Women in wrestling have always endured some tough standards. In the “Golden Age,” they were treated mostly as a joke attraction despite taking hits as hard as any man. Plus the brutal truth they often had to sleep around if they wanted to get ahead. Even in the 1980s, it wasn’t much better as despite some top notch athletes, women wrestling was treated as a mess, especially the infamous GLOW organization. It picked up in the late ‘90s with the rise of the Attitude Era and women pushing themselves majorly in sexy situations. True, many were chosen simply for their looks but we also got truly amazing athletes like Trish Stratus, Lita and others to shift the talent with the beauty and make women in wrestling (whether Divas in WWE or Knockouts in TNA) stand out a lot more.
That’s also led to a lot of ladies of wrestling doffing it all. WWE had an agreement going for years with Playboy for major spreads of their stars and did great business with them. That’s faded as WWE has embraced a PG-standard although the ladies remain sexy as ever. TNA hasn’t done as much but it’s notable that several of today’s ladies have taken to the use of social media to beef themselves up. That’s a double-edged sword as it’s allowed fans to discover lots of “before they were famous” spreads these women have done. True, several big names have resisted like Trish Stratus, Lita, Victoria and others but it’s still notable how many famous wrestling women have shown it off a lot. Here are 20 of the biggest and while it’s faded a bit in recent years, you never know when a comeback is going to come.
A throwback to the days where Americans played evil Russians, C. J. Perry showed off a lot of talent as a model, dancer, singer and actress. The latter included an episode of Cinemax’s Banshee where she showed off in a hot sex scene and the fiery image she maintains. In WWE, she’s known as Lana, the cold heel aide to Rusev who then got moved to Dolph Ziggler and currently feuding with other Divas. While she’s warmed up a bit, Lana remains a knockout in every outfit she puts on and notable for making that Russian accent so appealing and one heel to love to watch.
19 Traci Brooks
The Canadian-born star first arrived in TNA in 2003 as Lollipop, dressed as a Catholic school-girl with her black hair and great build. She moved to a relationship (on and off screen) with Michael Shane in numerous feuds before managing Robert Roode in his singles run. She then moved to the Knockouts and while she never won the title, held her own with the other ladies. In 2009, Brooks did a great spread for Playboy but (showing yet again their idiocy), TNA decided against having it published so it was released online. Amazing as Brooks was gorgeous in the spread with her curvaceous body and not giving her more of a presence shows the issues of TNA even with a hot lady.
18 The Kat
Carter mainly got her job with WWF in 1999 as she was the wife of Jerry Lawler and soon pushed despite a real lack of wrestling ability. At first, she and Chyna would hang out with the Kat almost a mini-me in the same outfits and black hair. She became infamous for winning the Women’s championship at Armageddon ’99 and then doffed her top on live television. This led to her doing other stripteases in the ring that were more notable than anything she offered. She was fired in early 2001 and Lawler quit the company in protest. In a move that proves real life really is stranger, Lawler discovered Stacy was cheating on him and had to go back to WWF a bit more humble. The Kat has since bounced around the indies and still infamous for pushing the envelope of content even for the Attitude Era.
Part of the very first Diva Search, Maria Kanellis stood out with her lush red hair and hot body. She was soon winning over fans as the dim-witted backstage interviewer and while her in-ring work wasn’t anything special, she looked so great that you could forgive it. Her Playboy spread showed some truly hot sexuality and spark to keep you going and while her wrestling was still subpar, her funny interviews made up for it. In Ring of Honor, Maria remade herself into a wicked vixen in incredibly short shorts and looking amazingly hot. Now in TNA, Maria continues to show off and remind you how much heat a redhead brings to most anything, especially wrestling.
A lady of many names, Shelly Martinez has always had a body with black hair and a stunning chest that she used to display in glamour model shoots. She got attention in OVW first before being moved to ECW as Ariel, a twisted vampire type in tight black bustiers. Her ring work was mostly doing hot dances and looking nice with it but she was let go from the company soon. She moved to TNA as Salinas, working with the Latin American Exchange in tight t-shirts and jeans, some okay wrestling but mostly just a pretty face. She’s moved to indies in Mexico as Winter and no matter her name, her body is something you can never forget.
15 Kelly Kelly
Kelly began work as a glamour model known as Barbie Blank and showcasing her topless body quite a bit at beaches. This got the attention of WWE, signing her up to some training in OVW before moving her to ECW. There, she had the gimmick of an exhibitionist that got some attention while doing her best to improve in the ring. She would tone that down but still look hot as hell in her outfits, going all out for costume-themed matches and even a reign as Divas champion. Leaving after a neck injury, Kelly seems content to stay out of wrestling for now but made herself one hot lady to remember.
14 Candice Michelle
Getting attention for the famous GoDaddy commercials, Michelle was signed by WWE and looked to be your typical “eye candy” for the Divas. She, Victoria and Torrie Wilson formed a good heel trio with Candice getting attention for her dancing and hot entrance. In April 2006, she pleased fans announcing she was doing a Playboy spread and the full-bodied brunette was great in it. She soon began to improve in the ring, becoming Divas champ and doing a pretty good job but injuries would cut things short and lead to her release in 2009. Still, Candice stands as a great example of a lady improving in the ring and her nude spread actually helped boost her up nicely.
13 Christy Hemme
The very first Diva Search winner, Hemme certainly had the looks with her stunning body, nice chest and ample red hair. WWE went all out, pushing her into a feud with Trish Stratus and a Playboy spread. However, her lack of real in-ring talent was too much to overcome so while she looked amazing, she couldn’t offer much more. Cut, Christy moved to TNA, first as a manager and then some bouts, including against the Big Fat Oily Guy in one of the worst matches in TNA history. She’s finally found her groove as ring announcer to at least look great in hot dresses but showing that some ladies in wrestling are a lot better to look at than to have actually wrestle.
12 Beulah McGillicutty
Beulah began her work in Canada as the gimmick of being Brian Pillman’s “sister” in Stampede. She worked her way as a stripper and various male magazines, including a hot spread in Penthouse. Running into Raven at a party in 1995, she gave the spread to him and Raven realized she had something to bring. So Beulah was brought in as the center of the epic Raven/Tommy Dreamer feud, taking hits like a piledriver from Dreamer but eventually getting with him. She was as talented as she was hot, including the famed match where she beat Bill Alfonso to a bloody pulp. Leaving for a neck injury, Beulah returned at the One Night Stand events and remains arguably the most beautiful woman ECW has ever known and hot outside it too.
The sultry French-Canadian was a Hawaiian Tropic champion among other glamour modeling shoots that put her great body on full display. This got the attention of WWE, hiring her onto OVW first and then FCW. Her looks were great although some were critical of her wrestling but she had a good mic presence. She would show some improvement, holding the Divas title twice and helping out the likes of the Miz, Ted DiBiase and others. Released in 2011, she still is remembered for that cool arrogance to belie one hot body and Maryse one of the better Diva heels of recent times.
10 Taryn Terrell
After time in Florida, this lovely blonde was signed up to WWE and moved up to the main roster. A Playboy spread got her some attention but she was better known for her time on SmackDown that included being “General Manager” of ECW. Suspended after a backstage altercation with husband Drew McIntyre, Terrell was released and moved to TNA. After a bit of a ref, she moved to wrestling and set the record for longest Knockouts Champion. She also doffed it in movies like Get Hard and the HBO series Treme to show her curvaceous form in full. Leaving TNA recently, Taryn looks ready to continue her work as beauty and skill combined in a hot blonde package.
9 Brooke Tessmacher
Brooke Adams had some promise in OVW and ECW but WWE just didn’t seem to know what to do with her. She moved onto TNA who at first had her as a “Knockouts” commissioner before moving to wrestling, including a tag team with Tara where the two shared a quick kiss before matches. Before long, Tessmacher was breaking out majorly as a great star and multiple champion. She and boyfriend Robbie E competed on The Amazing Race and Brooke made a return to TNA afterward. She left recently after becoming pregnant but the modeling shoots she made before her fame showcasing her terrific chest are as memorable as her TNA work to a lady who grew bigger than anyone anticipated.
8 Kimberly Page
The wife of DDP, Kimberly was one of the first “Nitro Girls,” doing a nice job leading the group in their dance routines to spice up Nitro broadcasts. In 1997, she did a spread for a Playboy special that would be mocked by Randy Savage and Elizabeth and kicking off the epic feud between Savage and DDP. Kimberly remained a major face for WCW for a while, including heel turns, hot in her various outfits and no shame over her body…which shouldn’t exist anyway as she divorced Page in 2005 but remains a major way he became a star with her.
7 Gail Kim
The Toronto-born native made a big splash with WWE, winning the Women’s championship in her first match. She’d lose it and a heel turn was okay but not sensational. Moving to TNA, she became the backbone of the Knockouts division and has held the title five times as well as the Knockouts tag title. She had a brief return to WWE but moved back to TNA fast and still one of the most dependable ladies on the roster. She did some modeling work including several nude shots and showing off her lithe body but Kim remains one of the best workers today and her exotic looks even hotter out of her working clothes.
6 Mickie James
Of all the idiotic gimmicks of WWE, the “Piggy James” bit has to rank among the dumbest. After time in the indies, she moved to WWE as a baby face and then took off as the nutcase stalker to beat Trish for the title and remained a major name for a while. Talented in the ring, Mickie had the goods for costumes but the entire angle of being mocked for her weight was truly low. She proved WWE wrong by jumping to TNA, taking off nicely as their Knockouts star and a country singer as well. Before that fame, James did some softcore shoots that showed her nice body off and while she’s settled down more today, Mickie remains such a vibrant figure that fans love watching no matter what and what WWE let go.
Today, she’s sadly a punchline but when Joanie Laurer burst on the scene in 1997, she was truly impressive, a real Amazon manhandling guys easily and breaking out majorly. Usually silent, she’d do well in matches and soon getting surgery to enhance her body and her face. That led to a Playboy spread that got some raves as she was more muscular than most and looked good. However, her ego would cause friction and wasn’t happy when she learned HHH was cheating on her with Stephanie McMahon. When she went to Vince to complain, she was fired, a pretty cold move that’s led to bad blood between her and WWE since. She’s shown off a lot more (including a sex tape) but it’s a shame fans only know her today by the bad stuff rather than the really strong presence she once was.
4 Tammy Sytch
Her story is as much tragedy as it is success. As “Sunny,” she really paved the way for the modern Divas with her gorgeous looks, amazing style, hot outfits and more, taking off majorly as a downloaded lady on the Internet. Sadly, her addictions to drugs and drink would take their toll, leading to her release and some pretty rough personal times. She would try to keep in the limelight with a sex tape and a nude spread and while she looked hot, nothing like in her prime. She’s now signed up with Vivid Video and while some may be excited, it’s still a sad comedown for what was truly one of the sexiest women in the history of the business.
3 Missy Hyatt
Long before the current age of Divas, Hyatt was the sexpot queen of wrestling. She started in World Class feuding with valet Sunshine. She moved to the UWF where she and Eddie Gilbert became a great couple on and off screen. Missy had a tryout with WWF as an interviewer but it lasted just one week, she and Gilbert working in WCW and then constantly in Memphis for some hot times. Missy would manage the Nasty Boys in WCW before returning to Memphis but Gilbert’s death in 1995 majorly shook her as she would fall into drug use. She got into nasty lawsuits with WCW and ECW, clashes backstage and her attempts to keep up with nude photo shoots didn’t go over as well as expected. In her prime, Missy was as hot as any Diva of today and should be remembered much better for that than her rougher stuff with so many guys loving that amazing body.
2 Torrie Wilson
After being part of the dying days of WCW, Torrie Wilson was soon signed onto WWE and breaking out nicely as great eye candy. A Playboy spread was inevitable and was a major seller that coincided with Sable returning for a feud but then joining with Torrie in a dual spread. Torrie did have rough stuff like the infamous feud with Dawn Marie going after her “dad” Al but still never failed to shine with her amazing body and keep fans entertained to put up with most any dumb angle.
Marc Mero was a talented worker but his greatest contribution to wrestling was bringing in wife Rena as his valet, Sable. Gorgeous, blonde and stacked, she had a bit in evening gowns before starting to dress in leather and suddenly taking off. She was showing off, including the infamous “painted breasts” spot and pushing the boundaries so no surprise she’d be the first Diva to take it off for Playboy. It made her a major star but also an ego to match and soon pushed out of the company in a cloud. She made up with them in 2003 for another run, including another spread and while retired today, she set a standard so many have followed, in and out of clothes.