When many people think of the WWE, they think of longtime stars and legends such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or even Hulk Hogan. They may also think of current superstars such as John Cena, Roman Reigns, or Brock Lesnar. But there’s a lot more to the WWE’s success than just its male superstars. Female performers have been a big part of the WWE for decades now, and they often provide some of the biggest highlights of the entire show.
Torrie Wilson In WWE
Torrie Wilson started out her career as a fitness model before moving on to work in WCW and ultimately, the WWE. There, she was a Diva for seven years, with entertaining storylines that included feuds with the likes of Ashley Massaro and Sable. Against Sable, she wrestled in what’s called the most downloaded match ever at Judgment Day 2002. She never won a women’s title, but she was one of the biggest stars of her era.
Torrie Wilson In Real Life
WWE fans were lucky enough to see the beautiful Torrie Wilson on WWE programming fairly recently, as she participated in the 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw special during a segment to honor legendary female competitors. She was also one of the competitors in the historic first women’s Royal Rumble match. These days, she focuses on her lifestyle and fitness brand while running a website about her business.
Bull Nakano In WWE
Although Bull Nakano was a very unfamiliar face to WWE fans when she debuted in 1994, she was already a big star in her native Japan. She immediately showed that she was serious about winning the women’s title, going after Alundra Blayze with the help of Luna Vachon. Sure enough, she did win the belt, but her stay in WWE was not long, and she disappeared from the organization a few months later.
Bull Nakano In Real Life
If you saw Keiko Nakano on the street, there’s no way that you would suspect that she was the same Bull Nakano that terrorized the women’s division in the mid-1990s and unseated Alundra Blayze for the title. You’d be even more surprised about what she did after retiring from wrestling in 1997: she became a golfer. That’s right, she practiced for years and eventually made it into the LPGA.
Kelly Kelly In WWE
From when she debuted on WWE programming in 2006, Kelly Kelly was a big hit with fans, especially male fans. See, she wasn’t afraid to show off a little exhibitionism in her segments, which were appropriately named “Kelly’s Expose.” The curiously named WWE Diva would go on to the Raw brand in 2008, challenging for multiple titles but not getting the three-count. Finally, she won the Divas Championship in April of 2011, and her dream came true.
Kelly Kelly In Real Life
If you were wondering if “Kelly Kelly” is a made-up name, well, it is. She was actually born Barbara Jean Blank, and she has been active in modeling and appeared on the reality show WAGS LA after retiring from wrestling in 2012. She has also gotten into acting, even appearing on the long-running American soap opera Days of Our Lives!
Jacqueline In The Ring
Jacqueline would be a fan favorite for much of her career, but she was very much a bad girl when she debuted in the late 90s. She was brought in as a believable foil for Sable, and she did her job well. She even defeated Chavo Guerrero to win the Cruiserweight Championship in 2004, breaking gender barriers in the process. She worked mostly as a manager after 2004 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
Jacqueline In Real Life
Jacqueline’s full name is Jacqueline Moore, and she has had the honor of being the first black woman to join the WWE Hall of Fame. When her wrestling career was over, she got into acting, taking classes and eventually appearing in a number of TV movies, including Against All Odds. She was last seen at the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match but was tossed out of the ring by Nia Jax.
Rosa Mendes In WWE
Back in 2006, the annual WWE Diva Search included a contestant named Melina Roucka. Fans would go on to know her better as Rosa Mendes, however. She was eliminated from the contest fairly early but worked hard in a developmental deal in OVW and FCW to learn the wrestling business. She joined the Raw brand in 2008, wrestling and managing the former tag team champions Primo & Epico.
Rosa Mendes In Real Life
In February 2017, Rosa broke fans’ hearts by announcing her retirement from wrestling. However, she was ready to start devoting more time to her family, as she had a child in 2016 with husband Bobby Schubenski, a clothing designer and musician. She is an entrepreneur of sorts, as she runs a fitness website called “Totally Fit Mama” where she shares meal plans, workouts, and other helpful fitness information.
Sasha Banks In WWE
The woman known as “The Boss” was a big hit on the independent circuit, especially around the Boston area, before she got signed by the WWE. She would join NXT in 2014 and work her way up to the WWE, where she was immediately a fan favorite. The petite diva has a personality that definitely shines in her television and live appearances, and she has already won four women’s titles!
Sasha Banks In Real Life
Although Sasha Banks has lived in Boston for many years, she was born in California and moved a lot with her family. Her brother was disabled, which made it difficult for the family to stay put while providing him with the best care possible. Her stage persona is a collaborative effort with help from her cousin, famous rapper Snoop Dogg. She is married to former wrestler and current WWE costume designer Kid Mikaze.
Beth Phoenix In WWE
Beth Phoenix did not get off to the best start in the WWE, as she broke her jaw in her first Raw match in 2006. However, she would go on to have a wonderful career, racking up three women’s championships. She also was the second woman ever to compete in the men’s Royal Rumble match, during which she eliminated The Great Kahli himself! Beth retired in 2012 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as its youngest entrant in 2017.
Beth Phoenix In Real Life
Beth’s real name is Elizabeth Kocianski, and in real life she has been married to fellow WWE Hall of Famer Edge since 2016. She recently was seen back on WWE television as one of the participants of the first women’s Royal Rumble match. That made her the only person ever to compete in both the men’s and women’s versions of the match. She also has worked as a color commentator for the WWE from time to time.
Alexa Bliss In WWE
Alexa Bliss worked hard for three years in the NXT developmental league before being brought on to Smackdown in 2016. She quickly won the show’s women’s title and kept on winning when she joined Raw in 2017. She was the longest-running Raw Women’s Champion until she lost her belt to former friend Nia Jax at WrestleMania 34.
Alexa Bliss In Real Life
This may not be hard to believe, but Alexa Bliss was a bodybuilder before she got into wrestling. Back then, she was known as Alexis Kaufman. Aside from strength training, she’s very much into Disney films, cosplay, and other delightfully nerdy pursuits. She loves pop culture and has patterned her in-ring outfits after characters like Freddy Krueger, Harley Quinn, and Iron Man.
Paige In WWE
Paige joined the WWE in 2011, but was learning her trade in developmental territories until 2014. Her debut on the main roster was made with a splash and she was immediately successful, winning the title in her first match. She was just 21 at the time, and she has gone on to add another Divas Championship since then. She also won the first-ever NXT Women’s Championship during her time there.
Paige In Real Life
Paige has not had as smooth a time outside of the ring as she has inside of it. Paige, who was born as Saraya-Jade Bevis, has been suspended twice for violations of the WWE’s wellness policy, with the second time being confirmed as being related to an illegal substance. In 2017, she returned as a member of the all-girls trio Absolution.
Ronda Rousey In WWE
Ronda Rousey is the latest superstar to debut in the women’s division, but she came to the organization with much more notoriety than your average newbie. That’s because she was not only the first American woman to win an Olympic judo medal, but also a dominant UFC Bantamweight Champion for years. She retired from the UFC and joined the WWE in 2018, defeating Stephanie McMahon with her signature armbar at WrestleMania 34.
Ronda Rousey In Real Life
Although Ronda Rousey was a UFC fighter not long ago, her transition isn’t that surprising. She previously appeared along with The Rock at an earlier WrestleMania and often spoke positively of wrestling and icons such as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in interviews. She is usually quite private but seems to be adjusting well to all of the attention she gets from wrestling fans.
Melina In WWE
WWE fans surely remember Melina’s debut in 2004, as she debuted as the mysterious beauty behind the championship tag team MNM, which would win three titles. She also began wrestling in singles matches against other female competitors in 2005. Eventually, she was more of a wrestler than a manager, winning three Women’s Championships and a pair of Divas Championships, too.
Melina In Real Life
In 2012, Melina left the WWE, although she returned to wrestling in 2015 and has been performing in independent organizations including Southside Wrestling Entertainment and Maryland Championship Wrestling. She hasn’t wrestled much since 2016, however, and seems to have turned her focus toward blogging about her philanthropic interests and making public appearances to meet with fans.
Michelle McCool In WWE
Many fans don’t know that Michelle McCool was actually the first competitor to win both the Women’s Championship and the Divas Championship. During her time in the WWE, she was known for rather outlandish storylines where she would brutalize competitors such as Marie and Eve outside of the ring. She also memorably smashed a cake in the face of Mickie James. She was also known to align herself with others occasionally, including Layla.
Michelle McCool has not competed in quite some time, but that does not mean that her connection with the WWE is over. Since she is the wife of future Hall of Famer The Undertaker, she is still very much connected to the wrestling business. However, Michelle seems content to spend her time behind the scenes, where she’s a devout Christian and a dedicated wife and mother.
Mickie James In WWE
As early as the late 1990s, Mickie James was making a name for herself as a manager, wrestler, and personality in independent wrestling organizations. By 2005, she was finally signed to compete in the WWE. That’s when her career really took off, as she would go on to win a total of 6 Women’s Championships and Divas Championships combined during her time in the ring.
Mickie James In Real Life
Mickie James is a very busy woman outside of the ring. She is not only a mom and owns a ranch where she helps out constantly, but she has also returned to active competition recently. In addition, she has released two country music albums and recently released her newest single, which is titled “Don’t Be Afraid to Fly.” She was added to the Native American Music Hall of Fame in October 2017.
Stephanie McMahon In WWE
You wouldn’t blame the daughter of Vince McMahon himself for staying behind the scenes, but like her dad, she has opted to take an on-camera role over the years. She was relatively anonymous until a storyline where The Undertaker abducted her. Later on, she would wrestle in the ring and win championships while participating in storylines with top talent such as Triple H and Kurt Angle.
Stephanie McMahon In Real Life
Stephanie’s life outside the ring has mirrored her character’s story inside the ring, as she is married to Triple H in real life. Behind the scenes, she is still very much involved in the creative side of the WWE. In the ring, she recently returned after a four-year hiatus to team up with her husband against former UFC champ Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle.
Wendi Richter In WWE
Wendi Richter was one of the first big stars in the women’s division, often feuding with The Fabulous Moolah in the early 1980s before winning her first WWE Women’s Championship in 1984. She would go on to have action figures made of her, appear in cartoons and even a Cyndi Lauper music video. Unfortunately, she quickly lost her shine after losing her title to Moolah in 1985.
Wendi Richter In Real Life
Although Wendi Richter’s time in the WWE was relatively short, she made quite an impact during her time in the ring. She would eventually leave wrestling for good later in the 1980s and become a physical therapist. Outside of sports and her career, she’s a dog enthusiast who has even been seen in the Westminster Kennel Dog Show. She was finally added to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
Trish Stratus In WWE
Trish Stratus came to the WWE after a carer in her native Canada as a fitness model. At first, she focused on managing wrestlers, but before long she debuted in the ring and proved to be a fast learner. She would ultimately be one of the most respected female in-ring competitors ever and win seven women’s titles as well as the honor of being named “Diva of the Decade.”
Trish Stratus In Real Life
Patricia Stratigeas is not hard to find, as she has been active on social media since leaving her full-time role with the WWE in 2007. She runs a yoga studio in Canada that’s appropriately called Stratusphere and has continued to make occasional promotional appearances with the WWE, even competing in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, where she was the fifth woman left in the ring!
Nikki Bella In WWE
It’s hard to believe, but Nikki Bella made her WWE debut way back in 2008 on an episode of Smackdown after spending a year in Florida Championship Wrestling with sister Brie Bella. Since then, she’s not only won a pair of Divas Championships, but she has also been a mainstay in some of the biggest storylines in the company. She once held the title for 301 days, setting a new longevity record in the process.
Nikki Bella In Real Life
Nikki Bella keeps busy outside of the ring, having appeared for several seasons on Total Divas and then moving on to Total Bellas. It was there that Nikki’s relationship with John Cena really took center stage. Cena even proposed at WrestleMania 33, but things have recently gone sour between the two and they’ve quite publicly broken their engagement. Nikki stays busy with Birdiebee, her lifestyle, intimates and activewear brand co-founded with Brie.
Lita In WWE
Lita’s wrestling days go back to the mid-1990s when she trained and worked on the indie circuit before joining the WWE in 1999 and managing Essa Rios. Before long, she joined the Hardy Boyz and quickly became a fan favorite. Years later, however, after she had made her mark as a solo wrestler, she became embroiled in a real-life love triangle that bled into the company’s storylines. She retired in 2007, having won four women’s titles.
Lita In Real Life
Many wondered whether Lita would end up with Edge or Matt Hardy. Well, it turned out that she didn’t end up with either. She did get inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, and has since served as a trainer on Tough Enough and a writer behind the scenes for the WWE. She has teased that she has a show coming up in the future, but no real plans have been announced just yet.
Asuka In WWE
Asuka has made quite a splash in the WWE after wrestling for about a decade in Japan as Kana. Since she was signed and worked her way through the developmental territories, she has been one of the biggest focuses of the women’s division, even putting together a huge undefeated streak that did not come to an end until she faced Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34.
Asuka In Real Life
Whether she’s inside or outside of the ring, Asuka is a force to be reckoned with. The 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble winner has also worked in a variety of capacities as a graphic designer and writer. She also owns a hair salon, just to top off the list. Known personally as Kanako Urai, Asuka certainly will add a lot more to her story before all is said and done.
Alicia Fox In WWE
It’s hard to believe today, but Alicia Fox debuted as a simple wedding planner for the sham that was Edge and Vickie Guerrero’s “wedding” in 2008. When that debacle was over, she managed DJ Gabriel in ECW. Finally, in 2009, she got to show her stuff in the ring and would eventually win the Divas Championship in 2010, proudly becoming the first black woman to hold that particular title.
Alicia Fox In Real Life
In addition to being one of the most beautiful women on the roster, Alicia is also one of the most experienced in the ring. She has lost a bit of momentum due to a recent injury that kept her out of the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble match, but she has kept busy by staying involved in her favorite charities, many of which support the troops or cancer research.
Alundra Blayze In WWE
Alundra Blayze was a huge name in the 1980s and 90s and ruled over the women’s division with an iron fist in the early 1990s, in particular. During that time, her biggest rivals included none other than Bull Nakano. Her time in WWE was rather short-lived, however, and her most famous moment came when she defected to WCW and threw her WWE belt in the garbage. She wouldn’t appear on WWE programming again until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame decades later.
Alundra Blayze In Real Life
Alundra Blayze, who was born as Debrah Ann Micelli, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. Her speech was something to be seen, as she actually pulled her old belt out of a trash can to bring the whole controversy full circle. She’s no stranger to competing in male-dominated industries, as she also competes as a monster truck driver in Monster Jam, going by the name of Madusa.
Becky Lynch In WWE
Back in the early 2000s, Becky Lynch was learning to wrestle in Europe and building momentum, but she, unfortunately, suffered a brain injury in 2006 that seemingly ended her career. She eventually came back in 2011 and against all odds, signed with the WWE in 2013. In 2016, she became the first-ever Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Becky Lynch In Real Life
If you find Becky Lynch’s performances rather believable, it’s because she actually studied acting in Ireland before learning how to wrestle. However, it was her athleticism that helped her appear as a stunt woman in various films. More recently, she filmed a much more substantial role in Marine 6: Close Quarters, alongside WWE competitor The Miz and Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.
Eve Torres In WWE
Like many women in WWE, Eve Torres got her start due to the Diva Search, as she participated in the 2007 installment and won the whole thing. By 2010, she had ascended to the top of the women’s division, becoming the first winner of the Diva Search to raise the Divas Championship over her head in triumph. She would retire from the ring in 2013, however.
Eve Torres In Real Life
Although WWE wrestlers are physically tough and resilient, Eve is actually a skilled fighter, which isn’t always the case with wrestlers. She has worked as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor and also found success in the world of acting, taking roles in everything from The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and Matador to Supergirl. She also has a degree in industrial and systems engineering!
Layla In WWE
Layla, like Eve Torres, started off as a dancer. She danced in the Miami Heat dance squad, as a backup dancer for Kanye West, and on Carnival Cruise Lines. In 2006, she won the Diva Search and appeared in both the ECW show and Smackdown. She would also partner with Michelle McCool, creating the tag team known as LayCool. When she won the Divas Championship in 2012, she was the first British woman to do so.
Layla In Real Life
Since retiring from the ring in 2015, Layla has settled down along with her husband, former wrestler Ricky Ortiz. The two live in Arizona and seem to be enjoying a quiet life away from the limelight. Layla is putting her smarts and charm to work as a real estate agent, which is probably a career that suits someone with so much charisma very well.
Maryse In WWE
Maryse competed in the 2006 Diva Search along with Layla, but of course, did not win the contest. The former model was still able to get a shot with the WWE, however, and she won the Divas Championship twice in 2009 alone, becoming the first woman to do so. She was released by the WWE in 2012, but she has since come back to appear alongside her husband, better known as The Miz.
Maryse In Real Life
After a four-year hiatus, Maryse returned to WWE television along with The Miz in 2016, even managing him to the Intercontinental Championship. She also wrestled a few times, but she got pregnant and had to stop competing. Now, she is the latest wrestler to appear in a reality series, this one cleverly named Miz & Mrs. The show debuted this year.
Sable In WWE
It’s hard to picture the “Attitude Era” without Sable in it. She was the female sex symbol that kept male viewers tuning in as superstars such as The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin climbed the ladder. She started out managing then-husband Marc Mero but eventually challenged and beat him in a match before going on to star on her own.
Sable In Real Life
Fortunately for viewers, the lovely Sable returned to the WWE in 2002, but would retire for good in 2014. Better known as Rena Greek, she became Rena Lesnar when she married superstar and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in 2006. They have a pair of sons together and own a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, and she seems to enjoy her privacy when not cheering her husband on.