Diva is a term used by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), an American professional wrestling promotion, to refer to its female employees. The term is applied to women who appear as wrestlers, managers or valets, backstage interviewers, or ring announcers.
THE MOOLAH DAYS
Though the term Diva did not exist back then,[when?] WWE As of 2013 acknowledges women of this era as "Diva" legends. After winning the NWA Women's Title in 1956 from Judy Grable and later on in 1983, the Fabulous Moolah defected to WWF, which recognized her as the first WWF Women's Champion. This time period[which?] saw the introduction of many female wrestlers who competed with the promotion. WWF also introduced the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship with Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria recognized as the first champions after also defecting from the NWA. The following year, music artist Cyndi Lauper began a verbal feud with manager "Captain" Lou Albano, who long had a reputation of being a villain; this brought professional wrestling into mainstream culture in a storyline that became known as the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection". When it was finally time for Lauper and Albano to settle their differences in the ring, a match-up was scheduled with Albano representing Moolah against the challenge of Lauper's protégé, Wendi Richter. This led to Moolah losing the title at The Brawl to End It All, broadcast live on MTV. Richter would then lose the title to Leilani Kai the following year but would win it back at Wrestlemania 1 (March 31, 1985). In late 1985, the WWF did an angle (a fictional storyline) in which all the managers in the promotion competed to offer their services to Randy Savage. During a match on July 30, 1985, several managers were at ringside in hopes that he would name one of them as his new manager. After the match, Savage thanked the managers for their consideration and then asked that his new manager come to ringside. An attractive, unnamed woman then came down to the ring, and announcer Bruno Sammartino remarked, "She must be some sort of movie star". It was later revealed that her name was Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth's WWF debut aired on the August 24, 1985, edition of WWF Prime Time Wrestling. From that point on, she managed Randy Savage. Miss Elizabeth's first major angle was during Savage's feud with George "The Animal" Steele in 1986. In the angle, Steele fell in love with Elizabeth, angering Savage and leading to a series of grudge matches between him and Steele. Their feud was one of the WWF's most popular of the 1980s; it carried on for more than a year, thanks to the feral Steele's continued innocent crush on Elizabeth. She also figured prominently in Savage's 1986 feuds with Hulk Hogan and Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat. In 1987 saw the introduction of Mike McGuirk as the first female ring announcer of the promotion. After former AWA wrestler Jesse Ventura referred her to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), she debuted on July 24, 1987, defeating The Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Women's Championship. Renaming herself Sensational Sherri, she reigned as WWF Women's Champion for fifteen months before losing it to Rockin' Robin. The first Survivor Series PPV saw the first female elimination match. On February 1989 the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship was deactivated and The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) would be the final title holders. Rockin' Robin would then be the last WWF Women's Champion in the late 80's. When the WWF phased out its female-talent roster in 1990, Sensational Sherri would remain with the company, focusing on managing male wrestlers. At Wrestlemania 9, Luna Vachon would debut and in process along with Bam Bam Bigelow feuded with Sherri and Tatanka. Elizabeth and Sherri would then each depart from the company in 1992 and 1993.
RELAUNCH : 1993-1995 In 1993, the WWF reinstated its Women's Championship, a title that had been vacant since 1990, and Debra Miceli was brought in by the company to revive the women's division. She debuted under the ring name Alundra Blayze, because WWF owner Vince McMahon did not want to pay Miceli to use the name Madusa, which she had trademarked. She wrestled in a six-woman tournament to crown a new Women's Champion, and in the finals, she pinned Heidi Lee Morgan on the December 13, 1993 episode of All American Wrestling to win the title. After the tournament, Miceli asked WWF management to bring in new women for her to wrestle. Leilani Kai would briefly return to the company at Wrestlemania X facing Blayze for the Women's title. In mid-1994, Bull Nakano joined the WWF roster and began feuding with Miceli, who was also feuding with Luna Vachon. Blayze defeated Nakano at SummerSlam, but lost the belt to her on November 20, 1994 in Japan at the Big Egg Wrestling Universe event. Five months later on April 3, 1995, Blayze regained the title from Nakano on an edition of Monday Night Raw. As part of the storyline, immediately following the win, she was attacked by Bertha Faye, who broke her nose. In reality, the storyline was written so Miceli could take time off to get breast implants and a nose job. She returned to the ring in August 1995, losing the Women's Championship to Faye at SummerSlam on August 27. Two months later, she won the title a third time, defeating Faye on October 23. Later on, various Japanese female wrestlers including Aja Kong who would rekindle her feud with Blayze leading to the second elimination match at the Survivor Series 1995 event. In December, due to financial troubles the WWF was having at the time Blayze was released from her contract and was stripped of the title following her jump to rival company World Championship Wrestling, and the WWF Women's Championship remained vacant until 1998. Sunny (Tammy Sytch), who debuted in WWE (then known as WWF) in 1995 as the manager of The Bodydonnas and several other tag teams and singles wrestlers, has claimed to have been the "Original Diva", although this is widely disputed. Sunny's character was at first a continuation of the female manager that had been popular throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Over time, the character was significantly sexualized, whereas prior female managers, such as Miss Elizabeth, were depicted as being involved in either platonic or romantic storylines. Despite Sunny's reinvention of the female role within the company, the term "Diva" was not used to denote females working for the WWF until long after she was released in 1998.
Marshall with the WWF Women's Championship belt. In 1998, Debra debuted and shortly thereafter was featured in a Raw Magazine spread in which she shed a series of business suits to reveal lingerie. At the beginning of her WWF career, known simply as Debra, she played the part of a shrewd businesswoman, wearing business suits. She also played the part of Jarrett's girlfriend. In late 1998, Jarrett began a feud with Goldust that culminated in December at Rock Bottom: In Your House in a "Striptease match". During the match, Debra hit Goldust over the head with Jarrett's trademark guitar, enabling Jarrett to win. WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels, however, disqualified Jarrett, and Debra had to strip due to the match's stipulations. As she stripped, The Blue Blazer and Jarrett covered her up. Debra, however, began utilizing a new strategy during matches, distracting Jarrett's opponents by unbuttoning her blouse. She would willingly take off her blouse to show the crowd her "puppies", a nickname originally bestowed upon her chest by wrestler Road Dogg and later utilized by commentator Jerry Lawler. Marlena was the manager of Goldust, her then real-life husband, and Sable was manager for her then real-life husband, Marc Mero. Sable, however, quickly eclipsed her husband in popularity, leading to the reinstatement of the WWF Women's Championship as well as the promotion's hiring of more female wrestlers. Sable became the first WWF female to refer to herself as a "Diva" during the April 19 edition of Raw in 1999; the term proved popular and shortly thereafter became the official title for WWF's female performers, be they managers or wrestlers. In February 1999, the WWF also debuted another veteran female wrestler, Ivory. In August 1999, Lilian Garcia joined the promotion as the 2nd official female ring announcer. The September 6th edition of Raw saw the first Hardcore match contested for the Women's Championship. The match was between Ivory and Tori. Sable's popularity led to a shift in the role of women in the WWF, as the promotion began to rely less on its female performers as simply eye candy and placed a greater emphasis on female athletes who actually competed in matches. She was one of the first females to compete in such specialty matches as evening gown matches, inter-gender tag team matches, and strap matches, competed in the first-ever WWF bikini contest against Jacqueline, and was also the first female wrestler to be a Playboy cover girl. Unlike Jacqueline, Ivory, Tori, 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. Her success also indirectly led to a push in popularity for Chyna. Her masculine features were de-emphasized and her clothing became more provocative. She was put into competition against male opponents, going on to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship two times. Chyna's popularity quickly grew to match that of Sable's, culminating in Chyna being featured as the centerfold in an issue of Playboy magazine.
2000–2002 February 2000 saw the debut of Lita, who performed higher-risk 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. The March 30, 2000 edition of SmackDown featured the first Divas match in WWF history to be the main event of any WWF show; a WWF Women's Championship match between defending champion Jacqueline and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. The August 21 edition of Raw featured the first Divas match in WWF history to main event Raw. It was a WWF Women's Championship match between defending champion Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Lita. Shortly after Lita's 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. In early 2001, Stratus became involved in an angle with WWF Chairman Vince McMahon, during a time when Vince's wife Linda was kayfabe institutionalized following a demand Vince had made for a divorce during an episode of SmackDown! on December 7, 2000. Vince and Stratus' relationship increasingly angered the boss' daughter, then-heel, Stephanie McMahon. At No Way Out on February 25, Stratus and Stephanie squared off, with Stephanie scoring the victory after a run-in by William Regal. In the midst of a tag team match that pitted Vince and Stratus against Regal and Stephanie the next night on Raw, Stratus was the victim of a set-up by Vince, Stephanie and Regal. Regal executed his finisher, the Regal Cutter, on Stratus and Stephanie then dumped sewage over Stratus' body. Vince stood over Stratus, and he told her she was a toy with which he had grown tired of playing and that it was over. The angle continued the next week on Raw with Vince forcing Stratus to strip down to her black underwear in the ring and bark like a dog. The storyline came to an end at WrestleMania X-Seven when Stratus slapped Vince during his match against his son Shane, becoming a fan favorite in the process. In the autumn of 2001, Stratus was trained by Fit Finlay, who was the road agent responsible for the women's matches, and improved her in-ring ability. She worked her way up to the top of the division and eventually won the Women's Championship at Survivor Series. Also that year, Chyna left the WWF due to real-life issues between herself, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. Finally, 2001 saw the WWF's purchase of its chief competitor, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the consequent entry of former WCW female talent, such as Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson, into the WWF. In April 2002, Lita suffered a neck injury and was the first Diva to have neck fusion surgery. She was out of action for almost a year and a half. As she rehabilitated, she kept herself visible by co-hosting Excess on TNN. After returning in autumn, Stratus appeared at Survivor Series where she won the WWF Women's Championship for the first time in a six-pack challenge. Stratus was next involved in a feud with Jazz over the Women's Championship, where she was retained the championship at the Royal Rumble but dropping the championship to Jazz two weeks later on the February 4, 2002 episode of Raw. On May 5, 2002, the WWF officially changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Over the next few years, WWE hired more Divas than ever before, including female winners of the reality television show WWE Tough Enough, which featured contestants aspiring to be professional wrestlers.
2002–2006 Lesnar returned to World Wrestling Entertainment on the April 3, 2003 episode of SmackDown!, reprising her role as Sable. Sable continued to be a heel (villain) and spent several months in a storyline with new Playboy covergirl Torrie Wilson. Numerous Divas competed in contests ranging from "Pillow Fights" and "Bra and Panties" match-ups to "Bikini Contests", which were based more on the sexual appeal of the women involved. Meanwhile, Trish Stratus, Lita, Jazz, Gail Kim, Molly Holly, Jacqueline, Ivory and Victoria competed for the WWE Women's Title in match-ups previously contested only by men, such as; street fights, hardcore matches, and the first ever Women's steel cage match. Molly Holly (competing as Mighty Molly), Trish Stratus, and Terri also held the Hardcore Championship briefly. Beginning in 2002, WWE began hiring new Divas and assigned them to their development territories to train and wait to be called up to the main roster. These new Divas were recruited from the independent circuit and modeling agencies including previously the Diva Search. In 2003, Gail Kim became the first woman with a Korean background to win the Women's Championship. Also, Jacqueline held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship briefly in 2004. In December 2004, Lita and Trish Stratus would main event RAW for the Women's Championship, making it the 3rd time in history for Divas to main event one of WWE's main shows. Layla made her first "official" WWE appearance at the 2006 SummerSlam pay-per-view in a backstage segment with several other divas. During the segment, the other women initially taunted and teased her before revealing that "it was all in fun" and part of an "initiation" of sorts. Afterward they dragged her into the showers, fully clothed, where they proceeded to spank her while laughing. The week after SummerSlam, El made her debut as a member of the SmackDown! brand in an interview with Mike "The Miz" Mizanin—although he did not allow her the chance to say much, spending most of the time talking about himself. Subsequently, she did not appear on WWE television for almost a month, reappearing on 22 September episode of SmackDown! and getting into a confrontation with both Kristal and Jillian Hall.
Stratus celebrating after wrestling her final match Candice and Torrie became villains by taunting 2005 Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro, and they joined forces with fellow Raw Diva Victoria to form an alliance known as Ladies in Pink (later Vince's Devils). On the September 5 episode of Raw, Wilson defeated Massaro after the interference from Victoria and Candice. They continued feuding with Massaro until Trish Stratus returned from a legitimate injury to help Massaro "retaliate" against Vince's Devils. Mickie James debuted in WWE on the October 10, 2005 episode of Raw, continuing to use her real name, under the gimmick of WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus' biggest fan. The angle had the two WWE Divas competing together in tag team matches, with James' character becoming increasingly obsessed with Stratus. The storyline included a Halloween Costume Contest in which James was dressed like Stratus and helped Stratus retain the Women's Championship in a Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday by eliminating herself and Victoria at the same time. She even began utilizing Stratus' signature finishing moves as her own during matches. James became the number one contender for the Women's Title on December 12 by defeating Victoria in a match to determine who would face Stratus at New Year's Revolution. Subsequently, the storyline between Mickie and Trish developed into a lesbian angle after Mickie had a kiss with Trish under a sprig of mistletoe. In the championship match at the pay-per-view, James lost to Stratus but continued to be enamored of her the next night on Raw, and she confessed her love for Stratus at the Royal Rumble. On March 6, 2006, the storyline had Stratus confronting James, telling her that they needed time apart from each other. The duo teamed together at the March 18, 2006 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria. After the match, Mickie agreed to honor Trishs' wishes and attempted to kiss her. After Trish pushed her away, Mickie attacked Trish in the ring and later vowed to destroy her, establishing her heel turn. The two wrestled each other at WrestleMania 22, where James won the match, and became the new Women's Champion. Her angle with Stratus continued into Backlash during a rematch after Stratus legitimately dislocated her shoulder when James threw her out of the ring. Phoenix debuted on the May 8, 2006 episode of Raw as a fan favorite by attacking Mickie James while James was assaulting Trish Stratus. After this incident, James berated Phoenix for "ruining everything" and questioned why she even showed up in the first place. A week later, Phoenix was formally introduced by Stratus and then battered a distracted James on Stratus's behalf. When James finally escaped, Phoenix claimed that James had ruined her life and would not let her get away with it, before calling her a "psycho". On the following episode of Raw, Phoenix attacked James after her match with Torrie Wilson. Then, on the May 29, 2006 episode of Raw, Phoenix and Wilson (with Stratus in their corner) teamed together to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria, who had James in their corner. Melina made her debut as MNM in WWE as a villainous tag team on the April 14, 2005, episode of SmackDown!. While managing the Tag Team Champions, Melina's character was developed to be more egotistical as she declared herself "the most-dominant Diva in WWE". She made her official WWE in-ring debut on June 30 against Michelle McCool and had her first pay-per-view match against Torrie Wilson at The Great American Bash, winning both matches.
Michelle McCool became the inaugural Divas Champion at The Great American Bash In mid-2006, Stacy Keibler left WWE to pursue an acting career, Trish Stratus retired at Unforgiven, and Lita retired at Survivor Series. Jazz returned to WWE due to the relaunch of the ECW brand, though her second run was short lived. Torrie Wilson retired in mid-2008 due to back problems and Victoria left in January 2009 after a nine-year career with WWE; she subsequently signed a contract with rival Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in April 2009 as a TNA Knockout under the ring name Tara. In November 2008, however, Gail Kim returned to WWE after working for TNA as a Knockout. Lilian Garcia, the promotion's long-time ring announcer, retired in September 2009 when she made her final WWE appearance on the September 21 edition of WWE Raw. The division continued to grow as the Divas began to compete in different types of matches. On the March 5, 2007 edition of Raw, Mickie James and Melina competed in the first falls count anywhere match to be contested between Divas. It was also the first time that the Women's Championship was contested in this type of match. At Vengeance: Night of Champions in 2007, Candice Michelle became the first women from the WWE Diva Search contest to become the WWE Women's Champion. At One Night Stand 2008, Beth Phoenix and Melina competed in the first "I Quit" Match to be contested between Divas. At Extreme Rules Michelle McCool and Beth Phoenix competed in an Extreme Makeover match for the Women's Championship. In December 2007, Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, and Sunny returned to WWE for a one night special appearance on an episode of Raw due to the show's 15-year anniversary. On the June 6, 2008 edition of SmackDown, the then SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced the creation of WWE Divas Championship, a SmackDown Diva exclusive title. Natalya and Michelle McCool became the first two contenders for the new championship, and, at The Great American Bash, McCool defeated Natalya to become the inaugural champion. At Wrestlemania 25, former WWE Divas Sunny, Victoria, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson, Miss Jackie, and Joy Giovanni returned to WWE for a one night special appearance in the 25 Divas Battle Royal match to crown Miss Wrestlemania. During the 2009 WWE Draft, then Women's Champion Melina was drafted to the SmackDown brand, making the Women's title exclusive to SmackDown. Later that same night, then Divas Champion Maryse was drafted to the Raw brand, making the championship exclusive to Raw, effectively switching both female champions and championships between brands for the first time in history. At The Bash in 2009, Michelle McCool defeated Melina to capture the Women's Championship and became the first Diva to have ever held both the Women's Championship and the Divas Championship.
2010–2012 At the 2010 Royal Rumble event, Beth Phoenix competed in the Royal Rumble match, making her the second of only three women to have competed in that particular match, the others being Chyna and Kharma. On the April 12, 2010 episode of Raw, Eve Torres won the WWE Divas Championship by defeating Maryse thus becoming the first WWE Diva Search winner to win the Divas Championship. Mickie James was released from WWE on April 22, causing a lot of controversy. Her final match was a tag team bout, teaming with Beth Phoenix against LayCool on SmackDown. She was later signed to rival promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on September 22. On the May 14, episode of SmackDown, Layla won the WWE Women's Championship by defeating Beth Phoenix in a two on one Handicap match with Michelle McCool. At WWE Fatal 4 Way, Alicia Fox became the first African-American and the youngest Divas Champion.
Melina as the Divas Champion in 2010 At Night of Champions 2010, the WWE Divas Championship was unified with the WWE Women's Championship as then-WWE Divas Champion Melina faced then-self professed co-WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool in a Lumberjill Match. McCool won the match to unify the two titles due to interference from Layla, thus creating the WWE Unified Divas Championship following the lineage and history of the Divas Championship. This also made the WWE Women's Championship defunct after 54 years, which made Layla the final title holder. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Natalya and Beth Phoenix defeated Team LayCool (Michelle McCool and Layla) in the first ever Divas tag team Table match. Trish Stratus returned to WWE as one of the trainers for the newly relaunched Tough Enough season. Despite not being what WWE typically viewed as a WWE Diva; on August 31, WWE signed 6'9 female wrestler Isis the Amazon who was set to compete under the ring name Aloisia. She appeared on the 3rd season of NXT but would then be released 2 weeks later, due to the company allegedly finding adult photos, and was replaced by Kaitlyn on the show. On the November 30 season finale episode of NXT, Kaitlyn was later announced as the winner of season three, defeating Naomi in the final to become WWE's first ever "breakout diva". In late December 2010, WWE signed world renowned wrestler, Kharma, formerly known as Amazing/Awesome Kong. The company proceeded to air disturbing video packages of her flicking off heads of female dolls and laughing maniacally building towards her tentative arrival. Kharma made her debut at Extreme Rules attacking Michelle McCool and making a huge impact through the course of a couple weeks on Raw and SmackDown. She was later granted a maternity leave due to her real life pregnancy. Michelle McCool retired from WWE on May 1, after losing to Layla in a Loser Leaves WWE match. Melina was also released in early August. Gail Kim resigned from the WWE on August 5, 2011 due to frustration with WWE's lack of focus on the women's division. She would officially be released, for the 2nd time, on September 30, 2011. In late Summer 2011, the controversial issue of what makes a "true" WWE Diva was largely disputed, stemming from an article posted on WWE.com and the high-profile feud between Kelly Kelly and Eve against The Divas of Doom; Beth Phoenix and Natalya. Maryse was released from her WWE contract on October 28. After retiring in September 2009, Lilian Garcia returned to WWE on December 5, making her the last remnant of the previous generation of divas, alongside the new generation, Lita made a cameo appearance for a second time at the 2011 Slammy Awards show as an award presenter; the first occurred a year earlier in a backstage segment involving Pee Wee Herman. On the January 9, 2012 episode of Raw, Naomi and Cameron returned to television as one of the dancers and valets for the returning Brodus Clay. In April 2012, Aksana began a storyline with newcomer Antonio Cesaro, Aksana kissed Cessaro in front of Teddy Long, effectively ending their relationship, also turning heel once again in the process. At the 2012 Royal Rumble event, Kharma competed in the Royal Rumble match making her the third woman to compete in the match. In July, Kharma's profile was moved to the alumni. After weeks of rumors, she confirmed her release on Twitter.
2012–present On the February 20 episode of Raw, Eve began a slow heel turn after she confessed backstage to the Bella Twins that she had never liked Zack Ryder and had disingenuously used him for publicity and planned to take advantage of John Cena the same way, with Cena overhearing her revelation and scorned Eve for her wrongdoing by refusing her apology as she begged for forgiveness. Eve justified her actions saying that people should not expect to see her as a "damsel in distress" anymore and that she is proud of who she is – a woman whose beauty served to seduce men, thus allowing for a better quality of life. On the April 23 episode of Raw, Nikki defeated Beth Phoenix in a lumberjill match for the WWE Divas Championship, ending Phoenix's reign as champion at 204 days. Brie lost Nikki's championship to the returning Layla at Extreme Rules, after attempting Twin Magic, ending her Divas Championship reign after only a week. The following night on Raw, they competed in their last match with the WWE, failing to win back the Divas Championship from Layla in a triple threat match. Later that night, WWE announced on their website that the twins had been fired by Executive Administrator Eve Torres. This storyline was reportedly used to facilitate the expiration of their contracts, which the twins had decided not to renew. On July 9, 2012, Eve Torres and AJ Lee became the only two Divas to main event Raw since Trish and Lita in 2006, in a tag team match featuring CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. AJ was also the focal point of a love triangle and WWE Championship feud between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan that same summer, solidifying her turn as top Diva. During the exchange of vows at Raw 1000, AJ announced she had been offered the job of Raw General Manager by WWE owner Vince McMahon and left Bryan at the altar. Her first official day began July 30 where she alleged Bryan only wanted the legal leverage to have her committed, forcing him to undergo his own psychological evaluation. On October 22, AJ stepped down from her General Manager duties due to the stress of false allegations of fraternizing and having an affair with a wrestler on the Raw roster, which was later revealed to be John Cena. Later Vickie Guerrero would show evidence of John Cena and AJ going to a business dinner, AJ walking into Cena's room and more. At Survivor Series, AJ tried to show "evidence" of Vickie Guerrero fraternizing, but was attacked by the returning Tamina Snuka.
Kaitlyn during her first reign as Divas Champion in 2013. At September 16 on the Night of Champions pay-per-view, a storyline began with Kaitlyn was attacked by a masked figure injuring Kaitlyn's ankle, and forfeiting her title shot with Layla to Eve, who went on to defeat Layla and become the first Diva in history to hold the title on three occasions. On the October 12 episode of SmackDown, Layla and Kaitlyn revealed that Aksana found a blonde wig in the bag belonging to Eve Torres, implementing Eve's involvement in an attack on Kaitlyn at the Night of Champions pay-per-view. On the October 26 episode of SmackDown, it was revealed that it was Aksana who attacked Kaitlyn at Night of Champions and that Eve sent her a text message to do so. On September 28, Kelly Kelly was released from her WWE contract due to her absence from the company. On October 29, Beth Phoenix left WWE after her contract would expire. Her final match was on Raw defeating AJ Lee after Vickie Guerrero would restart the match. A month after Beth Phoenix's departure, WWE published an article on their website stating that there was a new era for the divas division. Naomi and Cameron participated in her first televised WWE match at the pre-show of the TLC pay-per-view on December 16, 2012, with Naomi winning a "Santa's Little Helpers" battle royal to become the #1 contendership to the Divas Championship. During the pay-per-view, in her first singles match since NXT, Naomi lost to defending champion Eve. On December 16, at TLC, AJ turned heel after interfering in John Cena's ladder match against Dolph Ziggler on behalf of Ziggler pushing Cena off the ladder. The following night on a special Slammy Awards episode of Raw, AJ won an the "Diva of the Year" award and an award with Cena for "Kiss of the Year". On January 14, 2013 a special "20th Anniversary" episode of Raw, Kaitlyn became the first NXT Diva to win the WWE Divas Championship. Eve Torres would then depart from the company later on that night after her contract expired. The Bella Twins returned to WWE on the March 11, 2013 episode of Raw, in a backstage segment with Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow also confronting Divas Champion Kaitlyn, beginning to associate themselves with the Rhodes Scholars. On the June 10 episode of Raw, Lee was revealed to be Kaitlyn's secret admirer after setting up Big E Langston to pose as the admirer before revealing the truth, berating Kaitlyn and leaving her in tears. At the Payback pay-per-view, AJ Lee defeated Kaitlyn to capture the WWE Divas Championship for the first time due to Kaitlyn inadvertently removed AJ studded belt from her tights allowing Lee to nail her her with the belt and Kaitlyn missing a spear attempt landing her in the turnbuckle, which allowed her AJ to apply the Black Widow.
TNA Knocked Out DVD by TNA Entertainment Knockout is a term used by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) to refer to its female talent. The term is applied universally to wrestlers, backstage interviewers, and managers/valets. They are analogous to the Divas of rival WWE. Contents [hide] 1 History 1.1 Miss TNA (2002) 1.2 Post-Miss TNA (2003–2006) 1.3 TNA Women's Knockout Division (2007–present) 2 Knockouts Division Commissioner 3 Promotion 3.1 TNA Knockout DVDs and Television specials 3.2 TNA Knockouts Trading Cards 3.3 Playboy 3.4 Other 4 Championships and accomplishments 4.1 Miss TNA 4.2 TNA Babe/Knockout of the Year 4.3 TNA Women's Knockout Championship 4.4 TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship 4.5 Queen of the Cage 5 See also 6 References 7 External links History
The term Knockouts is relatively new and was not used when Total Nonstop Action Wrestling debuted in 2002. The name originated from a DVD release in 2006 by the company, Knockouts: The Ladies of TNA Wrestling, Vol.1, which focused on its then-current female stars. The name "Knockouts" as a catchall name for the women stuck after that. Female performers have been a part of TNA since the first national show, which featured Alexis Laree, Elektra, Erin Bray, Francine, Miss Joni, Sasha, Shannon, Taylor Vaughn and Teresa Tyler, as well as other female talent, including backstage interviewer Goldy Locks and valets Aleesha and Fluff Dupp. Bobcat also debuted as a valet in a match that was taped during the first PPV, but aired during the second PPV. Miss TNA (2002) A Lingerie Battle Royal to crown the first 'Miss TNA' was taped during the very first NWA:TNA weekly PPV on June 19, 2002, and was aired during the second PPV on June 26, 2002. Taylor Vaughn won the first Miss TNA crown. She defended the title against Francine, who soon afterward abandoned her pursuit of the title and engaged in a brief feud with Jasmin St. Claire. Vaughn lost the title when she was defeated by male character Bruce a few weeks later. Although male, he claimed that he should be entitled to wrestle for the Miss TNA crown because he was gay. Bruce held the crown for three months and during his time as Miss TNA he attacked many female wrestlers and fans, enraging the male stars of TNA including Jorge Estrada. The two then had a singles match with the stipulation that if Estrada won, Priscilla would become the new Miss TNA. Although Estrada won the match, the crown didn't change hands because he won by disqualification. In the next weeks, Bruce's tag team partner, Lenny, tried to get Bruce injured (since the runner-up would then take over the crown should the champion be injured). This led to the breakup of The Rainbow Express, and Bruce's homosexuality was questioned by backstage interviewer Goldy Locks, who claimed she had seen him in the shower with April Pennington. The storyline soon came to a close due to poor crowd reception, with Pennington and Goldylocks walking off together holding hands, as Lenny and Bruce fought over Pennington. The storyline ended with Bruce declaring himself straight and handing his crown over to Pennington. The Miss TNA crown wasn't mentioned on-screen afterward. Throughout 2002, TNA also featured Belladonna in a valet role and former WWE Tough Enough contestant Paulina as a bodyguard. Post-Miss TNA (2003–2006) Women's wrestling continued to be a feature of the weekly PPVs before an official women's division was established in 2007. In 2003, cage dancers (many of whom were independent female wrestlers who were then unknown at the time, including Lollipop) were used near the top of the entrance ramp, but this concept was abandoned shortly after its conception. One of TNA's early controversial moments ensued on the March 12, 2003 pay-per-view when Lollipop had her top ripped off during a catfight with S.E.X. member Holly Wood and exposed her breasts throughout the fight. TNA also featured ring girl Athena in many feuds and altercations. From 2003-2004, TNA regularly used several female wrestlers on their PPVs and television programs, including Trinity, Desire, Alexis Laree, Traci Brooks, Nurse Veronica (who also competed as Simply Luscious), and Cheerleader Valentina (who also competed as JV Love); however, they were often primarily depicted as valets who occasionally wrestled. Of all the women utilized at this time, Trinity was the most active in the ring, as she feuded with Desire, Alexis Laree, and Traci Brooks, as well as competed in the X Division. During this time, TNA also briefly featured an all-female faction named "Bitchslap" that consisted of Nurse Veronica, Traci Brooks, Cheerleader Valentina, and Trinity (who only appeared once with the group). They were engaged in a feud with TNA dancers Lollipop and April Pennington. Independent female wrestlers were frequently featured on TNA Xplosion and occasionally on TNA pay-per-views, including Angel Williams (who would later return as Angelina Love), April Hunter, Brandi Wine, Daizee Haze, Lucy (who previously competed as Shannon and would later return as Daffney), Malia Hosaka, Mercedes Martinez, MsChif, and ODB (who also wrestled as Poison). TNA briefly recognized the NWA World Women's Championship in 2003. On March 12, 2003, Leilani Kai defeated Madison to win the NWA World Women's Championship in a dark match on a TNA pay-per-view. On April 19, 2003, Kai defended the title against Desire at a house show, but she was later stripped of the title by NWA President Bill Behrens due to missing several subsequent NWA shows. According to Kai, she skipped the shows because she felt the NWA governing board was not treating the Women's Championship with the respect it deserved, such as not televising title matches on the TNA pay-per-views and TNA Xplosion. Fewer women's matches were featured toward the end of 2004 and throughout 2005; however, TNA did feature pay-per-view matches pitting Trinity against former WWE Diva Jacqueline and Traci Brooks. TNA also featured Minsa in an on-air non-wrestling role. Following the debut of the TNA iMPACT! television program in 2005, TNA featured former WWE Divas such as Gail Kim, Jackie Gayda, and Christy Hemme, as well as independent female wrestler Sirelda in prominent on-air roles and feuds. Although most of the prior female talent had left TNA by this time, Traci Brooks remained in an on-air role and TNA added a new ring girl, SoCal Val (replacing Athena) and backstage interviewer, Leticia Cline (replacing Goldy Locks). Gail Kim competed in a few matches that were televised and/or taped throughout 2006 against Sirelda and Traci Brooks, while independent wrestler Amber O'Neal competed at TNA house shows in matches against Kim and Jacqueline. In the fall of 2006, Sherri Martel appeared on TNA iMPACT! in her final televised appearance before her death. TNA Women's Knockout Division (2007–present) The formation of an official women's division began at Final Resolution in 2007 as TNA spent the early part of the year building up the feud between Gail Kim and Jacqueline, who made her on-air return at the pay-per-view also during the summer a feud between Christy Hemme and Roxxi Laveaux. The first TNA Women's Knockout Champion was crowned on October 14, 2007 at Bound for Glory in a 10-Knockout gauntlet match which Gail Kim won. Around this time, TNA signed several additional female wrestlers and personalities, including Angel Williams, Amazing Kong, ODB, Shelly Martinez, and Talia Madison who were then renamed after the PPV, as well as valet Karen Jarrett and new backstage interviewer Crystal Louthan. In a stark departure to TNA's past programming where their female talent were often promoted as eye candy with little to no emphasis on athleticism or wrestling ability, in the same fashion as their WWE Diva counterparts during that time period, TNA's women's division emphasized on serious wrestling competition between their female talent, as well as their credibility on par with their male counterparts. Since the inception of an official championship, matches and segments involving the Knockouts have contributed to drawing some of the better ratings of Impact shows. Throughout 2008, TNA continued to expand the Knockouts roster by featuring Alexa Jade, Payton Banks, Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan, and Sharmell. Lauren Brooke became the new backstage interviewer beginning at Lockdown. In August, Gail Kim's contract with TNA expired and instead of renewing it, she decided to return to rival WWE for a 2nd run. In the spring of 2008, then-TNA Women's Knockout Champion Awesome Kong held a $25,000 Fan Challenge where she put her title and $25,000 on the line against any fan in the building. The challenge was eventually won by Taylor Wilde, and featured try-out matches for Daffney and Josie Robinson (later renamed Sojournor Bolt), both of whom later became full-time wrestlers in the Knockout division. In early 2009, Madison Rayne debuted in TNA and joined The Beautiful People alongside existing members Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. Daizee Haze returned in a one time match on May 1, 2008 losing to Cheerleader Melissa who was also pulling dual role under the Raisha Saeed gimmick at that time. Tara, Sarita, Hamada and Survivor: The Amazon winner Jenna Morasca debuted throughout the spring and summer. In September 2009, Angelina Love left TNA due to visa work issue. On September 20, 2009, Sarita and Taylor Wilde became the first TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions when they won the final match of an eight-team tournament at No Surrender. In September, Lacey Von Erich was signed to a contract and replaced Love as a member of The Beautiful People. and Roxxi returned to TNA (after being released earlier in the year) in December. On December 31, 2009, TNA promoted a special four hour, all Knockout episode of Impact!, titled New Year's Knockout Eve, which featured a tournament for the number one contendership to the Women's Knockout Championship. In January 2010, Alissa Flash would then depart from the company in mutual agreement and Awesome Kong asked for her release after her backstage altercation with Bubba the Love Sponge while Angelina Love returned to TNA within the new year. In March 2010, TNA released Traci Brooks after being with the company for 8 years while Roxxi was released again after returning to the company in December last year. Later that same month Awesome Kong was also given her release from the company. On April 18, 2010, at Lockdown Madison Rayne made history by becoming the first person to hold both the Women's Knockout Championship and the Knockouts Tag Team Championship simultaneously. The following month Tara left TNA, after refusing to re-sign with the company due to not receiving a pay increase and Roxxi made her second return to TNA, although it was short lived as she was released from the company the following month along with ODB, who also departed from the company. On July 11 at Victory Road Tara made her return to TNA. In August and September, Rebecca Treston and Mickie James were signed to TNA contracts. In October 2010, TNA signed Katarina Waters to a contract, that same month she debuted as Winter. while on November 11 Lacey Von Erich announced her departure from the promotion.Hamada would then be released on December 6, 2010. Three days later also Taylor Wilde's departure from the promotion was confirmed. In February and March 2011, Traci Brooks, ODB, Roxxi, and Alissa Flash all made one night returns to TNA. On March 15, 2011, Daffney's contract with TNA expired and was not renewed. ODB, Jacqueline Moore and Traci Brooks were re-signed to TNA contracts in May, June and July 2011, respectively. In October, Gail Kim returned to TNA, after spending the past three years with WWE during her second run. Angelina Love would depart from the company in June 2012. On June 28, 2012, on TNA's Gut Check Challenge, Taeler Hendrix was signed to a contract, becoming the first ever woman to win the contest. The following month, another longtime knockout Velvet Sky was also granted her release from the promotion although would return to the company in December. In August, Taryn Terrell joined the division as the official referee. On September 6, Winter announced on her official website that her contract with TNA had expired, thus leaving her free for other projects. After seven months of inactivity, it was reported on January 9, 2013, that Sarita and Rosita's contracts expired and had parted ways with TNA. In February 2013, on TNA's newest broadcast show TNA Backstage Pass it was announced that The Blossom Twins have been contracted to the promotion. On March 7, 2013, TNA's Gut Check Challenge, Lei'D Tapa was signed to a contract, becoming only the second woman to win the contest. Tapa also became the first ever Tongan wrestler in the entire history of TNA. In mid-March, Trinity, Jacqueline, Alissa Flash, and Sojournor Bolt returned for the company's new pay-per view specials. Knockouts Division Commissioner
In August 2008, it was announced on TNAwrestling.com that Traci Brooks was officially in charge of the Knockouts Division as the Knockouts Division Commissioner, also known as the "Knockout Law". On screen credit was given to Jim Cornette (at the time, the highest position of on-screen authority the fans saw), who was fed up with the Knockouts, and needed someone who "spoke their language" to control them. In January 2009, Brooks stopped appearing in TNA and Cornette resumed control over the Knockout division. Brooks returned on the March 12, 2009, edition of Impact! as a referee. She was released on March 4, 2010. On the September 30, 2010, edition of Reaction Miss Tessmacher was named the new General Manager of the Knockouts division. However, just two weeks later she was fired from her position. On the September 1, 2011, edition of Impact Wrestling, Karen Jarrett was named the new Vice President of the Knockouts division with Traci Brooks serving as her executive assistant. Jarrett was fired from her position on the December 15, 2011, edition of Impact Wrestling. Madison Rayne then served as the Vice President of the Knockouts division for a week, before being stripped of her power on the December 29 edition of Impact Wrestling. In May 2012, it was announced on Impact Wrestling, that starting May 31 Brooke Hogan would be the new head of the Knockouts Division. Knockouts Division Commissioner: Date: Event: Notes: Traci Brooks August 2008 — January 2009 TNAWrestling.com Brooks was appointed the job by Jim Cornette after volunteering for it. Miss Tessmacher September 30, 2010 — October 14, 2010 TNA Reaction was named as the General Manager of the Knockouts Division by then–executive producer Eric Bischoff. Karen Jarrett September 1, 2011 — December 15, 2011 Impact Wrestling was named as the General Manager of the Knockouts Division by then–executive producer Eric Bischoff. Brooke Hogan May 31, 2012–present Impact Wrestling Appointed by (her father) Hulk Hogan, the current TNA Impact Wrestling General Manager. Promotion
The popularity of women in TNA has resulted cross-promotion with other brands featuring the TNA Knockouts. TNA Knockout DVDs and Television specials
Knockouts: The Ladies of TNA Wrestling In 2006, TNA released the first Knockouts DVD entitled Knockouts: The Ladies of TNA Wrestling which featured Christy Hemme, Gail Kim, Jackie Gayda, SoCal Val, and Traci Brooks; much similar to their rival company female talent, this video release was the first and only DVD where the Knockouts were featured in select outdoor locations. In 2008, TNA released their second Knockouts DVD on October 7, 2008 entitled TNA Knockouts: Knocked Out which featured Angelina Love, Awesome Kong, Christy Hemme, Gail Kim, Jacqueline, Karen Jarrett, Lauren, ODB, Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan, Roxxi, Salinas, Sharmell, SoCal Val, Traci Brooks, Taylor Wilde, and Velvet Sky documenting the 1st year anniversary of the launching of the division. Karen Jarrett was chosen for the cover, with an alternative cover featuring Christy Hemme. TNA premiered an all Knockout highlight pay-per-view special on October 1, 2010, titled TNA Knockouts: Mad Sexy Volume 1, featuring the best matches in the history of the Knockout division. as Volume 2 premiered February 1, 2011. TNA Knockouts Trading Cards TRISTAR Productions released a TNA Knockouts trading card series on April 28, 2009. The set featured Angelina Love, Awesome Kong, Christy Hemme, Dixie Carter, The Governor, Jacqueline, Jenna Morasca, Lauren, Madison Rayne, ODB, Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan, Roxxi, Sharmell, SoCal Val, Sojournor Bolt, Traci Brooks, Taylor Wilde, and Velvet Sky. Also included are cards pairing the Knockouts with male TNA wrestlers. Playboy Shortly before leaving TNA, backstage interviewer Leticia Cline appeared on the cover of the November/December 2007 issue of Playboy's Sexy Girls Next Door, which included her nude photo shoot. In an interview with The Sun, Traci Brooks confirmed that Playboy magazine (which previously had a partnership agreement with WWE prior to the organization converting to PG-rated television content) reached a new partnership agreement with TNA. Brooks was originally scheduled to be featured in the November 2009 issue. She would become the first TNA Knockout to appear in Playboy, although Knockouts Christy Hemme and Jenna Morasca posed for the magazine prior to joining TNA. However, on September 2, 2009 it was reported that Playboy decided not to publish Brooks' photo shoot in their magazine. The photo shoot was instead released online through their Cyber Club website on September 17, 2009. Other In 2009, Taylor Wilde and The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) appeared in the U.S. reality show MTV Made to compete in a match involving a teen trained by A.J. Styles. Love and Sky were featured on the cover and in a pictorial in the December 2009 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine, which also included photos of Lauren Brooke and SoCal Val. Some of the current and former TNA Knockouts have had short television and movie careers outside of TNA. Former backstage interviewer Lauren Brooke hosts Top Ten and Destination Golf on the Golf Channel. SoCal Val appeared in a television commercial for Morphoplex. Christy Hemme had roles in Bloodstained Memoirs, Fallen Angels, and Bubba's Chili Parlor. Hemme has also pursued a singing career and released songs on MySpace and iTunes. Traci Brooks had a role in Zombie Beach Party. Alissa Flash has a role in the 2010 documentary False Finish. Former backstage interviewer Leticia Cline appeared in the fifth season of the reality series Beauty and the Geek in 2008, as well as the Howard Stern reality series Bowling Beauties. Angelina Love had a role in the 2008 indie film titled Good Intentions starring country music star LeAnn Rimes and Luke Perry. In 2012, Tara appeared in the U.S. reality show MTV Made coaching an aspiring teen trying to be a professional wrestler while Brooke Tessmacher and Velvet Sky also former Knockout Angelina Love appeared in the episode. Championships and accomplishments
Miss TNA The first Miss TNA was crowned on June 19, 2002, when Taylor Vaughn won a 9-woman lingerie battle royal. The title was abandoned in November 2002. Wrestler: Reigns: Date: Place: Notes: Taylor Vaughn 1 June 19, 2002 Huntsville, AL Defeats Alexis Laree, Elektra, Erin Bray, Francine, Miss Joni, Sasha, Shannon, and Teresa Tyler in a "Lingerie Battle Royal" Bruce 1 July 31, 2002 Nashville, TN April Pennington 1 November 27, 2002 Nashville, TN Pennington was given the crown by Bruce and the title was immediately abandoned Title Abandoned November 27, 2002 TNA Babe/Knockout of the Year The TNA Babe/Knockout of the Year contest was a contest where fans voted on TNA Wrestling's official website for who their favorite TNA Knockout for that year. 2002 TNA Babe of the Year: Taylor Vaughn 2003 TNA Babe of the Year: Trinity 2004 TNA Babe of the Year: Traci Brooks 2005 TNA Knockout of the Year: Jackie Gayda 2006 TNA Knockout of the Year: Christy Hemme 2007 TNA Knockout of the Year: Gail Kim 2008 TNA Knockout of the Year: Angelina Love 2009 TNA Knockout of the Year: ODB 2010 TNA Knockout of the Year: Madison Rayne 2011 TNA Knockout of the Year: Karen Jarrett 2012 TNA Knockout of the Year: Miss Tessmacher 2013 TNA Knockout of the Year: TBA TNA Women's Knockout Championship Further information: TNA Women's Knockout Championship The first TNA Women's Knockout Champion was crowned at on October 14, 2007 at Bound for Glory when Gail Kim won a 10-woman gauntlet match. Angelina Love and Tara have the most reigns with 5. The current champion is Mickie James. TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship Further information: TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship On the August 20, 2009, edition of Impact! it was announced that a tournament would begin to crown the first TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions. The first TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions were crowned at on September 20, 2009 at No Surrender when Sarita and Taylor Wilde won an eight-team tournament final. The titles are currently vacant. Queen of the Cage The Queen of the Cage match was a professional wrestling match exclusive to TNA. The match was determined annually at the Lockdown pay-per-view event. In 2008, the match began as a reverse-battle royal involving eight wrestlers. The first two wrestlers that entered the cage then competed in a one-on-one match that was won via pin fall or submission. The winner became the number one contender for the TNA Women's Knockout Championship. In 2009, the match was a traditional four-way match. The match type has since been dropped. No. Match Event, Date and Location I Roxxi Laveaux defeated Angelina Love, Christy Hemme, Jacqueline, Rhaka Khan, Salinas, Traci Brooks, and Velvet Sky Lockdown 2008 April 13, 2008, Lowell, Massachusetts II ODB defeated Daffney, Madison Rayne, and Sojournor Bolt Lockdown 2009 April 19, 2009, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania See also
Professional wrestling portal WWE Diva References
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