Journalists such as Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online website have, in the past, discussed what World Wrestling Entertainment have wanted in potential WWE Divas. Athleticism was, of course, an important trait to be had by the female in question. The company does not want female performers suffering serious injuries or hurting other divas inside of the ring. It was also necessary that the women were seen as attractive by those running WWE. Sex sells, and the hope was that viewers would tune in to watch these women who had great looks even if those Divas were not necessarily the best female wrestlers out there.
Some fans may see it as an insult to suggest that certain Divas “definitely” did not get hired for their looks. That is not always the case. With NXT now serving as the company’s on-air developmental brand that, intentionally or not, competes with independent organizations such as Ring of Honor, the WWE has put an emphasis on hiring wrestlers who already have at least some in-ring talent. That is just one reason why there are pockets of fans who prefer watching NXT shows that are presented on the WWE Network instead of what is presented on weekly editions of Raw and SmackDown.
The truth of the matter is that at least some of the Divas who are featured in this piece would probably feel pride in knowing that they did not get hired just for their looks. That includes a woman who was unlike any other Diva of her time, a truly “Awesome” in-ring presence. Then, there are the WWE Divas who have come from impressive wrestling families. The woman who is, as of the posting of this piece, the WWE Divas Champion and also one of the key players of what has been called the “Divas Revolution” shares the last name of one of the greatest performers in the history of North American pro wrestling. Woo!
10. Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong, who went by Kharma during her brief run in the WWE, definitely did not look like a Diva. She didn’t need to in order to get over with fans. Kong’s impressive size, power and her ability to work entertaining matches with different opponents made her stand out among performers who could not truly be considered to be her peers. Her initial run in the WWE did not work out, and Kong’s return to the company at the 2012 edition of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view did not lead to her remaining with the organization. Here is hoping that Kong and the WWE will one day be reunited.
Jazz already had experience working in Extreme Championship Wrestling – where she proved that she could hang with male performers inside of the ring – when the WWE came calling. She may not have had had the typical look that was associated with other Divas at the time, but Jazz showed time and time again that she could go inside of the ring. One of the highlights of Jazz’s time in the WWE, per an interview that she did with Gerweck.com back in 2005 (h/t LethalWow.com), was the WrestleMania X8 encounter that she had against Diva legends Lita and Trish Stratus.
8. Bull Nakano
The pro wrestling industry was a lot different in the early 1990s than it is today. Babyface characters were meant to have, well, “baby faces,” while heels were often intended to look intimidating and even scary. Bull Nakano was meant to be a stereotypical “evil” Japanese character who feuded with supposed American heroes such as Alundra Blayze, and Nakano even painted her face to make her look frightening. Nakano has been in wrestling headlines over the past couple of years because of the fact that she has gotten into fantastic shape since leaving the business. She reunited with former rival Blayze in September of 2015.
Long before her public downfall and well before she was one of the key figures of the second edition of D-Generation-X, Chyna was meant to stand out from other common WWE Divas. The gimmick was that Chyna was an enforcer and a bodyguard who could do more than just be a valet for male wrestlers. She eventually branched out from that role, and Chyna went on to feud with male wrestlers. Chyna even held the WWE Intercontinental Championship for a time. Do not expect to see her on WWE television anytime soon, though, as career choices that she has made outside of wrestling have made her an invisible figure among some within the company.
6. Beth Phoenix
Phoenix is one of several of the women spotlighted in this piece who would probably be offended if somebody suggested that she was hired for her looks. In fact, part of her character during one of her runs in the WWE was that she was the “Glamazon,” a woman who was not a typical WWE Diva. Phoenix was, instead, a dominant heel, one who did not need to be shown as a supermodel to receive reactions from fans. Her departure from the WWE came in 2012, when she, per her own words that she released via Twitter, “decided that it was time to come home and put family first.”
Anybody who has followed the career of Asuka, known as Kana before she linked up with the WWE, knows that she definitely was not signed for her looks. It has, in fact, been pushed on multiple editions of NXT programming that Asuka is the best overall wrestler, male or female, to ever work in NXT. That she is on NXT and not the main WWE roster is both a blessing and a curse. While it would be nice for Asuka if she was making more money working on shows such as Raw and SmackDown, fans at least know that her character should be protected and treated properly while she is a part of NXT.
What you think of how Tamina looks or does not look has little to do with why she is a member of the WWE roster. Along with being a trained in-ring worker, Tamina also happens to be the daughter of WWE Hall of Fame member Jimmy Snuka. The man formerly known as “Superfly” was in the news in the fall of 2015 when it was learned that he would be going to trial over a case that has been ongoing for decades. The hope is that Tamina, who is a member of the group “Team B.A.D.,” will not at all be impacted by the matter. Weirder things have happened in the WWE.
There is an argument to be made that Natalya could be the most under-utilized female performer in all of the WWE. The member of the famous Hart wrestling family does not need to rely on just looks to get by as a wrestler, even though she is a beautiful woman. Her role in the “Divas Revolution” has been unclear, which is odd because she played a part in the original revolution that occurred on NXT shows. Whether it be on the main WWE roster or in NXT, Natalya should have more of a role within the company. She is too talented to be a forgotten act.
There is little question that Paige was not hired just for her looks, or because she may one day be a star on the show Total Divas. Paige was exposed to the wrestling industry at a young age. How young, you ask? She was, per an interview that she did for WWE.com in May 2014, only 13 years old when she made her debut as a pro wrestler. Paige’s looks certainly do not hold her back as a WWE Diva, but she is on the roster because she has earned it via her work inside of the ring. If only the WWE could pin down what to do with her character. Heel. Babyface. Somewhere in the middle. Pick something for her, WWE.
In a perfect situation, Charlotte would have just one response if you were to say to her that she was hired for her looks: “WOOOOO!” The daughter of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair had other career goals in mind, such as being a personal trainer, before she was signed by the WWE. It turns out, to the surprise of nobody who watched her famous father, that Charlotte is somewhat of a natural for the wrestling business. Along with being a solid in-ring worker, Charlotte has shown that she can play either a heel or babyface role. Logic would suggest that she should spend some time as the “dirtiest player” of the Divas Revolution.