Throughout the years, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), originally the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), has been host to some of the most incredible women in the history of sports entertainment. For as long as fans can remember, these talented women have played a key role in professional wrestling. Originally, they were, truthfully, one-dimensional. A male wrestler having a cute woman accompany him to the ring as his valet or manager served a simple purpose: subterfuge. Having a female valet was a successful way to distract the referee and opposing wrestler, so you can cheat. Those days of one-dimensional valets are long gone. Now, these women have evolved. Termed Divas, they may still act as managers, but they also now actively participate in WWE’s female wrestling division. For years now, WWE has embraced their Divas and expanded their roles in the business, branching out into video games, magazines layouts, and film and television roles.
For those who think that these ladies pummelling and grappling each other could lead to severe injury, sure it could, and has, but these women are also some of the most highly trained female athletes in the world. They have worked for years to hone their skills. So ranking them is sure to be a daunting task. Everyone has their favorites and many have made lasting impressions on the sport long after they retired. We all remember the beautiful Miss Elizabeth, Sable, and Mickie James, but we’ve had to narrow our list down to the top 25. So who are the best in WWE history? They all might have stolen our hearts, but here we rank the top 25 WWE Divas.
Cameron Lynn, born Ariane Nicole Andrew, was a behavioral therapist for autistic children prior to launching her wrestling career. She is an accomplished model, dancer, and singer, but appears to have excelled in her current career as a WWE Diva. Using her real name, Ariane signed onto the 2011 season of the USA Network’s WWE Tough Enough, where she found herself the first competitor to be eliminated. Luckily, WWE saw her potential and signed her up for the big show. She was featured in the first four seasons of WWE’s “Total Divas,” airing on the E! Network. On top of being a promising wrestler, no one can deny that she has the looks to accompany her talent. Fans loved to see her wrestle simply to get a chance to look at her, so she deserves a spot on this list.
24 Christy Hemme
Like most of the Divas, Christy Hemme is tough enough to handle a motorcycle, as she is a big motorcycle enthusiast, but she also possesses the grace of a dancer. A former burlesque dancer, she appeared as a model gracing the pages of Maxim, Rolling Stone, and Stuff, among many others. She appeared in music videos, commercials, and was one of the Hawaiian Tropic signature spokesmodels. Most of this was before she ever signed up to try her hand at being a Diva. Her career skyrocketed once she won the 2004 WWE Diva Search. She has been a ring announcer and featured wrestler in both WWE and TNA (Total Nonstop Action), now known as Impact Wrestling. She currently works as part of Impact’s creative team, making the occasional circuit appearance.
Natalya, born Natalie Katherine Neidhart, is a member of the legendary Hart wrestling family. She’s a third-generation wrestler, the first female one at that. She trained under the auspices of her uncles Ross and Bruce Hart and is also trained in Jiu-Jitsu. She spent a few years working for the Matrats promotion, before debuting in 2003 for Stampede Wrestling. She then spent a few years wrestling in Japan and England, before becoming the inaugural Stampede Women’s Pacific Champion in June 2005, and subsequently won the SuperGirls Championship the following year. In 2007, all her hard work paid off and she signed a contract with WWE. She spent the first few years working the developmental circuit but that all changed in November 2010, when Natalya won the WWE Divas Championship. Since 2013, she’s been featured on the E! Network’s Total Divas.
Zivile Raudoniene, wrestling under the name Aksana, began a career as a bodybuilder at the age of 16. She was actually the youngest competitor, at the age of 17, in the 1999 IFBB Arnold Classic. She’s won three medals in the Bodybuilding Amateur World Championships. This Lithuanian beauty was also a fitness model before turning her sights on professional wrestling. She worked her way up through FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and appeared on the third season of WWE’s NXT, before debuting on WWE’s SmackDown in 2011. She went on to be a formidable Diva until June 2014, when WWE announced she, along with several other Divas, had been released from their contracts.
Lita, real name Amy Christine Dumas, worked briefly as a wrestler on the independent circuit and with ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), before signing with the former WWF (now WWE) in 1999. She gained her greatest fame alongside Team Xtreme, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and won the WWE Women’s Championship four times. She remained as a constant part of WWE until her retirement in 2006. She still makes the occasional ring appearance and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. This past year, in April 2017, Lita also appeared alongside Jim Ross at WrestleMania 33 as a color commentator for the Mae Young Classic. Lita isn’t taking retirement too seriously as she has formed a punk rock band called The Luchagors, releasing their debut album in September 2017.
20 Maryse Ouellet
Maryse Mizanin, née Ouellet, was a stunning French-Canadian glamour model who spent years modelling, and even won Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada 2003. She took part in the WWE Diva Search in 2006, and was hired that August spending time working in FCW, the development promotion, before being elevated to SmackDown in 2008. That year she won her first WWE Divas Championship. The following year she was drafted to Raw, winning the WWE Divas Championship a second time in February 2010, becoming the first wrestler to have won the title more than once. After taking some time off for abdominal surgery, she was released by WWE in October 2011, but returned in April 2016, as the manager of The Miz, her husband, Michael Mizanin. She was by his side when he won his three Intercontinental Championships. In November 2016, she joined the main cast in Season 6 of E! Network’s Total Divas.
Ashley Marie Massaro, known simply as Ashley was the Miss Hawaiian Tropic USA in 2002 and the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada in 2004. She’s a model who had appeared in the pages of FHM, Stuff, and Maxim. In 2005, while competing in a swimsuit contest, she met a WWE representative and learned off WWE’s 2005 Raw Diva Search. She decided to compete and beat out seven other finalists on the August 15, 2005, episode of Raw. She competed in the Raw series until an injury caused her to step back and take a less active role in the promotion. After surgery and recuperation, Ashley returned in SmackDown and then briefly Raw again before leaving WWE in 2008. In 2007, after having already appeared twice in the magazine, Ashley was featured on the cover of the April 2007 issue of the most popular men's magazine. That same year she made the cast of contestants for CBS’s Survivor: China, but was voted off after only six days.
Melina Nava Perez, known in the WWE as simply Melina, is an accomplished model having won competitions such as the Group USA Bridal Show, Group USA Fashion Show, and Ms. California Belleza Latina, and was named Miss Hawaiian Tropic Anaheim. Though she auditioned for and was accepted onto the MTV reality show WWE’s Tough Enough III in 2003, she was eliminated in the first episode. Her natural ability was immediately apparent and the trainers encouraged her to continue in her desire to become a professional wrestler. Melina proceeded to work her up through Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), one of WWE’s development circuits, and eventually made her official debut in April 2005 on SmackDown. Known for impressive flexibility and physical prowess, Melina became a three-time WWE Women’s Champion, and a two-time WWE Divas Champion. Bret Hart once called her one of the best wrestlers in the world. She left WWE in January 2011, and retired from professional wrestling entirely in 2017.
17 Candice Michelle
Candice Michelle Ehrlich, née Beckham, first auditioned for WWE in the 2004 Raw Diva Search. Though she wasn’t selected to be in the final ten, WWE did find a place for her as a “makeup artist.” As such, she competed on Raw in several Diva contests. On June 30, 2005, Candice made her official debut as a full-fledged Diva on“SmackDown. A bonafide stunner, Candice became the “Go Daddy Girl” appearing in television commercials and posed for the cover and a pictorial in the April 2006 issue of the most popular men's magazine. In 2007, she defeated Melina to win the WWE Women’s Championship, becoming the first former Diva Search contestant to win a title. She left WWE in 2009, but most WWE fans will never be able to forget her.
Tamara Lynn Sytch, better known as Sunny, was immensely popular in the 1990s with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). Some consider her to be the first Diva. Sunny was released from WWE in July 1998, and rumors abound of backstage issues with Rena Mero, known as Sable, as well as a possible addiction. She continued to wrestle under her real name for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Ring of Honor. She made a guest appearance on a 2007 episode of Raw in celebration of the show’s 15th anniversary. She also made an appearance at WrestleMania XXV on April 5, 2009, taking part in the 25-Diva battle royal for the crown of Miss WrestleMania but was eliminated by Beth Phoenix. Always a crowd favorite, Sunny was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. She gained some notoriety in 2016, when Vivid Entertainment released an adult film.
15 Summer Rae
Danielle Moinet, better known as Summer Rae, played in the Lingerie Football League with the Chicago Bliss. In 2011, she signed with WWE and worked under their developmental brand Florida Championship Wrestling, as both a ring announcer and manager. In 2012, she transitioned to being an announcer and then an in-ring wrestling for NXT, and became popular due to her rivalry with fellow NXT competitor and future Diva, Paige. She made her debut on WWE’s Raw on April 22, 2013, and continued with popular appearances on both Raw and SmackDown. She competed at WrestleMania XXX in the Vickie Guerrero Invitational Match for the Divas Championship. In 2016, though part of Raw, she never appeared due to injuries and was eventually released from her WWE contract on October 29, 2017. During her tenure with WWE, she appeared on five video games, and was part of the main cast on the reality series, Total Divas during the second and third seasons.
14 Eve Torres
Eve Torres was originally a dancer for the Southern California Summer Pro League before becoming a member of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers’ Spirit Dance Team for the 2006-2007 season. She was also a spokesmodel for the television game show, Deal or No Deal. Eve Torres Gracie, simply known as Eve, then won the 2007 Diva Search and joined the WWE. She held the Divas championship three times, of which the last time she held until January 2013. Soon after she retired but remains a WWE ambassador. She trained extensively in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and married Rener Gracie in April 2014. Today she is a spokeswoman and head instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defence program. Her WWE fanbase will still support her, especially the male audience, who could never forget how gorgeous and entrancing she was in the ring.
13 Lilian Garcia
Long before Lillian Annette Garcia joined the WWE, she already an accomplished singer and was a finalist in the Miss South Carolina beauty pageant. She had been a popular morning show host on radio station WYYS in Columbia, South Carolina, in the early 1990s, as well as a VJ on WTLK-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. She began her career with WWE in 1999, as a ring announcer. She was featured on Raw and remained with WWE for a record ten years, before leaving in September 2009. She has released multiple albums and her first single, "Shout,” actually debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October 2002. She has sung at WrestleMania 2000, WrestleMania 21, and WrestleMania XXVIII, and impressed Vince McMahon so much that he asked her to sing the national anthem every week before Raw. She rejoined WWE again shortly after leaving but announced her permanent retirement in late 2016.
12 Layla El
Layla El, whose real name is Layla Young, was a professional dancer before entering professional wrestling. She performed as a dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines, the NBA’s Miami Heat, and as background dancer for Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards. She joined the WWE as a contestant in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, which she won. She gained fame appearing onSmackDown, then on Raw, and won the WWE Women’s Championship in May 2010. She was actually the final original Women’s Champ as the title was deactivated later that year. In April 2012, she won the WWE Divas Championship. Layla announced her retirement from WWE in July 2015. She has been featured in numerous magazines, video games, a music video, and television series, including Season 6 of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp, where she appeared as a trainer.
11 Sasha Banks
As the first cousin to rapper Snoop Dogg, entertaining is in her blood. Sasha Banks, real name Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, originally signed onto WWE in 2012, through their developmental promotion NXT and was quickly their Women’s Champion. Her earned recognition with her match against Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect, on October 7, 2015, when it became the first women’s match to ever headline a major WWE event. It also ended up being the longest women’s match in WWE history, at 30 minutes! The match was named Match of the Year, by Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI), and Bank was voted their Woman of the Year. She then joined the Raw brand in 2015, ultimately becoming, so-far, their 4-time Raw Women’s Champion. She continues to be a force to be reckoned with and an absolutely amazing Diva!
Catherine Joy (CJ) Perry is most readily recognized as the tense manager of WWE superstar Alexander Rusev. But if that is all you know her as then you are sorely missing out! In 2009, she joined the girl group No Means Yes that was signed to entertainer Ne-Yo’s record label. The group released one single and recorded two others before breaking up in 2010. She also worked as a backup dancer for such artists as Nelly, Pink, Usher, and Akon. She is a trained actress, honing her abilities at the famous Groundlings School, and has appeared, outside of her wrestling persona, in numerous television shows and movies, including Pitch Perfect (2012) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015). She signed with WWE in 2013, first through their NXT promotion and then with Raw, and now SmackDown, under her ring name of Lana.
9 Alicia Fox
Victoria Elizabeth Crawford, better known under ring name of Alicia Fox, was a model prior to joining WWE in 2006. She was signed to WWE’s development territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning their Women’s Championship later that same year. She is currently the longest tenured Diva, having been on the main WWE roster since 2008 and with the company since 2006. She made her SmackDown debut on June 13, 2008. She won the WWE Divas Championship in June 2010, becoming the first and so far only African American Diva to do so. She was a main cast member for three seasons on the E! Network reality series Total Divas. The WWE Universe could never forget how stunning and adorable she is, and for this reason she has ranked this high on our list.
8 Kelly Kelly
Barbara Jean “Barbie” Blank, better known by her ring name Kelly Kelly, is an immensely popular Diva and many will probably believe we should have her ranked way closer to the #1 spot. There is no denying her star factor. She is beautiful, talented, and accomplished. With a background in gymnastics and cheerleading, she was a gifted model for Venus Swimwear and Hawaiian Tropic. In 2006, she signed onto WWE through their Ohio Valley Wrestling development territory. She became well known for her ECW segment Kelly’s Exposé, where she would perform a dance, but her real breakthrough would come later when she moved to the Raw brand in 2008. She worked her way to the top, winning the WWE Divas Championship in 2011, and retired the following year with that as a capstone to her career. She could then be seen as a cast member in three seasons of the E! Network reality series WAGS, from 2015 to 2017. She returned as a WWE Ambassador in February 2017.
7 Brie Bella
Brie Bella and her sister, Nikki, are no doubt fan favorites! These dynamic Divas are among the most captivating and exciting to have ever come along. Brie, also known as Brianna Monique Danielson, née Garcia-Colace, began her career as a model and actually made her first national television appearance on the 2002 NBC reality series Meet My Folks. The twins competed in the 2006 International Body Doubles twins search, and then took on the 2006 WWE Diva Search. They didn’t win, but WWE knew talent when they saw it. The twins were signed to development deals in 2007, and were assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling. They made their mainstream debut on August 29, 2008 on an episode of SmackDown. Brie won the WWE Divas Championship on April 11, 2011. She left WWE in 2012, and spent a year on the indie circuit before returning with her sister in March 2013. The Bella twins were featured on Raw and SmackDown. In 2016, Brie decided to take a break from wrestling but has remained a WWE ambassador.
6 Nikki Bella
Born Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace, Nikki Bella is the twin sister to the aforementioned Brie (not that you didn’t know that already). Nikki and Brie, as the Garcia twins, were the 2006 Budweiser FIFA World Cup Twins. Though one person might prefer Nikki and you might prefer Brie, there’s no questioning the fact they are two of the best Divas that WWE fans have ever seen! They are both gorgeous and have amazing physiques that people love to see in the ring. Their storylines have been some of the most popular and involved some of the biggest names in WWE. Both of the Bella twins have held the Divas title at different times, with Nikki holding it for the longest at 301 days! She won it against A.J. Lee on November 23, 2014, as Survivor Series.
5 A.J. Lee
A.J. Lee, born April Jeanette Mendez, met former Diva Lita as a child at an autograph signing and found inspiration to one day become a wrestler herself. She grew up to become one of the most dynamic and beautiful Divas ever! She began her career performing in the New Jersey independent circuit using the ring name Miss April. She joined WWE in 2009, through the developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling. She spent two years there before earning her place in the main roster and achieving Diva glory! She’s a 3-time WWE Divas Champion and was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s "Woman of the Year" three times in a row from 2012-2014. She retired after defeating the Bella Twins, with the help of Paige, at WrestleMania 31.
4 Torrie Wilson
Torrie Wilson was one of the most popular wrestlers in both World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the WWE, where she could be seen in both the Raw andSmackDown brands. She was the California roommate of close friend (and future Diva legend) Stacy Kiebler. She got her start by winning the 1999 Miss Galaxy fitness competition, and soon after signed a contract with WCW. In 2001, when the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), bought WCW, Wilson signed with them. Wilson has graced the covers of FHM, as well as numerous fitness magazines. She was a widely admired and desired woman, having even appeared on an episode of Baywatch. Wilson left WWE in 2008, but returned in 2009, for WrestleMania XXV, to complete in the Miss WrestleMania battle royal. After retiring, Wilson opened up a clothing store and focused on being a fitness instructor.
Saraya-Jade Bevis, better known now as Paige, is a wrestling legacy. She is the daughter of professional English wrestlers Patrick Bevis (also known as Ricky Knight) and Julia Hamer Bevis (billed as Sweet Saraya). Paige spent six years honing her skills in the European independent circuit, using the name Britani Knight. She won the WAW British Championship, the RDW (Real Deal Wrestling) Women’s Championship, and the RQW Women’s Championship. In 2011, Paige signed with WWE, joining their development brand, and made her main roster debut in April 2014. She became the youngest champion, at the age of 21, when, in her debut match, she won the WWE Divas Championship. She is one of the biggest stars right now in the WWE and in such a short amount of time has achieved just about every accomplishment wrestling has to offer. Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked her the top female wrestler in the world in 2014, her debut WWE year.
2 Trish Stratus
Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Trish Stratus, whose real name is Patricia Anne Stratigeas, is a world class fitness model and a WWE Diva legend. Her popularity with fans reached the stratosphere as won the WWE Hardcore Championship, named WWE Babe of the Year three times, and was named Diva of the Decade for the 2000s. After only seven short years in the WWE, Trish Stratus achieved so much and left her mark on professional wrestling. After winning her record-setting seventh WWE Women’s Championship on September 17, 2006, at WWE Unforgiven, she retired. Years later, in 2011, Stratus returned as a trainer on the reality series WWE Tough Enough. WWE and many fans consider Stratus the greatest female wrestler in WWE history. They honored her in 2013 by inducting Stratus into the WWE Hall of Fame at the age of 37, making her the youngest inductee ever.
1 Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler is undoubtedly one of the most loved WWE girls and known for her signature long legs. In fact, she’s the tallest Diva in WWE. Her awesome legs have earned the monikers “The Legs of WWE." Keibler transcended wrestling fame and has made numerous appearances on television and movies, including competing on Season 2 of the ABC series Dancing with the Stars, where she placed third. Originally a cheerleader with the NFL Baltimore Ravens football team, Keibler entered a contest in 1999 to find the next member of the WCW Nitro Girls dance team. She defeated 300 other contestants to earn her spot! She became famous for her trademark ring entrance: slowly putting her long legs through the second ropes of the ring, allowing screaming fans to be wowed. She definitely knew how to play the crowd! If that’s not enough for you, she’s also the only Diva to actually date George Clooney.
Sources: sportskeeda.com, ranker.com, wwe.com