The wicked witches of WWE
With all the rabid giants and halfcocked sadists lurking around the WWE locker room, you might think it’s the guys like Mark Henry and The Shield who pose the biggest threat to a Superstar’s wellbeing. In truth, malicious women like Stephanie McMahon and AJ have done more damage with a kiss than any lumbering Neanderthal with an attitude problem.
Women have been asserting their control over WWE’s alpha males since the days when The Fabulous Moolah was still Women’s Champion. A lot has changed since then, but the Divas haven’t lost their ability to get what they want. Here, WWEClassics.com tangles with 10 females who stopped at nothing to gain power, prestige and a whole lot of enemies on their way to becoming the ring's most wicked witches, presented by "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" Unrated Cut, available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack June 11.
As Alundra Blazye emerged as the figurehead of a revamped WWE women’s division in the early ’90s, she found her perfect rival in a bruiser from Japan known as Bull Nakano. The type of physical, hardknock baddie who turned ladies wrestling into a national phenomenon in her native Japan, Nakano possessed the in-ring knowhow and standout look — with her “Bride of Frankenstein” hair and electric face paint — to bring necessary attention to female competition.
Juxtaposed against the imposing, demented Nakano, the smiling Blayze immediately became a sympathetic figure to the WWE Universe who hated to see an all-American girl get torn to shreds by a sadistic outsider. No matter the reaction, the former Women’s Champion was unforgiving against her rival, locking in wrenching submission holds while tearing at Alundra’s flesh with her sharpened fingernails. Nakano’s stint in WWE was brief — barely a year — but the impression she left as a demonic adversary has barely faded.
Her Nicki Minaj-rapped entrance theme warned, “I ain’t the lady to mess with.” That wasn’t just an empty threat for the physically imposing Victoria — a rare Diva brawler who was at her best in high-risk Chicago Street Fights and Hardcore Matches.
As attractive as she was — like Trish Stratus, Victoria was a fitness model in her pre-WWE days — this powerful female didn’t wince at broken nails as she bashed Trish Stratus with garbage cans and battered Lita in the first-ever Divas Steel Cage Match. A two-time Women’s Champion, Victoria rarely stooped to humiliation or degradation like many of the names on this list. Instead, she let her brutality speak for itself.
Once regarded as the type of dweeby anti-socialite better suited for hanging out in a GameStop than the WWE locker room, AJ Lee revealed herself as the cunning, manipulative and, above all else, unpredictable breakout star of 2012.
What made AJ pop? Those abs played their part, but it was the way Lee skipped from Daniel Bryan to Kane to CM Punk to John Cena in a delirious game of spin the bottle that made the WWE Universe take hold of this succubus in spotless Chucks. Now it wasn’t AJ’s manhopping that made her evil (no shame in that game). Instead, it was the way she sadistically attacked the Superstar that spurned her affections (namely Punk and Cena) before swapping spit with the slimy Dolph Ziggler in WWE’s latest glower couple. Game over.
Following in the psychotic footsteps of her father, “Butcher,” and her uncle, “Mad Dog,” Luna carried on the twisted legacy of the vicious Vachon family in WWE. The second-generation competitor — with her wild mohawk, bloodcurdling screams and a sneer that never seemed to leave her face —didn’t fit the mold of a typical WWE Diva, but that's because she never wanted to.
“In a world full of butterflies, it takes guts to be a caterpillar,” Vachon told WWE.com in 2007. It was this tough attitude that carried Luna from the rough rings of Japan and Extreme Championship Wrestling to the top of WWE Women’s division. A fearless associate to memorably unique Superstars like Bam Bam Bigelow and Goldust, Vachon would rather cause pain than look pretty. Unfortunate opponents like Sable and Jacqueline wear the scars to prove it.
Enough time has gone by that the WWE Universe has once again embraced Lita, but it was barely five years ago that the fiery Diva was about as popular as sunburn. What took the former Women’s Champion from extreme queen to extremely unpopular? Edge mostly.
In 2005, Lita spurned longtime beau Matt Hardy for The Rated-R Superstar in a bit of infidelity that went wildly public. Rather than apologize for her actions, Lita bucked the WWE Universe’s perception of her and cheekily embraced a newfound role as villainous harlot. Edge and Lita — with their lewd makeout sessions and underhanded attacks on John Cena — became the most loathed couple in entertainment before Kanye West and Kim Kardashian got together. Sure, their disturbing interplay was often hard to watch, but who could look away?
Those Divas who thought they had escaped the tyranny of junior high mean girls got an unpleasant reminder of how ugly beautiful women can be when Layla and Michelle McCool paired up under the banner of Team Lay-Cool in 2009.
Brought together by a mutual appreciation of high fashion and low morals, “Lay” and “Mich” were so wicked they once brought Mickie James to tears on SmackDown by recording a video in which they compared the lovely Diva to a barnyard animal. The incendiary reaction the duo received after that incident may have quelled a less confident pairing, but Team Lay-Cool drank up the WWE Universe’s boos like they were sipping on Skinnygirl Margaritas.
Stephanie McMahon may have appeared overwhelmed in her earliest WWE appearances, but by the time The Billionaire Princess had aligned herself with the destructive Triple H and orchestrated a takeover of her family business, it became apparent that Stephanie was perfectly at home in the squared circle.
Inheriting her father’s steely resolve and take-no-prisoners approach to business, the youngest of the McMahon kids quickly became WWE’s alpha female as she faked a pregnancy, aligned ECW against dear old dad’s WWE and publically embarrassed Chris Jericho all in a never-ending campaign to get what she wanted. Today, Stephanie’s reputation is that of a tirelessly dedicated executive, humanitarian and mother. All true, but it still wouldn’t be wise to cross her.
It’s difficult now to remember Vickie Guerrero as she once was — shy, kind, reserved. The wife of beloved WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero received a bittersweet introduction to the WWE Universe in the months after her husband’s passing. Back then, the demure Vickie’s eventual transformation into the shrill, conniving cougar WWE fans loathe today would have been impossible to predict.
What changed in Guerrero? Where there’s smoke, there’s Edge. Back in 2007 when Vickie fell into power as SmackDown General Manager, The Master Manipulator entered into a romantic relationship with the figurehead in order to get his grubby hands on the World Heavyweight Title. With intentions of keeping her man happy, Guerrero turned into a backstabbing shrew with a voice so irritating crying babies would complain about it. Unlike many on the WWE roster, Vickie has remained just as intolerable as time has gone by. The only thing the WWE Universe detests more is Big E. Langston's cleavage.
The Fabulous Moolah had been tearing out clumps of opponents’ hair for more than 30 years by the time she emerged as the top lady villain of WWE’s early ’80s “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” boom. So forgive inexperienced neophytes like Princess Victoria and Wendi Richter if they struggled with the expert deception of the female mat antagonist archetype.
Already late into her 50s when she got her national exposure with WWE, Moolah made up for lost time by competing on MTV and appearing at the inaugural WrestleMania event with wicked intentions for WWE’s new girl heroes. Touting an unfathomable 28-year reign as Women’s Champion — a title she held onto through no lack of subterfuge — Moolah finally succumbed to Richter in 1984 only to regain her prize about a year later in a highly contentious match. Was Richter screwed out of the championship? Probably. But with Moolah, it was always just business.
There were female antagonists in pro wrestling before she entered the ring in the mid-80s, but there was no woman quite like Sherri Martel. Aggressive, commanding and fearless, Sherri’s first conquests were as a competitor. But it was in the corner of bad guys like “Macho King” Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels where the woman described as “Sensational,” “Sensuous” and even “Scary” would become the ring’s wickedest witch.
Trained in the dark arts of deception by The Fabulous Moolah, Sherri’s ring scraps prepared her for a pivotal role as the manager of Savage — a Superstar capable of overshadowing nearly everyone except the former Women’s Champion. Positioned as the antithesis of the prissy, reserved Miss Elizabeth, “Sensational” Sherri got physical with dangerous alphas like Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan while enraging audiences with her shrill, manic interviews. By the time she backed a young Shawn Michaels as WWE’s next great rogue, Sherri's status as the most effective female villain of all time was hard to deny.