The world of women’s wrestling has really evolved over the last 35 years. Back when the first WrestleMania was happening, you had the old school represented by The Fabulous Moolah taking on what was supposed to be new-school with Wendi Richter. Moolah was almost 60 and Richter was one of the first woman to use sex appeal as part of her character. But then a contract dispute took place between Richter and the WWE leading to a dissolution of the women’s division. It briefly returned in the mid-’90s when Alundra “Medusa” Blayze gave the WWE another shot, but then she left for WCW, trashing the women’s title on Monday Nitro. That was the end of that.
The next generation of women were ushered in by the likes of Sunny, Marlena and Sable. Wrestling talent suddenly took a backseat as women were treated as little more than eye candy and their job on TV was to do little more than show as much skin as the WWE could get away with. Sometimes that included actual nudity. When the WWE recognized they could make far more money returning to a family-friendly product, they kept the women who could wrestle, like Trish Stratus or Victoria and dumped the useless eye candy.
Slowly the women’s division improved on a technical end, exploding in the last couple of years as NXT has attracted the next generation who are now making their imprint on the main roster and reeducating fans what women’s wrestling can be. Thankfully though, they do have to look good. Being tough and sexy has proven to be a good formula. We love watching the women wrestle just as hard as the men now, but we also like it when they take a break and put on a bikini. It’s the dead of winter and we need some warmth. Let’s turn up the heat with the Top 17 pictures of WWE divas having fun in the sun.
17 The Bella Twins, Part I
There are icons for every wrestling era and WWE women are no different. The New Generation era was defined by Tammy “Sunny” Sytch and Sable who was technically the first divas. With the Attitude Era, you had Trish Stratus and Lita sitting atop the icon thrown and the Ruthless Aggression era poster girls were The Bella Twins. Now that we’re into The Reality Era, or whatever it will ultimately be known as, the twins times in the spotlight is certainly starting to fade. Most forget they retired from the WWE for a few years, but upon WWE working on a deal with E! for Total Divas, the Bellas returned and have never left. Brie is coming up on a year of retirement and Nikki is in that phase of her career where it’s her turn to build the other girls. Total Bellas shows we’ll never be fully devoid of the twins and we have a feeling that they’ll be Hall of Fame inductees in 2022.
16 Becky Lynch
Looking back at the women of the Attitude and Ruthless Agression eras, there were decent wrestlers, like Trish Stratus, Lita, Candice, Victoria, Molly Holly and a few others. There were also plenty of eye-candy jokes like Debra, The Kat and Sable. The one thing all of these women had in common was that they were Divas. They were not Superstars, which meant they weren’t on the same level with the men. That isn’t the case with the current crop of women, only called divas during their “Revolution.” What makes the new women, like Becky Lynch different? We think it’s because there is very little difference in their style of wrestling than the men’s style of wrestling. The ladies of this era go all out and don’t freak if their legs are spread wide open during a move or if they land on their chest. They’ll also take nasty bumps, and it’s pretty hot to see a woman doing anything a man can. Strong is sexy and there’s very few sexier out there than Becky Lynch
Natalya is probably the most underappreciated wrestler on the female roster. At one point, she was the best wrestler, although several have passed her by now. When you think of the early part of her career, you don’t think of the cheesy stipulation matches that came before her, but when she wrestling in Florida Championship Wrestling, near the end of the bra-and-panties era in WWE, she was thrown into one of these lingerie matches. For those wondering, Nattie mixes things up with a black bra and white panties, but these were more like the bottoms divas wear today and less like underwear. It’s interesting, and probably reassuring for her that she will never be in a match of this kind in the current WWE. I’m sure her dad, Jim Neidhart has no problem never seeing his daughter in that situation.
Lana sometimes seems like a relic from the past on multiple levels. First, she’s doing the “evil Russian” character, something we haven’t seen since Nikolai Volkoff, and nobody has done the fake Russian accent as well since Nikita Koloff. From a hot blonde perspective, we haven’t seen anybody who has been a good looking female manager romantically linked with her wrestler since the Attitude Era. But this is 2017, so instead of traveling with Rusev from town to town, she’s down in Florida, busting her butt to get better in the ring...doing a breakdancer character. In 2017, we’re also all supposed to understand it’s a show, so when you flip on a Network documentary or special, you’ll find not Lana, but CJ Perry talking in her regular voice. We don’t know what direction they’re taking her career, but it’s going to be fun to watch.
Much like Natalya, Naomi has flown under the radar for years yet has been one of the consistently best performers. We guess they should both be thankful for their deep family ties in the wrestling and the fact they’ve been on Total Divas since the first season. Without those two things, we’re not sure either would have a job. We thought there might be a push in Naomi’s future first when they did the Divas Revolution and next when they reinvented her in day-glow neon with light-up shoes, but once again, her character went nowhere. She’s one of the hottest women in WWE in the last five years, and it leads us to wonder if she would have actually had more success during the Attitude Era when the way a woman looked was more important. Either way, hopefully she’ll stay employed a long time and be in as many bikini photo shoots as possible.
12 Kelly Kelly and Michelle McCool
Here are two ladies, neither of whom are still with the WWE, and both who have made bigger names for themselves based on who they married than who they were in a wrestling ring. First, there’s Kelly Kelly, who was first introduced to us in the early days of the WWE version of ECW. The real life Barbie Blank ending up marrying former hockey player Sheldon Souray. That helped land her a gig on the E! reality show WAGS. As for Michelle McCool, she did have a decent in-ring career, especially with Layla as the tag-team LayCool, but she’s probably better known as Mrs. Undertaker. Whenever you see one of those photos of the Deadman pop up on Instagram looking like, well, a dead man, it’s usually her work. Thankfully she looks way better in pictures than her husband.
11 Torrie Wilson
Let’s remember our favorite Torrie Wilson match. WWE’s only match ever billed as a “Wet and Wild” contest was exactly what it promised to be with gallons of water poured all over not only Wilson and Candice Michelle, but also the referee, the ring, the commentators and at least the first five rows. The wrestlers, wearing white tank top and shorts (obviously alluding to wet T-shirt contests despite the fact both were wearing bra and panties) were completely soaked within a few seconds. With a dozen super soakers and just as many five-gallon buckets full of water, the match had something to do with Playboy magazine, but we don’t exactly remember, but we’re guessing it didn’t really matter. The end of the match came when Wilson did a stinkface on Michelle and rolled her up for the very wet pin.
10 Rosa Mendes
Technically, Rosa Mendes is still on the WWE roster. WWE lists her as only one of a couple wrestlers (along with The Undertaker and Tamina Snuka) who are active, but undrafted. The last storyline Mendes was involved with saw her less in the ring and more as a prop. She had taken over the “girl who dances with Fandango” role, but after a few months, Fandango dumped her. Once that was done, she moved over to Adam Rose and managed him for about 15 minutes until she found out she was pregnant (in real life) and left TV in August 2015. She was supposed to serve as a “correspondent” for WWE.com, but that never really happened. She gave birth in February 2016. We don’t know if she’ll be back, but we hope she’s been able to get her post-baby body back to what it used to look like.
Hopefully by the time you read this, Emmalina will be a real thing. Emma was one of the better women in NXT when she was called up to the main roster and got immediately caught in a horrible storyline with Santino Marella. Her quirkiness may have played well in front of 500 people at Full Sail, but it didn’t translate to arenas of 15,000. She returned to NXT to retool things and found success as a heel. Upon returning to the main roster in a team with Dana Brooke, she was injured and disappeared for a few months. Then, in early October 2016, the WWE began advertising “The Makeover of Emma into Emmalina” and promised she’d be debuting soon. But she didn’t. November came. Then December. Then January. Whoever Emmalina is supposed to be, as long as she is as cute as Emma, we’ll say it was worth the wait.
8 Eva Marie
Whereas it seemed a little see-through that the Bellas were only returning to the WWE to be the focal point of the show Total Divas, it was also the show that introduced us to Eva Marie and her bright red hair. As a visual aid for the WWE, she’s more than done her job, but if we were to add up all of the time we’ve seen in her in a ring, it still wouldn’t equal the running time of Rogue One and if were to add up the time we’ve enjoyed seeing her in a ring, it wouldn’t equal the coming attractions. Just as it seemed like her career was getting a little traction by being drafted to Smackdown, Eva Marie had a Wellness Policy violation. Maybe 2017 will be her breakthrough year, but we wouldn’t bet money on it. Just keep putting her in those little red tops and we’ll give her a chance to prove us wrong.
7 Eden Stiles
If you need another reason to hate Cody Rhodes, and who among us ever has enough, it is that when he walked out of WWE in mid-2016 over creative differences, his wife, beautiful ring announcer Eden Stiles went with him. We always thought the WWE never did enough with Eden as she was clearly great on a microphone and was beautiful as this selfie reveals. And yes, maybe she’s not exactly in the sun in this photo, but it’s too good to pass up. We’ll just assume she had been outside in the sun and came in to apply more lotion or needed to change her shoes since she has enough of them. She’s been expanding her skill set on the road with Cody, serving as his valet and even learning to wrestle a bit. Hopefully Cody works his deal out with WWE sooner than later so we can see this hot, hot lady back where she belongs.
6 Sasha Banks
Before there were divas and before there was the super weak women’s wrestling scene of the 1980s and 1990s, there was actually a women’s circuit dating back to the 1920s led by Mildred Burke. She trained a lady named Lillian Ellison who became known as The Fabulous. The Fabulous Moolah dominated it for about 40 years because she was also the woman who booked the other females into matches. These were not prissy little tiffs they would get in back then. They were decent fights, just like we see Sasha Banks get into today. The difference is that back in the 1970s, they wore what amounted to a one-piece bathing suit and were never shown to have sex appeal. Finally, we’ve got the best of both worlds will wrestlers like Sasha who are both amazing athletes and are easy on the eyes. The biggest question is why it took almost 100 years for promoters to figure out that we wanted to have our cake and eat it, too.
5 Trish Stratus
Whenever somebody tries to say that the current women scene isn’t as good as back when Lita and Trish were tearing it up during the Attitude Era, we always remind them of the incident that may have kept Linda McMahon from capturing a Senate seat. Back in 2001, when WWE was in their TV-14 bordering on TV-MA years, women were fair game in all scenarios. Flaunting his power, the Mr. McMahon character made Trish Stratus crawl around the ring, screaming “bark like a dog” at her. Stratus did so, and also stripped to her black undies when McMahon demanded. Tasteless, but harmless? Maybe not. When Linda McMahon was running for office, her opponents continued to show this clip of Stratus asking if the people of Connecticut would want someone who thought this was acceptable entertainment representing Connecticut in Washington D.C. It would take a Trump presidency for Linda to land a federal government gig.
4 The Bellas, Part II
Since there are two Bella sisters they get two entries. Seems fair right? We could actually put a list of the 600 best bikini photos of the Bella twins since it seems like they spent most of the last 10 years wearing as little as possible. Few women wear less in their regular life than they wear in the ring, but the real-life Garcia sisters fit the bill and we couldn’t be happier. If there’s one thing we’re going to miss about Brie - and Nikki when she eventually leaves - won’t be the wrestling talent, although we have to admit they did get better. We’re going to miss two of the most beautiful women to ever step in a WWE ring and we’re the lucky ones because they looked the same. They’ve also had two of our favorite wardrobe malfunctions of Monday Night Raw in the last 10 years, but we’ll let you look that up on your own.
3 Summer Rae
We’ve always felt bad for Summer Rae. Someone who had her looks with her talent should have gone so much further but her timing was horrible. She was learning the ropes when WWE developmental morphed from the group at Florida Championship Wrestling into the early days of NXT. Back then, NXT was a WWE.com only show that very few people watched. If they had, they would have seen a woman who wasn’t quite Charlotte or Sasha, but who was technically better than 90% of the female wrestlers the WWE presented before her. But, she gets called up to the main roster as Fandango’s dance partner and it’s largely just been treading water since then. She’s got a great personality, as seen on many WWE Network shows, but something has just held her back and at this point, we think the ship has probably sailed. Oh well, at least she took a lot of hot photos along the way.
2 Stacy Keibler
There have been plenty of male wrestlers who have gone on to careers in Hollywood, to various success. There are giant successes like The Rock, there are giant failures like Hulk Hogan and plenty of John Cena or Steve Austin types who are in between. If we were going to pick one woman we thought was going to break through into a Hollywood life, it was Stacy Keibler. She was never a wrestler, but back in the Attitude Era you didn’t have to be. You just had to look good in a thong and Kiebler certainly pulled that off. Once away from WWE, she guest-starred on a lot of shows like How I Met Your Mother and George Lopez and also participated on a season of Dancing With the Stars. Then, she started dating George Clooney. That didn’t last, but when she decided to return to entertainment, things got tough. She ended up marrying a high-end luxury realtor and the last time she was in the news was criticizing his client, Cam Newton, on TMZ. At least she didn’t end up like Chyna, right?
1 Charlotte Flair
OK, so technically Charlotte Flair isn’t outside in this photo, but you can see sunlight coming in through the window and it doesn’t look like she’s depressed right? That’s good enough for us. If you take a look at Charlotte as a bleached-blonde woman with fake breasts, you’d expect her to be more suited for the T&A years of the late ’90s during the Attitude Era, but unlike most of those ladies, Charlotte worked hard to perfect her craft. It probably didn’t hurt her chances since Ric Flair was her father, but there’s no denying she has become a terrific wrestler and hopefully people see beyond that connection soon. We hope that she’s with the WWE for years to come and is already putting together a Hall of Fame career. When she’s not busy breaking barriers with the likes of Bayley or Sasha Banks, we hope she takes more time out of her schedule for pictures like these.
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