with blonde hair and that rocking body on full display in tight outfits. Whether showing off in a bikini or putting on a top notch fight, Trish was always great, even hotter when she was a heel and taking some hard hits. Still regarded as one of the best female wrestlers ever, Trish has to top any list of the Divas of this era and a damn good one in the ring and out to watch.