Female Wrestling - The History of the WWE Divas

WWE Divas Sunny, Chyna, Ivory, Jacqueline, Sable, Lita and more.

The term Diva originally meant a prima donna, a distinguished female operatic singer or a female operatic star, and it comes from the Italian noun diva, which means a female deity or a Goddess.
Of course in the squared circle, the term Diva has taken on a whole new dimension.
The WWE has it's Divas, and TNA wrestling has it's Knockouts.
But when did women wrestlers change from being grapplers to being Divas?

Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch)

Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch)
Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch)

Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch)

The woman that is widely regarded as the very first female wrestling Diva was Tammy Lynn Sytch, better known then as Sunny.
In the 1990s, Tammy was wildly popular as a member of the The Bodydonnas (Chris Candido, Tom Prichard and Sunny) in the WWF.
Tammy came to the WWF via Smoky Mountain Wrestling where she started out as the manager of her real life boyfriend Chris Candido.
And before she actually did any in-ring work for the WWF, she was a commentator for the "Live Event News" segments during the syndicated WWF TV shows.
Sunny was so popular, that in 1996, she won Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Manager of the Year Award, and she was AOL's most downloaded woman that year.
After the Bodydonnas, Sunny managed wrestlers and wrestling stables like Brian Lee, The Godwinns and the Legion of Doom 2000.
After she was released from the WWF in 1998, (there were rumors of problems with another very popular Diva, Rena "Sable" Mero and an addiction to painkillers), Tammy went on to work for wrestling promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and she worked on the Independent circuit.
On April 5, 2009 she once again worked for the WWF (now WWE) at WrestleMania XXV, where she participated in the 25-Diva "Miss WrestleMania"battle royal .

Side note here: I'm really not sure why Miss Elizabeth (Elizabeth Ann Hulette) isn't considered the first Diva since she predated Sunny (Miss Elizabeth first appeared in 1985).
I guess it's because more was made of Sunny's physical attributes as opposed to actual character.

Sunny and the Road Warriors
Sunny and the Road Warriors

Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch) Tribute

Between 1996 and 1997, more Divas joined the WWF.
The cigar smoking Marlena (Terri Runnels), Sable (Rena Mero) and Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer).
Then in 1998, Debra (Debra Marshall) came into the WWF.

Marlena (Terri Runnels)

Marlena-Terri Runnels
Marlena-Terri Runnels

Marlena (Terri Runnels)

Terri started out in the WCW as Miss Alexandra York, the manager of the York Foundation.
She stayed with WCW for six years, then went to the WWF where she worked for eight years.
Terri actually won the WWF Hardcore Championship when she pinned Stevie Richards.
Although he immediately pinned her and regained the title.

At one point she was married to Dustin Runnels, aka Goldust

Sable (Rena Mero)

Sable (Rena Mero)
Sable (Rena Mero)

Sable (Rena Mero)

Before coming to the then WWF, Sable worked as a model, appearing in ads for L'Oréal, Pepsi, and Guess? jeans.
She got into the WWF via her husband at the time, Marc Mero (aka Johnny B. Badd).
Sable held the WWF Women's Championship at one time, winning it at the November 15, 1998 Survivor Series PPV.

Sable cranking up the "Sable Bomb"
Sable cranking up the "Sable Bomb"

Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)

Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)
Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)

Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)

Chyna debuted in the WWF as the bodyguard of Triple H, and his real life off-screen girlfriend.
She was the first female member of D-Generation X.
Chyna held the WWF Women's Championship once, and the WWF Intercontinental Championship three times.

Chyna and Chris Jericho
Chyna and Chris Jericho

Debra (Debra Marshall)

Debra (Debra Marshall)
Debra (Debra Marshall)

Debra (Debra Marshall)

Before wrestling, Debra was the 1984 Miss Texas USA.
She also attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York.
In 1996, she debuted in the WCW with her then husband National Football League alumnus and professional wrestler Steve "Mongo" McMichael.
She left the WCW, divorced Steve and went on to the WWF, where she eventually married another Steve, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Debra also held the WWF Women's Championship, defeating Sable in a controversial evening gown match.

Of course there were more female wrestlers in the WWF.

Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore)

Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore)
Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore)

Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore)

Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore) made her WWF debut in 1998, one of the Divas with a real wrestling background.
She started out in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling in Japan before moving to the United States Wrestling Association, where she held the USWA Women's Championship eight times.
Jacqueline then went to WCW before landing in the WWF.
She held the WWF Women's Championship twice, and the WWE Cruiserweight Championship once.

Jacqueline with a dropkick to (I think) Trish Stratus
Jacqueline with a dropkick to (I think) Trish Stratus

Ivory (Lisa Moretti)

Ivory (Lisa Moretti)
Ivory (Lisa Moretti)

Ivory (Lisa Moretti)

Ivory (Lisa Moretti) started out in the in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) professional wrestling promotion (where I actually got to see her wrestle in person!) as Tina Ferrari.
She then moved to the Powerful Women of Wrestling promotion, where she wrestled as Nina and Tina Moretti.
She debuted in the WWF as Ivory in 1999.
As Ivory, she held the WWF Women's Championship three times.

Ivory with the bulldog to....?
Ivory with the bulldog to....?

Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon)

Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon)
Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon)

Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon)

Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon) came from a legendary wrestling family, and made her WWF debut in 1993, but what led to that is pretty interesting.
The WWF wanted to hire her in 1992, but they couldn't find her.
They actually hired a private investigator who found her working as a waitress in Florida.
Although she worked for the WWF and WWE for a combined total of five years, she never held a title there.
She was married to David Heath (Vampire Warrior) and despite their perceived personas, David and Luna were both baptized by Nikita Koloff in 2004.

On August 27, 2010, Luna was found dead at her mother's home.

Luna Vachon with the boston crab on....?
Luna Vachon with the boston crab on....?

Miss Kitty / The Kat (Stacy Carter)

Miss Kitty / The Kat (Stacy Carter)
Miss Kitty / The Kat (Stacy Carter)

Miss Kitty / The Kat (Stacy Carter)

Miss Kitty or The Kat (Stacy Carter) debuted in the WWF in 1999 as Debra's assistant, appointed to her by Jeff Jarrett.
Chyna won the services of Miss Kitty after Chyna defeated Jarrett at the No Mercy PPV.
Even though she was not trained as a wrestler, The Kat won the WWF Women's Championship at the Armageddon PPV in 1999, defeating Ivory, Jacqueline, and Barbara "BB" Bush in a four corners evening gown pool match.

Miss Kitty and Chyna
Miss Kitty and Chyna

Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman)

Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman)
Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman)

Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman)

Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman) made an interesting debut in the WWF in 1999.
On the Thanksgiving 1999 edition of Smackdown, Ivory took on  Jacqueline in a...wait for it...Gravy Bowl match!
Yeah....
Anyway the match was "officiated" by The Kat, and when the Kat got something lodged in her throat during the match (don't ask) Cathy came out as an EMT, and gave Kat the Heimlich maneuver.
She was rewarded for her efforts went Ivory tore her top open, and threw her into the gravy.
The Monday on Monday Night Raw, Cathy was introduced as Barbara Bush (B.B) and she went on to engage in some very...interesting "events"...including a swimming pool match, a Holiday Topless Top-Rope Match and the Miss Royal Rumble Swimsuit Competition.  
After the WWF, she went on to the WCW as Papaya, and TNA as Taylor Vaughn.

Amy Dumas (Lita)

Amy Dumas (Lita)
Amy Dumas (Lita)

Amy Dumas (Lita)

At the end of 1999, another lady appeared that would arguably change the face of female wrestling in the WWF/WWE.
That lady was Amy Dumas, better known then as Lita.
Although Lita was signed in 1999, she didn't actually make her in-ring appearance till February 13, 2000, which leads us to the next Hub...

Lita with the dropkick to Molly Holly
Lita with the dropkick to Molly Holly

WWF / WWE Divas

Who is your favorite WWF/WWE Diva on this Hub?

  • Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch)
  • Marlena (Terri Runnels)
  • Sable (Rena Mero)
  • Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)
  • Debra (Debra Marshall)
  • Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore)
  • Ivory (Lisa Moretti)
  • Luna Vachon (Gertrude Vachon)
  • Miss Kitty / The Kat (Stacy Carter)
  • Barbara "BB" Bush (Cathy Dingman)
  • Amy Dumas (Lita)
See results without voting

More by this Author


The History of the WWE Divas Comments 8 comments

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Great hub sabreblade, I wouldn't date Luna Vachon though, too scary :), but the other girls are pretty good. I'm sure this hub will go to the first page.


Phillyfreeze69 6 years ago

Hi Sabreblade,

Enjoyed reading all of the bio's of the pioneers of female wrestlers. I still have the Nov. 2000 PB magazine with Chyna on the cover. Hopefully it will become a collectors issue.


Dave Goldsmith 6 years ago

Feb 18, 2010. I would like to see David Mcclane make a come back to the Seattle area, bring back Malibu, Tina Ferrari, Brandimae, Sasha the Russian, Candi Devine, Pocho, Missy Hyatt, Madussa, Wendi Richter, Sheri Martel, Elizabeth, Queen Kong, of course Bambi the Georgia Peach, Luna, Peggy Lee Leather. See ya.


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

This is another round of hot, feisty, strong willed women. I wonder how they are when they are with their men.


TopUniverse 6 years ago

I didn't know much about female wrestler before reading this hub. Thanks sabrebIade.


leftyquit 2 years ago

Luna Vachon applied that Boston crab to Alundra Blayze.


sabrebIade profile image

sabrebIade 2 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

You think?

I was thinking that she looked kinda slender for Alundra.


erorantes profile image

erorantes 18 months ago from Miami Florida

I like your hub miss sabreblade. It is impressive how all the women who sport with wrestling get the most amazing beautiful bodies. I like the clothes they wear too. I can feel their pain when I fall myself while walking or playing other sports. They are strong and beautiful. Thanks for writing about their sport.

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