It takes a special type of woman to be a WWE Diva. Beauty, poise and the ability to stand back up after getting hit in the head with an ironing board are just a few of the qualities a lady must possess if she wants to hang with the predatory cats in the Divas locker room.
But WWE’s Divas don’t always get the credit they deserve for the toughness and tenacity they bring to the ring night in and night out. WWE Classics is all about equal opportunity, so we put together this collection of seven reckless, dangerous and destructive brawls that will leave you looking at the Divas in a whole new light. ( PHOTOS | WATCH VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Michelle McCool reinvented the Extreme Rules Match when she defended her Women’s Title against Beth Phoenix at Extreme Rules 2010. As one-half of Lay-Cool, Michelle spent months mocking the other Divas in the locker room for their perceived flaws. Obsessed with attractiveness, she wished to change the appearance of every female in WWE — either with a boot to the face or a curling iron — and put her mad theory into practice in this Extreme Makeover Match.
With a table covered in lipstick, mascara and other beauty products at ringside, the mean girl and The Glamazon had free reign to smash each other with things normally found in the feminine products aisle at Rite Aid. Beth was forced to ward off attacks from McCool flunkies Layla and Vickie Guerrero and a face full of hairspray from Michelle herself. But ultimately, Phoenix persevered, nailing her rival with a Glam Slam to win the Women’s Championship. ( WATCH)
Trish Stratus wasn’t handed anything. When the former fitness model arrived in WWE as a valet for the team of Test & Albert in 2000, she was looked at as a bit of eye candy. But by the time the Toronto native retired from WWE in 2006, she’d become a record seven-time Women’s Champion and, arguably, the most popular female competitor in WWE history.
How’d it happen? Tenacity, mostly. Stratus was never afraid of a challenge, which she proved at Survivor Series 2002 when she defended her Women’s Title against the dangerous Victoria in a Hardcore Match. Any WWE fan who dismissed Trish as little more than a bikini model was in for a shock as the Diva fought back against every trash can lid, kendo stick and baking sheet thrown her way. ( WATCH)
Stratus ultimately lost that night, but she left with the WWE Universe’s respect. It wasn’t earned — it was taken.
Most heiresses to billion-dollar fortunes wouldn’t willfully put themselves in harm’s way. Of course, Stephanie McMahon isn’t like other heiresses.
Defending her family’s honor against the vivacious Trish Stratus at No Way Out 2001, Stephanie wasn’t looking to do her best Lou Thesz impersonation in the ring. Instead, she brought the fight to Stratus in a freewheeling, giddy brawl that saw more open hand slaps and hair pulling than a marathon of “The Steve Wilkos Show.”
Trish and Stephanie tore each other apart at ringside and even in the front row of Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center before interference from William Regal led to The Billionaire Princess’ victory. Still, even the usually unflappable denizens of Sin City went home a little shocked after witnessing this uncensored catfight.
In 2010, the imposing pair of Natalya and Beth Phoenix spearheaded a revolution in the Divas division. Tired of the misconception that WWE Divas were nothing but Barbie dolls in wrestling boots, the ladies pushed a “Pin-Up Strong” agenda to prove that women could throw down like The Dynamite Kid and look gorgeous while doing it. The only things standing in the way of the Divas’ campaign for change? Lay-Cool.
Two unrepentant prima donnas in press-on nails, the appearance obsessed pairing of Layla and Michelle McCool aimed to take the Divas locker room back to high school as they spread rumors and mocked rivals for their physical appearance. When the two mirror opposite teams finally met at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2010, the stipulation was a first for the Divas division — a Tables Match. But it was also a stipulation that favored the more powerful team of Natalya and The Glamazon. That became clear when the Hart family Diva tossed both Layla and Michelle off the top rope and onto a table. When the waifish pair failed to break it, Natalya improvised and launched herself off the top rope, driving her prissy opponents through the hardwood. ( WATCH)
There weren’t any modeling credits on Lita’s resume when she busted into WWE in 1999. No stint slinging chicken wings at Hooters. No bit parts in B-movies. The reckless daredevil from Sanford, N.C., was a wrestler, plain and simple, and she sought to prove that every time she stepped in the ring.
Jacqueline was much the same. The only female tough enough to graduate Skandor Akbar’s Texas wrestling school, the former Women’s Champion had fought her way from Japan to Memphis, Tenn., before arriving in WWE in 1998.
When the two competitors squared off in a rare Divas Hardcore Match over Lita’s Women’s Title on Raw on Oct. 9, 2000, they aimed to show that they could thrive in the dangerous environment as well as male counterparts like Hardcore Holly and Al Snow had. Smashing each other with a shopping cart filled with garbage cans, broomsticks and even a blow dryer, the Divas proved they had guts. But it was Lita who prevailed after clocking Jacqueline with a baking sheet. ( WATCH)
Beth Phoenix and Melina weren’t the first women to compete in an “I Quit” Match. The gutsy Stephanie McMahon gained that distinction when she stepped up to her own dad in a deranged Father vs. Daughter “I Quit” Match at No Mercy 2003. But when the two respected competitors stepped in the ring at WWE One Night Stand 2008, it marked the first time two WWE Divas met one-on-one under this precarious stipulation.
Intent on breaking the other's spirit, Beth and Melina avoided the usual plunder often utilized in “I Quit” Matches. Instead, the lovely Latina and the powerhouse from Buffalo, N.Y., relied on tendon snapping submission maneuvers. Melina’s flexibility allowed her to withstand The Glamazon’s most punishing stretches, but Beth ultimately conquered her rival with a modified surfboard hold that was so brutal, even people who watched the match from the cheap seats were making pained calls to their chiropractors. ( WATCH)
There wasn’t supposed to be a Divas match at WrestleMania XX. In the weeks leading up to The Show of Shows in 2004, the Women’s Title became an afterthought as epic battles pitting Goldberg against Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero versus Kurt Angle began to take shape. But Molly Holly refused to be ignored. Realizing she’d have to do something special if she wanted to be featured on the biggest event of the year, the talented competitor came up with a proposition — if Victoria put her Women’s Title on the line, Molly would do the same with her hair.
The pitch worked and Molly went to the ring in New York City’s Madison Square Garden with much more than just a title opportunity at stake. The tenacious grappler fought hard against her more powerful opponent, but she ultimately fell to an unexpected backslide. With that, Molly was strapped into a barber’s chair and shaved bald in front of more than 20,000 fans. ( WATCH)