Thanks largely to a concerted effort by certain executives within the WWE Universe, at long last, it looks like women’s professional wrestling is finally going to be respected in America on a level close to the men’s version. That said another, higher ranking executive in that very same company ensures there will also always be a handful of ladies hired solely for the way they look, with wrestling ability coming as an afterthought. Hopefully, a little bit of time in NXT will fix this problem, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
For every great female genuinely changing the business today, there’s another wannabe actress/model taking up space in the ring that could be better utilized on someone else. The women’s roster is now expanding faster than ever, and it’s inevitable that not all newcomers will be entering at the same skill level. However, far too many of them just aren’t any good at all, with the only people entertained by their work paying no attention to wrestling, too busy distracted staring at their bodies.
The good news is that WWE bookers are aware which women are actually good at their jobs and who just got hired to be a jobber with eye candy. Women might still get hired for their appearance alone, but it’s pretty hard to win championships without backing it up in the ring. Therefore, it’s easy to look at a woman’s resume and take a good guess whether or not she really earned her job, but if you don’t have time to do the research yourself, keep reading to learn about 10 WWE Divas who were only hired for their looks, and 10 who actually know how to wrestle.
20 Liv Morgan Is Just Another Brutal Blonde
Still early into her career, Liv Morgan still has time to make her way to the other half of the list. Roughly four years into her career, though, it doesn’t look very likely she’ll be making the jump any time soon. Throughout her long tenure in NXT, Morgan had trouble standing out as anything more than the umpteenth attractive blonde on the roster. All she did to differentiate herself was wear a hat, and even that wasn’t particularly original, since fellow New England native Carmella beat her to the punch by about a year.
Even as better wrestlers were called up to the main roster, Morgan couldn’t rise up the ranks at all, making it confusing that she herself wound up on SmackDown in late 2017.
Not that the promotion has helped her out, as she’s been stuck in the shadows of Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan in the Riott Squad, standing on the sidelines while the others do all the real wrestling.
19 Kairi Sane Is Already A Classic Talent
Even before she signed with the WWE Universe, wrestling journalists were describing Kairi Sane as one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the world. With all that much hype behind her, it was almost easy to predict she would win the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament and instantly stand out as a top talent in NXT when she made her official debut. Truth be told, things could be going a little bit better for Sane, as the momentum she received through winning the tournament hasn’t really gone anywhere yet.
Of course, having already proved herself many times over in Japan, she’d wind up on this half of this list no matter what she accomplishes in WWE.
Also, it’s worth noting she’s been with the company less than a full year, so there’s still plenty of time for Sane to tap into her full potential, either in NXT or on the main roster.
18 Mandy Rose Is Absolved For Her Lack Of Wrestling Skill
One of the dead giveaways that WWE may not have considered a woman’s wrestling talent when offering them a contract is how quickly she makes her first appearance on Total Divas. With that in mind, the fact “Golden Goddess” Mandy Rose was playing a major role on Total Divas before she even debuted on Raw or SmackDown Live really says it all. It’s also telling WWE decided to call her up to the main roster despite the fact she didn’t wrestle in a single noteworthy match during her entire year at NXT.
The way Rose debuted won’t be doing her any favors either, as she immediately looked like the weakest member of Absolution inside the ring, merely there as the token blonde to brighten the darker Paige and Sonya Deville.
Since Paige has been injured, it’s only gotten worse, as neither Rose nor Deville are good enough without her to remain relevant.
17 Ruby Riott Is Leading The Charge
Such is the nature of the modern day women’s division that it apparently takes a few months or even a year before any newcomer really stands on her own two feet. For this reason, Ruby Riott isn’t doing as well in WWE as she probably should be, but it’s not for a lack of wrestling talent. Unlike the other members of her Riott Squad, who both remain green and inexperienced, Riott has a solid foundation on the independent scene that proved she knew how to wrestle well before signing with the McMahon family.
Previously using the name Heidi Lovelace, the Punk Rock Princess found great success in Shimmer, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Chikara, making history in the final example by becoming the only female to win the Young Lion’s Cup.
That background suggests Riott could even go toe-to-toe with men under the right circumstance, not that WWE will ever let her. Hopefully, they’ll at least let her show her stuff against the women sometime soon.
16 Dana Brooke Will Never Truly Be Worldwide
When Dana Brooke was first called up to the main roster from NXT, many fans were left scratching their heads trying to figure out why she was chosen. Within weeks, it appeared WWE was giving fans the answer, in that she was a well built blonde with the vaguest resemblance to Charlotte Flair, and therefore could stand as a second to the WWE Women’s Champion. That’s pretty much all she did for months, with reviews universally tending towards the negative whenever Brooke had to stand on her own without Charlotte.
Their alliance permanently ended some time ago, and Brooke has predictably meandered without anything to do ever since.
Recently, she’s teamed up with the Titus O’Neil and Apollo, taking her out of the ring and essentially accepting her role as mere eye candy. She still steps in the ring now and again, but like everyone else under the Titus Brand, it’s pretty much official she’s a jobber at best.
15 Nikki Cross Is Brilliantly Mad
Insane like a fox, Nikki Cross would already be separating herself from the weaker half of the female WWE roster with her next level character work on exhibit each time she hits the ring in NXT. It also just so happens that she’s one of the most underrated female wrestlers in the world today, although the company isn’t giving her that many chances to show it.
Unfortunately, a downside of Cross being the female representative of SAnitY is that she’s always embroiled in the storylines of her male partners, leaving little time for her to feud for the NXT Women’s Championship on her own.
Cross still does get to show off in the occasion match, though, showing that she’s also an incredible talent in the ring who is bound to shine when she branches away from her team. She has also more than proved herself on the independent scene as a standout in every British promotion she spent time in.
14 Carmella Is The Exact Opposite Of Money In The Bank
Nothing better elaborates just how little value Carmella has a performer than the fact she’s held the Money in the Bank contract for almost an entire year. No one really understood why she won it in the first place, and the fact she never took it upon herself to cash in reveals why that was. Carmella simply doesn’t have “it” as a performer, and that goes for both charisma and wrestling talent. The Princess of Staten Island did fine for herself as the valet to Enzo and Cass, back when she was literally just eye candy as their silent valet.
Now that she needs to stand on her own, fans are quickly realizing how weak she is, even as WWE tries to push her.
The subsequent act with James Ellsworth was funny enough, but now that he’s gone, too, Carmella doesn’t have any value as a performer outside of that darned briefcase, and if she’s not going to use it, she doesn’t have anything.
13 Bayley Is Better Than WWE Treats Her
Despite having all the potential in the world, it unfortunately looks like Bayley is going to become the textbook example of how being on this half of the list hardly means a woman is going to success in the sports entertainment business. Although she’s a former NXT and Raw Women’s Champion credited as one of the wrestlers to kick start the women’s revolution, Everyone’s Favorite Hugger went on a notable and immediate downslide when she was called up to the main roster.
Bayley’s unshakeable optimism and positive messages made her a massive star on a minor scale, but Vince McMahon apparently didn’t get the character at all, turning her into a scared, vindictive little girl after expanding her spotlight.
This is truly a shame, as there’s no doubt Bayley could still deliver in the ring under the right scenario, but it looks like the company won’t be utilizing her skills properly again any time soon.
12 Naomi Is All Glow, No Substance
Try as WWE might to hide it, there’s no way to make fans forget that two time SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi made her debut as a dancing fool in support of Brodus Clay.
Quite frankly, being one half of the Funkadactyls was about where Naomi’s talent ceiling meant she belonged, but for whatever reason, she’s been gradually floating up the card ever since that alliance went their separate ways.
Because Naomi certainly didn’t get her push based on any wrestling talent, one has to assume it was earned through her starring role on Total Divas. Her marriage to Jimmy Uso surely doesn’t hurt, either, with anyone even tangentially connected to the Anoa’i family destined to achieve great wrestling fame regardless of their skills in the ring. On top of it all, Naomi’s unique look amongst other women in the company allows the male audience to feel the glow of variety each time she takes the spotlight, which is really the only positive about her work.
11 Ember Moon Eclipses The NXT Roster
As the last big challenger and heir apparent to Asuka after the Empress of Tomorrow was called up from NXT to the main roster, Ember Moon had some of the biggest shoes to fill in wrestling history. On the plus side, there were still a few other great female wrestlers in the developmental brand to help her out, but as the new face of the division, Moon needed to quickly assert herself as a worthy champion who could have decent to good matches with any challenger.
Luckily, she was able to deliver and then some, valiantly holding on to the title for five months and always defending it with excellent performances.
Even in Moon’s recent loss to Shayna Baszler, she looked like a star, and one that will most likely only continue to shine when she’s called up to the main roster herself. Of course, any wrestler able to fly off the top rope with a Stunner like she does with her Eclipse clearly has potential.
10 Lana Should Stick To Celebrating Rusev Day
In all fairness to Lana, for the vast majority of her career thus far, the fact she isn’t all that great at the whole wrestling thing hasn’t really been an issue. While she has always harbored at least a mild interest in stepping in the ring herself, the Ravishing Russian has largely refined herself to a role as the manager to her real life husband, Rusev.
In this capacity, it was perfectly fine for Lana to have limited ring skills, and her presence on the microphone was strong enough she was definitely more than mere eye candy.
For whatever reason, though, WWE seems to be making an active effort at stripping away everything that once made Lana great and forcing her to stand on talents she simply doesn’t posses. Rather than continue supporting her man as he rises up the card, Lana is being forced to clumsily dance and wrestle weak matches, ruining all the character work she’d built up over the past few years.
9 Shayna Baszler Might Be Better Than Rousey
Forget about Ronda Rousey — the WWE Universe already has a destructive former UFC superstar in current NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. Granted, the Submission Magician doesn’t have quite the star power as “Rowdy” Ronda, but she might have even greater potential as a wrestler given her incredible performances in the developmental league thus far. Baszler already looked like a star when she became the runner-up to the Mae Young Classic tournament, showing the poise of a seasoned veteran as she viciously made her way to the finals through brute force and repeat referee stoppages.
The destruction continued as she officially debuted in NXT and quickly became the top challenger to the title she wasted no time in winning.
With this much upward mobility, the sky’s the limit for how far Baszler can go, possibly even eclipsing her old friend from the octagon. If nothing else, the two are at least poised to wrestle one heck of a match one day.
8 Alicia Fox Has Been Around For Years Without Doing Anything
For reasons that no one within WWE can sufficiently explain, Alicia Fox is bizarrely the longest tenured female wrestler currently working for the company. Despite this, she’s only held the Diva’s Championship once, and for less than 2 months, making it clear the company doesn’t exactly see her as a top-level talent. Fox doesn’t have much to work with on the microphone, either, which is why any associations she’s had with male talent like Zack Ryder or DJ Gabriel were ultimately forgettable and didn’t bring any involved parties noteworthy success.
Titles notwithstanding, Fox hasn’t been able to deliver in the ring on a memorable degree a single time throughout her entire decade with the company, and fans would likely be hard-pressed to name a significant feud or rival she’s encountered regardless of match quality.
This all points to WWE blatantly hiring Fox based on her appearance alone, because there’s really not much else there.
7 Sasha Banks Is A Genuine Boss
Given the sheer number of history making moments to her name, it could easily be argued Sasha Banks is the driving force behind the women’s wrestling revolution. She and Bayley kicked off the trend by becoming the first women to headline a NXT special event, a trend Sasha brought to the main roster alongside Charlotte Flair not long thereafter. These three women and several others have also been involved in a handful of other historic “firsts” for women in WWE, with Sasha typically playing the role of the one doing all the heavy lifting inside the ring.
There is a downside to the Boss’ vigor, as she has an unfortunate penchant for injuring herself with dangerous maneuvers, but there’s no denying this energy consistently excites and leads to some incredible matches.
The only question is how long she can keep it up before getting herself or one of her opponents seriously hurt.
6 The Iconic Duo Is Anything But Legendary
In stark contrast to the implications of their name, the Iconic Duo are so bland as performers that it only felt appropriate to double them up for this entry. Seemingly doing whatever they can to look as much like one another as possible, it almost feels like NXT is attempting to create a new Bella Twin type of tag team, only with the caveat Billie Kay and Peyton Royce aren’t actually sisters.
They are quite similar in the ring, though, which is to say that neither of them have much presence or poise when it comes to pro wrestling.
While decent on the microphone, the fact they can’t back it up between the ropes despite having double the woman power of a normal wrestler isn’t particularly promising. It says a lot that even with their powers combined they were never near the NXT Women’s Championship, with countless others guaranteed to have better matches with the champs than they ever could.
5 Charlotte Flair Makes Her Father Proud
Barely six years into her wrestling career, Charlotte Flair is already well on her way to matching if not eclipsing her legendary father “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s legacy in the sport. That may sound like a stretch to some, but it can’t be ignored that Charlotte has more or less been designated as the face of the women’s revolution, already coming near history with a staggering seven Diva’s or Women’s Championships to her name thus far.
In almost every case, Charlotte also won and lost her titles as a result of incredible matches, and even her work in between belts remained top notch every step of the way.
Call it fatherly pride, but Ric himself has already said Charlotte’s better than he ever was, and WWE is definitely treating her like the bigger star, likely keeping her at the forefront of the division for a long time to come.
4 Sonya Deville Feels Like A Cheap Knockoff of Knockouts
With no disrespect intended, it’s probably obvious that Sonya Deville doesn’t look a lot like most of the other women on this half of the list. It’s not that she isn’t attractive in her own way, but the Jersey Devil clearly isn’t the bleach blonde supermodel traditionally associated with Vince McMahon’s wildest fantasies.
There’s more than one type of desirable “look” in pro wrestling, though, and Deville has the fearsome MMA monster aura down pat.
The only problem is that she has no idea how to back it up in the ring, with her faux martial arts move set falling apart no matter how talented her opponent may be at selling it. It’s almost understandable WWE would allow this style-over-substance performer into their company given the popularity of UFC, if not for the fact they had at least two genuine former MMA stars on the roster in Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey, who both pull it off way better than Deville.
3 Alexa Bliss Improves Every Week
Had this list been written just a little over a year ago, it’s entirely possible that Alexa Bliss could have erroneously wound up on the other half. It took Little Miss Bliss a few months to truly dig into her character, but at this point, she’s one of the strongest all around talents on the female roster today. Bliss has made this clear by becoming the first wrestler to win the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships, and also the first person to win both titles more than once. From the very beginning, Bliss had an incredible knack for villainous expressions, and her microphone work was definitely above average.
The thing that’s been especially surprising to fans is how much Bliss is growing as an in-ring performer, as she’s become progressively more deserving of her Five Feet of Fury moniker with each passing match.
By the time she wins each belt a third time, which is pretty much inevitable, she may truly be the best woman on the roster.
2 Nikki Bella Is Just A Total Diva
When Nikki Bella was growing up, she always wanted to be famous. Not a wrestler, mind you, nor necessarily an actress, but the self-proclaimed “Fearless One” always wanted to have a bunch of cameras pointed at her face, and WWE definitely made that dream come true. Of course, the company did so not inside a wrestling ring, but through the reality TV series Total Divas, of which Nikki and her sister Brie have always been the primary stars.
Through this association, they’ve also become two of the highest-profile Divas in recent history. Nikki, in particular, is treated like a main-event legend relative to the rest of her division.
This makes absolutely no sense from a wrestling perspective, since her wooden performance on the mic and stiff movement in the ring suggests she actually belongs on the lowest rung of the ladder. It probably doesn’t hurt that John Cena is her fiancée as well, with rumors always claiming his backstage influence is effecting her status on the roster.
1 Asuka Entertains And Scares Her Way To History
Every hero inevitably must fall, so let’s not be too reactionary about WWE blowing Asuka’s undefeated streak against Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34. The self-proclaimed Empress of Tomorrow still has plenty of time to shine in pro wrestling, and her 914 days as an unconquerable monster already speak for themselves.
Asuka’s reputation in NXT will likely never be matched, as she held the Women’s Championship for an incredible 523 days before getting called up to the main roster undefeated.
Every match she wrestled also happened to be a classic, a trend that’s continued now that she’s one of the top stars on Raw. One little loss didn’t kill Goldberg, Mr. Perfect, or countless other destructive beasts of yesteryear, and Asuka’s top notch skills in the ring should allow her to bounce back in no time flat. Even if WWE continues to mess it up, they’ll never take away what she already accomplished.
Sources: wwe.com, wwe.com, wwe.com/classics/titlehistory/nxt
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