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10 Greatest Women's Champions In WWE History

Ahead of WWE Evolution, we have a look at some GOATs...

Stephanie McMahon didn't invent women's wrestling, believe it or not. Yes, despite the way a series of milestone moments in the women's revolution - including the announcement for WWE Evolution - have been presented in recent times with McMahon fronting them ALL, women's wrestling in WWE does indeed predate that tweet sent by AJ Lee back on 25 February 2015.

Evolution, the company's first-ever all women's PPV, feels like the crowning achievement several generations of female wrestlers have worked towards. It's a genuine coming of age for women's wrestling in general, as WWE are putting their faith in their females to not only sell out an arena, but prove the last few years have been worth all the investment put in their division. Even though it will be a massive celebration on Sunday, you can't help but feel the pressure is on.

Granted, the huge 'first-ever' matches we've seen building up to this point were monumental in their own respective rights, but having a card made up entirely by women is just the next level - and I'm not sure if there is another level to get to from here outside of a women's championship match headlining a WrestleMania.

Here, we'll look at some of the greatest champions WWE's women's ranks has ever seen. Whether they be Women's Champions, Divas Champions, or the Raw or SmackDown incarnations we see today, they have all played their part in making Evolution a reality. I'm going to apologise to Beth Pheonix and her fans now as she hasn't made the cut. Please don't hurt me. I'm taking a holistic look at everything to do with the following 10 performers - from their performances in the ring, reigns as champion, and impact on the business of professional wrestling as a whole.

10. Chyna


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The way WWE swept Chyna under the proverbial rug for the longest time was nothing short of shameful. Of course, if Triple H's daughters googled The Ninth Wonder of the World's name, they would have seen adult movies - but they also would have seen a woman who smashed down barriers in a time when those barriers were bigger than they have ever been.

Yes, during The Attitude Era where women were relegated to bikini contests and wrestling in paddling pools full of pudding, Chyna was entering the men's Royal Rumble, winning an Intercontinental Championship, and appearing in mainstream media outlets.

Granted, she only held the WWE Women's Championship for 214 days over one reign, a stat that pales in significance to other entries in this list. However, her impact on the business meant way more than a few more championships to her name ever would have.


9. Lita


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Don't hurt me, there's a reason that Lita is rated so low - if you could even call being ranked the 9th greatest holder of a championship founded on 18 September 1956 a 'bad thing'.

There's no denying that Lita is one of the greatest ever to lace up a pair of boots in the women's ranks in WWE. To steal something from Jose Mourinho, Lita wasn't 'one of the bottle, she was a special one.' Everything about her makeup was completely original in terms of what came before her in WWE, and garnering trailblazer status like that sets her apart from just about everyone else the division has housed.

However, holding the WWF/E Women's Championship for only 160 days - merely 14 more than Stephanie McMahon and 16 less than Sable - means Lita can't rank too highly in our list. And for me, her two defining roles as part of Team Xtreme and alongside Edge as the quintessential heel couple since the turn of the millennium showed that she didn't need a championship to flourish.

A GOAT for sure, but in a list titled 'Greatest Women's Champions' - there are better candidates out there.

8. Mickie James


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Mickie's a bit of a dark horse in terms of her history with the WWE Women's Championship. In terms of reigns, she has the second most of all-time with five (not counting her one Divas Championship), and in terms of accumulative days held, she's joint seventh most (alongside Beth Pheonix) on 367.

Those numbers, are impressive.

Mickie makes the top 10 as on a number of occasions, she had fans Universe-wide truly invested in women's wrestling during a period of time when those putting WWE shows together simply weren't - or at least booked the women's ranks as if they weren't, I should say.

James turned chicken sh*t into you know how that goes time and time again, proving to be one of the most complete packages we've seen in ring and with mic in hand. Her rivalries with the likes of Trish Status and LayCool - while tasteless in places - really bucked the trend when it came to the toilet break feuds we'd become accustomed to during the mid-to-late noughties.

7. Alundra Blayze


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A performer that was a couple of decades ahead of her time, Alundra Blayze would be atop the female ranks if she was a full-time competitor today, there's absolutely no doubt about that.

After the WWF Women's Championship was scrapped towards the end of the 1980s, Blayze was the lady trusted with reviving the bewildered title, as she was made the face of the company's women's ranks in 1993 when the title returned. Despite high profile feuds with the likes of Bull Nakano and Bertha Faye, the women's division didn't take off and Alundra was out the door in 1995, dropping her WWE title in a bin on WCW Nitro.

Ultimately, Blayze's time in WWE was defined by a lack of investment in the women's division. However, by simply going back and watching her matches you can see what a bonafide GOAT she is. Oh, and the 539 days she held the title for - the third most of all time, no less, - means she's got to be in the conversation when it comes to the greatest women's champs of all time.


6. Nikki Bella


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Oh goodness, I know you're sharpening your pitchforks and setting things on fire after seeing Nikki's name here, but she's here on merit. LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE. HOW COULD I NOT INCLUDE THE LADY WHO HELD THE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP LONGER THAN ANY OTHER WOMAN IN WWE HISTORY? (Yes, Nikki held the title for 301 days straight.)

Honestly, what could I do?

And you know what, looking back at Nikki Bella in 2015 you see that she was arguably the most improved Superstar in all of WWE - male or female. The difference between the performer who held the same title for six days in 2012 and the performer who took us through this reign was night and day. Some may look at the likes of AJ Lee and Emma as Superstars who were held down while Nikki was allowed to reign supreme, and maybe they'd be right. But there's no denying that Nikki held her own in a number of matches during this time with the very best around - and that includes the influx of NXT talent that took the main roster by storm in the summer of 2015.

5. Sasha Banks


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WWE have made a right old mess of Sasha Banks in recent times and that makes me incredibly sad. Yes, questions have been raised in some quarters about her in-ring style not being too conducive to a lengthy career, but the way the powers that be made an absolute mockery of The Boss' rivalry with Bayley - Dr. Shelby, the goofy music and everything else - is nothing short of unforgivable. Imagine if that sit down interview with The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin shortly before WrestleMania X-Seven was conducted by Doink The Clown, and My Way was replaced by Joe Dolce's Shaddap You Face... 

Hopefully, this was just a case of WWE breaking down a Superstar before building her up again when Ronda Rousey is seasoned enough to take part in a rivalry for the ages.

Anyway, I know how good Sasha Banks is, you know how good Sasha Banks is - we don't need to talk about how she may be the most complete package in WWE in terms of work in the ring, and on the mic. What we should talk about is that fact that Sasha has taken part in the defining rivalry of the Women's Revolution so far with Charlotte Flair. The pair swam in untested waters for WWE's women, becoming the first women to headline a PPV, taking part in the first-ever women's Hell in a Cell match, and also becoming the first women to main event Raw since Lita and Trish Stratus in 2004. Oh, and Sasha has won four Raw Women's Championships over the past three years, adding to her NXT Championship and her 2015 NXT Match of the Year award. That's not bad going at all.

4.  Charlotte Flair


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WWE have made a right old mess of Charlotte Flair in recent times and that makes me incredibly sad. Heading into WrestleMania 34, all was going well for the lady who I personally believe is the best wrestler in the female ranks today. She was booked like the star she is, but not too heavy so fans would look at her like Roman Reigns was for so long. Her win over Asuka was the crowning achievement for a lady who has taken women's wrestling on leaps and bounds over the past few years - and solidified her spot as The Woman, just like her father was The Man a couple of generations ago.

However, WWE then gave her the chance to insert herself into the SmackDown Live Women's Championship match even though Becky Lynch vs. Carmella at SummerSlam had already been booked. That one mistake tipped the balance, and made everyone watching feel like 'hey, nobody else would have been given that chance... BOOOOOO THE WOOOOO. BOOOOOOO!'

Like Sasha's entry before, I mention how WWE made a mess of Charlotte because it has overshadowed just how bloody good she is. As I said, WWE had her booking pitched just right, with that one mistake undoing all the great work the one-time Divas Champion, two-time SmackDown Live Women's Champion, and four-time Raw Women's Champion has produced over the last three-and-a-bit years on the main roster.

All those titles in such a short space of time? No matter what your opinion is of Charlotte Flair, you can't argue with those numbers.


3. Alexa Bliss


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I know you're probably saying it's too early to class Alexa Bliss so high this early in her career, but think about it, it feels like Little Miss Bliss has been a champion for just about every single day of her main roster career so far - and I'm not going to ignore that feeling. When she was drafted to SmackDown Live in the ninth round of picks back in 2016, we didn't really know too much about her. We knew she was a manager with great facial expressions - but that was about it.

However, over the two-and-a-bit years since, The Goddess has proven to be one of the most complete packages in WWE's female ranks, both in terms of her in-ring work, and with microphone in hand. It's her work on the mic that sets her apart from many, with those scathing promos - albeit a tad repetitive today - always sure to rile up an audience the wrong way.

In matches against the likes of Becky Lynch, Nia Jax, and latterly Ronda Rousey, Alexa has proven that she can not only tell a pretty compelling story no matter who she is up against, but that she's also one of the more versatile performers in WWE's ranks today. Oh, and with five title reigns over two brands since the summer of 2016, she's crept up on everyone to become one of best women's champions in WWE history already. The woman just knows how to win.

2. Trish Stratus


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Trish Stratus' time in WWE is the epitome of evolution. She arrived as the manager of T & A (haha it's funny because of breasts and bums), a character symptomatic of everything wrong with the women's ranks in WWE during the much-celebrated Attitude Era.

From there, however, she evolved into arguably the greatest women's wrestler WWE has ever seen. Like, bar none. In an era where what happened between the ropes was very much on the backburner, Trish - along with the likes of Lita, Jazz, Mickie James and others - proved that the women could go just like the men. That's where her legacy lays - Trish is a performer a decade ahead of her time, and one that would fit into today's crop no problem whatsoever.

Heck, if it wasn't for Trish's performances in the ring, the likes of Bayley and Sasha Banks may not have been inspired enough to take up professional wrestling training in the first place. I seem to recall Bayley saying that Stratus, and a select few others, proved women could be Superstars just like the men which in turn got her to start training. And that's just bloody lovely, isn't it?

1. AJ Lee


WWE


AJ Lee has the second longest WWE Divas Championship reign of all time - holding the title for 295 days straight from the summer of 2013. That reign is pretty impressive, but it's not the reason why she's ranked so highly in this list.

Back on 25 February 2015, AJ Lee kicked off the Women's Revolution by calling out Stephanie McMahon on Twitter, making her the greatest champion of women's wrestling in WWE history.

AJ Mendez/Twitter


Lee's welcome outburst came about after Patricia Arquette's speech at The Academy Awards while accepting the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Boyhood. Arquette passionately spoke about gender equality and the pay gap between men and women - something that caught the attention of Stephanie McMahon.

McMahon praised the speech, and while she would concur with Arquette's words, AJ Lee used Twitter to challenge Stephanie on the way in which WWE compensated their female performers at the time. Steph's response was positive, with Vince McMahon later tweeting: "We hear you. Keep watching. #GiveDivasAChance"

Goodness knows where we'd be today if it wasn't for AJ Lee speaking up. While nobody with an on-screen presence gives Lee any credit for starting the Women's Revolution today - probably because of her husband more than anything else - it's important that we recognise her standing up for women's wrestling at a time when nobody else would.

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Editor-in-chief of Cultaholic.com and presenter on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]