The Attitude Era was maybe the greatest time in pro wrestling history. While many people argue that older fans and wrestlers nowadays look back on that time through rose-tinted glasses, what can't be argued is that the business was more popular than that it ever had been before and it ever has been since. While the Attitude Era is a period in history that happened within the confines of WWE, it's hard to imagine it happening without WCW pushing Vince McMahon to make changes to the way he conducted business. One of the key ingredients of WWE at the time was sex appeal. Female wrestlers began popping up that were mainly there to look good and give male fans another reason to tune in. Many women made a name for themselves during that time, and here are five of them that held the Women's Championship during the Attitude Era and what they look like today.
In October of 1995, the Women's Championship was put on hiatus in WWE. Alundra Blayze was the champion at the time and she infamously jumped shipped to WCW, took the title with her and threw it in the bin live on television. That was before the Attitude Era Began and was one of the initial and loudest shots fired in the Monday Night War between the two companies. Three years later, WWE felt like enough time passed that they could bring back a new Women's Championship and continue the lineage. Jacqueline was the first Women's Champion, and it was one of two times she held the belt. Jackie is clearly looking well nowadays and is a deserved WWE Hall of Famer.
When you think of women that put WWE on the map during the Attitude Era, then there really is only one woman that comes to mind—Sable. The two time Playboy cover girl was as key to the company's success at that time as stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Sable's catchphrase was that she was there for the men who wanted to see her and the women who wanted to be her, and that had more than an element of truth to it. Shockingly, WWE forewent the chance to have Sable be the first Women's Champion in favor of Jacqueline, but two months later, she won the belt. That six-month reign was Sable's only time with the title but let's be honest, no one watching particularly cared if she was champion or not.
There are a few names that are often forgotten or overlooked when discussing the Attitude Era, and Debra Marshall is one of those. Simply known as Debra while in WWE, the main thing she's remembered for in wrestling is the fact that she was once married to Stone Cold Steve Austin. She actually played a pivotal on-screen role in the build to his landmark match with The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven. Debra actually competed in-ring herself from time to time though and was a one time Women's Champion. She brought an end to Sable's six-month reign, defeating her in an evening gown match on Raw.
Lita began to change the game for women after the Attitude Era had been in full swing for a year or two. The Hall of Famer didn't look like the majority of the women that had been hired by the company up until that point and that was a good thing. She also proved something that to this day women are still fighting to prove in the company, and that is female Superstars can be attractive, but also kick ass in the ring. Lita's career would obviously last a number of years, in fact, she still works for WWE to this day outside of the ring, and frankly, looks better than she ever has. Her very first Women's Championship came over 17 years ago though, and she beat Stephanie McMahon for it.
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When the Attitude Era came to an end exactly is up for debate. Most would say that it was somewhere towards the end of 2001 or beginning of 2002. If that's the case, then Trish Stratus managed to get her first reign as Women's Champion in under the wire, winning it at Survivor Series 2001. Stratus solidified the belief that Lita brought to WWE even more so than Lita already had. Trish didn't have a wrestling background and was hired based on her extremely good looks which she still has today as you can see. She wanted to wrestle though, and in the time she was with WWE, Stratus became one of the best female wrestlers ever. Her and Lita remain best friends to this day, and the Hall of Fame pair paved the way for the females of today.
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