Diva has been a term for WWE women's talent since 1996, year when the likes of Sable and Sunny came to WWE. Since Sable used the word 'Diva' on TV, WWE has used the term for their women ever since. Soon, the Women's Championship was reinstated, and Divas had more opportunities and time to shine in the ring again. Many of them have never wrestled in WWE, nor even won Divas or Women's Championship, but their impact just can't be ignored. So, here are WWE's 20 most impactful Divas, ranking by their overall accomplishments, time in WWE, charisma, championships runs and managment skills. Here we go, from No. 20 to the very first.
20. Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly debuted in WWE in 2006 as part of WWE's newly relaunched ECW. Thus, she became the youngest Diva in Sports Entertainment. Self proclaimed exhibitionist, Kelly later joined Layla and Brooke in a dance trio 'Extreme Expose'. But that was just the beginning. Kelly Kelly started further training in 2008 and was already involved in some storylines when she moved to the Raw brand in June 2008. Kelly Kelly became crowd's favorite, being cheered in and out of the ring. After few Divas title opportunities and Women's Championship match, Kelly Kelly was ready for a big time. In June 2011 she earned Divas Championship opportunity against Brie Bella, ultimately winning it and starting feud with Divas such as Beth Phoenix and Natalya. In 2012 Kelly Kelly decided to take some time off from WWE, and after few weeks return, she was released from WWE in September. Although her wrestling skills were hot topic by wrestling fans, Kelly Kelly tried and did more in WWE than anyone could expect.
19. Candice Michelle
After trying for WWE's Diva Search in 2004, Candice did not enter the top 10 competition, but was later signed to WWE. That's where her journey started. Just like Kelly Kelly, Candice was WWE's local pretty face, first competing in bikini contests, and later turning into a wrestling machine. Her first major storyline was when she joined forces with Torrie Wilson and Victoria to feud with then - 2005 Diva Search Winner Ashley, and later Trish Stratus and Mickie James. Candice received her first singles Women's Championship in February 2006, in which she was defeated by champion Trish Stratus. But that didn't stop her to fight for more. Candice received more exposure as she was Go Daddy girl and then Playboy Covergirl. In 2007, she started internet feud with WWE Women's Champion Melina, and later, the feud was put as a WWE storyline.She competed in high profile matches and after several victories over Melina, Candice defeated her at Vengeance: Night of Champions 2007 to capture her first gold., becoming the first former Diva Search contestant to win a championship in WWE. Then, she started feud with returning Beth Phoenix, and after few months, Candice dropped her title, and broke her clavicle in her rematch for the title. After her second return, Candice received her Women's title opportunity, but she failed. She wasn't used to her full potential and was released in June 2009. If there wasn't that injury Candice could have been bigger, but her hard work and heart gives her number 19.
18. Eve Torres
The winner of 2007 Diva Search, Eve Torres definitely had the tools for a WWE Diva. Eve wasn't promising from the beginning of her WWE career, but after a year of training, Eve was put into a wrestling role, and she didn't disappoint. After several feuds on SmackDown brand, Eve came to Raw and quickly won her first Divas Championship from Maryse, being the first Diva search winner to win the Divas title. However, she lacked more character development and storylines, and her second Divas Championship reign wasn't much better. Then she started angle with top superstars like Kane, John Cena and using Zack Ryder to reach her goals. Eve's heel turn gave her more accomplishments, being Booker T's and John Laurinaitis' assistant on both SmackDown and Raw. Eve's peak was winning the record breaking third Divas Championship, feuding with the likes of Layla and Kaitlyn. Eve's character and career continued to rise and shine, but she left WWE to focus more on as an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered Self-defense program.
Here is another proof of how Diva Search contestants can be succesful in WWE, without previous wrestling experience. Layla, former dancer of Miami Heat, joined WWE after winning 2006 Diva Search. She occasionally competed in matches, and in 2008 she managed William Regal. Her role in WWE didn't change until 2009, where she, along with Michelle McCool started controversial storyline with Mickie James. Her duo with Michelle called LayCool gace Layla much needed spotlight in the Divas division. In 2010 she won her first Women's Championship in a 2 on 1 Handicap match against Beth Phoenix, becoming first Diva Search winner to win the Women's title. Even though her reign was a bit outshined by McCool who she shared the title with, she succesfully defended title against Kelly Kelly, and was recognized as WWE's last Women's Champion. After her breakup with Michelle, she suffered an injury, and after a year hiatus she captured her first Divas Championship, also breaking a record as first Diva Search winner to win both Divas and Women's Championship. Layla lost the title to Eve at Night of champions, but she still competes in WWE and is looking to break another record, becoming the longest tenured Diva in WWE.
16. Molly Holly
Probably WWE's best technician, Molly Holly will always be remembered as one of the most skilled Divas. After coming from WCW in late 2000, Molly quickly entered in feud with the likes of Ivory and Trish, and had some memorable moments with Dudley Boyz as well with Hurricane, being dubbed as 'Mighty Molly'. On Wreslemania 19, Molly won her first title in WWE, winning Hardcore Championship from her partner Hurricane. Molly wouldn't stop on just a Hardcore Championship, as she soon went after then Women's Champion Trish Stratus, winning her first Women's title on King of the Ring 2002. Molly had succesful defenses against likes of Torrie, Nidia and Trish too. Molly didn't want to be pushed and treated as the 'eye-candy', she was there to wrestle. She proved that after winning her second women's Championship, beating Gail Kim, and having 7 month reign. She lost the title to Victoria, but Molly didn't mind to do anything at her power to get back what was rightfully hers. On Wrestlemania 20, Molly put her hair on the line against Victoria's title. She ultimately lost, but she showed us just what that her desire to be champion was big. She left WWE in 2005 because WWE started pushing Diva Searchs, but was that right decision as we saw how great can next Divas from Diva Search be?
After spending some time in ECW, Jazz caught WWE's eye and debuted at Survivor Series 2001 PPV, having an opportunity to win the vacated Women's Championship. Although she lost, she was there for another opportunity. After facing Trish Stratus in several matches, Jazz captured her first Women's championship and went on to defend it at Wrestlemania 18 against Lita and Trish, becoming the first African-American Diva to compete on Wrestlemania, and to succesfully defend her championship. Jazz's reign ended soon, and she left with an injury. After returning she captured another Women's Championship from Trish at Backlash 2003. Jazz's reign ended with an injury, in June 30, Divas Battle Royal. After her second return, Jazz competed in several matches and was Rodney Mack's manager. After her run with WWE finished, Jazz returned shortly in 2006 losing to Mickie James. Jazz may wasn't WWE's hottest Diva, but her strength and talent paved the way for the Divas like Beth Phoenix and Natalya.
The original 'psycho girl' of WWE, Victoria wasn't afraid of nothing to make other suffer. After spending some time as Godfather's 'Ho' Victoria was sent to developmental territories where she started her wrestling career. After her return, she set her eye on Trish Stratus, showing her signs of jealousy over Trish everywhere. Victoria made an impact few months ago defeating Trish Stratus in a Chicago Street Fight to win her first Women's Championship. That was one of many brutal matches Trish and Victoria had. After she lost her title at Wrestlemania 19, Victoria continued to chase another reign and destroed every Diva with her devastating finisher 'Widow's Peak'. Soon, Victoria competed against Lita in the first Divas Steel Cage Match, that is dubbed as one of the best women's matches ever. After being attacked by Molly, Victoria changed her attitude from a Psycho to a Dancing Diva. She defeated Molly, Jazz and Lita in a 4 Way match to win her second Women's Championships, and succesfuly defended it at Wrestlemania 20 shaving Molly's hair in a process. Her reign continued to dominate the division, and after the she lost it, her career went downhill. Victoria helped the younger generation Divas, as she put them over, and being one of the few Divas of her era to compete in late 2000's. She had respect for that, and even she retired from WWE, at 42, she still entertains us week after week on TNA Wrestling.
The only female member of 'Right to Censor', Ivory was mean as no-one could imagine. After spending many years on the independent circuit, Ivory joined WWE in 1999, and quickly won the Women's Championship Debra, and entered in the feud with a legend The Fabulous Moolah and her friend Mae Young. Ivory wasn't taking easy on 80 year old ones, she took them seriously just as everyone she stepped against in that ring. She lost the title to Moolah, but quickly regained it. After her title loss to Miss Kitty, Ivory stepped back, but would return in spotlight becoming part of 'Right to Censor'. She won her 3rd Women's Championship, defeating Lita making impact everywhere she was. She started feuding with Chyna, and would go on a storyline with her until Wrestlemania 17, where she dropped the title to Chyna. Ivory was then 'Tough Enough' trainer and had few opportunities for another title, but wasn't succesful, and after spending some time on commentary she left. Her impact made many women to become Divas including Molly Holly.
Jacqueline, as many will agree, was WWE's toughest Diva to step foot in the ring. She wasn't afraid to go against men, and women were there to fear her. Jacqueline came to WWE in 1998 and feuded with Sable, which resulted in reinstating the retired Women's Championship. Jacqueline won it, quickly leaving her mark in WWE, making history as first ever African-American Women's Champion. Although the reign was short, Jacqueline didn't give up and competed to win it again. She did it, defeating Hervina (Harvey Wippleman) the first man to win the WWE Women's title, in a squash match. Jacqueline lost the title to Stephanie McMahon, then transitioning to 'Tough Enough' trainer, referee and competed in several matches. Jacqueline would go to make another history defeating Chavo Guerrero Jr. to become the only Diva to win WWE's Cruiserweight title. Jacqueline then left WWE, but her impact in both women's and men division will be remembered.
11. Stacy Keibler
After WCW was closed, WWE couldn't resist but to sign the leggy bombshell to their roster. She was a nice girl, troublemaker, wrestler, valet, and everything she could be. Stacy along with WCW's fellow girl Torrie, debuted against WWE's main girls Trish and Lita. Stacy quickly entered in another feud with Torrie, having several matches and bikini contests. Stacy managed the likes of Dudley Boyz and stunned their opponents with her long legs every time she was at their side. The crowd loved her presence, but Test and Steiner had the opportunity to feel it closer. Stacy may wasn't the Women's Champion, but her matches with Trish Stratus proved she was a capable material of a champion. The ' Super Stacy' was really superior, she turned attention on everyone she wanted and used it as her advantage. At the end, could anyone resist Stacy?
10. Torrie Wilson
Another Diva who hasn't had a championship in WWE, Torrie Wilson was a model in eyes of many WWE fans. Just like Stacy, she proved it wrong, regularly competing in matches having attention on her. Torrie just did that, becoming queen of WWE's SmackDown, feuding with the likes Dawn Marie, Nidia and Sable. Her high profile storyline with Dawn definitely attracted attention to WWE fans, and the other Divas were just jealous of Torrie's popularity. Torrie easily countered Trish Stratus' popularity, becoming the role model and posing for many magazines including 2 Playboy covers. Torrie's mainstream was present everywhere, and she & Sable defeated Miss Jackie & Stacy Keibler in a first Evening Gown Tag Match at Wrestlemania 20, who were jealous on these two. Torrie caused jealousy in women's eyes and lust in man's eyes. Her matches with the likes of Trish and Victoria proved she was much capable as a wrestler. Torrie left WWE with a back injury, but knowing she was meant to be the first ever Divas Champion, we can say Torrie's impact would continue to grow.
'The first Diva' as many will say, Sunny was WWE's top attraction of the mid 90's., becoming AOL's most downloaded woman in 1996. Sunny may never wrestled in WWE, but her managing skills have led the teams such as Bodydonnas, The Godwinns and Road Warriors to the tag success. But, whoever she managed, the main attention was on her, causing men begging for more Sunny's presence. Sunny is the first Diva to enter into WWE Hall of Fame, class of 2011. WWE recognized her impact by giving her this prestigious honor, and recognized her as the first Diva over the likes of Sable.
'The Paparazzi Magnet' Melina, was one of the most innovative Divas in history of WWE. Her wrestling style, her ring entrance and her mic skills made her one of the WWE's top Divas after Trish and Lita left. Melina, as Bret Hart said, was one of the best women's wrestlers in the world. She debuted alongside with Joey Mrcury and Johhny Nitro, as 'MNM' and helped them to capture 3 Tag Team Championshis. Melina soon stood out as SmackDown's fiercest Diva, defeating Torrie, Christy and Michelle, proving she's the best there was. She even challenged Trish Stratus for the Women's Championship, but failed. That wasn't the first time she tried it. In 2007 Mickie feuded with Mickie capturing 2 Women's Championships, and dominating the division, before losing it to Candice. After return from her ankle injury, Melina won her 3rd Women's Championship from Beth Phoenix. That was certainly not the peak of her career. Melina captured 2 more Divas Championships in her WWE career, becoming 5 time champion overall. Melina left because of attitude problems, but her impact in that ring can still be felt today.
7. Michelle McCool
Michelle was brought to WWE after competing in Diva Search 2004. She was the first eliminated, but she vowed hat wasn't the end. And it really wasn't, it was beginning of McCool's historic career that broke many records. After spending some time in developmental territories, Michelle returned and her impact on SmackDown began. She captured Divas Championship at The Great American Bash defeating Natalya, thus becoming first ever Divas Champion and the first Diva Search contestant to win that title. McCool would go to on to win the Women's Championship at The Bash 2009, becoming the first Diva ever to capture both Divas and Women's Championship. Her impact continued to rise, and after forming the 'LayCool' duo she won 2 more championships, and at Night of Champions 2009 she defeated Melina to become the first unified Divas Champion. Michelle's career was truly inspiring, from an 'All American Girl' to the devious diva, Michelle never stopped to deliver 'Faith Breaker' to other Divas.
6. Beth Phoenix
After her debut in May 2006, Beth Phoenix was there to give us a promissing career. She injured her clavicle in her match with Victoria, but 'The Glamazon' came for more in mid-2007. She quickly won the #1 contender's match and after unsuccesful match on Unforgiven, she won it from Candice at No Mercy. Beth won two more Women's Championships, defeating both Melina and Michelle McCool. Beth's career continued to rise. She was only the second woman to compete in a Royal Rumble match, eliminating The Great Khali. Beth's career wasn't finished yet, and her goal was accomplished in 2011 when she won the Divas Championship, becoming one of only few women to win both championships. She was one of the Divas who competed in first Divas matches such as 2 out of 3 falls, Tables, Extreme Makeover, I Quit... and has won every one of them. Beth's career was sometime in dust, but she rised like a 'Phoenix' and delivered us some of the best women's wrestling matches and entertainment.
5. Mickie James
Mickie James debuted in WWE as Trish Stratus' greatest fan, showing she was more than that. Mickie's obsession on Trish granted her Women's title opportunity, which she won at 'The Grandest Stage of them All'. Mickie's mic skills were as great as her wrestling skills. People cheered her, and her 'Psycho' gimmick, which resulted in her getting a face push. From then, Mickie became the face of Divas division and arguably their most popular Diva. She defeated WWE's top Divas such as Trish, Lita, Jazz, Michelle McCool, Melina, Beth Phoenix and the list goes on. Her popularity made her 5x Women's Champion, most of any Diva after Trish. In addition, she won Divas Championship from Maryse, proving nothing will stop her from taking the championships. Her presence was WWE's top Divas attraction, and after her release, fans wanted her back. Eventually, she came back on TV coming to TNA Impact, where she made history winning Knockouts Championship. Mickie James breaks the record everywhere she steps foot in the ring, and her impact will continue to rise.
The woman who first used term 'Diva', was WWE's main Diva in the late 90's alongside Sunny. Sable won the reinstated Women's Championship from Jacqueline, and has feuded with Divas like Jacqueline, Luna and Tori. Sable was the first Diva to pose for Playboy, which was the highest selling issue in 10 years, and it's not hard to conclude why. Sable left WWE in mid-1999, breaking harts of many WWE fans. Sable was not finished with WWE yet, returning in 2003. She quickly entered in a feud with Torrie Wilson and then Stephanie McMahon. Sable posed for her third Playboy cover together with Torrie, and won her match on Wrestlemania 20 against Miss Jackie and Stacy Keibler. Sable never lost at Wrestlemania, and never lost her popularity to fans. Her impact decorated the women's division, and many agree that Sable is the next Hall of Famer.
Chyna was indeed '9th Wonder of the World', having accomplishments in WWE many Divas can dream about. She was the first woman to enter the King of the Ring tournament, to compete in Royal Rumble match (she did it 2 times) , become #1 contender to WWF championship and she is the only woman to win Intercontinental Chamionship, not once, but 3 times.. Most superstars haven't accomplished what Chyna did, and most women were scared to face her in the ring. But Chyna's career was not only in men's division, she captured the Women's Championship from Ivory, becoming a full part of the women's division. Soon, Chyna left because of personal reasons. Many Divas were glad that she left, they avoided Chyna before she could finish them - or their careers.
The 'Queen of Extreme' Lita proved us women don't know for limits, and in Lita's case, no limit for high-flying. Arguably WWE's first high-flyer Diva, Lita caught interest of wide WWE's audience. It was just a matter of time when will Women's title be in her hands, and she won it at first Raw's main event that involved 2 Divas. Lita's career may be known as her romance angles with Kane, Edge and Matt Hardy, as well as teaming with 'Hardy Boyz'. Lita was always in centerfold of divas division, and after a year and half from neck injury, Lita returned to spice the things little up. But it took her more than a year, to win her 2nd Women's title from her arch rival Trish Stratus, which is considered as one of the best rivalries ever. Lita won 2 more Women's Championships, but besdes her troublemaker career, the heat and reaction she still gets from the crowd, makes Lita second most influental WWE Diva.
1. Trish Stratus
Was there any doubt about this? Trish Stratus really is the greatest WWE Diva, her impact can be felt today and her career is unmatched by any Diva to this day. Trish Started as a manager of T & A, as a heel, and after turning on Mr. McMahon, her career got more interesting. Trish would go to win her first Women's Championship at Survivor Series 2001, one of total 7, the most of any woman in history of the championship. Whether her reign was short or long, it was filled with drama, wrestling, heat, storylines and her feuds with Lita, Jazz, Molly Holly, Victoria, Mickie James and many Divas in WWE made her career shine. Trish was always at the top of Divas division, being both cheered as their top babyface, and booed as their top heel. Trish is the only diva to compete at 5 Wrestlemanias, and WWE inducted her into a Hall of Fame, class of 2013. Trish paved the way, for the new generation of Divas, turning from a fitness model to a fierce competitor, who wants to be remembered as a 7x Women's Champion, not as just a pretty face. Well, we will definitely remember both.