In the late 1990s, a new type of WWE superstar emerged. Gone were the days of female performers who primarily stood by their men without ever getting into the ring. Instead, this new crop of females, quickly dubbed Divas, not only rocked a bikini, but also ushered in a new smash-mouth era that continues to this day. Strong, athletic, and sexy, these ladies turned up the heat every time they appeared on screen and many of them went on to make a significant impact on pop culture. We've compiled a list of the 10 most important Divas in WWE history.<p>
<p><strong><em>All photos copyright 2013 WWE</strong></em></p>
It's well-known that twins share a special, unbreakable bond. Who are we to break that bond? The Bellas are the only twin sisters in WWE history to have ever held championships. The duo is famous for their twin magic antics: Whenever one of the sisters gets into trouble during a match, they seamlessly trade places while the referee isn't looking. With the fresh twin resuming the match, wins soon follow.
Fresh off winning a Miss Galaxy fitness competition, Torrie Wilson made her debut in 1999 and was immediately placed into WCW's top storyline featuring Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. In 2001, Wilson entered WWE and soon found herself on countless magazine covers and making numerous TV appearances, including on the NBC reality show, <em>I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!</em> Presently, Wilson is dating New York Yankee, Alex Rodriguez.
It's been said that Kelly Kelly is so nice they named her twice. Kelly made her debut in 2006 and quickly became a fan favorite. And, this connection with the WWE Universe paid off big. In June 2011, based on fan voting, she received a Divas title match and went on to capture her only championship. Kelly has appeared on numerous magazine covers and has made various TV appearances including as a <em>Price is Right</em> model.
Following a stint in ECW, Lita joined the WWE and was originally paired with Essa Rios. From there, she aligned herself with the Hardy Boys and then their rival, Edge. With her distinctive red hair and tattoos, it wouldn't be long before she'd break out on her own. Lita is one of only two women to ever compete in a Monday Night Raw Divas singles main event. In less than eight years she won four WWE Women's championships.
A former Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada model, Maryse was the second woman eliminated in the 2006 Diva Search. However, the Canadian native whose mother tongue is actually French wasn't deterred and eventually went on to manage and become a two time Divas champion of distinction. She currently holds the record for the longest Divas championship reign (216 days) in history. Maryse is engaged to current WWE superstar The Miz.
As a five-time WWE Women's champion and one-time Divas champion, James trails only Trish Stratus for most female WWE championships ever. James initially debuted in Stratus' corner. The two went on to have one of the most compelling Diva storylines featuring stellar championship contests throughout 2006. In 2010, James threw her cowboy hat into a completely different ring when she released her first country music album on iTunes.
A former Guess? model, Sable debuted on Triple H's arm at WrestleMania XII. From there, she went on to manage then-husband, Marc Mero. But, it wasn't long before she entered the ring herself. She captured her only Women's championship at Survivor Series 1998. By the end of the decade, Sable was making appearances on various magazine covers and TV shows. She's currently married to WWE superstar and former UFC champion, Brock Lesnar.
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While unsuccessful in her attempt to win the 2004 WWE Diva Search, McCool would not be denied. In less than seven years, she became a two-time Women's champion and two-time Divas champion. McCool, the inaugural Divas champion, also partnered with Layla to form arguably the best-known female tag team in recent history, LayCool. In 2011, she lost a Loser Leaves WWE match to her former tag partner, Layla.
The current girlfriend of Hollywood heavyweight, George Clooney, has come a long way since winning the 1999 WCW Nitro Girl competition. What Keibler may have lacked in technical skills, she more than made up for with sheer star presence -- not to mention her 41 1/2 inch legs. In 2006, Keibler placed third on ABC's <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>. She's also made sitcom appearances on such shows as <em>George Lopez</em> and <em>How I Met Your Mother</em>.
Stratus, an actress and reality TV veteran, is the record setting seven-time WWE Women's champion. She first burst onto the scene as a manager. After an on-screen relationship with Vince McMahon, Stratus found her true calling as a wrestler. In 2006, in front of an emotional hometown crowd, she retired following her record-setting championship victory. On April 6th, 2013, Stratus becomes the first wrestler to debut in the 2000s and enter the WWE Hall of Fame.