The Divas Era is often remembered in a negative light with only a select few women from the era being held in some regard for their success. Until now, as during Women’s History Month, I will be spotlighting those women that often fall by the wayside.
Whatever your opinion of the Divas Era, you cannot deny the impact that the women in this list had on the sport within WWE. Therefore, without further ado here are the Top 5 Overlooked Women of the Divas Era:
5. Eve Torres
Despite winning Diva Search 2007 in early 2009, she would not have her first major roster storyline with Michelle McCool. Aside from a lackluster Championship reign, she faced the Divas of Doom in a series of interesting matches. She would later morph into her evil, authority figure character, becoming the Divas division’s Achilles heel. Due to her absence from the modern wrestling scene, she has faded into oblivion since her 2013 retirement. But this isn’t a cause to ignore Torres’ contributions to the current women’s wrestling environment.
We are reaching ‘Higher’ for our next entry. Anyways, Kaitlyn debuted as part of the all-women’s season of NXT under the mentorship of Vickie Guerrero. Post NXT, in the summer of 2012, Kaitlyn would find herself in a bitter rivalry with the power-hungry Eve Torres. Kaitlyn won the Championship here after a botched Battle Royal finish drove her into a championship fight. This reign would be most notable for her revolutionary feud with ex-best friend AJ Lee. Lee debuted her psychotic, heel character as she exposed her months-long plan to deceive Kaitlyn. This would culminate in a brilliant title match between the two. After this storyline, Kaitlyn would be sporadically featured on TV until she eventually retired in 2014.
Kaitlyn retired from the profession, which may explain her lack of appreciation, but she represented a different sort of woman. One that looked and wrestled differently to the ‘typical Diva’ stereotype commonly presented at the time.
It’s all about…Emma! The forgotten four horsewomen! Emma debuted for NXT in 2012 and upon becoming a beloved fan-favorite she debuted her bubbly character on the main roster in early 2014.
She would immediately find herself in a partnership with fellow comedic foil Santino Marella in what would be the defining role for her babyface persona as her funky dancing walk to the ring got her over with the fans. In 2016, she returned to the main roster to form Team B.A.D and Blonde as part of Brie Bella’s retirement storyline. She would vanish until early 2017 (I will be providing no comment on ‘EmmaLina’) in which she then featured in multiple women’s championship feuds against Alexa Bliss
and Asuka until her abrupt release in 2017. This may not seem like an ‘entry-worthy’ run in WWE but in both her NXT runs she was consistently in the mix, even with the four-horsewomen. She was the perfect heel foil for various up-and-coming babyfaces as well as her initial face character being one of the most popular characters in WWE at the time.
2. Alicia Fox
Pa-pa-party because Alicia Fox is finally getting the recognition that she deserves! From her unique debut in 2008 Fox was a mainstay of the women’s division for well over a decade. Yet, she hasn’t been treated with the respect that her tenure deserves. Why is this? Your guess is as good as mine!
To start, in 2010 she captured the Divas Championship at the Fatal-Four-Way PPV, making her the first and ONLY African American to win the belt in the entirety of its existence. Then, upon joining the Total Divas cast, she would then find herself involved in storylines related to the show. In 2015, Fox would join The Bella Twins to form Team Bella and they would become the core antagonists of the Women’s Revolution. She would then appear sporadically until her iconic Survivor Series captaincy in 2017. In 2019, she retired from the industry.
Throughout her career, Fox developed her own, unique style of wrestling with her over-the-top selling and unique offense. As well as this, Fox excelled in the psycho, crazy chick persona. However, even more, important than that, is that she was the only form of representation and diversity that the women’s division had at the time. She became the only Diva that young, black girls had to relate to, and for that her hard work and career should only be commended.
She’s insatiable! She’s flawless! She’s Miss Layla El! Another Diva Search winner turned successful women’s superstar, Layla would begin her WWE career as part of the scandalous trio ‘Extreme Expose’ alongside Brooke and Kelly Kelly.
Upon their disbandment, in 2009, she formed the FLAWLESS duo of LayCool alongside Michelle McCool. The two would take the division by storm finding themselves in prominent storylines with the likes of Mickie James and Beth Phoenix of which the latter saw Layla become the Women’s Champion, the first of her career. They would soon unify their titles to become co-champions. However, seeds of dissension were sown throughout 2011 which culminated in a ‘Loser Leaves WWE’ match at Extreme Rules, which Layla saw herself victorious in.
Then in her 2012 return, she defeated Nikki Bella to win her first Divas Championship. After appearing sporadically, Layla replaced Summer Rae as Fandango’s dancer which saw the two competing for Fandango’s affections. After multiple matches, they decided to turn on their lover and form a team with each other. This partnership would see Layla to her 2015 retirement.
Layla was a prime example of someone who shouldn’t have succeeded but did. She came into the industry with no prior experience but tirelessly worked to improve her skills. Her partnership with McCool helped reestablish interest in women’s wrestling in WWE. Yet, she was often viewed as the second to McCool throughout their partnership and for that, I only want to spotlight her work even more.