WWE Attitude Era Divas: Looking at the Past and Present
The WWE Attitude Era Divas were as important as their male counterparts. For the first time in the company’s history, they weren’t just eye candy, but grapplers as well.
The women of the WWE from 1996 until 2001 were a part of a golden age. They were no longer an afterthought, but a huge part of the show.
They were involved in storylines that shaped the company and competed in matches that were as violent and athletic as the men.
Sometimes they wrestled the men.
Nearly all of these women are now gone from the WWE, but where are they now?
Lisa Moretti, aka Ivory, is one of the most memorable Divas from the Attitude Era.
Before coming to the WWE in 1999, Ivory spent time wrestling for G.L.O.W., the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Frustration with that company and the follow up, Powerful Women of Wrestling, led to her quitting wrestling. (WWE.com)
A one-time appearance in the WWE brought a contract and a career.
In her six-and-a-half-years with the company, she would win the women’s title three times, all within one year, and frustrate fans by joining Right to Censor.
As her career with WWE began to wind down, she became a trainer on the WWE show Tough Enough, before being officially released in 2005.
Today, she lives in Friday Harbor, Wash., where she works with animals. She runs a complete dog daycare business called Downtown Dog.
Jacqueline Moore had a big impact in the WWE.
She burst on the scene as Marc Mero’s girlfriend, where she went on to feud with his ex-wife, Sable. She won the WWF Women’s Championship two times and was the first women to wear the strap since it became inactive after Alundra Blayze defected to WCW.
She holds the honor of being the third woman to hold the WWF Cruiserweight Championship, when she beat Chavo Guerrero after his open challenge.
After she was released in June 2004, Jacqueline first went to the independent circuit. She appeared in TNA several times between 2004 and 2011. She never captured the Knockouts title, and left the company when her contract expired.
She has done work in film and television.
What would the Attitude Era have been without Lita?
Amy Dumas debuted as Lita in 2000, first alongside Essa Rios, then, much more famously, with The Hardy Boyz as Team Xtreme.
She quickly rose up the ranks when she began to compete, winning her first of four WWF Women’s Championships when she defeated Stephanie McMahon in 2000. (WWE.com)
According to her website, TheAmyDumas.com, she holds the distinction of being the only female to become physically involved in a TLC match.
She retired after losing her fourth title to Mickie James in 2006.
These days she makes music with her band, The Luchagores, and hosts a radio show, Punkrockalypse.
She and Trish Stratus are working on a film about Mexican wrestling, in which they will star. She has also opened a lucha-themed restaurant in Atlanta, Ga. (TheAmyDumas.com)
Rena Lesnar, formerly Rena Mero and better known as Sable, is one of the most famous Divas of the Attitude Era.
She debuted in 1996, when she accompanied Triple H to the ring at WrestleMania XII. After suffering verbal abuse by The Game, she paired up with her real-life husband, Marc Mero.
She quickly became more popular than Mero. She turned on Mero after she performed a Sable bomb, her version of a powerbomb, on him. (WWE.com)
She would go on to grace the cover of TV Guide and become the first WWE Diva to appear in Playboy twice in one year.
Sable would become the second Diva to hold the newly reactivated WWF Women’s Championship, a title she held only once.
She left the WWE in 1999 and, despite a sexual harassment lawsuit, she returned in 2003.
Sable and Marc Mero would divorce in 2004. In 2006 she married Brock Lesnar. She has two sons with Lesnar, in addition to a stepdaughter from his first marriage.
Trish Stratus is easily the best of the Attitude Era Divas. WWE.com says she might be the greatest of all time.
Trish debuted in 2000, first appearing as a manager for Test, Albert and Val Venis. But with her background as a fitness model and her natural athletic ability, she soon transitioned into a full-time wrestler.
Within her first year of competing, she captured the first of her seven WWF Women’s Championships.
After she left the WWE in 2006, she was a trainer on Tough Enough. She also appeared on the short-lived TV show, Armed & Famous and hosted the Canadian show, The Second City's Next Comedy Legend.
She made her film debut in the 2011 flick, Bail Enforcers.
Trish married her boyfriend of 14 years in 2006.
Terri Poch already had half a decade of experience when she joined the WWE in 1998 as Tori.
She started as an obsessed fan, showing up at Sable’s matches. They eventually had a match for the women’s title at WrestleMania XV, which Sable won.
Tori next feuded with Ivory over the same title, resulting in the first-ever women’s hardcore match on Monday Night Raw in 1999. She had an interesting angle as Kane’s girlfriend, before betraying him and joining forces with X-Pac.
At King of the Ring in 2000, she was in a table and dumpster match along side X-Pac and Road Dogg against The Dudley Boyz. It ended with Tori being powerbombed through a table.
She returned to the WWE for one night in 2001 as The Black Ninja, helping Raven to keep the Hardcore championship. She worked as a trainer on Tough Enough until she was released from the company later that year.
She now runs her own yoga studio in Portland.
Luna Vachon had two runs in the WWE, the second during the Attitude Era.
Born Trudy Gertrude Elizabeth Wilkerson in Atlanta, Ga., she became a Vachon when her mother remarried, adopted by Butcher Vachon in 1966. (TBO.com)
As one of the few third-generation women wrestlers, she trained under Vivian Vachon and The Fabulous Moolah. (WWE.com)
After a brief stint in the WWE in 1993-94, as well as ECW and WCW, she returned to the WWE in 1997 as Goldust’s manager. She feuded with Sable, then teamed with her in The Oddities. Luna became a fan favorite for the first time.
She chased but never captured the women’s title throughout 1999. In early 2000, she briefly managed her then-husband Gangrel, before leaving the WWE.
She wrestled on the independent circuit for the next seven years before retiring.
On Aug. 10, 2010, she died from an accidental overdose of oxycodone and benzodiazepine.
Holly debuted in the WWE in 2000, appearing as Lady Ophelia and managing William Regal in Memphis Championship Wrestling.
She would debut as Molly Holly in November of 2000, embarking on a feud with Trish Stratus and The Dudley Boyz and memorably dating Spike Dudley.
She held the WWF Hardcore Championship for one hour in 2001.
Her biggest success came after the Attitude Era ended, when she won the women’s title twice, in 2002 and 2004. She left the company in 2005.
Since leaving she has made appearances on the independent circuit, most notably in Northern IMPACT Wrestling. In 2007, she began to work for Minnesota Teen Challenge, a nonprofit treatment center that helps drug addicts. (Presspubs.com)
She was married in 2010.
Stacy Carter, the ex-wife of Jerry Lawler, debuted in the WWE in 1999 as Miss Kitty, the assistant to Debra. Shortly thereafter, she began managing Chyna, going so far as to dress like her as well.
Though she was never a trained wrestler, she began a brief career in the ring. At Armageddon in 1999, she won her first and only WWF Women’s Championship.
She very famously flashed her breasts on camera after winning the belt.
An arm wrestling match with Terri Runnels at Insurrextion in 2000 led to The Kat’s exposure once again.
She was let go in the middle of an angle with Right to Censor. Lawler quit the WWE in protest.
After leaving the WWE, she briefly worked on the independent circuit before leaving wrestling. She worked in real estate in Florida after her divorce from Lawler.
In 2010, she became engaged to former WWE wrestler Kizarny.
The daughter of Vince McMahon played a huge part in the Attitude Era.
Her first in-ring appearances involved her getting caught in the feud between The Corporation and The Ministry. As noted by WWE.com, she seemed overwhelmed at first, but quickly wed Triple H and helped to orchestrate an on-screen takeover of the WWE.
She captured the women’s title in 2000 and held it for five months. In 2001 she bought ECW and joined her brother Shane’s WCW in a takeover attempt.
She served as General Manager of SmackDown in 2002-2003, and as Raw General Manager in 2008-2009.
Her appearances have been more sporadic since 2010. She last appeared onscreen and in the ring on Monday Night Raw’s 1000th episode.
She now works as executive vice president of creative for the WWE. She and Triple H married in 2003 and the couple has three children.
Debra debuted in the WWE in 1998 after a brief stint in WCW with her then-husband, Steve “Mongo” McMichael.
She first spent time managing Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart, up until Hart’s untimely death in 1999. It was during this time that she would begin to unbutton her blouse to distract opponents.
According to Jerry Lawler’s book It's Good to Be the King...Sometimes, the word “puppies” began to be used because of this, first by Road Dogg and then more famously by Lawler.
Debra would defeat Sable in an Evening Gown match for the women’s title, before losing it to Ivory less than a month later.
She made sporadic appearances between 1999 and 2002 before leaving the company.
Debra married Steve Austin in 2000, but the two divorced in 2003 after allegations of spousal abuse. (Thesmokinggun.com)
In the last few years, she has appeared in three movies, two still in post-production.
Joanie Lauer was in the WWE for almost the entire Attitude Era and had quite the impact.
Billed as “The Ninth Wonder of the World” and trained by Killer Kowalski, the former bodybuilder was brought to the WWE by Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
She debuted in 1997, jumping from the ringside seats and choking out Marlena while Triple H fought Goldust. She would become the bodyguard for DX.
In 1999, she became the first female to enter the Royal Rumble. She entered at No. 30, lasted only 35 seconds but eliminated Mark Henry.
In that same year, she was the first woman in the King of the Ring and the first to be the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. Chyna also became the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship.
She left the WWE in 2001, after being off TV for several months. She had a brief stint in TNA in 2011.
In recent years, she has appeared in pornographic movies.
The majority of Mae Young’s wrestling career occurred before the Attitude Era.
She began wrestling in 1939, earning many titles along the way, including becoming the first-ever NWA United States Women’s champion. She has been active for eight decades.
She debuted in the WWE in 1999 when she and The Fabulous Moolah appeared on SmackDown. Jeff Jarrett put the 76-year-old Young into a figure-four leglock.
She and Moolah began to appear regularly. They defeated Ivory in a Handicapped Evening Gown match that saw Young get stripped to her underwear. She won a bikini contest at the 2000 Royal Rumble and had an on-screen affair with Mark Henry.
After announcing her pregnancy, The Dudley Boyz powerbombed her through a table on two different editions of Monday Night Raw. She gave birth to a hand later that year.
She made sporadic appearances in the WWE between 2002 and 2012. She most recently appeared in one of Team Hell No’s Anger Management skits.
The Fabulous Moolah
Like her long-time friend Mae Young, The Fabulous Moolah returned to the sport in her later years.
Moolah began wrestling in 1949 and is best known as the longest reigning Women’s champion in history. She held the NWA World Women’s Championship, which became the WWF Women’s Championship, for the better part of 28 years.
In 1995 she was the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame.
After her return to the WWE in 1999, she went on to beat Ivory for her fourth title, becoming the oldest champion in history. She would lose the title eight days later.
In 2003 she wrestled Victoria in celebration of her 80th birthday.
Moolah made occasional appearances over the next five years.
She died on Nov. 2, 2007, at the age of 84.
Terri Runnels was Marlena and the real-life wife of Dustin Runnels, aka Goldust. As the cigar-smoking manager, she was a risque addition to the Divas division in 1996.
After her association with Goldust ended, Marlena managed Val Venis, before a fake pregnancy angle broke up the pair. She teamed with Jacqueline as the Pretty Mean Sisters who then joined D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry.
At different points in 1999 she managed both The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. She would go on to feud with The Kat and manage The Radicalz.
In 2001 she replaced Trish Status as host of Excess, began to do backstage interviews and occasionally wrestle. In 2002, she briefly held the hardcore title.
She asked for and was granted her release in 2004.
After leaving the WWE, she has worked for various charities. She and Dustin Runnels divorced in 1999 and she briefly dated New Jack in 2009.