World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1980 by Vince and Linda McMahon and has grown to be a multimillion dollar company. The WWE also refers to the professional wrestling promotion itself which now holds approximately 320 televised events worldwide, every year. WWE events are not considered legitimate sporting contests, because they are choreographed and scripted, with character driven story lines.
Some of the biggest WWE performers have included Shawn Michaels, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, John Cena, The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Booker T. A career in professional wrestling has led some people to become huge celebrities after they are able to transfer over to film and TV.
The performers of the WWE are clearly in extremely good shape, and they work hard to get to the top of their game. Although every one of their wins and losses is planned before hand, they are still talented athletes who have to learn how to complete stunts in the safest way possible, while maintaining the authenticity of every performance.
Men aren't the only ones who have contributed to the massive growth and popularity of the organization. The women of the WWE are just as important, and for more than just holding up a sign to signal what round it is. Over the years, the following women of the WWE have made a name for themselves and added to the diversity, and profitability of the organization. Here are 12 of the most influential women in the Diva Division of the WWE.
12 Torrie Wilson
Lisa Moretti, aka Ivory, started off in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion in the 80's, and didn't become prominent in the WWE until 1999. She won two Women's Championships playing a villain, but didn't like the way women in wrestling were portrayed as "hoes" and always had to wear skimpy clothing. In 2000, she joined a conservative group of wrestlers called "Right to Censor" who wanted to move away from the extreme sexual nature of women's wrestling, and show that women can be just as athletic as male wrestlers. Ivory won her third Women's Championship title in 2000.
10 Trish Stratus
Canadian fitness model, and professional wrestler, Trish Stratus is probably one of the biggest female names in WWE history. Early in her career, she was involved in sexually themed story lines, such as managing the team T & A and an affair with Vince McMahon. The more time she spent in the ring, the more her skills, and popularity grew. She was made a one-time WWE Hardcore Champion, three-time "WWE Babe of the Year" and was proclaimed "Diva of the Decade". She won seven Women's Championship titles, the most in history, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
Joan Marie Laurer, known by the stage name of Chyna joined the WWE in 1997 and was billed as "The Ninth Wonder of the World". She became the first woman ever to hold the WWF Intercontinental Championship title, and also was the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring events. She has also appeared in Playboy twice, and participated in a season of The Surreal Life, and Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. She has also made various TV and film appearances and is one of those WWE stars that was able to transfer her fame to the rest of the entertainment business.
8 Kelly Kelly
Before she was 25, Kelly Kelly committed to making a name for herself among this generation of WWE women. She was moved back and forth between the Raw and SmackDown brands and challenged for the WWE Divas Championship title unsuccessfully on several occasions before finally winning the title in 2011 against Brie Bella. Her performance even earned her a Slammy Award (the WWE's equivalent to an Academy Award) Her character was branded as an exhibitionist who enjoyed dancing and striptease.
7 Stacey Keibler
Non WWE fans might recognize Stacey Keibler as a Dancing With the Stars contestant and former girlfriend of George Clooney. But her time in the WWE earned her the nicknames"The Legs of WWE" because she was the tallest Diva at 5'11. She performed as a valet, a heel, and a manager for Test and Scott Steiner. During her time portraying character Miss Hancock she was known for her table dances, her relationship with David Flair, and a pregnancy angle. Since leaving the WWE, Keibler has appeared in plenty of TV shows, including How I Met Your Mother, and has also modeled for Maxim and Stuff magazines.
6 Luna Vachon
Luna Vachon is not your typical WWE Diva. She once said "in a world full of butterflies, it takes guts to be a caterpillar." Her godfather was Andre the Giant, and although he and the rest of her family tried to dissuade her from taking up wrestling, she refused to listen. She had a long career in professional wrestling, and although she never won a championship titles, she was part of many high profile feuds and mentored eventual WWE Women's Champion, Bull Nakano. Vachon died of an overdose in 2010 at the age of 48.
Rene Greek, or Sable, was one of the first WWE Divas and became the second WWF Women's Champion after the title was reinstated. She quit the WWF in 1999 and filed a lawsuit for $110 million citing sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions. The lawsuit was settled out of court, and she returned to the WWE in 2003 reprising her villainess role as Sable. She feuded with Torrie Wilson and Stephanie McMahon, and played Vince McMahon's mistress before leaving the organization again in 2004. She is now married to wrestler, Brock Lesnar.
4 Miss Elizabeth
Miss Elizabeth's primary purpose was to be the love interest, and eventual wife of Randy "Macho Man" Savage. She played a central role in WrestleMania IV and V, and was seen as a glamorous, classic beauty that sparked feuds between male wrestlers. She and Savage married in 1991 during SummerSlam, (although they were officially married in 1984) and their romance was seen as one of the most human parts of the WWE and its various story lines. Miss Elizabeth made an impact because of her dedication to her husband, and her eagerness to always run to his side during conflict. She may not have been a big wrestler, but everyone enjoys a good love story, and she was part of the WWE's most iconic pair.
3 Alundra Blayze
Formerly known as Madusa, Alundra Blayze was the one to beat when the Women's division was revived in 1993. She won the Women's Championship on three separate occasions, beating out some of the biggest competitors in the industry. She was also the first woman to be awarded Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Rookie of the Year in 1988 and won the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship. She helped train performers such as Torrie Wilson and Stacey Keibler before leaving the WWE in 2001. She left the industry because she did not like that women's wrestling seemed to have become more about lingerie matches instead of real wrestling.
2 Mae Young
Also known as "The Queen", Mae Young is considered one of the first women of wrestling. She started her career in 1939, and performed throughout World War II, making a name for the sport and herself. Young made her WWE debut in 1999 at the age of 74 alongside fellow veteran, The Fabulous Moolah. She had a story arc that included a relationship with Mark Henry and a supposed pregnancy at the age of 77. She is part of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and the WWE Hall of Fame and is the only wrestler to remain active over seven decades. She was awarded an honorary Divas Championship belt in 2013 for her 90th birthday, and she passed away later that year.
1 Stephanie McMahon
Not only is Stephanie McMahon the daughter of WWE founder, Vince McMahon, but she is married to veteran Triple H. She appears sporadically, and has held the WWF Women's Championship once. She and Triple H formed the power group "The Authority" which they lead as company executives who make decisions that are "best for business". They also spend a lot of time showering each other in public displays of affection, and bullying other wrestlers to agree with their ideologies.