For over half a century, professional wrestling was considered to be a man’s sport. While there were a handful of female wrestlers - including the likes of Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young, the business was indeed dominated by men.
With the illusion surrounding the industry - a cloak of misconception if you will, where people believed that the business was a legitimate competition between strongmen, not many thought that women deserved a spot among the grizzly and daunting wrestlers.
However, over the past two decades, those misapprehensions have been curtailed. The women in WWE have shown the world that they are just as good as their male counterparts. In fact, there was a time when women stole the show; not too long ago, Lita and Trish Stratus had the honour of closing RAW.
It is safe to say that the women have come a long way from where they were 50 years ago. During this time, the female Superstars have competed against top male stars. Furthermore, there have been instances when the women defeated the top male talent in the company.
Today, we take a look at ten female stars who have pinned top male stars in their respective organisations.
#10 Molly Holly
There are certain performers that aren’t meant to be in the wrestling business, not because they aren’t talented, but because they are ‘too nice’ to step on toes and ruffle a few feathers. Molly Holly’s name falls in that category.
During her recent Hall of Fame induction speech, Beth Phoenix talked about how Molly Holly paid for her training and helped her when she couldn’t turn to anyone else. Molly wasn’t just a good person; she was also a phenomenal wrestler.
Molly won the WWE Women’s Championship twice, and also got her hands on the WWE Hardcore Championship. Molly took on all and at one point, was involved in a feud with one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time, Lance Storm.
Not only did Molly pin Storm, but she also pinned former cruiserweight champion, and her on-screen cousin, Crash Holly!
#9 Candice Le Rae
When we talk about women who faced their male counterparts, we have to talk about one of the best female wrestlers on the planet, Candice Le Rae. Candice has faced numerous top talents on the independent scene – both male and female. Candice made her NXT debut a couple of weeks ago, during the battle royal to determine the number one contender for Asuka’s NXT Women’s Championship.
Candice is also the wife of NXT Superstar, Johnny Gargano. On the independent scene, she teams up with Joey Ryan, with the duo aptly called “The World’s Cutest Tag Team”. Candice has never shied away from competition, be it against Adam Cole, or even her own husband!
Candice has also pinned Johnny Gargano during one of their matches for AIW (Absolute Intense Wrestling). However, arguably her most famous match was against The Young Bucks, where she teamed up with Joey Ryan for PWG Tag Team Championship.
During the bout, Candice bled profusely, and in the end, pinned one of the Bucks to pick up the victory.
Sable has been one of the most vivacious divas in professional wrestling history. However, when she came to WWE, it wasn’t Sable that was supposed to be the star. In fact, Sable acted as Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s (later changed to Triple H) valet, but then sided with her real life husband, Marc Mero.
Mero competed in WCW as Johnny B. Badd and was built as the company’s next breakthrough star. Mero won the WCW TV title thrice, before jumping ships to WWE. Mero won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in WWE, and defeated the likes of Steve Austin and Owen Hart in the process!
However, an injury kept Mero off television, while Sable became a fan favourite.
This resulted in WWE taking the decision to split the duo. According to multiple reports, Mero was scheduled to fight Steve Austin. However, the week prior to their match, Mero was power bombed by Sable, and Austin refused to be involved with someone he thought was “weak”.
Sable pinned Mero at SummerSlam in a mixed tag team match, where Mero teamed up with Jacqueline to take on Edge and Sable.
Jacqueline won the WWE Women’s Championship twice, and was one of only three women to have won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Jacqueline had a phenomenal in-ring career, which saw her working for WCW, WWE and later, Impact Wrestling.
During her stint with WWE, Jacqueline made history when she became the WWE Cruiserweight Champion. When the then champion, Chavo Guerrero Jr. threw out an open challenge, his challenge was answered by the Texan.
Jacqueline then pinned Chavo to win the title, but Chavo got his redemption at Judgment Day, when he beat Jacqueline with one hand tied behind his back.
When we talk about the greatest female wrestlers in history, the list will not be complete without Lita. As a matter of fact, Lita’s name will be at the very top. At a time when Chyna was a true trailblazer in WWE, Lita wasn’t too far behind. With her unorthodox, high flying, lucha libre style, Lita made a massive impact in the company.
While the “Punk Princess” is a multiple time WWE Women’s Champion, in the beginning of 2001, she found herself at the crossroads. Dean Malenko, who was infatuated by Lita, forced her to go on a date with him. However, during one episode of RAW, everything was on the line for Lita.
Lita faced Malenko, and a victory would ensure that Malenko would let her go.
Malenko is considered to be one of the greatest cruiserweights of all time. “The Man of 1,000 Holds” was however defeated by Lita, thanks to an interference from Matt Hardy. Post match, Lita and Matt kissed on-air, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Victoria was one of the most dominant performers in WWE. The way she annihilated Trish Stratus in early 2000’s put the women’s division on notice. Victoria is also a multiple time WWE Women’s Champion, and competed against some of the biggest names in the company at the time.
In 2003, Victoria got into an on-screen relationship with Steven Richards.
The duo faced the team of Tommy Dreamer and Ivory on Sunday Night Heat in 2003. Tommy Dreamer cemented his legacy as a legend during his time with ECW, but found himself in a slump in WWE. Richards Superkicked Tommy, leading to Victoria pinning the ECW Original!
#4 Beth Phoenix
The Glamazon, similar to Chyna a decade ago, was a trailblazer in WWE. Beth became only the second women’s wrestler to enter the Royal Rumble match, and eliminated The Great Khali! Beth also won the WWE Women’s Championship thrice, and was also a former WWE Divas Champion. Beth was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this year.
The Glamazon was one of the few women to have faced a male Superstar in an inter gender match. Back in 2008, Beth was involved in an on-screen relationship with Santino Marella.
Santino, who won the WWE Intercontinental title on his very first night on the main roster, later faced Beth Phoenix in a singles match.
#3 Sara Calaway
Diamond Dallas Page was a hot commodity when he was in WCW. Not only was he a multiple time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, but he was one of the better workers in the company. So when WWE signed him up, the fans expected interesting storylines and solid matches.
However, WWE quickly squashed those ideas, and DDP was involved in a forgettable storyline instead.
When DDP was unveiled as Sara Calaway’s stalker, it led to a program with The Undertaker. However, the proverbial nail in the coffin for DDP’s WWE career came on RAW, when he was placed in a match with Sara Calaway. The Undertaker quickly got involved and choke slammed Page on the outside.
This led to Sara pinning Diamond Dallas Page. When someone that isn’t even a professional wrestler pins you in the ring, it’s quite obvious where your career is headed in WWE.
#2 Stephanie McMahon
When Stephanie was introduced on WWE programming, she was “Daddy’s little girl”. The evolution of Stephanie McMahon from Vince McMahon’s kid, to the “Billion Dollar Princess”, to the now business tycoon has been impressive to say the least. One of the more monumental phases in Stephanie McMahon’s on-screen persona came during the 2000’s, when she married (kayfabe) Triple H.
During the McMahon-Helmsley era, we saw Stephanie coming into her own. During one particular episode of Monday Night RAW, Stephanie, along with Test, took on The Rock in a Handicap match. During the bout, The Rock knocked the referee out, as Shane McMahon came out to help his sister.
In the end, the odds proved too much for ‘The Great One’ to overcome, and Stephanie McMahon did the unthinkable – she pinned ‘The People’s Champion’ in the middle of the ring!
Our number one pick wouldn’t surprise anyone. If there ever was one dominant female in professional wrestling, who kicked the door wide open for other women to enter the business, it was Chyna. Not only was she a maverick, but also became the first woman to participate in a Royal Rumble match!
Chyna has been a part of many “firsts” – Chyna became the first woman to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament, the first and only woman to hold the prestigious WWE Intercontinental title, and last but not least, the first woman to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship, although she never competed for the title.
While Chyna did technically pin Chris Jericho (the match ended with a double pinfall), arguably the biggest victory of her career came against Triple H. Chyna and Triple H were involved in a number one contender’s match for the WWE Championship.
With Mick Foley interfering during the bout, Chyna was able to pin Triple H, thus becoming the number one contender for the title!