From Nikki Bella to Chyna, the 10 women wrestlers who left their mark on WWE
With Nikki Bella putting an end to her 12-year-old wrestling career, we take you down WWE memory lane to acquaint you with all the women who made a huge impact on female wrestling
Nikki Bella may have bid farewell to a very successful 12-year-old WWE career, but the American professional wrestler continues to remain a favourite of many across the world.
"I just feel like I’m too old for that travel. That travel was really, really rough. So I realized, I was like, 'Why am I doing this anymore?' I don’t feel good and I can’t — I mean, the girls are doing amazing things over there. I really am ready to hang up the jersey."
And while Nikki may have left many fans disappointed with her announcement, here's a list of the greatest women to have graced the WWE ring for your nostalgic indulgence.
10. AJ Lee
AJ Lee signed a WWE contract in May 2009 and make her debut in 2010 in an all women's season won by Kaitlyn. However, she made her main roster debut on May 27, 2011 in an episode of Smackdown. She was made the general manager of RAW on the 1000th episode of the show and served the position until October 2013. She would be three times Diva's Champion and would have several matches with Paige before retiring.
9. Sasha Banks
'The Boss' Sasha is responsible in shattering several perceptions and stereotypes surrounding women wrestlers. She is among the few to have not signed with WWE because she was a former model - she knew she wanted to wrestle and gave it her best shot.
Having admired the late Eddie Guerrero, she put up a show with each one of her fights - just like him. Her accomplishments include being a record tying four-time Raw Women's Champion and the Hell in a Cell match with Charlotte Flair - the one that set a new bar for female wrestling.
8. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair is easily any pro wrestling aficionado's favourite. Born to professional wrestling manager and retired professional wrestler Ric Flair, Charlotte reflected her father's best traits. It is not too much of a stretch to say that she has not only followed in his footsteps but even excelled him.
7. Mickie James
Since her debut in 2005, Mickie has evolved into a talented and relevant WWE superstar. In her first match, she claimed to be a Trish Stratus fan and would later go on to defeat Stratus for her first Women's Championship at WrestleMania 22.
She soon became the face of WWE's Women's division and would become a 5-times WWE Women's Championship and a WWE Diva's Champion. She is also a country singer, and currently competing on the Raw brand.
Lita is often deemed the Stone Cold Steve Austin of women's wrestling. The rock chick from Fort Lauderdale was one of the most popular among the favourites of the '90s era. The wrestler won the WWE women's championship four times and was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2014. She also won the first two all-female main events on WWE Monday Night Raw.
5. Beth Phoenix
Beth made her WWE RAW debut on May 8, 2006. II was to aid Trish Stratus in her feud with Mickie James, where she claimed that James had "ruined her life" and that she wouldn't let her get away with it - implying that they both had a history.
Unfortunately, following a fracture in a match with Victoria, she was in recovery only to return on the July 9, 2007 episode. She became a 3-times WWE Women's Champion and would also hold the Diva's Championship with matches with Melina, Mickie James, Layla, Eve Torres among others. She retired in 2012 and was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
4. Alexa Bliss
Both Alexa Bliss and Trish Stratus came to WWE from a fitness background. She became one of the dominating forces in female wrestling at the young age of 27, and since then, there has been no looking back.
She won the WWE SmackDown women's championship on two occasions - a record in itself. In addition to this, she is the first women to win both RAW and SmackDown women's titles. She won the first ever Women's Elimination Chamber match and the 2018 Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match - all in less than three years' time.
Born to professional wrestlers Patrick Bevis and Julia Hamer-Bevis, Paige made her wrestling debut in 2005 at the age of 13 when her father asked her to replace a wrestler who had failed to show up. At the age of 14, she earned a chance to wrestle in countries like Scotland, Wales, Belgium, France, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Germany, as well as the United States.
In 2011, she signed a contract with WWE and started wrestling within its developmental systems, eventually debuting on WWE's main roster in April 2014.
In November 2017, she returned to Raw to attack Sasha Bank, Bayley, Mickie James and Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss. At a house show on Decembr 27, Paige suffered an injury after taking a kick from Sasha Banks in a six-woman tag team match, and which prompted the referee to stop the match. The injury to her neck wouldn't let her compete at the Royal Rumble, and she eventually retired from the scene.
2. Trish Stratus
On the 19th day, 19 years ago I made my @wwe debut.— Trish Stratus (@trishstratuscom) March 20, 2019
Don’t mind my cool, collected expression masking my nervous, cant believe this is real, am I really standing on a WWE ramp ?? feeling!
I’ll never forget that day in Long Island ... https://t.co/K0UMryHdtI pic.twitter.com/BlrekjLnnV
Trish Stratus broke into the WWE scene in 2000 - before which she was a fitness model. Many people underestimated the wrestler at that time and were impressed to learn that she was a beauty with brawns.
In fact, she would soon become one of WWE's most beloved wrestling superstars - crushing stereotypes along the way. Initially cast as a valet, Stratus was eager to prove her worth - she knew she was more than just a beauty. Through her career, the Ontario wrestler earned several accomplishments with her hardworking attitude.
Chyna had audiences hooting and cheering for her sheer assertiveness. The "Ninth Wonder of the World" (billed as such at World Wrestling Federation in 1997) was first known to WWE fans as Triple H's valet, but she soon rose up the ranks.
For the first time in wrestling history, WWE audiences could marvel at a woman who was not only bigger than most wrestlers but could easily pack in a punch -- she was a pioneer in inter-gender wrestling. Chyna was also the first woman to compete in a Royal Rumble match and the only one to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Despite her early death, she can easily fight her way into the wrestling hall of fame.