Playboy was an awesome magazine. The articles were amazing. Who are we kidding, we flipped immediately to the back page to see which celebrity would be posing without clothing next month and then worked our way backward, sometimes getting an A-lister and sometimes having no idea who filled their “celebrity” criteria for the month. Unlike most of the other magazines on the top shelf or behind the cashier, Playboy was an acceptable read and usually people wouldn’t freak out if you had a copy in the open.
Playboy hasn’t gone anywhere, it just doesn’t feature the naked ladies it once did. The Internet is filling that need and print publishing is slowly going the way of the home telephone or the encyclopedia. Maybe it’s a smart business model, they don’t ask us our opinion or invite us to meetings. Hopefully they’re doing great. We just miss the old-school version.
During the Attitude Era, WWE and Playboy had a working agreement where one of the divas would pose every year, usually in February or March just before WrestleMania. For men who always wanted their females wrestlers to show a little more skin, it was certainly a belated Christmas present. But, during that run, there were a lot of WWE Divas who didn’t pose, either because they passed up the offer or weren’t asked. Once returning to PG rated programming, the collaboration stopped. These days, a WWE female wrestler would never be allowed to pose, nor do they seem to have the same kind of “talent” that existed in the past. This doesn’t even take into account the fact we wouldn’t see nearly as much as years past now that the anti-nudity rule is in place at Playboy.
So, let’s take a look back at some of our favorites who slipped through the cracks and some of the would-be contenders now competing as we present The 15 WWE Women Who Should Have Done Playboy.
15 Lillian Garcia
She’s one of the only women who could bridge both eras of women in the WWE and the one we probably know the least about in this list as well. Aside from getting involved in one storyline lasting only a couple of weeks, Lillian Garcia was there to be the hot ring announcer and sing America The Beautiful at the beginning of the shows. Next to Vince McMahon and John Cena she was probably the one person you could count on to be at every show and was the most constant face in the WWE. We also loved her because she wore short, short skirts and had the most amazing set of legs seen on Monday Night Raw (except for the Stacy Keibler years). Garcia recently retired and we’re already missing this beautiful woman. If only we had an old issue of Playboy to remind us of what once was.
14 Alexa Bliss
This cosplay queen is likely an aesthetic favorite with many current WWE fans who find this pint-sized beauty with the gnarly attitude irresistible. She’s one of the new crop of WWE wrestlers who didn’t go through the indie wrestling scene, so we can’t see photos of her transformation into a WWE wrestler and since Playboy is gone, we’ll likely never see certain things we may want. However, she joined the WWE as a fitness model, so there are some very scantily clad photos of a more-muscular and younger Bliss out there. It’s as good as you’re ever going to get when it comes to seeing this woman in the buff.
This could have happened and if it were up to Victoria, it would have. She was vocal about wanting to pose when divas like Chyna, Sable and Torrie Wilson were all getting multiple covers. This raven-haired hottie had everything going for her in the looks and physique department for Playboy. If they’d let mannish-shaped Chyna pose, they’d let anybody. If Victoria would have had the chance to appear in the magazine, she would have easily been the best wrestler to ever appear and she was only one of a handful of talented female grapplers at the time. She still looks amazing for her age, but the era of her letting us see what’s going on under those clothes has sadly passed us by.
Leah Van Dale, the real life Carmella, would have been a natural to pose in Playboy had she come along 20 years earlier. Van Dale was a cheerleader for the New England Patriots and briefly a Laker Girl who is also one hell of a dancer. She knows how to play her character for maximum sexy points while not taking it completely over the top to the point it becomes silly. She’s one of those women whose look fits in with the WWE divas of the Attitude Era and the straight-ahead female wrestlers of today. Alas, we will probably never see her in the buff, unlike her real-life boyfriend, Big Cass. They’ve been dating for quite a while and those who never caught her in NXT don’t realize she was actually part of the act with Enzo and Cass. How he landed her, we’ll never understand. The truth is, you can’t teach that.
11 Renee Young
For the past several years, Renee Young has been the best interviewer since Mean Gene Okerlund. She’s able to convincingly act the part of interested reporter, challenging wrestlers with tough questions, yet not ruining the illusion of reality. Her personality has really come out since the WWE Network began, first with her show Unfiltered and now with post-Smackdown show Talking Smack. If you haven’t checked either out, do so and you’ll fall in love with Renee. Somebody in her position wouldn’t have been asked to pose for Playboy back in the day, but now that she is showing up on projects like Total Divas and her real-life relationship with Dean Ambrose is being worked into storylines, she could have been a possibility. Sometimes, the timing of things just makes you realize the universe is working against you.
After leaving WWE, Sunny (Tammy Sytch), largely credited as the first WWE diva of the Attitude Era, has nothing but a mess of a life, leading up to recently signing a multi-movie deal with a major adult film producer. This comes on the heels of her doing one-on-one adult Skype sessions for a price and appearing without clothing on a website created by Missy Hyatt. That’s a lot of getting naked, yet she turned down an offer to be the first WWE woman to ever appear on the cover of Playboy. She probably thought it was a bad career move since it looked like her star would never fall, but she probably would have made more money with that gig than she did on all of the others combined. Of course, with the way things turned out, we know she wouldn’t have had a cent left today.
9 The Funkadactyls
Naomi and Cameron burst onto the scene as the cheerleading/dance squad accompanying Brodus Clay to the ring quite a few years ago. Clay, who looks about three creatures to the right on the evolutionary chart, took away too much of the attention of these beauties who may have had the best bodies in the WWE at the time. When Clay was released both tried their hand at wrestling, but Cameron was a miserable failure who couldn’t even be entertaining on Total Divas. Naomi, though never having captured the title, has been one of the most consistent performers in the women’s division for several years. One of the WWE issues of Playboy featured both Sable and Torrie Wilson posing together, a couple years after having individual issues, so we know there was no problem getting more than one woman in there. This is one of those that really stings.
8 Stacy Keibler
Here’s one woman who probably should have gone on to a Rock-like career post-WWE but opted to become one of George Clooney’s girlfriend-of-the-moments and pretty much was put into that box moving forward. We could always tell Keibler was bound for bigger things beyond WWE and with her unwillingness to show as much skin of many of the divas of her time, it was clear she wasn’t going to appear in Playboy even before they dropped their R rating. Her highest profile project post-WWE was appearing on one of the seasons of Dancing With the Stars where she was labeled “Wrestler” which probably didn’t help her career. It’s too bad she didn’t go onto a bigger career in movies. Maybe she would have done a scene with some skin. As is stands now, she’ll probably just remain in obscurity, and our memories, forever.
7 Becky Lynch
She’ll be forever remembered as the first SmackDown Live women’s champion, that is if we manage to remember that kind of stuff in the long run. Do you really remember who were the last two WWE Women’s title holders prior to the diva years? We don’t either. Becky looked good coming up through the indies, both in Europe and in America, but her beauty really blossomed once the WWE stylists got hold of her when she entered NXT. She does come off a bit tomboyish, but those are sometimes the sexiest women of all. Who’s to say if she would have found an offer from Playboy to be flattering or a slap in the face to feminism. We’d like to think it was the former and she would have seen it as empowering, but it really doesn’t matter now.
Call her Emma or Emmalina; until recently she has flown under the radar of WWE fans when it comes to being one of the sexiest women to come along in a long while. We think it’s probably because WWE gave her that stupid, goofy dance in her NXT days and then immediately put her in a puppy-love storyline that never saw her wrestle alongside Santino Marella when she first made it up to the main roster. It was an unsuccessful transition and she went back to NXT to work on a heel version of herself. It debuted with some success back on the main roster in early 2016, but injury forced her out. They’re a bit more casual when it comes to parading around topless in Australia, where this beauty is from, so maybe she would have liked the idea of appearing in Playboy. It’s too bad she’ll never get to consider it now.
There was a small oasis of female wrestling talent during the Attitude Era with Trish Stratus and Lita standing side-by-side at the top of it. That’s not to say neither were forced into the lingerie matches people like Sable and Marlena participated in, but they could also tear it up in a legitimate match as well. You had the stereotypical blonde-haired big-busted beauty in Trish and the tattooed rocker-chick character with Lita, and back in the day, you were either a Trish person or a Lita person. She actually went further than most of the divas at the time when it came to skin on TV when she accidentally bared her breasts during a segment in the middle of the ring with Edge. We never complained. We wouldn’t have complained if a Playboy appearance would have happened around that same time, too. We would have actually cheered.
4 Liv Morgan
For those who don’t recognize the name, learn it, because we have a feeling she’ll be standing on a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony stage in 15 years. For those who find Alexa Bliss to be a little too much of a pint-sized sassy character, we offer Liv Morgan, the adult-sized version who seems to have more of a Becky Lynch or Lita attitude when it comes to her character. She’s still in NXT and likely will be in the foreseeable future, but she has all the physical gifts Vince McMahon likes in his female talent. She also has the thumbs up from Triple H, who will be making the calls once Vince is put out to pasture. Keep an eye on this woman because the sky's the limit for her. Of course, just beyond the sky is Playboy, which will never happen.
3 Trish Stratus
It was hard for us to figure out who the bronze, silver and gold medalists would be in this list and we don’t think you can go wrong with any of the top women, especially Trish Stratus, who reminded us pretty women could learn how to wrestle, become very good at it, still look great, and end up in the WWE Hall of Fame. Rumors suggest she was offered Playboy on more than one occasion, but turned it down on moral grounds. It’s an interesting stance since one of the first things she did when joining the then-WWF was to appear in one of the company’s Divas in Paradise videos. In this particular one, she wore nothing but a white T-shirt and doused it with water from a hose. It wasn’t quite Playboy, but it was better than nothing. When it comes to Trish, we’ll take what we can get.
2 The Bellas Twins
Had they come around during the Attitude Era, had they not been in relationships with two of the most powerful men within the company, had they not been part of a reality television show and had Playboy have asked, we have a suspicion The Bella Twins would have made more than one cover of Playboy back in the day. Thankfully for us, both have had wardrobe slips over the years, so we have some idea what we would have seen, but it’s just not the same. They were discovered during one of the divas searches just as the WWE was pulling out of the Attitude Era, so unfortunately, we were never treated to the many bra-and-panties matches that came just before them. Sometimes timing just doesn’t work out in our favor. The Bella Twins missing Playboy is one of the biggest travesties in the history of the world.
Lana is a fascinating study in how the WWE handle certain women in today’s day and age. Twenty years ago we know she would have been asked, and likely would have accepted an offer to appear in Playboy. Why do we think this? First, she appeared in a topless scene in the Showtime original series Banshee prior to arriving in WWE. She also posed for a photographer several years earlier in various states of undress, so being without her clothes certainly doesn't seem to be an issue. While people like Bayley and Sasha Banks are treated seriously these days, Lana prances around in half tops and short skirts with the nickname “The Ravishing Russian” and almost never gets involved physically. We don’t know her career trajectory, but we know the timing didn’t work out for her to be in WWE at a time where she might have become a mainstream media star. There’s nothing wrong with where she is now, it’s just a situation of too little, too late.