WWE began their annual Diva Search back in 2003, although the winner that year wasn’t given a WWE contract, they decided to award the winner with $250,000 and a year-long contract with the company the following year.
The Diva Search then ran from 2004 until 2007 and was scheduled to take place in 2008 but WWE canceled it because of the low views and negative feedback that they have received the year before. The company brought back the Diva Search back in 2013 with Eva Marie and JoJo becoming joint winners of the online Diva Search and being awarded with a place in E! reality show Total Divas.
The Diva Search has been a show that has always been given negative reviews because many of the WWE Universe see it as a way of bringing in more models and beauty queens rather than trained athletes who are ready to appear in a wrestling ring. Eva Marie is a fantastic example of this, but it is something that WWE remains optimistic about.
There are currently no plans to bring back the show, but while the winners of the contest are usually the ones to get the attention, here are 15 women who didn’t win the contest, but still managed to become successful. Of course, there are also many other women who took part in the annual competition and were never heard from again.
15. Maria Kanellis
Maria tuned into Monday Night Raw back in 2004 and after seeing an advertisement for the Diva Seach, she decided to apply. Even though Maria only placed fifth in the competition, WWE still decided to sign her to a contract and she began appearing for the company.
Maria has gone on to find fame in WWE, Ring of Honor, and TNA over the past decade, she has been the First Lady of both ROH and TNA over the past few years, and has improved somewhat in the ring as well. Maria recently married fellow wrestler Mike Bennett and the duo still currently appear on Impact TV. There were rumors that Maria could be set to return to WWE last year, but due to her on-going feud with The Bella Twins, this is unlikely.
Maryse decided to audition for the 2006 Raw Diva Search off the back of many modeling jobs and even though she failed to make it to the final, she was still signed by WWE and sent to FCW to train to become a WWE superstar. Maryse’s training was very brief, but she still managed to make an impactful debut in WWE.
Maryse had a successful WWE career, becoming Divas Champion twice with one of her reigns lasting an incredible 216 days. Maryse then left the company and became a realtor in Los Angeles. Maryse returned to WWE last year to valet her husband The Miz for the first time in five years, something that she has continued over the past few months.
13. Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella along with her sister Brie participated in the 2006 Raw Diva Search but failed to make the cut to the finals. WWE still decided to sign the twin sisters and sent them to FCW to train.
Brie then made her debut on SmackDown with Nikki later revealed as her “secret” twin sister. This led to a lot of success for The Bella Twins with Nikki Bella becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion in history and becoming the face of both Total Bellas and Total Divas. It is thought that Nikki is currently the most popular female wrestler in WWE. Nikki is also currently in a relationship with 16-time WWE Champion John Cena.
12. Candice Michelle
Candice Michelle auditioned for the Raw Diva Search back in 2004 and even though she didn’t make the final 10 who then appeared live on Raw, WWE decided to hire her to the company. Candice was used in the wrong way for many years before she later became the first Diva Search contestant to win a WWE Championship.
Candice won the Women’s Championship by defeating Melina back in 2007 but only remained with the company until 2009. The former Playboy cover girl has gone on to have a family, with her first daughter being born just a year after her release, and her second and third daughters following closely afterward.
11. Kristal Marshall
Kristal Marshall auditioned for the 2005 Raw Diva Search and actually made it to fourth place before she was eliminated from the competition. Kristal was still signed to a WWE contract and then used sparsely on the SmackDown brand for a few years.
Kristal didn’t stay in WWE for long and made her way over to TNA in 2009 following her real life boyfriend Bobby Lashley. As with WWE, Kristal only stayed in TNA for a while before she was released from TNA after Bobby left to pursue MMA. Bobby and Kristal have a son and a daughter together despite breaking up in April 2010.
10. Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes entered the 2006 Diva Search and after winning the first round contest, she made it through to the final eight before she was eliminated and handed a WWE contract. Rosa has been with the company ever since but has only ever won one televised WWE Match.
She became part of Total Divas back in 2014 and announced that she was expecting her first child in 2015. Jordan Elizabeth was born in February 2016 and it was only on her daughters first birthday that Rosa decided it was time to hang up her wrestling boots for good and retired from WWE after 11 years with the company.
9. Taryn Terrell
Taryn Terrell auditioned for the 2007 Raw Diva Search and even though she made it through to the final eight, she was eliminated fourth and signed to a WWE development contract and sent to FCW.
Taryn appeared on ECW and SmackDown during her short WWE career, before she truly found her feet in TNA where she is a former Knockout’s Champion. Terrell left TNA back in 2016 stating that it was a personal decision that she wanted to make, before giving birth to her second child, a son named Rhett. Terrell gave birth to her first daughter back in 2014.
8. Lena Yada
Lena Yada auditioned for both the 2005 Diva Search and made it to the top 30 and then the 2007 Diva Search where she made it to the final eight and third overall. Lena was mostly used as a backstage interviewer for the three years she was in WWE and never really got the chance to perform in the ring.
Lena made her in-ring WWE debut in November 2008 and was released from her WWE contract a week later. Lena has since gone on to marry the lead singer of Disturbed and Device and given birth to their first child. Lena is another star who has shunned the spotlight after so many years in front of the camera so that she can settle down with her family.
7. Amy Weber
Amy Weber was part of the 2004 Diva Search and even though she didn’t win the competition, she was still given a place on the weekly show. Amy didn’t remain in WWE for long and stated that she wasn’t happy with the environment while also accusing many wrestlers of harassment before resigning in 2005.
Amy has gone on to have a successful acting and singing career since then with her final film being released in 2013 and her last song debuting back in 2011. Amy married back in 2008 and welcomed twins in 2009. She has mostly stayed off the grid since then, after a lengthy career in the spotlight.
6. Joy Giovanni
Joy Giovanni was part of WWE’s 2004 Raw Diva Search and actually finished in third place. She was signed to a contract just a few days after her elimination and made her debut on WWE TV just two months later.
Sadly she didn’t make much of an impact and was released from her contract due to budget cuts the following year. She returned to WWE as a one off at WrestleMania as part of the Divas Battle Royale, but has since been working as a chiropractor in Los Angeles and was recently recertified as a massage therapist. Joy also shockingly appears as a playable character in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006.
5. Brooke Adams
Brooke was part of the 2006 Raw Diva Search and despite failing to make the final eight, she was sent to OVW along with Maryse to observe workouts before they were given a contract to work with WWE. Brooke is a former dancer and it seems that WWE decided to take advantage of that during her short time with them.
Brooke mostly worked on the ECW roster as a part of Extreme Expose with Kelly Kelly and Diva Search winner Layla before her release in 2007. She then joined TNA where she is a former three-time Knockout’s Champion. She left TNA in 2016 to give birth to her son before she made a return to the company a few weeks ago.
4. Devin Taylor
Devin Taylor’s WWE career would definitely be a case of blink and you would miss it after she auditioned for the 2o13 Diva Search Devin was given a place in WWE and placed on their NXT brand as an interviewer. She was then left to interview many of NXT’s up and coming stars but always looked out of place with a microphone.
WWE was slowly training Devin as part of some of their NXT Live events but it seems that she wasn’t making as much progress and the company would have liked and they decided that back in November 2015 it was time to release her. Devin’s release was featured on the first season of WWE Breaking Ground. Devin has not commented on her WWE release since then, but she was released with a number of other talents, who obviously weren’t ready to make the cut.
Lana is a former actress and model and she auditioned for the 2013 Diva Search for a place on E! Reality show Total Divas, and while she didn’t win the show, she was signed to a WWE contract in June of that year and made her debut by aligning herself with Rusev.
Rusev and Lana were later promoted to the main roster and Lana was given her in-ring debut at WrestleMania 32 before being sent back down to NXT and being allowed to appear at live events whilst still learning her craft. Lana has also become one of the stars of Total Divas in the latest season and married Rusev back in 2016, their wedding shown on an episode of Total Divas.
2. Leyla Milani
Leyla appeared as part of the 2005 Raw Diva Search and after coming second, she wasn’t offered a WWE contract, instead, she began appearing in adverts for WWE as a way to promote the program.
She is currently working as an actress and TV host and has been part of shows such as Deal or No Deal, Rules of Engagement, Sleeper Cell, Entourage, and Wanted. She has also been featured in Maxim magazine. Even though Leyla wasn’t offered a contract by WWE like every other woman on this list, she still managed to maximize on the publicity that WWE gave her when she was the runner-up of the show.
1. Brie Bella
Brie and her twin sister Nikki Bella auditioned for the 2006 Diva Search and even though they didn’t make it through to the finals that aired on WWE TV, they were still offered a WWE contract.
Nikki and Brie would go on to be the two biggest female stars in the company with Brie even being a former Divas Champion. Brie became one of the faces of both Total Divas and Total Bellas and was even given the opportunity to wrestle Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam in 2014. Brie decided to walk away from the company at WrestleMania 32 so that she could concentrate on starting a family with her husband Daniel Bryan, whom she married back in 2014. Brie and Daniel announced that they were expecting their first child, a little girl in late 2016.