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Divas react to 5-year anniversary of the Divas Championship
WWE has a big birthday this week, and we don’t just mean Heath Slater: The Divas Championship is officially five years old.
Conceived half a decade ago as a SmackDown alternate to the Women’s Championship on Raw, the butterfly title has come to symbolize a unique facet of WWE in that it represents an entire division instead of one part of the roster. Its dazzling butterfly plating seems as ingrained in WWE’s history as the WWE Championship spinner was, and even in its brief existence, the Divas Title has already amassed an impressive legacy.
Photos: Hall of Divas Champions
Alicia Fox summed up the general feeling of the anniversary when she said “that went fast” to WWE.com this week, but the Divas division’s feelings on the title run much deeper than that as a whole. To every woman who has held it, the title represents a different side of the Divas’ uniqueness, and depending on how long a Diva’s tenure in WWE has been, the championship can hold a very different meaning.
“For me, it was obviously an honor and a privilege to be the Divas Champion, because you represent the body of the women we have right now on the roster,” said Kaitlyn, who carried the title for five months before losing it to AJ Lee at WWE Payback. “For me, [winning the title] was kind of a full-circle moment because I debuted on TV with maybe four weeks of experience. I had my first match on live TV and I grew as an entertainer and a person in front of the WWE Universe over three years.”She added, “I felt like I earned it and lived up to what it meant.”
As a competitor who’s far from the prototypical Diva, Kaitlyn was hardly a lock to become champion before she captured the title in her hometown on Jan. 14, but the Divas Title has always represented a transition from the old guard of the Women’s Championship to the new era of WWE’s Divas. It’s something that Layla knows well as part of the duo that unified the two championships.
“[The title] felt like a different breed, bringing a whole new era to the Divas division … [Michelle McCool and I] did the unification of the titles, so I feel like to us that was a breaking point,” said Layla. “This is the new generation of the Divas. That’s what we are. We’re divas. We’re beautiful, we’re sexy, we’re smart.”
The pressure to create a legacy for the newborn title was hardly a cakewalk for the Divas – Alicia described the challenge as welcome and daunting in equal measure.
“The Women’s Championship had a lot of history,” said Alicia. “A lot of greats held it … that right there is setting a bar a lot of us fellow Divas want to live up to. Being able to start something new, a new tradition, was good and bad.”
Happily, the responsibilities of the division helped the Divas put their own, unique stamp on the title.
“We’re not just lady wrestlers,” said Natalya, who captured the title in 2010. “We do more than just headlocks and dropkicks. We do charity work and public speaking, we’re ambassadors for Special Olympics and National Guard.”
“Not to take anything away from the Women’s Championship but it’s just the dawning of a new age for the girls in WWE.”
Full Match: Natalya vs. Lay-Cool
Given all of this, it’s a good time to be a powerful woman in WWE. And, of course, with great power comes … well, you know.
“It’s a big responsibility, an honor, a privilege,” said Kaitlyn of holding the championship. “My biggest concern is that the championship is in someone’s hands who is capable of being a champion and being a leader and representing what we are as a whole as a Divas division.”
Indeed the last two champions, Kaitlyn and AJ Lee, have strayed far from the typical notions of a Diva, and that’s exactly the idea behind the title itself. “It’s really refreshing to see WWE always embrace change,” said Natalya. “The Divas Championship is all about change. We honor our past and where we’ve been, but the Divas Championship is all about the future.”
Layla had another, all-encompassing term for what the title represents.
“It’s girl power,” said the British beauty. “That’s what it’s all about, the Divas Title. Girl power.”