Wrestling Gold: The History of the WWE Divas Championship
Throughout the history of professional wrestling, the business has awarded championship belts in many divisions. While some have been forgotten over the years, some titles have stood the test of time.
The WWE has seen almost 30 titles defended, but today only six remain.
TNA Wrestling began with three titles—the NWA world and tag-team championships as well its own X-Division title, but today it owns its own belts and fans see six titles defended between its ropes.
Ring of Honor Wrestling began with just two, but has since added another title to its ranks.
While Shimmer has only been around for a few years, the most well-known all-women’s wrestling promotion currently holds two titles.
This series of articles will concentrate on the active titles of the companies listed, as well as the NWA world and tag team championships, and any other active title the readers would like to see!
That’s right, if there’s a championship you’d like to see included, it will be added to the series.
For the first edition of Wrestling Gold, I present the WWE Divas Championship.
When the brand extension first happened, the WWE Women’s Championship was a title that appeared on both Raw and SmackDown. The title would soon become exclusive to the Raw brand, though, which left the women of SmackDown without a title to fight for.
On occasion, a SmackDown Diva did compete for the title, but it remained on Monday nights.
In 2008, general manager Vickie Guerrero announced that a new title would be created for the women of the blue brand. The WWE Divas Championship was created and became SmackDown’s exclusive women’s title.
The title became exclusive to Raw in 2009 while the women’s title was sent to SmackDown.
In 2010, the two titles were unified. While the WWE Women’s Championship was abandoned, the Divas Championship remained and now appears on both Raw and SmackDown.
Throughout the title's four-year history, it has seen 18 champions. So let’s get started!
Where: Long Island, N.Y.
When: July 20, 2008
Event: The Great American Bash
Title Reign: 155 days
Since Raw had the WWE Women’s Championship, and the SmackDown Divas couldn’t compete for it, SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero created the WWE Divas Championship for the blue brand.
Michelle McCool would go onto defeat Natalya, after both of them won qualifying matches, to become the first WWE Diva’s champion.
Michelle McCool made her debut in 2004 as a member of the Diva Search. While she ultimately lost to Christy Hemme, she was still signed to a contract and soon debuted on SmackDown.
She got involved in a feud with MNM which saw her sent to Deep South Wrestling at the end of it. McCool returned to SmackDown in 2006 as a heel and became the valet of K.C. James and Idol Stevens, who feuded with then-tag champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick.
McCool was injured by the end of the year and didn’t return until March 2007.
Defeated: Michelle McCool
Where: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: Dec. 22, 2008
Title Reign: 216 days
The title became exclusive to Raw when Maryse was drafted on April 13, 2009.
Maryse made her debut in 2006 as a member of the Diva Search that was eventually won by Layla. Despite her elimination, Maryse was signed to a contract and sent for training.
She made the occasional appearance on SmackDown while training, but began to appear more regularly in 2008.
She became a heel and was mostly used in gimmick matches such as bikini contests and didn’t have her first actual match until May.
She first competed for the Divas Championship in September in a losing effort and soon disappeared after defeating then-champion Michelle McCool in a non-title match on ECW.
She returned in November and became the No. 1 contender for the title the following month. She would win the title a week later and currently holds the record for longest reigning champion.
When: July 26, 2009
Event: Night of Champions
Title Reign: 78 days
Mickie James made her debut in 1999 on the independent circuit as a manager. Under the name Alexis Laree, she soon started to wrestle and caught the eye of TNA Wrestling in 2003.
She appeared sparingly until she became a member of Raven’s new flock, the Gathering. While with TNA, she became the first woman to ever compete in Raven’s signature match, the Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match.
By the end of the year, she was picked up by WWE and send to Ohio Valley Wrestling for further training. She debuted in 2005 as Mickie James and was an obsessive fan of Trish Stratus.
The angle resulted in Mickie winning the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 22. Upon Trish’s retirement, Mickie would soon become the most popular Diva in the company and remained a face all the way up to her release in 2010.
Her time with WWE resulted in winning this title once and the Women’s Championship on five occasions.
She wrestled in the independents before returning to TNA in October. She is a two-time Knockout’s champion and can still be seen with the company.
Defeated: Mickie James
When: Oct. 12, 2009
Title Reign: Five minutes
Jillian Hall made her debut in 1998 as Macaela Mercedes on the independent circuit. She wrestled for many all-women promotions such as G.L.O.R.Y. before being signed by WWE in 2004.
She debuted on SmackDown as a public relations representative for MNM in 2005 and had a massive growth on the side of her face. She was soon approached by John Bradshaw Layfield and Jillian joined his cabinet.
While a member of the cabinet, the Boogeyman bit the growth off her face and she helped JBL to win the United States Championship.
JBL fired her in April after she slammed a cage door on his head and she entered into Diva obscurity afterward. Mostly appearing to fill a spot in a tag match or as a jobber, Jillian didn’t do much.
She soon became a comedy character, singing to the audience in the worst possible way. After very briefly winning this title, she went to Florida Championship Wrestling to become a trainer, but was released in November after WWE opted not to renew her contract.
You can still see Hall in the independents.
Defeated: Jillian Hall
When: Oct. 12, 2009
Title Reign: 84 days
Melina was stripped of the title on January 4, 2010, due to a torn ACL. The title was declared vacant and a tournament was set up to decide the new champion.
Melina debuted in 2002 on the independent circuit. She tried out for Tough Enough III in 2002 but didn’t make the final cut.
She continued in the independents until being signed to WWE in 2004, making her debut as a member of the MNM stable with Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury in 2005.
She would bring the team three Tag Team Championships before she and Nitro turned on Mercury. She stuck with Nitro, managing him to the Intercontinental Championship and finally entered into singles competition in 2006.
She would finally win her first Women’s Championship in February 2007, eventually winning the title two more times in her WWE career.
Defeated: Gail Kim
When: Feb. 22, 2010
Title Reign: 49 days
Maryse defeated Gail Kim in a tournament final to win the vacant title.
Maryse was drafted to Raw in April 2009 and was mostly involved in random feuds. She began a feud with Mickie James in late spring and it ultimately resulted in her losing the title at the July PPV Night of Champions.
Maryse took a break to recover from an injury and returned in November, attacking Melina disguised as the Gobbledy Gooker. She would soon reclaim the title in February but would only hold it for a little over a month.
She entered into Diva obscurity after that, appearing to fill a spot when needed. While she did get multiple shots at the title, she would never win it back.
Maryse would soon become Ted DiBiase’s valet. Once he dropped her, she became the co-host of WWE NXT.
She suffered an injury in August 2011 and was released two months later.
Maryse can still be seen by the side of the Miz at public functions and has a clothing/jewelry line coming this summer.
Where: London, England
When: April 12, 2010
Title Reign: 69 days
Eve Torres made her debut in 2007 as a member, and eventual winner, of the final Diva Search. After winning, she was sent to FCW for training before making her official debut on SmackDown in 2008.
She was mainly used for bikini and dance contests before making her in-ring debut toward the end of the year in a 16-Diva tag match.
She wrestled on occasion in random matches and feuds before gaining the No. 1 contender spot in April 2010. She won the Divas Championship the following week.
After losing the title, she began to manage R-Truth, but the storyline was dropped when she reclaimed the title in January.
Defeated: Eve Torres, Maryse, Gail Kim
Where: Long Island, N.Y.
When: June 20, 2010
Event: Fatal 4-Way
Title Reign: 56 days
This was a fatal four-way match.
Alicia Fox was signed to WWE in 2006 after John Laurinaitis saw her picture in a fashion magazine.
She wrestled for WWE’s developmental territories before making her debut on SmackDown in 2008 as a wedding planner. After the storyline was finished, she disappeared for three months before popping up on ECW as the valet to D.J. Gabriel.
They were separated when Alicia was drafted to SmackDown in April 2009, but she was traded to Raw two months later.
She would be involved in random feuds to keep her relevant until she won this title about a year later. Upon losing the belt, she was used sparingly but eventually turned face late last summer.
Despite the face turn, though, Alicia is still used sparingly. She is still with WWE, but you won’t see her very often.
Defeated: Alicia Fox
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Aug. 15, 2010
Title Reign: 35 days
Working as both a face and a heel throughout her tenure, Melina would be one of the few actual wrestlers on the roster. Together with the likes of Mickie James and Beth Phoenix, she helped keep the Divas division afloat.
She managed to capture this title on two occasions before entering into her final WWE feud with Gail Kim. Melina would be released in August 2011.
Melina has since been appearing for various independent promotions, including Women Superstars Uncensored, Family Wrestling Entertainment and the World Wrestling Fan Xperience.
When: Sept. 19, 2010
Event: Night of Champions
Title Reign: One day
At the Night of Champions pay-per-view, the WWE Divas Championship was put on the line in a unification match with the WWE Women’s Championship.
When Michelle McCool defeated Melina, she was recognized as the WWE Unified Divas Champion, and the WWE Women’s Championship was abandoned.
McCool returned from injury in March 2007 as a face, but she was used in random Divas matches and feuds as the women on SmackDown didn’t have much purpose on the blue brand with no title to compete for.
When one was created, McCool became the inaugural champion and held the title for five months, turning heel in the process. After turning heel, McCool would attack face Divas until finally winning the Women’s Championship in July 2009.
As the fall hit, McCool would form an alliance with Layla to create LayCool.
LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool)
When: Sept. 20, 2010
Title Reign: 32 days
The next night on Raw, Michelle McCool announced that SmackDown consultant Vickie Guerrero put a clause in hers and Layla’s contracts stating that if one of them is champion, they both were.
LayCool became the self-professed co-champions and defended the title under the Freebird Rule, which states that either of them could defend it.
On October 24, 2010, WWE stopped referring to the title as the WWE Unified Divas Championship. It was now just the Divas title and LayCool were still recognized as co-champions.
LayCool debuted as a unit at the Bragging Rights PPV in October and soon started to raise hell. They became a force to be reckoned with and you didn’t want to be in their path of destruction.
Mickie James was their first victim, resulting in the “Piggie James” segment. The team would soon align itself with Vickie Guerrero and the trio would embarrass the likes of Tiffany, Kelly Kelly, Rosa Mendes and many more throughout 2010.
When Layla pinned Beth Phoenix in a handicap match, she became the new champion. But LayCool started to carry around two titles claiming to be co-champions. When SmackDown general manager Teddy Long told them they could only have one belt, thus one champion, they accidentally broke it in two and remained co-champions.
McCool was soon chosen to represent the two and defeated Melina to unify both of WWE’s women’s titles. LayCool would begin to carry around matching Divas Championship belts, but would lose the titles two months later.
After they got their rematch and lost, McCool started to blame Layla for everything and the team began to feud.
Layla would win the feud at Extreme Rules last year, forcing McCool to retire.
Michelle McCool remains retired while Layla just returned to the WWE from injury.
When: Nov. 21, 2010
Event: Survivor Series
Title Reign: 70 days
This was a handicap match.
Natalya debuted in 2000 as a ring announcer. Trained in the Hart Dungeon, the daughter of Jim Neidhart made her wrestling debut in 2003 in Stampede Wrestling.
She wrestled for various independent promotions before being signed to WWE in 2007. After spending a year in developmental, Natalya made her WWE debut in early 2008 on SmackDown.
She wrestled mostly in tag matches throughout the year before moving to ECW to manage Tyson Kidd. They were soon joined by David Hart Smith to form the Hart Dynasty.
While wrestling on occasion, Natalya would lead the Hart Dynasty to tag-team gold in April 2010. They would lose the titles five months later and break up in November.
Natalya soon entered into a feud with co-Divas champions LayCool, eventually winning the title with help from Beth Phoenix.
After losing the belt, Natalya appeared sparingly until being paired up with Divas champion Beth Phoenix as the Divas of Doom.
The storyline unfortunately fell flat, and the two started to distance themselves from each other.
Natalya is still on SmackDown, last seen with a farting gimmick.
Defeated: Natalya, LayCool
When: Jan. 30, 2011
Event: Royal Rumble
Title Reign: 71 days
This was a fatal four-way match.
During her second title reign, the fans started to not care too much for her. She would get zero reaction as champion, which was bringing the division down further than it already was.
She continued to get a dead reaction from fans until she lost the title and paired up with Kelly Kelly. Even with the WWE Universe’s favorite Diva, Eve continued to get a lackluster reaction, if she was getting one at all.
She was soon paired up with Zack Ryder and began to get booed by the fans. WWE finally got smart and pulled the trigger on a heel turn in February of this year when she turned on Ryder and also began to use him.
She continues with her heel persona as an executive administrator to Raw and SmackDown general manager John Laurinaitis.
Defeated: Eve Torres
Where: Bridgeport, Conn.
When: April 11, 2011
Title Reign: 70 days
Brie Bella, along with her twin sister Nikki, made her debut in 2007 in WWE’s developmental territory FCW.
She made her WWE debut on SmackDown in the summer of 2008 with a gimmick of rolling under the ring hurt only to come back out re-energized. It was soon revealed that Brie had a twin and they were switching places during matches.
Since then, the Bella Twins have stayed together, mostly as eye candy. While they did compete in matches, the WWE only seemed interested in their looks.
That became evident when they became arm candy for every Raw guest host during the concept. Once the concept was dropped, the Bella’s received more match time and Brie received a shot at the Divas Championship.
She surprisingly won the title and held onto it for a little more than two months. Once she lost the title, the Bellas stayed in the title hunt, but wouldn’t be able to win back the gold until Nikki won it a year after her sister did.
Nikki would lose the title six days later at Extreme Rules, and both Bella Twins would be released the next night on Raw.
Defeated: Brie Bella
When: June 20, 2011
Title Reign: 104 days
Kelly Kelly made her debut in 2006 in OVW. By the end of the year, she made her WWE debut on ECW with an exhibitionist gimmick. She would basically strip for the audience and that’s all she did.
Kelly’s Exposé became a weekly segment, but was usually interrupted by her on-screen boyfriend Mike Knox. She soon became a forced valet to Knox and made her in-ring debut in August.
She continued on as Knox’s valet while also competing in the occasional match and bikini contest. Once Knox dumped her, Kelly debuted Extreme Exposé alongside Layla and Brooke.
In 2008, she was drafted to Raw and began to wrestle more often. Kelly would be involved in random feuds and get the occasional title shot before being drafted to SmackDown in 2010.
While on SmackDown, Kelly would become very popular with the WWE Universe and that got her more television time and matches. After heading back to Raw in the 2011 draft, Kelly entered into a feud with the Bella Twins, eventually winning the Divas Championship.
She soon started feuding with Beth Phoenix. That resulted in many upset victories for Kelly before finally losing the title in October.
Kelly remained in the title hunt for the rest of the year, but has pretty much disappeared lately.
She was last seen in a major role at WrestleMania XXVIII in tag-team action.
Defeated: Kelly Kelly
Where: New Orleans
When: Oct. 2, 2011
Event: Hell in a Cell
Title Reign: 204 days
Beth Phoenix made her debut in 2001 on the independent circuit. She wrestled for various promotions before being picked up by WWE and sent to OVW in 2004.
She trained at OVW for two years before making her WWE debut on RAW in 2006 as an ally to Trish Stratus.
Over the next six years, Beth Phoenix would become a dominate force in the Divas division. Being both a face and a heel, she would capture this title once and the now-defunct Women’s Championship on three occasions.
She has feuded with and overshadowed pretty much every single Diva on the roster. Beth is probably the best wrestler among the Divas. Most hoped that her reign as champion would save the division.
Unfortunately, WWE dropped the ball and after a while she started to disappear from programming, only appearing to defend her title.
Beth Phoenix is currently out of action with a storyline injury, but will hopefully be returning soon to feud over the title with the current champion.
Defeated: Beth Phoenix
Where: Detroit, Mich.
When: April 23, 2012
Event: Raw SuperShow
Title Reign: Six days
Since the Bella twins basically had the same career, go back to Brie if you really want to read it again.
Defeated: Nikki Bella
When: April 29, 2012
Event: Extreme Rules
Title Reign: Three days and counting
Layla made her debut in 2006 as a member and eventual winner of the Diva Search. She appeared sparingly after winning the competition, mostly as eye candy.
She made her in-ring debut in a Trick-or-Treat Battle Royal, but soon moved to ECW in 2007 as a member of Extreme Exposé.
When Brooke was released, Layla and Kelly entered in a feud, but she was drafted to Raw in 2008. She entered into a storyline with Jamie Noble as he tried to impress her, but she began to manage William Regal instead.
She would bring him to an Intercontinental Championship in November.
In 2009, Layla was drafted to SmackDown where she was paired up with Michelle McCool as LayCool. Together, they dominated the Divas division until their breakup in April 2011.
Layla won the feud, sending McCool into retirement after a match at Extreme Rules.
Layla then went down with an injury and didn’t return until this year’s Extreme Rules, where she was the mystery opponent for Nikki Bella.
Final Thoughts and Statistics
Most Reigns: Maryse, Melina, Michelle McCool and Eve Torres (2)
Longest Reign: Maryse (216 days)
Longest Combined Reign: Maryse (265 days)
Shortest Reign: Jillian Hall (5 minutes)
The WWE Divas Championship was unfortunately kept over the Women’s Championship. I would much perfer to see the women’s title. But with the division marketed as “Divas,” it’s understandable why they kept the title they did.
The belt itself is horrendous. They are in desperate need of a new design. The current butterfly plate makes the title look more like a Barbie accessory than a championship belt.
The only thing in WWE that gets less attention than the Divas division is the tag-team division. The lack of focus on the women in WWE is a shame.
While they have only a few legitimate wrestlers on the roster, some of the other women like Layla, Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres have worked very hard over the years to improve.
The Divas deserve more attention than what they’re getting, But I don’t think it’ll ever happen.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Wrestling Gold.
As for the next editions, they will be ordered like this: the women’s title will be featured first followed by the TNA TV Championship. You’ll then see the tag titles, the mid-card titles and finally the world titles.
Ring of Honor and Shimmer will be in between, and whatever title you’d want to see will be that way as well.
A new edition will be featured every Wednesday.
The title “Wrestling Gold” thought up by editor Jeff D. Gorman.