WWE: The Greatest Women's Champions of All Time

Christopher Olmstead@@whooyouknowitSenior Analyst IIIFebruary 11, 2013

WWE: The Greatest Women's Champions of All Time

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    The history of the WWE Women's Championship (and now Divas Championship) dates back to 1956.

    In the history of the WWE, there have been 37 different Women's Champions. This list is going to examine and rank the best Women's Champions of all time.

    The actual WWE Women's Championship was replaced in 2010 by the Divas Championship.

    For the sake of the article I have chosen to recognize all WWE Women's Championship reigns and all WWE Divas Championship reigns as one. 

    So, let's get the ball rolling.

Criteria

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    In order for a Diva to appear on this list, she must have held either the WWE Women's Championship or WWE Divas Championship.

    While compiling this list, stats such as the number of times as champion as well as the amount of time spent as champion were taken into consideration.

    However, this list isn't all about stats. If stats were the only criteria, then all I would have to provide you with would be the history of the championship.

    This list also takes into consideration the impact that each diva has made, whether that impact be on the sport, the company, her generation or just her division. Everything each Diva accomplished in her WWE career was taken into consideration.

    Lastly, the Diva's legacy was also a deciding factor in this list. Some Divas were multiple-time champions, but really didn't leave their imprint on the WWE.

    Now that we have discussed how the Divas were judged, it's time to find out who is the best.

Honorable Mention

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    Kelly Kelly

    Not including Kelly Kelly on this list was tough. Kelly might have been the most popular Diva from 2010 until she left the company in 2012. Although she is a former champion, her mic and in-ring skills were never polished enough to consider her as one of the best. Looks and personality can take a girl far, but in this case they cannot make her the best.

    Eve Torres

    Eve is a three-time champion, but she is also very forgettable. Eve wrestled during a time when the division lacked talent and storylines. Her work in the ring was decent but overall her career cannot be considered as one of the best.

    Ivory

    Ivory was a great in-ring performer. The issue for her was that she wrestled at a time when there was a lot of talent in her division. As a result, Ivory was out-shined a bit. Regardless, she was still a three-time champion.

10. Sable

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    Sable began her career with the WWE as many women did, as a manager.

    Sable provided managerial services for Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Marc Mero. Before winning her first and only Women's Championship, Sable had a high-profile feud with Marc Mero. The highlight of this feud came when she delivered her patented Sable Bomb to him.

    Sable won the Women's Championship from Jacqueline at the 1998 Survivor Series pay-per-view. She would go on to hold that championship for almost six months, before losing it to Debra.

    Some of Sable's biggest moments in WWE didn't even take place in the ring. Sable is a three-time Playboy cover girl. Two of those covers came when she was employed by WWE. Sable shared her final cover with Torrie Wilson. Sable's issues of Playboy are still some of the highest selling issues ever for the magazine.

    The other moment that fans will remember Sable for is the night that she competed against Jacqueline in a bikini contest. Sable's choice of bikini wear was her hand prints.

    Sable's rise came just as the Attitude Era was hitting. Although she may not be the most athletically gifted Diva on this list, she is one of the most successful. Sable opened many doors for future Divas by redefining the direction of the women's division.

    She also opened the door to Playboy, which many other Divas graciously walked through in the ensuing years.

9. Michelle McCool

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    Michelle McCool had what I consider to be a very underrated run with the WWE.

    McCool began her career by being part of the 2004 Diva Search. Although she did not win the competition, she was signed to a deal shortly thereafter. In 2006 she began to wrestle full-time using a heel teacher gimmick.

    In July 2008, McCool became the first-ever WWE Divas Champion after beating Natalya.

    In early 2009, she really began to hit her stride after being paired with Layla. The two would go on to form a duo called Lay-Cool and hold the Women's and Divas Championships on multiple occasions.

    In total, McCool had four championship reigns totaling just under 500 days. Her mic skills and in ring work made her character entertaining to watch.

    Aside from her title matches, McCool's most high-profile match took place at WrestleMania 27. It was on this night that LayCool and Dolph Ziggler lost to John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki. The match ended with Snooki pinning McCool.

    McCool was named Diva of the Year at the 2010 Slammy Awards, and she was also named 2010 Woman of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

8. Alundra Blayze

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    Blayze, better known by most wrestling fans as Madusa, was set to rule the women's division in 1993.

    Blayze won the previously vacated Women's Championship in December 1993. The WWE had a vision of her changing the landscape of women's wrestling. As a result of this, WWE brought in new female talent to feud with Blayze.

    Blayze dominated the women's division for almost a year and a half. During this span she was a three-time champion, holding the belt for over 500 days.

    Despite her in-ring success, Blayze will always be known for her first night in WCW.

    One of the early shots fired in the Monday night war came when Blayze threw the WWE Women's Championship into the garbage on WCW television.

    Blayze had been fired by WWE for financial reasons in 1995. She immediately was hired by WCW, who convinced her to bring her WWE Women's Championship to their television taping.

    Her dominance in WWE might have been short-lived, but it was still impressive.

7. Melina

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    Melina broke onto the scene in 2005.

    During the first year of her career, she was the manager for the tag team MNM. While managing, Melina became known for doing the splits during her entrance and her primal shrieking.

    In 2006 Melina began to compete as a singles competitor.

    She surprised many with her exceptional athletic ability. Melina's ascent in the women's division was slow. She received her first championship match in early 2007, winning her first title in February of the same year.

    Melina is a five-time WWE Women's Champion. She is also regarded as one of the better managers in WWE.

    Unfortunately, out-of-the-ring issues led to her departure from WWE back in 2011.

6. Beth Phoenix

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    Phoenix dominated the competition for the majority of her time spent in WWE.

    She first won the WWE Women's Championship in October 2007. It was shortly after this victory that she began using the "Glamazon" moniker.

    Phoenix is a four-time WWE Women's Champion. She was also one-half of Glamarella as well as one-half of the Divas of Doom.

    Phoenix won a WWE Slammy Award in 2008 after being named Diva of the Year.

    In 2010 Phoenix became the second woman ever to enter the Royal Rumble. During the 2010 Royal Rumble, she eliminated the Great Khali.

    In December 2011, Phoenix participated in the first-ever women's tag-team table match. She and partner Natalya were victorious over Lay-Cool.

    Phoenix was also a runner-up in 2008 and 2012 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's list of the 50 Best Female Wrestlers.

    When you think of dominant Divas, she is always going to come to mind.

5. Mickie James

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    Mickie James took the WWE by storm when she debuted as an obsessed Trish Stratus fan.

    James' work with Stratus pushed her immediately into the Women's Championship picture. James would win her first WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 22, just six months after debuting.

    James possessed a great in-ring work ethic and a knack for putting on quality matches.

    In her brief run with the WWE, James managed to be a six-time WWE Women's Champion. According to the WWE record books, this is the second-most all time.

    The first half of her WWE career was highlighted by great storylines and terrific in-ring work.

    The second half of her WWE career was marred by poor storylines. James suffered through a prolonged storyline in the final months of her tenure where her weight was the focal point.

    James was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female Wrestler of the Year in 2009, and again in 2011 after her WWE release. She was a huge asset to the company talent-wise, especially after the departures of Stratus and Lita.

    James is one of the best in-ring workers that WWE has ever willingly let go of.

4. Fabulous Moolah

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    Moolah is what you would have to consider the original Diva.

    According to the WWE record books, Moolah is the first recognized WWE Women's Champion.

    Moolah, as a four-time champion, held the belt for a whopping 10,708 days. Her final title reign came in 1999 when she won the belt at the age of 76 years old.

    Moolah is a legend not only in the realm of women's wrestling, but in the wrestling world as a whole. In 2010, WWE ranked Moolah as the 27th Best Wrestler of All Time.

    Other career accolades include being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (1995), the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (2003) and the NWA Hall of Fame (2012).

    Moolah was truly a pioneer for her time, and she undoubtedly opened doors for the remaining women on this list.

3. Chyna

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    Chyna was rightfully nicknamed "The Ninth Wonder of the World."

    The WWE had never seen a woman the likes of Chyna before, nor have they since. Her pure power and strength made her more suitable to tangle with the boys than the girls.

    Chyna spent a large part of her career as a manager. She managed DX, The Corporation and Triple H.

    Chyna was the first and only woman in WWE history to win the Intercontinental Championship. In fact, she won the Intercontinental Championship twice before winning her first Women's Championship. Chyna was also the first female to ever compete in the Royal Rumble.

    Chyna's impact on the business as a whole was seen when she was ranked No. 106 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Single Wrestlers list. She was the only female in the top 300 on the list that year.

    Chyna won her only Women's Championship at WrestleMania 17. She would then leave the company 214 days later, while still holding the Women's Championship.

    We may never see another Diva that could do what Chyna did. Beth Phoenix was comparable, but still not on that same level.

2. Lita

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    Lita is one of the most popular Divas to ever wrestle in WWE.

    She got her start as the manager for Essa Rios, but quickly hooked up with the Hardy Boyz. As a member of Team Xtreme, Lita began to hone her in-ring skills. Lita had a gift of always being one of the most consistent female in-ring performers.

    Lita is a four-time WWE Women's Champion, having won her first title in August 2000.

    Lita may be known best though for some of her off-screen issues. In 2005, Lita, who was dating Matt Hardy in real life, began a relationship with Edge. This off-screen love triangle would lead to Hardy being fired by WWE.

    WWE would then use their real off-screen issues as storyline fodder in the months to come. WWE hooked up Lita with Edge on television, making her his manager. One of the highlights of the on-screen Edge and Lita relationship was their live sex celebration on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

    Lita's greatest rival was Trish Stratus. These two ladies have had some of the most amazing matches in Divas history. In December 2004, Lita defeated Stratus in the RAW main event, to capture the WWE Women's Championship. This has been the only time the RAW main event consisted of only women.

    Lita was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated Woman of the Year in 2001. In 2005, she received the accolade of Feud of the Year for her work with Hardy.

    You cannot have a conversation about greatness in women's wrestling, and not mention Lita.

1. Trish Stratus

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    The greatest WWE Women's Champion of all time is none other than Trish Stratus. She captivated WWE fans for her entire tenure with the company.

    Stratus began her career managing the team of Test and Albert. About a year later, she finally broke into singles competition.

    Stratus won her first WWE Women's Championship at the 2001 Survivor Series. At the time Stratus was still a bit green in regards to her in-ring work, so her win was surprising. Over the years, Stratus developed into the greatest in-ring women's wrestler that the company has ever had.

    She has had memorable feuds with Lita, Mickie James, Jazz and Victoria. Stratus wrestled her last match in front of her hometown crowd in 2006, where she beat Lita for the WWE Women's Championship.

    Her win on that night made her a record-setting seven-time Women's Champion.

    Stratus has since returned to WWE on a part-time basis. She wrestled in a tag-team match with John Cena on Raw in 2008. Stratus also appeared at WrestleMania 27 where she teamed with Snooki and John Morrison to defeat Dolph Ziggler and Lay-Cool.

    Aside from her accomplishments with the Divas, Stratus is also a former WWE Hardcore Champion.

    Stratus was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated Woman of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. She also received their Woman of the Decade accolade (2000-2009). Stratus was named WWE Babe of the Year (2001-2003), as well as WWE Diva of the Decade (2000-2009).

    This year on the night before WrestleMania, Stratus will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Upon her induction, she will become the youngest person ever to be inducted.

Conclusion

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    Women in professional wrestling have sometimes been overlooked.

    This isn't to say that there haven't been some amazing female performers in WWE history, though.

    Who do you think the greatest Women's Champion of all time is?

    Let me know if you agree with my list or think that I overlooked someone.

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