is a term used by the professional wrestling promotion
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to refer to
its female talent. The term is applied to women
who appear as wrestlers, managers or valets, backstage
interviewers, or ring announcers.
the first "Diva" in the WWF was Sunny,
who was the manager for various wrestlers. The
female managerial role was not a new concept in
professional wrestling. Miss Elizabeth, Sensational
Sherri and Luna Vachon preceded Sunny in the WWF,
yet she brought a sexuality to the position that
had seldom been seen in the business before.
1996 to 1997, Marlena, Sable and Chyna, joined
Sunny as prominent female on-air talent in the
promotion. Marlena was the manager of Goldust
her then real-life husband, and Sable was manager
for her then real-life husband, wrestler Marc
Mero. Sable quickly eclipsed her husband in popularity.
Her popularity lead to the re-instatement of the
WWE Women's Championship, as well as the hiring
of more female performers by the promotion. Sable
became the first WWF female to refer to herself
as a 'Diva' saying "I am the Diva of the
WWF," on the April 19 edition of RAW in 1999.
The term was coined instantly. However, unlike
Jacqueline and Luna, the more physical Divas and
experienced wrestlers at the time, Sable later
admitted that it was written in her contract that
she was not allowed to take bumps. Nicknamed "The
Ninth Wonder of the World", Chyna debuted
as the laconic bodyguard of the highly popular
stable D-Generation X in 1997, and later gained
popularity in her own right competing against
male wrestlers, even becoming the #1 Contender
to the WWE Championship at one point. She held
the WWE Intercontinental Championship three times
between 1999 and 2000.
Sable would leave the WWF after several years,
the WWF would sign many more female performers
during and after her employment with the company,
and would promote them as "Divas." In
2000, newcomer Lita would focus her attention
on the WWF Women's Championship. Lita performed
more risk taking moves than the Divas before her,
such as moonsaults and diving hurricanranas. Her
popularity encouraged a higher standard of athletic
competition within the WWF Women's Division, while
still retaining the sexual element. Lita is the
only Diva to have won the Women's Championship
in two of RAW's main events.
the same time of Dumas' arrival, Trish Stratus
made her debut. Stratus started off as a valet,
who brought pure sexuality to the ring. Also later
that year, Molly Holly made her debut. She was
a contrast to most of the other Divas because
she was given a more wholesome gimmick and more
modest ring attire.
the Autumn of 2001, Stratus was trained by then-Diva
trainer Fit Finlay and improved her in-ring ability,
working her way up to the top of the division
and winning the Women's Title. Lita and Trish
Stratus have been credited as the women that changed
the face of Women's Wrestling, as they brought
sexuality and ability to the ring in such even
amounts and kept the fans entertained.
2001, Chyna left the WWF due to real-life issues
between herself, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon.
Her last feud was with Lita. However, in April
2002, Lita suffered a neck injury and was the
first Diva to have neck fusion surgery. She was
out of action for approximately one year.
during 2002, WWF changed its name to WWE and brought
in a host of new female talent. Over the next
few years, WWE hired more Divas than ever before.
Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Christy Hemme, Miss
Jackie, Dawn Marie, a returning Sable and numerous
others would often compete in contests from "Pillow
Fight" and "Bra and Panties" matchups
to "Bikini Contests", which were based
more on the sexual appeal of the women involved,
while distinctively Lita, Trish Stratus, Jazz,
Gail Kim, Molly Holly, Jacqueline, Ivory and Victoria
competed for the WWE Women's Title featuring match
ups only previously participated by men such as
Street Fights, Table Matches and the first ever
Women's Steel cage match.
2002 to the present, WWE began hiring new Divas
assigned to their development territories to train
and wait to be called up to the main roster. These
new Divas are recruited from model agencies, the
independent circuit, and the Diva Search.
2003, Gail Kim became the first woman with a Korean
background to win the Women's Championship. Also,
Jacqueline held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
(a male title) briefly in 2004.
the summer of 2006, WWE Announcers began referring
to the Divas as "The Sexiest Women on Television."
the end of 2006 Trish Stratus and Lita left WWE,
leaving Torrie Wilson, Victoria, and Lilian Garcia
from the previous generation of WWE Divas with
a vast majority of recent arrivals. By this time,
RAW ring announcer Lilian Garcia had been with
WWE longer than any other current WWE Diva.
has been some measure of controversy relating
to WWE Divas. The risqué matches and storylines
the WWE Divas have taken part in were cited as
part of an extensive campaign against WWE and
the content of its programming throughout the
of the company's females has also been an issue.
Rena Mero left WWE for several years, claiming
that she was harassed by other performers in the
promotion. Harassment claims were also made by
Nicole Bass and Amy Weber. Mero sued the company
for $110 million over issues of sexual harassment
and the licensing of the "Sable" name.
aspect of the industry draws widespread criticism
for its misogynistic treatment of women as sex
objects, who usually appear either scantily clad
or 'glamorous' in the form of evening gowns and
the like. These issues have been portrayed in
angles involving divas.
WWE Diva Search
Diva Search is an annual competition that occurs
every Summer. The purpose of the Diva Search is
to find new women to act as wrestlers, interviewers,
and valets in WWE. The winner of the competition
receives a one year contract worth $100,000. Previously
the contract was worth $250,000.
popularity of women in WWE has resulted in various
cross-promotions with other brands featuring WWE
Divas. Various Divas have posed in Playboy, and
others have appeared in commercials for WWE and
non-WWE products as well as men's interest magazines.
WWE Divas normally go on an annual photo shoot
every year, usually to a different location each
time. The photoshoot is followed by a magazine
featuring photos from the shoot as well as a television
special or video release of highlights from the
* 1999, WWE released their first Divas video Come
Get Some: The Women Of The WWF, which features
interviews and footage of the Divas. Debra, Chyna,
and Tori made the cover.
* 2000, WWE introduced their second Divas home
video franchise with Postcard From The Caribbean.
The photos were released on a special Swimsuit
edition of RAW Magazine. Divas in this photoshoot
all had their own cover.
* 2001, the DVD In Hedonism was released as well
as the first of the now annual magazines. Lita
earned the cover of the magazine. Also, all Divas
made it on the DVD cover including Trish Stratus,
Debra, and Lita.
* 2002, a UPN special entitled WWF Divas: Sex
on the Beach aired. It was then later released
on VHS and DVD format as WWF Divas: Tropical Pleasure
with Trish Stratus on the cover. However, the
home video was missing the mainstream music and
Molly Holly, who had appeared in the special.
* The first lingerie shoot, WWE Divas Undressed
was originally a special on TNN (now Spike TV).
The program was a competition or "Thong-a-thon"
as Jerry Lawler called it. All of the divas, except
for Jazz and Lita, were involved, however Trish
Stratus only competed in the first round due to
a "kayfabe" attack by Jazz. It was later
released on VHS and DVD with behind the scenes
photoshoot sessions. Jazz participated in the
photoshoot session despite being injured. Stacy
Keibler was the covergirl of the WWE Divas Undressed
* 2003, the Divas traveled to Arizona to participate
in a variety of outdoor activities as part of
WWE Divas: Desert Heat. Trish Stratus, Stacy Keibler,
and Terri Runnels went on a Jeep tour and got
to use a gun. While Victoria and Nidia got to
relax and go rafting. Jazz, Ivory, and others
spotted a rattlesnake. The magazine covergirl
was once again Trish Stratus.
* 2004, the Divas went to the beaches of Mexico
as part of WWE Divas: South of the Border. To
determine who would make the cover of the magazine,
a poll was taken on WWE.com, where fans voted
Torrie Wilson as the covergirl.
* 2005, the Divas traveled back to Mexico for
Viva Las Divas of the WWE. The more experienced
Divas traveled to the beaches of the Grand Xcaret
and Grand Cozumel, along with the 2004 Diva Search
winner, Christy Hemme and longtime WWE ring announcer
Lilian García (in what was her first divas
shoot in the 6 years she had spent so far with
WWE). The newer Divas, including Joy Giovanni,
Amy Weber, Michelle McCool, and Maria Kanellis
visited only the Grand Cozumel. Some controversy
arose when it was apparent that Molly Holly was
not on the DVD, with some fans of Molly sending
complaints to WWE. However, a few pictures of
her were featured in the magazine. This was the
second time she had been removed from the yearly
Diva video. Conversely, Amy Weber (who had left
the company before the DVD and magazine became
available) was in the DVD and not the magazine.
Christy Hemme was the covergirl of the 2005 edition
of the magazine.
* 2006, a lingerie photoshoot took place in New
York, and a DVD entitled WWE Divas Do New York
was released. Much like in 2004, WWE.com let the
fans decide who they wanted on the magazine cover.
They chose Trish Stratus, who appeared on her
third Divas' magazine cover that hit newsstands
on Valentine's Day. Candice Michelle originally
landed the DVD cover that was released a week
later, but it was replaced with a multi-Diva cover.
* 2007, the Divas took part in a western-themed
lingerie shoot for WWE Divas Do San Antonio. This
photoshoot took place in San Antonio, Texas because
WWE was in San Antonio for the Royal Rumble. Only
select WWE Divas were chosen: Rebecca (who was
later released), Lilian Garcia, Kelly Kelly, Kristal,
Mickie James, and Victoria. Several of the photos
and a video of the photoshoot were released on
WWE.com, but the annual magazine was not released.
* June 2007, the Divas took part in a photoshoot,
the second of 2007, in Los Angeles for Divas in
Los Angeles. This is the 2nd time in the past
few years that there has been two photoshoots
in the same year. This shoot, unlike previous
years, has a special section to the Development
Divas. The development Divas that are featured
were Milena Roucka, Beth Phoenix, Maryse, and
the Garcia Twins (Brianna & Nicole), though,
Maryse and Beth are already on the main roster.
Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson and Mickie James
are on the cover.
* 2008, the Divas took part in a bikini photoshoot
for Divas Uncensored, this photoshoot took place
at a beach in Tierra Verde, Florida. Only select
WWE Divas were chosen: Ashley, Maria, Mickie James,
and Eve Torres. Several photos are seen in a WWE
magazine that came out in April which in a section
Maria, Ashley and Mickie give advice regarding
relationships and where Eve Torres answers questions
from fans though a photo from this photoshoot
of Mickie James was featured in WWE.com's Daily
2003, a WWE Diva has posed nude and appeared on
the cover every year:
* 1999: Sable
* 2000: Chyna
* 2003: Torrie Wilson
* 2004: Torrie Wilson and Sable
* 2005: Christy Hemme
* 2006: Candice Michelle
* 2007: Ashley Massaro
* 2008: Maria Kanellis
playmates, such as Carmella DeCesare and Karen
McDougal have also appeared in Diva Search in
2004. Some former and current Divas such as Trish
Stratus, Lita, Debra, Sharmell, Stacy Keibler,
and Melina have indicated that posing for Playboy
magazine is out of the question for them. Stratus
has appeared on sports talk show Off The Record
and said that she didn't pose because she wanted
to be known as "multiple time Women's Champion
Trish Stratus" rather than "the girl
who posed in Playboy." Stratus also claims
that she refused the shoot because she says she
can still be sexy without taking her clothes off.
Dumas has said that she didn't pose because she
felt it was wrong for her character (who was known
as a role model for young girls at the time) to
pose for the magazine. Stacy refused to pose as
she believes it would be better if she "left
something for the imagination."
Lynn Sytch (Sunny) claimed to have refused an
offer by Playboy to pose for the magazine. However,
Rena Mero (Sable) later claimed that Playboy had
actually never approached Sytch, and that Sytch
had fabricated the whole story.
2007, Ashley, Torrie Wilson, Maryse, Brooke, Layla,
and Kelly Kelly shot a video for music producer
and rapper Timbaland. and, in the same year, Torrie
Wilson, Candice Michelle, Michelle McCool, Maria,
Layla and Kristal Marshall appeared in an episode
of the US reality show Project Runway, in which
designers were asked to design in-ring attire
for their designated Diva. In 2008, Layla, Mickie
James, Kelly Kelly, and Melina appereared in the
US reality show Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp
to get the celebrities in shape.
Further information: WWE Women's Championship
WWE Babe of the Year
WWE Babe of the Year contest is a contest where
fans get to vote on who is their favorite WWE
Diva for that year.
Stratus won the inaugural Babe of the Year competition
in 2001. Stratus had her own mini-site on WWE.com
but she left and her photoshoot of choice was
a space-type theme. The corresponding mini-site
was fittingly named "The Stratusphere."
Stratus retained her title in 2002 and received
another mini-site on WWE.com. The 2003 edition
was again won by Stratus. This time Stratus claimed
she would let the fans decide the winner. While
picking out her outfits, Trish ran into a fan
who said that they would decide everything for
Keibler ended Stratus's reign in 2004 and won
the honor, receiving her own mini-site and a photoshoot
for every month in the year, sometimes two. The
photoshoots were usually themed from the holiday
of that month.
Diva of the Year
first and only Rookie Diva of the Year contest
was held on the SmackDown! PPV No Way Out 2005,
where former WWE Diva Joy Giovanni defeated Michelle
McCool, Lauren Jones, and Rochelle Loewen. However,
McCool is the only one of the four who ended up
receiving wrestling training, improving her abilities,
and staying in WWE as of 2008. By this point,
Giovanni, Jones, and Loewen have already been
released from the company and left the business.