The 12 Most Impactful Female Wrestlers In the History Of WWE
There's no denying the impact of these WWE superstars.
WWE has produced some of the best women’s wrestling the squared circle has ever seen, and few promotions come close to the continued success of the division (even during the Divas era) than the massive sports entertainment company. Over the years, impactful WWE female wrestlers have broken new ground for future superstars like Bianca Belair as well as 2023 Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we have put together a list of 12 female WWE superstars who have made a place for themselves in the annals of wrestling history. With wrestlers from all the major eras in WWE’s long and storied history, plus honorable mentions for those who made an impact on wrestling as a whole (as well as those who weren’t necessarily remembered for their in-ring accomplishments), there's a lot to unpack.
Alundra Blayze, who first made her mark on the wrestling world with stints in the AWA, WCW, and AJWPW before signing with the then-WWF in 1993, went on to become a three-time Women’s Champion during her two-year stint with the promotion during the height of the New Generation era.
Though Blayze would later show up on WCW’s Monday Nitro under her old name of Madusa and drop the WWF Women’s Title in the trash can on live TV during the height of the “Monday Night Wars," she later returned more than 20 years later to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2015.
Though not as well-known to some younger fans, there’s no denying Blayze's impact on the company’s women’s division in the years that followed.
Though remembered by most for managing WWE legends like Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, and Shawn Michaels in the 1990s, Sherri Martel, also known as “Sensational Sherri,” was a driving force throughout an early incarnation of the women’s division throughout the latter part of the 1980s. In her WWF debut back in July 1987, Martel defeated longtime champ and division staple the Fabulous Moolah, and would end up holding onto the belt for more than a year, collecting victories left and right.
Upon the dissolution of the women’s division several years later, Martel was able to reinvent herself as one of the most iconic managers in the history of professional wrestling, both in and outside of WWE. Sadly, Martel passed away at the age of 49 in June 2007, according to the Baltimore Sun, just one year after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Billed as “The Ninth Wonder of the World,” Chyna had the distinction of not only being the only undefeated WWE Women’s Champion (the title was vacated after she left the company in late 2001), but also the only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship, which she did on two occasions. There’s no denying the impact of Chyna on the sport, as she normalized intergender wrestling while also breaking new ground for women in the industry.
It is hard to imagine modern wrestlers like Rhea Ripley, Beth Phoenix, or Nia Jax, all of whom have taken on male competitors throughout their respective careers, being able to further reshape the model without Chyna having broken it first. And while Chyna was eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of D-Generation X, it came three years after her 2016 passing.
Lita has to be one of the more fascinating members of the WWE Hall of Fame considering she spent a great deal of time dominating the women’s division as well as being a part of the years-long feud between the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz, and Edge & Christian, taking some incredibly dangerous bumps on the biggest stage. As part of Team Xtreme, Lita put her life on the line week-in and week-out throughout the Attitude Era, all while racking up impressive victories against the likes of Trish Stratus, Stephanie McMahon, and several others.
To this day, Lita continues to wrestle for WWE, and is currently a Women’s Tag Team Champion with Becky Lynch, with whom she has quite the history.
Was there a bigger star of the women’s division in the late '90s and early 2000s than Trish Stratus? One of those WWE superstars that transcended the world of professional wrestling and entered the greater collective consciousness, Stratus was at the center of some of the bigger wrestling angles of the era, bouncing between being a manager and dominant performer in the ring.
The seven-time WWE Women’s Champion main evented Monday Night Raw on multiple occasions and even won WWE Hardcore Championship at one point, adding a strange stat to her list of accomplishments. And the living legend is still around today, recently helping her former rival and fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Lita, vanquish Damage CTRL.
Whenever Charlotte Flair’s wrestling career is over (hopefully that’s a long time from now), there’s a good chance she’ll go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, female wrestlers in WWE history. Much like her father, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Charlotte has dominated the women’s division ever since making her main roster debut back in 2015 (this was following an incredible run in NXT).
Over the course of the past decade, Flair has won the WWE Raw Women’s Championship six times, the SmackDown Women’s Championship seven times, has been named female wrestler of the year by multiple publications, and was part of the first all-female WrestleMania main event back in 2019. And this looks like it’s just the beginning.
Throughout her 10-year run with WWE, Sasha Banks, a.k.a., “The Boss,” was one of the hardest working wrestlers within the company, and put up stellar performances on all corners of the Earth thanks to her impressive moveset, boundless personality, and the ability to effectively pull off being a face and a heel in the ring. From her days feuding with Bayley in NXT to headlining WrestleMania 37 with Bianca Belair, Banks made a statement by giving the women’s division new life.
After a sudden and shocking departure from WWE in 2022, Banks popped up in NJPW at the promotion’s annual January 4th event, Wrestle Kingdom 17 in early 2023, where she is currently the IWGP Women’s Champion under the name Mercedes Moné.
Becky Lynch’s various title reigns – two-time Raw Women’s Champion, four-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, current Women’s Tag Team Champion – are more than enough reason to add her to the list of impactful female wrestlers, but it’s The Man’s personality and innate ability to connect with fans that really earns her a spot.
Between 2018 and 2019, Lynch reached levels of success in the ring, and general pop culture, that hadn’t been seen since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s rise to the top of the pack in the heyday of the Attitude Era. The shot of a triumphant and defiant Lynch with a broken nose is an image that will live in the minds of wrestling fans for generations to come, as will her show-stealing victory at WrestleMania 35 months later.
In a time when the WWE’s Divas division wasn't necessarily remembered for its wrestling ability, Beth Phoenix was a superstar that went against the grain. The three-time WWE Women’s Champion and one-time Divas Champion was the powerhouse of the division, decimating everyone that came in her path. Known as the “Glamazon,” Phoenix provided a great deal of range and credibility to the division during that time, earning her a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Phoenix is still one of the biggest stars in WWE today, having recently teamed up with real-life husband, Edge, to take on The Judgment Day in a high-profile feud.
The current Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair listed as a major inspiration when speaking with Forbes, Jacqueline was one of the unsung heroes of WWE’s Attitude Era and early days of the Ruthless Aggression era. The two-time Women’s Champion even won the Cruiserweight Championship late in her WWE tenure, becoming only the third female wrestler to do so.
A prominent player in the women’s division throughout her career, Jacquline became the first Women’s Champion in nearly three years after the title was brought back in September 1998. Years after her career ended, Jacqueline became the first Black woman to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and later returned to compete in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble.
A professional wrestling journeywoman, Luna Vachon wrestled anywhere and everywhere throughout her 22-year career, including multiple stints in WWE where she quickly became an iconic member of the women’s roster thanks to her over-the-top personality, gravely voice, and a look that made her look like a Batman villain.
Though she never won a championship in WWE, Vachon was a part of some major angles during both the New Generation and Attitude Era, including a series of matches against Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze and later a run with the misfit toys of wrestling factions, The Oddities. Sadly, Vachon passed away in 2010.
Michelle McCool, who was named the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Woman of the Year in 2010, is more than deserving of that award and the various Slammys she received throughout her seven-year full-time career with WWE. During her brief tenure, McCool won the Women’s Championship on two occasions and the Divas Championship twice, making her one of hte most dominant female wrestlers of the 2000s.
Since coming back for the 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble, McCool has gotten back into the ring a handful of times, most recently the 2023 Rumble when she was pulled out of the crown to participate.
The list of the most impactful WWE female wrestlers wouldn’t be complete without including some of the trailblazers who either made a name for themselves in other promotions or by largely making an impact as a manager, valet, or on-screen personality.
This includes the controversial Fabulous Moolah, the iconic Mae Young, Randy Savage’s longtime wife and valet Miss Elizabeth, the Attitude Era star Sable, and last but certainly not least, Vickie Guererro, whose famous “Excuse Me” line made her one of the best heels the company has ever seen.
If you want to go back and watch each of the impactful WWE female wrestlers, you can watch the vast majority of their in-ring work with a Peacock Premium subscription, which also happens to be the home of all upcoming WWE premium live events.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.