The WWE Divas - Part 2
More of the women of the WWE, the WWE Divas
This is my second article about the women of the WWE or the WWE Divas to be exact.
This time we have a fairly even balance between women that have actually been trained as wrestlers, and just models.
We have women that were amateur wrestlers, women that are part of wrestling history, women that made a name for themselves with Independent wrestling promotions before coming to the WWE, and some women that were hired just because they looked good.
Beth Phoenix (Elizabeth Carolan)
Beth Phoenix, Elizabeth Kocanski Carolan, was born on November 24,1980 in Elmira, New York.
Now here we have a real female wrestler.
Beth always wanted to be a professional wrestler, and she started out by wrestling on the Elmira, New York Notre Dame High School scholastic wrestling team.
She was the North-East freestyle women's champion (72 kg weight class) in 1999, and in that same year, she became the women's champion (72 kg weight class) at the New York State Fair Tournament.
Then she went to the All Knighters' wrestling school, ran by Canadian pro wrestlers Joey Knight and Robin Knightwing.
Interestingly, her debut wrestling match was against Alexis Laree, who she would work with later in the WWE under the name Mickie James.
Beth has held the WWE Women's Championship three times and the WWE Divas Championship once.
On October 29th, 2012, Beth made her final appearance on WWE Raw.
Beth Phoenix vs Melina (I Quit Match)
Natalya (Nattie Neidhart)
Natalie "Nattie" Katherine Neidhart was born on May 27th, 1982 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Another real wrestler, she is the daughter of wrestler Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, the grand-daughter of Stu Hart, the niece of Bret Hart, and the cousin of David Hart Smith.
She was the first woman trained in the infamous Hart family "Dungeon" and besides her pro wrestling training; she was trained in amateur wrestling and mixed martial arts.
Beth and Natayla formed a tag team called the "Divas of Doom", but the team was dissolved and Natalya has moved back into singles competition.
Gail Kim was born on February 20th, 1977 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Gail also has serious wrestling cred, having trained at Ron Hutchinson's "School of Pro Wrestling" in Toronto and Rob Etchevarria at the "Squared Circle Pro Wrestling Gym".
She debuted as a masked wrestler, "The Queen of the Cats" La Felina, and lost her mask in a match with a lady she would work with years later in TNA, Traci Brooks.
Gail has held both the WWE Women's Championship and the TNA Women's World Championship.
On August 5th, 2011, Gail said on her Twitter page that she had quit the WWE.
The WWE did not grant her release and made her stay till the end of her contract.
On September 30th, Gail's WWE.com profile was removed.
On October 20th, Gail returned to TNA.
Alicia Fox (Victoria Crawford)
Victoria Crawford was born on June 30, 1986 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Not a lot to tell about Alicia, because before she signed with the WWE she was a model.
She was trained at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) for two years before making her way up to SmackDown .
Incredibly, she has held both the OVW Women's Championship and WWE Divas Championship.
Tamina (Sarona Reiher)
Tamina is the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, and the sister of Jimmy Reiher, Jr.
She is the first female wrestler to come out of the Samoan Wrestling Family and was trained at the Wild Samoan Training Center.
Tamina worked for World Xtreme Wrestling before signing with the WWE.
Rosa Mendes (Milena Roucka)
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia (yes ANOTHER Canadian!) on October 25th, 1979, Milena Roucka is of Czech and Costa Rican descent.
Like several others, Rosa was a model before coming to the WWE.
She got her start in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, coming in fourth, but being signed anyway.
(Layla and Maryse were also in that year)
Rosa started out in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), went to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and made her debut on Monday Night Raw in 2008 as Beth Phoenix's biggest fan.
Although her wrestling training is limited, Rosa is trained in kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
She once held the OVW Women's Championship.
Nikki and Brie Bella, The Bella Twins (Stephanie Nicole and Brianna Garcia)
The Bella Twins were born on November 21, 1983 in San Diego, California (but they were raised in Scottsdale, Arizona).
Models and actresses, they were in the 2006 WWE Diva Search (yes, the same one with Layla, Maryse and Milena Roucka), but failed top place.
But as with Maryse and Rosa, they were hired anyway.
They were assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in 2007, and made their debut on the main WWE roster in 2008 on SmackDown.
Brie and Nikki both held the WWE Divas Championship at separate times.
On April 30, 2012 the Bella twins and the WWE parted ways when their contracts expired.
Kaitlyn (Celeste Bonin)
Celeste Bonin was born on October 7th, 1986 in Houston, Texas, but you may know her better as Kaitlyn.
Before wrestling, Celeste was into fitness.
She came in 1st place at the 2007 NPC John Sherman Classic Bodybuilding, Figure & Fitness Championships, 5th place at the 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic Bodybuilding, Fitness And Figure Contest and 16th at the 2008 NPC Junior USA Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships.
In July of 2010, Celeste signed a developmental contract, went to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and started out under the ring name Celeste, in a bikini contest.
Then her name changed to Ricki Vaughn, but before she could actually debut as Ricki, she was put on the third season of the WWE's NXT as Kaitlyn.
She won NXT and has now gone on to the SmackDown! roster.
Kaitlyn has a huge internet following from her fitness days, and now she has wrestling fans added into it.
If she keeps working at it, she could be another Trish Stratus.
Aksana (Zivile Raudoniene)
I did an entry on Aksana on my FCW Diva Lens, but since then she has moved to the big time.
Aksana's real name is Zivile Raudoniene and she was born on April 29th, 1982 in Alytus, Lithuania.
Before going to the WWE, she had a VERY promising future in bodybuilding with first place wins at the 2007 IFBB New York Pro Figure Contest and the 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic.
But she decided to go to the WWE and after wrestling in Florida Championship Wrestling (where she was the first wrestler to hold both the Queen of FCW and the FCW Divas Championship titles at the same time) for a while then doing NXT, she appeared on SmackDown.
However, all she has done is bits so far and hasn't gotten into the ring to wrestle much.
On June 12, 2014, WWE announced that Aksana had been released from her contract.
AJ Lee (April Jeanette Mendez)
Probably the most popular Diva in the WWE roster at the moment is April Jeanette Mendez, better known as AJ Lee, or just AJ.
The "Geek Goddess" started training in March of 2007 and made her pro wrestling debut in September of that same year.
She worked for Women Superstars Uncensored where she held the WSU Tag Team Championship (with Brooke Carter) and was one half of the WSU/NWS King and Queen of the Ring, along with Jay Lethal.
In 2009 AJ signed a contract with the WWE and went to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where she held the FCW Divas Championship and was the Queen of FCW.
She then went from FCW to NXT to SmackDown.
AJ even wound up being the "Raw General Manager" for awhile.
Outside the ring, AJ is BFF with fellow WWE Diva Kaitlyn.
AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella: Raw, March 16, 2015
Vickie Guerrero was born on April 16th, 1968 in El Paso, Texas.
If you follow wrestling at all, you know that Vickie is the widow of the great Eddie Guerrero.
Vickie first showed up on the WWE back during the Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio feud.
After Eddies death on November 13th, 2005, Vickie began to show up and was involved in story lines with Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Big Show, Eric Escobar, LayCool, Kaitlyn, Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd and Jack Swagger.
She has been the assistant to SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, acting general manager of SmackDown and manager to most of the wrestlers I listed earlier.
A lot of people don't realize this, but Kelly Kelly was the youngest WWE Divas Champion, was with the WWE for six years, and was Naomi's mentor on NXT.
Yeah she started out as a swimsuit model, but she did try and you could actually see her getting better in the ring.
Kelly was born Barbara Jean Blank on January 15th, 1987 in Jacksonville, Florida.
The "The French-Canadian Beauty" made her debut in the WWE in 2006.
Yeah she started out as a model before wrestling (though she did have a pretty extensive martial arts background) but she quickly evolved into what I think was one of the best Heels the WWE ever had.
She left the WWE in 2011 but returned with her husband, The Miz in 2016.
Brooke Adams was born on December 4th, 1984 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Before wrestling she was in contests Miss Hawaiian Tropic, Miss Swimsuit USA and Miss Hooters.
Brooke was in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, but she didn't make the top eight.
However, the WWE signed her anyway and she was pretty much wasted as a wrestler, just used as eye candy.
After leaving the WWE in 2007, she went to TNA and there she was the TNA Knockouts Champion three times and one half of the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions with Tara. who was former WWE Diva Victoria.