27th Oct2020

Five Best & Five Worst: WWE Women’s Champions

by Chris Cummings

Women’s wrestling sure has changed over the years, and in the time we’ve been watching these superstars on our screens, we’ve seen some incredible athletes, characters and workers, but we’ve also seen some who couldn’t do things in the ring very well. This is the case in all areas of pro-wrestling, but with this we’re going to look at the five best and five worst WWE Women’s Champions of all time. Now, this isn’t a personal attack on any of the women who fall into the “worst” category, because I think it’s important to point out that all wrestlers bust their butts in some manner or another. I respect that, but I’m looking at the in-ring careers of these talents, from wrestling skills to promo-work. That’s pretty much it. This will include WWF, WWE and NXT Women’s Champions, including the Divas title. I won’t, here, be listing guys like Harvey Wippleman who won the Women’s Title, because this is a list about the women of the business, and I also won’t be including Moolah here. I’ll leave it at that. So, here goes…

THE FIVE BEST:

CHARLOTTE FLAIR

I feel like Charlotte Flair is the very best women’s wrestler of all time. SOme may disagree, some may scoff at how overbooked they feel she is, but however you look at things, Charlotte has had an incredible career since she debuted, and is already the most decorated woman in wrestling’s vast history. I mean, look at what she’s done. She’s won the Women’s Royal Rumble. She’s a five-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, a four-time RAW Women’s Champion, a two-time NXT Women’s Champion and a former Divas Champion. She is a great heel, looks like a mega-star, has wrestling lineage, is a terrific promo and a top notch wrestler. It’s unarguable that Charlotte is on the Mount Rushmore of women in pro-wrestling, and her career is still alive and well. Who knows just how much bigger her legacy can get.

TRISH STRATUS

Trish Stratus was someone who came out of nowhere, really, when it comes to being an incredibly talented and popular wrestler in WWE. Prior to getting in the ring as a fulltime worker, she was a manager and valet for teams like Test & Albert. When she got in the ring, though, she showed quite quickly that she was a natural. She was incredibly popular, but could work well in both the roles of heel and babyface. She also laid the road for what women are doing today in WWE. Working main events with Lita on RAW and showing that women can hit hard and get hit, and not just stand at ringside with very little clothing on. A Hall of Famer, Trish is one of the most beloved women in the history of wrestling, and she became so with hard work and passion.

“THE MAN” BECKY LYNCH

I couldn’t leave Becky off this list, could I? I mean, she was one of the biggest stars in wrestling for a while there, before taking time off this year due to starting a family. She won two titles in the first ever women’s main event in WrestleMania history, she won a Royal Rumble, she was the cover star of video games. Becky Lynch became a mega-star, and she did it with charisma, a likeability and edge that made fans take notice, and a vast ability as a worker. She’s worked her butt off for years, so it was nice when Becky reached the top of the mountain finally, and hearing the crowd reaction to her during the height of her popularity was damn incredible.

ALUNDRA BLAYZE

I couldn’t not mention Alundra Blazye. The former Madusa was one of the sole reasons that WWE has a women’s division in the mid-90s. Working some terrific matches with the likes of Bull Nakano, Aja Kong and others, she was always a very strong performer and very popular with fans. The only problem, really, about her WWE career was the lack of competition. Still, she was a trailblazer and helped to pave the way for women who could actually get in the ring and wrestle. She wasn’t there to parade around in underwear or work evening gown matches, she was there to suplex, moonsault and dropkick her way into history. She was a very important part of women’s wrestling history, and so had to make this list.

ASUKA

Asuka is, in my view, one of the best wrestlers in the world right now, and has been for a few years. She’s a fantastic babyface and a great heel, she is full of unteachable charisma, she’s exciting to watch, and she has worked her butt off for many years. Her work in NXT was fantastic, and her run on WWE’s “main roster” has, through the ups and downs, been fantastic too. Matches with women like Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley have been brilliant, and it would be cool to see her mix it up with some new talent soon. I’d like to see her, eventually, work a program with the exceptional Io Shirai, who is currently tearing it up in NXT and almost made this list. Asuka is phenomenal, and has, in the years she’s been with WWE, cemented herself as one of the greatest female performances of all time.

THE FIVE WORST:

SABLE

Now, don’t get me wrong, here. I know Sable came around at a time when the fanbase wanted sex appeal on TV, and Sable fit. She was hugely over with the fans in 1997 and 1998, and became a massive part of WWE TV for a while. However, if we’re looking at in-ring talent, or promo work, it’s hard to say that Sable was, in fact, good. Yes, she was popular and that was important to the company, but by all accounts she wasn’t the easiest person to work with, and, aside from a couple of mixed tag matches where she could be protected, she hasn’t really had a good match. Was she a relevant part of TV? Yes. Was she a draw? Yeah. Was she a great women’s wrestler and champion? No. No she wasn’t.

THE KAT

When the thing you remember the most about a person’s wrestling career is a moment where they took off their bra during a multi-woman evening gown pool match, then there’s a problem. The Kat, who also worked as Miss Kitty, was purely there for sex appeal, and for Jerry Lawler, her then-husband, to make constant sexualised comments about. She was fine as a valet for Chyna for a while, but once she began to “work matches”, things got bad. She never really had a wrestling match, but more so worked a series of lingerie, evening gown or catfight matches which were built around her having her clothes ripped off, or her ripping the clothes off somebody else. The Kat’s career is an example of what was wrong with the portrayal of women in wrestling for such a long time. Not good. Not good at all.

KELLY KELLY

Kelly Kelly did wrestle matches, unlike some here, but the matches she had were mostly poor, and she never really improved all that much. She won the Diva’s belt but it isn’t a memorable run, at all. She began her WWE career with the gimmick of “exhibitionist” which was an excuse to have her show as much skin as they could get away with. She is possibly the best of the worst here, purely because she may have had a couple of okay bouts in her career, but she was one of the top women at a time when WWE didn’t allow its female talent to shine at all. Short matches that were often clumsy and poor, it’s great to see the progress that has been made since this era.

DEBRA

The proprietor of puppies was a valet for most of her wrestling career. In WWE, though, she became a Women’s Champion, and did so without working an actual match. That’s a theme here, it seems. She had many evening gown matches, and her popularity seemed to be purely because of her cleavage. It’s awkward stuff to revisit, and a shame that it took so long for women’s wrestling to move away from this. She was fine as a manager to Jeff Jarrett, but once she got in the ring… oh dear.

CANDICE MICHELLE

Candice DID improve during her career in WWE, but that doesn’t mean she was good. During the era that did so little with the women, Candice was one of the less able talents on the roster, and it led to some very bad matches, some very clumsy sequences, and serious injuries. Perhaps had a couple of passable encounters with Beth Phoenix, but “passable” shouldn’t be what women’s wrestling is about, and it was much of the time during this time period. Candice was a victim of the time, in many ways, but as a pro-wrestler and talker she wasn’t very good, either. It is what it is, but sadly she falls onto this list due to her run.

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