The WWE Divas Division has been dubbed the worst women’s division in the company’s history from the ’90s to 2015. With many fans condemning WWE for not letting these women express themselves, they were forced to compete in bra and pantyhose matches, pillow fights, and were seen as just eye candy. WWE also viewed the “Divas” as second-rate performers, devaluing them in comparison to the males who were competing for screen time with these girls. If WWE had spent more time in the ladies, they would have outperformed its men’s division at the time, and women’s wrestling would have prospered whereas only men’s wrestling thrived, which was a disservice to the fans who wanted these women to shine and not be considered as just eye candy.
The Playboy Era
The WWE Divas have been included in several cross-promotions with other companies due to their popularity. Many WWE Divas have featured in Playboy, as well as advertising for WWE and non-WWE companies, as well as men’s publications. Every year, the WWE Divas have a photoshoot in a new location. After the photo shoot, a magazine is published with images from the session, and a TV special or video is released with highlights. WWE would then launch the Playboy cover as a supplementary mid-card championship for their ladies as the corporation saw it would draw attention to their divas’ division at the moment. It’s become a WWE custom for any Diva on the Playboy cover to wrestle at WrestleMania. These contests were sometimes referred to as ‘Playboy’ matchups.
The Diva Search Era
The Diva Search was an annual summer competition. The Diva Search was designed to identify new female wrestlers, interviewers, and valets for WWE. The competition winner earned a $100,000 one-year contract. Formerly valued at $200,000, The inaugural WWE Diva Search ran from July 1 through August 24, 2003. Unlike successive Diva Search winners, the first did not earn a contract. She was photographed for an edition of the WWE Magazine. Jaime Koeppe won the inaugural WWE Diva Search. The first WWE Diva search included Jamie Koeppe, Terri Mitchell, Paige, and Marsha. WWE decided after fans voted online.
The Divas Championship
The Divas Championship had a bad image since it seemed inferior to the Women’s Championship. A butterfly logo was used to rename the Divas division. WWE required a new belt in 2008, and it lasted till 2016. The WWF Women’s Championship was to be fought on both brands with the inaugural WWF Brand Extension in 2002. That year, it became exclusive to the Raw brand. After that, only Divas on the Raw brand could fight for the WWF Women’s Championship, while Divas on the SmackDown brand couldn’t. On occasion, Melina, Ashley, Torrie Wilson, and Nidia attempted to win the championship while on the SmackDown brand but were unsuccessful.
The WWE Divas Championship was launched in a storyline on June 6, 2008, ‘s Friday Night SmackDown when then SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero revealed the title’s introduction. The title belt was presented on SmackDown on July 4, 2008. Michelle McCool beat Natalya at The Great American Bash to become the first champion. Maryse won the championship from McCool in December 2008, but later that month she dislocated her kneecap. Maryse, like Trish Stratus, maintained the Divas Title after she returned from a ruptured disc in late January 2009. In the 2009 WWE Draft, former Divas Champion Maryse was recruited to the Raw brand, making the belt exclusive to Raw.
During a women’s tag match between Paige & Emma and The Bella Twins, the bout would last 29 seconds, which was a smack in the face to the performers in the ring. The Bridgestone Arena audience booed loudly, and the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance trended on Twitter. However, this wasn’t a company-created movement; it was a groundswell of dissatisfied fans weary of seeing their favorite female performers undervalued, and it didn’t stop after a match that was shorter than a commercial. It lasted three days and enabled fans of the then-divas division to tell WWE how bad their division was performing.
We hear you , keep watching
The company, and especially its chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, took note of the #GiveDivasAChance. The WWE understood they had to do something, but it wasn’t a response to the fans’ demands. The next week, they gave their female artists greater airtime. After all, 30 seconds wasn’t that tough. They understood, though, that four women who were establishing themselves as superstars in NXT, the WWE’s developmental division located in Winter Park, Florida, would soon bring about a major change for females. The main event of “NXT TakeOver: Respect” featured Sasha Banks and Bayley in a 30-minute “Iron Man Match” for the NXT Women’s Championship. It was the first time in WWE history that women competed in such a major contest.
The Shift From Divas to Superstars
For the WWE women’s title, WWE revealed at Wrestlemania 32 that it will be similar to the WWE world heavyweight championship held by the men, with pink and beaded trophies. “We were turning our female artists into superstars,” Stephanie McMahon remarked to a standing ovation at AT&T Stadium. “They were no longer distinguished from the guys. Stars for all sexes.” That WWE now treats female superstars equally with male superstars would delight fans. Women’s wrestling would flourish now. With that horrible belt gone, Charlotte Flair would build the Women’s division, a new era for women.
Divas Matter For Women Today
Even though the ladies were merely eye candy at the moment, they would capture on any occasion that was given to them, even if it was just a pillow fight. Fans’ opinion of diva changed because of Trish and Lita. Your current favorites would not be treated with respect or their abilities would not be exploited correctly if Trish and Lita had not elevated the diva’s division. Yes, the diva’s division was not the finest age, but consider what today’s ladies would be doing if the name diva had not survived. So, please respect the diva’s division.