WWE Divas was the term used by WWE/F to refer to their female roster until 2015/16. Sable made her WWE debut in 1996 as a valet for her real-life husband, Marc Mero, which is when the term "Diva" was first used in the company. Sable quickly became a fan favorite due to her stunning looks and willingness to experiment with her outfits and demeanor. Sable's popularity led to her being featured in Playboy magazine, and she quickly rose to become one of WWE's most recognizable women.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, WWE prioritized women's wrestling based on their appearance and sex appeal. Many of the female wrestlers were hired for their looks rather than their wrestling ability.
WWE Divas Championship
To signify the company's emphasis on beauty and glamor, the Divas Championship was created in 2008, which was exclusively for female wrestlers. WWE Legend Michelle McCool became the inaugural Divas Champion by defeating Natalya at The Great American Bash pay-per-view in 2008 to win the title. McCool went on to have a successful WWE career, winning the championship twice more and becoming one of the most dominant Divas of all time.
In 2011, the company debuted "Total Divas," a new reality television show that followed the lives of the WWE's female wrestlers outside the ring. The show was a fan favorite, and it helped to raise the profile of female wrestlers in the WWE. Since then, many legendary female wrestlers have held the Divas Championship, adding to the title's prestige.
List of WWE Divas Championships
|Champion||Championship change||Reign statistics|
|Michelle McCool||July 20, 2008||The Great American Bash||1||155||159|
|Maryse||December 22, 2008||SmackDown||1||216||212|
|Mickie James||July 26, 2009||Night of Champions||1||78||79|
|Jillian Hall||October 12, 2009||Raw||1||<1||<1|
|Melina||October 12, 2009||Raw||1||84||84|
|Vacated||January 4, 2010||Raw||—||—||—|
|Maryse||February 22, 2010||Raw||2||49||49|
|Eve Torres||April 12, 2010||Raw||1||69||69|
|Alicia Fox||June 20, 2010||Fatal 4-Way||1||56||56|
|Melina||August 15, 2010||SummerSlam||2||35||35|
|Michelle McCool||September 19, 2010||Night of Champions||2||63||63|
|Natalya||November 21, 2010||Survivor Series||1||70||70|
|Eve Torres||January 30, 2011||Royal Rumble||2||71||71|
|Brie Bella||April 11, 2011||Raw||1||70||70|
|Kelly Kelly||June 20, 2011||Raw: Power to the People||1||104||104|
|Beth Phoenix||October 2, 2011||Hell in a Cell||1||204||204|
|Nikki Bella||April 23, 2012||Raw||1||6||6|
|Layla||April 29, 2012||Extreme Rules||1||140||140|
|Eve Torres||September 16, 2012||Night of Champions||3||120||121|
|Kaitlyn||January 14, 2013||Raw 20th Anniversary Special||1||153||153|
|AJ Lee||June 16, 2013||Payback||1||295||296|
|Paige||April 7, 2014||Raw||1||84||85|
|AJ Lee||June 30, 2014||Raw||2||48||48|
|Paige||August 17, 2014||SummerSlam||2||35||36|
|AJ Lee||September 21, 2014||Night of Champions||3||63||64|
|Nikki Bella||November 23, 2014||Survivor Series||2||301||301|
|Charlotte||September 20, 2015||Night of Champions||1||196||196|
|Deactivated||April 3, 2016||WrestleMania 32||—||—||—|
The Women's Revolution
However, it wasn't until 2015 that the Vince McMahon-led promotion started taking Women's Wrestling seriously. With fans taking over Social Media with the "GiveDivasAChance" hashtag, WWE finally realized the need to give their female roster the spotlight it deserved. This movement started by the fans was called "The Women's Revolution" and aimed to provide more opportunities for female wrestlers to showcase their in-ring abilities and to be treated as equals to their male counterparts. The movement gained traction in July 2015, when WWE broadcasted its first-ever women's wrestling match on its flagship show, Monday Night Raw. The fight saw Charlotte Flair taking on Brie Bella, and it was a pivotal event in WWE history.
Throughout 2015 and 2016, the Women's Revolution gained traction, with female wrestlers such as Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley becoming fan favorites. In 2016, the WWE also introduced a new Women's Championship to replace the Divas Championship. Charlotte Flair won the new Women's Championship for the first time at WrestleMania 32 in April 2016. The championship was created to reflect the WWE's new direction in women's wrestling, with an emphasis on athleticism and skill rather than looks and sex appeal.
The Women's Revolution has thrived in the years since its inception. Since then, WWE has staged a number of historic women's matches, including the first-ever women's Royal Rumble in 2018 and the first-ever all-pay-per-view, women's Evolution, in 2018. Hiring mainstream female talent like Ronda Rousey, along with giving the Women of WWE opportunities like main-eventing WrestleMania has truly worked in favor of WWE's claim of treating genders equally.
WWE has come a long way in its treatment of female wrestlers, from treating them as mere eye candy to attract more male viewers to treating them with equal respect and responsibility as their male counterparts.