The Wrestling Women’s Evolution (that’s what WWE really stands for nowadays) is in full swing now. Women from all over the world of all shapes and sizes are all heralded for the work they do in the ring. They’ve all said it, and it is true - they might be at the forefront now, but all kinds of ladies from Then, along with their work, have influenced the women of Now, and will continue to do so Forever.
If not for Mae Young and Mildred Burke, Sensational Sherri, Madusa, Trish, Lita, and several others, perhaps some of these ladies today wouldn’t be getting some of these opportunities that the women of the WWE get today. The doors that the legendary ladies opened up have allowed today’s roster to expand and grow beyond any comprehension of what the Women’s Division could have been barely five years ago.
From simply being pin-up models with no skill in the ring, or barely being given a chance to show that they were more than just models; the Divas, as they were once called, were given a chance to become Superstars and they have shined. They have taken the old “anything you (the men) can do, I (the women) can do better.” And the women of WWE will only be featured more in 2019.
What will the next year hold for the WWE of the WWE? Here are 15 WWE Signings In 2019 That Will Surprise Us (And 5 That Are Way Too Obvious).
20 Surprising – Kaitlyn
When you grow up with Bill Goldberg as your favorite wrestler, you probably might end up looking like you’re carved out of granite yourself. The former Divas Champion, Kaitlyn obviously has the strong, but beautiful look that the company would crave in a women's wrestler today. Beyond that, she is a powerhouse in the ring.
The Evolution started just a little bit after she had left several years ago. She returned in a big way, being invited to join the second Mae Young Classic. She had a decent showing but lost to Mia Yim in the second round. It would be a pleasant surprise to see her comeback continue in 2019 and one that is very possible.
19 Surprising – Cris Cyborg
Ronda Rousey stunned the world when she joined the WWE. Despite being a huge fan and having a legit fight career, there was some trepidation as to how she would turn out as a WWE superstar. By this point, the jury is no longer out on her - she’s taken to WWE like a duck takes to quacking.
With her MMA nemesis/frenemy, Cris Cyborg having just lost her title to Amanda Nunes, and her likely wanting another shot, it might be hard to pry her away from really breaking faces to pretend to. But if the WWE could land Cyborg, they’ll have a ready-made feud on their hands. They’ll also play host to the first-ever meeting between the two.
18 Surprising – Emma
All kinds of hullabaloo were made when Emma was released both times. First, because of the company’s harshness over what seemed to be a shopping mishap, if her story is to be believed. The second time, internet reports and innuendo sprang up because she somehow “stole” the spotlight from Asuka in her in-ring debut.
Whatever the reason she was released, bringing her back might be a little hard - she’s currently under contract to ROH. Considering she is one of the best workers in the world, if she does return to the main stage, it will only help any roster she’s a part of.
17 Obvious – Tessa Blanchard
Tessa Blanchard kind of turned a lot of heads when she opted to not sign with the WWE or pursue a WWE career. She opted for Impact Wrestling and the indies instead. So far, it has paid off and she is the current Impact Knockouts Champion.
The reason she turned heads when she didn’t make it to WWE just yet is due to the fact she has just about every connection to the company to get a foot in the door - her father Tully is a Hall Of Fame Horseman, and her stepfather is the great Magnum T.A. Her talent could smash through that door at any moment though.
16 Surprising – Cheerleader Melissa
Alissa Flash, Raisha Saeed, Mariposa – she’s worked under all of those names, but Cheerleader Melissa is her most famous and the name that Melissa Anderson should carry with her straight into the WWE. It should pass right through NXT to the big time.
Similar to a lot of indie darlings that have populated the WWE landscape for quite some time now, Melissa has worked all over the world in a variety of promotions. She is plenty seasoned enough. The WWE would be very fortunate enough to have a lady with all of this experience on their team.
15 Surprising – Leva Bates
Somebody in NXT forgot to grab their bottles to nab some of the lightning Leva Bates created in her appearances as Blue Pants. Despite not being signed, despite not being a featured performer, Bates made each appearance count and got over in a big way for the Black And Gold Brand.
As one of the best and brightest indie performers out there, the WWE could either reconnect with Blue Pants or simply introduce Leva Bates to a live crowd. She’s clearly proven she’s money, it’s time WWE takes advantage of Bates and her wild cosplay outfits.
14 Surprising – Piper Niven
The first Mae Young Classic’s dark horse was Viper, aka Piper Niven. The Scottish superstar had some of the best matches of the first classic. She impressed a lot of people during the classic, moving like a lightweight. While she didn’t win, she did make a few more fans and got her name out there.
Still a few years shy of 30, Niven currently works for World Of Sport. Now that NXT is firmly established in the UK, look for Niven to at the very least make some intermediate appearances for the Black And Gold Union Jack brand.
13 Too Obvious – Brandi Rhodes
During Brandi Rhodes’ time in WWE, she was a ring announcer named Eden Stiles. She requested and was granted her release a few days after her husband Cody did. She has followed Cody on his incredible journey and has carved out a niche for herself too in the process.
She has done some wrestling, announces her husband to the ring from time to time, and has appeared on the E! Series, WAGS. It’s easy enough to assume that if Cody ever heads back, he’ll have Brandi in tow, and she won’t be announcing anymore. She’ll be firmly entrenched in not just what Cody is doing; she’ll be fighting her own battles too.
12 Surprising – Mayu Iwatani
The only lady not under WWE contract in PWI’s top ten best females, Mayu Iwatani is a sight to behold in the ring. Several assumed she would join her friend Io Shirai. But World Of Stardom has rewarded Iwatani’s loyalty, making her one of the promotion’s top stars.
Similar to other smaller performers, Mayu has some great selling capabilities to help her underdog persona. But fans would really want to check out her superior dropkicks and one of the best Dragon Suplexes in the business currently on the big stage of WWE, hopefully very soon.
11 Surprising – Rosemary
There’s plenty of women out there with similarly insane gimmicks, but seldom are they as nuts as Rosemary. As part of Decay, she, Abyss, and Crazzy Steve took the Broken Hardys to their limits. On her own, Rosemary has been consistently one of the bright spots of their current dim history.
She has worked in several of the big all-female promotions as well; not to mention being involved in an incident with Dulce Rivas several years ago. It’s been a while since the WWE has had a completely insane female character at the helm. Rosemary can come in and show ladies like Nikki Cross what a true firebrand can do.
10 Surprising – Paige VanZant
Similar to guys like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn 20 years ago, female MMA fighters from all over all want to give up really breaking arms and having their arms broken for pretending to do it instead. Ronda Rousey has broken down that barrier, as have the rest of her Horsewomen buddies.
Paige VanZant might be the next big UFC star to crossover. While she’s currently prepping for battle at the Barclays Center against Rachael Ostovich, VanZant recently told reporters that she would be very open to following the Rowdy one into the WWE. While she does still love fighting professionally, she did also meet with Stephanie McMahon. Get those rumor mills churning.
9 Obvious – Taya Valkyrie
To be the wife of one of the most extreme stars of the past ten years, you need to be pretty crazy yourself. Submitted for your approval - Mrs. John Morrison herself, Taya Valkyrie. The tough-as-nails Canada born Valkyrie was also trained by Lance Storm, so expect a highly skilled mat technician when she gets in the ring.
Taya is one of the best competitors not in WWE at the moment. So unless Morrison burned some bridges in his way out, bringing her in is a no-brainer. She’s already been signed once briefly years back and has a big taste for theatrical moments - something the WWE specializes in.
8 Surprising – Gail Kim
Gail Kim should have been included in the pantheon of legendary ladies within the WWE. She should have been included in training this entire Evolution-Era roster. She should’ve still been there today, alongside Mickie James as bridges from the old guard to the new. You’re sensing a theme here, aren’t you?
Instead, Kim is best known for her time in TNA/Impact helping make the Knockouts division what it once was. However, the image of simply rolling out of the ring during a WWE battle royal and walking away shouldn’t be her lasting image within the WWE. She once vowed to never come back. Perhaps it’s time for Stephanie McMahon to test that vow and pursue Kim back to where she should have always belonged.
7 Surprising – AJ Lee
From the “are you out of your mind” file, AJ Lee returning to the WWE after she did her part to bridge the gap between the Divas age and the Evolution era we’re currently in would be a wild moment. She might even get a “Road Warrior POP.”
On the other hand, the fact that CM Punk, was handed his walking papers on their wedding day might put a damper on any movement on Lee coming back. If any sort of inroads can be made in those hurt feelings, then the door would be wide open for her to skip right on through.
6 Surprising – Shaul Guerrero
The Guerrero wrestling family, especially Eddie and Chavo Jr. for this generation have made huge contributions to the sport. Patriarch Gory popularized both the Gory Special and Camel Clutch moves. Chavo Classic was the first to popularize the Moonsalt in the states.
One of Eddie’s daughters, Shaul had already made her way through FCW/NXT. Currently part of Lucha Underground, she has been working with Chavo directly. That means she’s already on track to becoming one of the best in the world. Once she’s ready to return, it will be a feel-good moment to see a Guerrero in the company again.
5 Obvious – Rachael Evers
It’s still a little weird to see Precious Paul Ellering’s precious little girl Rachael appear seemingly all over NXT and the Mae Young Classic and not be signed. But for whatever the reason, Evers is not a permanent member of the roster...yet.
Evers is one of the most talented members of this generation of women. She’s a terrific mechanic in the ring. With the main roster call-ups that are about to happen, there will be gaps needed to be filled on the NXT roster. It’s time for Evers to stop being a road warrior and start really bolstering the Women’s Division in NXT.
4 Surprising – Molly Holly
Nora Greenwald had the curse of the great worker. More often than not, she was tasked with heading to the ring to make other people look good, no matter the situation.
That kind of worker is always heralded by die-hard fans, who have always enjoyed Mighty Molly’s work. Nowadays though, the curse of the great worker is a blessing in disguise. She could be a tremendous asset to the Performance Center as a permanent trainer. Several ladies have come forward saying just how great of an influence Molly was on their career. So why not use her brilliant wrestling mind to help today's crop of talent?
3 Surprising – Salina De La Renta
MLW is just a small promotion running out of Orlando. They’re owned by former WWE writer Court Bauer, who sat under the learning tree of Gary Hart. Hart was one of the great managers of all time having worked primarily in World Class and Crockett.
Court is no doubt imparting some of Hart’s managerial style to MLW’s current great promoter, Salina De La Renta. She currently promotes the MLW Champion, Low Ki, and has the Latin flare to stir up any crowd. An easy way to bring her in would be to have her feud with Zelina Vega and Andrade Almas with a client of her own.
2 Surprising – Scarlett Bordeaux
While the company has moved far, far away from the ridiculous pin-up era nonsense, that doesn’t mean that the current crop of female Superstars can’t be beautiful, does it? Scarlett Bordeaux is currently entertaining Impact fans, but with her unique look and moveset, she’s clearly WWE-bound if she ever wants to be.
If Vince still wants his Eva Marie type of character, he need not look any further than Bordeaux. But for wrestling fans, don’t start groaning just yet. Scarlett is a pretty decent hand in the ring with several submission holds to put the hurt on her opponents. She can go in the ring.
1 Too Obvious – Mercedes Martinez
There might be some people who think that at 37 years old, the Women’s Evolution has passed Mercedes Martinez by. Those people are being silly. The current champions of both genders are all right around that mark, and several have worked with Martinez over the years.
As she has shown in the past two Mae Young Classics, as well as promotions like Shine and Shimmer, Martinez is one of the best performers not yet signed, and probably the best female in the world who currently isn’t contracted. Perhaps the big prize of this year’s tournament will be a contract with her name on it.