Power Ranking the Top 10 WWE Divas Champions in History
Five years ago today, Michelle McCool battled Natalya in a match to determine the inaugural Divas Champion. Both lovely ladies had won qualifying matches in the weeks that preceded in an event, leading to a one-on-one matchup between the two at The Great American Bash.
At the time, the Women's Championship was exclusive to the Raw brand, so then-SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero decided to create a title solely for the Divas of Friday nights. At the event, McCool defeated Natalya to become the first ever Divas Champion.
The butterfly belt has since been unified with the Women's Championship as of Night of Champions 2010. It is now defended on both shows and is currently held by AJ Lee.
Over the course of the last five years, a total of 15 esteemed Divas have had the honor of holding the Divas Championship. Here, I will rank the top-10 best Divas Champion since the title's inception in 2008.
Shortly after making her debut in 2008, Natalya advanced to the finals of the Divas Championship tournament and fought Michelle McCool at The Great American Bash in a match to determine the inaugural title holder. She ultimately came up short, and later joined forces with Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith on ECW.
She led The Hart Dynasty to tag team gold in April 2010, but didn't have any gold of her own. After The Hart Dynasty parted ways in the final few months of the year, Natalya broke off into singles competition and chased the Divas Championship.
Natalya contended for the title on a number of occasions against Lay-Cool, but was unsuccessful in winning the gold at Hell in a Cell and Bragging Rights, respectively. However, she finally emerged victorious against WWE's resident "mean girls" at Survivor Series, winning her first Divas Championship in the process.
Although the moment was indeed a memorable one, she was never given the time to shine during her two-month reign as Divas Champion. She dropped the strap to Eve in her first title defense at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Starting in August 2012, Kaitlyn embarked on a journey to become Divas Champion. Kaitlyn was originally scheduled to face Layla for the title at last year's Night of Champions pay-per-view, but she was attacked backstage by Aksana, which allowed Eve to take her place instead.
From that point forward, she chased Eve for the Divas Championship, but came up short of winning the title at the Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series events, respectively. However, she was given one last opportunity to contend for the title on the 20th Anniversary of Raw this past January.
In what was one of her most impressive outings to date, Kaitlyn defeated Eve in her hometown of Houston to capture her first Divas title. Aside from one title successful defense against Tamina Snuka at Elimination Chamber, however, the blonde bombshell did little to nothing noteworthy during her five month reign as Divas Champion.
If anything, the Divas division took a turn for the worse when she won the belt. The lovely ladies weren't featured on television on a regular basis for months on end, but became relevant again once AJ Lee entered the title picture.
Although she proclaimed herself co-holder of the Divas Championship while Michelle McCool was holding it in late 2010, the reign isn't officially recognized by WWE. However, she would have another chance to hold the gold later down the line.
After defeating McCool in a Loser Leaves WWE match at 2011's Extreme Rules event, Layla suffered an injury that saw her sidelined from action for nearly a year. She returned the following year at Extreme Rules and defeated Nikki Bella to win her first Divas Championship.
She had successful title defenses against The Bella Twins and Beth Phoenix subsequently, but she was rarely featured on television during the summer season. She ultimately dropped the strap to Eve at the Night of Champions pay-per-view.
7. Mickie James
A four-time Women's Champion, Mickie James had seemingly done it all in WWE. That was, however, until the Divas Championship was born in 2008.
Once the title became property of the Raw brand in the 2009 WWE Draft, James set her sights on the butterfly belt that summer. She defeated Maryse in non-title matches on various occasions, but scored a victory over her when it truly mattered at Night of Champions to capture her first Divas Championship.
James was a fighting champion, as she took on all comers and emerged victorious with the title each time. Following successful title defenses over Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix and Alicia Fox, James dropped the belt to Jillian Hall on the October 12 edition of Raw.
Moments after Jillian Hall defeated Mickie James for the Divas Championship on the October 12 edition of Raw in 2009, that night's guest host Nancy O'Dell announced a Divas trade, which saw Melina brought back to the Raw brand.
Mere minutes later, Melina soundly defeated Hall to win her first Divas title. She later successfully defended her belt against the likes of Hall and Alicia Fox before engaging in a feud with the returning Maryse that November.
Before the two could meet in a match for the title, Melina was injured at a live event on December 29 and was forced to relinquish the belt. A tournament was held to determine a new champion, which was won by Maryse in February 2010.
Melina returned to action that August, setting her sights on then-Divas Champion Alicia Fox. She defeated Fox to win her second Divas title at SummerSlam before dropping the strap the following month to Michelle McCool at Night of Champions.
5. Kelly Kelly
Some people may scoff at the idea of Kelly Kelly being ranked this high on the list, but hear me out. She wasn't as bad of a Divas Champion as many people tend to think.
Nearly five years after making her WWE debut, Kelly Kelly won her first Divas Championship by defeating Brie Bella on the Power to the People edition of Raw. She feuded with The Bella Twins in the weeks that followed and successfully defended her title against Brie at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
After earning the right to face Kelly for the belt at SummerSlam, Beth Phoenix shocked the world by attacking the blonde bombshell, turning heel in the process. At the biggest blockbuster of the summer, Kelly soundly defeated Phoenix to retain her title in what was her best match to date.
The feud didn't end there, however, as a rematch was held in The Glazamon's hometown of Buffalo at Night of Champions. The result was no different, as Kelly Kelly once again pulled out the victory with her title intact.
After reigning as Divas Champion for 101 days, the Maxim star finally dropped the belt to Phoenix at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Kelly had some of her most well wrestled matches while champion and managed to prove many naysayers wrong.
4. Beth Phoenix
Although she reigned as Women's Champion three times over the course of her career, Beth Phoenix hadn't held the Divas Championship until 2011. As noted in the previous slide, Phoenix defeated Kelly Kelly to win the butterfly belt at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and embarked on a lengthy reign as champion.
She went on to successfully to defend her title against Eve at the Vengeance and Survivor Series pay-per-views, respectively. Both matches received rave reviews and were some of the best Divas matches of the year.
At TLC, Phoenix maintained possession over her belt by defeating Kelly Kelly. Shortly thereafter, she suffered an injury during a match with Alicia Fox and was sidelined from action for over a month.
Regardless, she wasn't forced to forfeit the title and returned to television at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, winning an eight-Diva tag team match. She decisively defeated Eve the next night on Raw to successfully retain the strap.
Although she had a successful title defense against Tamina at Elimination Chamber, she was on the losing end of a Divas tag team match at WrestleMania 28 after being pinned by Maria Menounos. She came close to becoming the longest-reigning Divas Champion in WWE history, but her lengthy reign was cut short at the hands of Nikki Bella on the April 23 edition of Raw.
The Glamazon failed to regain the belt in subsequent months and essentially became an enhancement talent to the other Divas of the division before departing the company last October.
3. Michelle McCool
At 2008's Great American Bash pay-per-view, Michelle McCool defeated Natalya to become the inaugural Divas Champion. During her 155-day reign as champion, McCool had many successful title defenses, one of which was against Maryse at the Unforgiven event.
However, she ultimately dropped the belt to Maryse on the final edition of SmackDown of the year and was unable to regain it. She subsequently turned heel and embarked on one of the best runs of her career a part of Lay-Cool.
McCool and Layla ruled the Divas division with an iron first for close to two years. The former school teacher defeated Melina at 2010's Night of Champions to unify the Women's and Divas Championships for the first time in history.
She reigned as Divas Champion for another two months before dropping the belt to Natalya at Survivor Series. McCool was a major cornerstone of the division before her departure in May 2011.
After reigning as Divas Champion for a whopping 155 days, Michelle McCool's reign came to an end on the December 26, 2008 edition of SmackDown at the hands of Maryse. From that point forward, Maryse embarked on what is still to this day the longest Divas Championship reign in WWE history.
She successfully defended her title against the likes of Maria, McCool and Gail Kim before bringing the butterfly belt to Raw in the 2009 WWE Draft. At Night of Champions, Mickie James defeated Maryse to end her unprecedented 216-day reign as champion.
That wouldn't the last time Maryse would hold the title, though, as she later regained it by winning a tournament in February 2010. She engaged in a feud with Eve soon after, whom she lost the belt to on the April 12 edition of Raw.
Eve became the first Divas Search winner to capture gold in WWE by defeating Maryse on the April 12 edition of Raw in 2010 to win her first Divas Championship. With one successful title defense under her belt at Over the Limit against Maryse, she later lost the strap to Alicia Fox at Fatal 4-Way and was unable regain the gold soon after.
However, as a surprise entrant in the Fatal 4-Way match at 2011's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Eve won her seconds Divas Championship and later successfully defended it against Natalya in a Lumberjill match on a subsequent edition of Raw.
Despite being Divas Champion, Eve was left off the WrestleMania 27 card and dropped the title to Brie Bella on the April 11 edition of Raw. In the year that followed, Eve turned heel, became the Assistant General Manager on SmackDown and once again set her sights on the gold last summer.
Since Layla's original opponent, Kaitlyn, was attacked backstage at Night of Champions, Eve appointed herself the replacement and defeated Layla to win her third Divas Championship. She reigned as champion for a whopping five months with successful title defenses against the likes of Layla, Kaitlyn and Naomi at Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series and TLC respectively.
In what was her final WWE match, Eve dropped the belt to Kaitlyn on the 20th Anniversary of Raw this past January. She "quit" (in storyline, of course) the company soon afterwards and hasn't been seen on WWE television since.
Eve is the only Diva in history to hold the butterfly belt three times. She single-handedly made the division relevant last year and helped revolutionized women's wrestling during her five year tenure, thus making her the greatest Divas Champion in history.