In 2016, WWE took a major step in its Divas Revolution by dropping the moniker ‘Diva’ and rebranding its women as ‘Superstars’. Since then, all references to that name have mostly been dropped in an attempt to distance today’s WWE from the previous booking of the women’s division.
One woman who came into WWE right in the midst of the Divas era is Maria Kanellis. In an exclusive interview on Grapsody, Maria discusses a variety of topics including the misconception that the Divas era lacked strong workers.
“There were a ton. Trish [Stratus], Lita, Ivory caught the tail end of that. Victoria, Molly was in that era. You had workers. Down the line, you have Beth [Phoenix], Melina, Mickie [James], Nattie. You had a ton of workers that came from the Indies too. It was a mix at that time. I think they should bring back the Butterfly belt. I do. I know people will disagree with me and that’s fine. That’s why wrestling is great because when you watch wrestling, you don’t see everybody looking exactly the same,” – Kanellis (Fightful)
The ‘Butterfly belt’ is of course the Divas Championship introduced in 2008 as a second title for the women. In 2010 it became the sole title for the women’s division to compete for after it was unified with the Women’s Championship. Fans have often spoken up in support of the division back then and against the erasure of the women and their contributions to women’s wrestling. Maria has often been very vocal of this same sentiment.
“I sometimes write in my Twitter messages, ‘Still a Diva.’ It had to [fluctuate]. You have to go all the way to the right and then all the way to the left and then somewhere in the middle we find what works the best. I still there’s a place for that. I still think if you want to be glamorous and do more girly moves, that’s fine, that’s your style. If you want to be more aggressive and go out there with no makeup and wearing no shorts and t-shirt, fine. Talent comes in all forms. Sexy, there is a whole rainbow of sexy. That’s how society is,“
One of the biggest criticisms of the division and its booking was how the women were relegated to skits and segments as opposed to lengthy matches. TV time, meaningful storylines, and consistent booking were not often gifted to the women but Maria feels you can have it all.
“I still consider myself a diva because it gave me the first opportunity in my career. I think some of those segments were funny and cute. We should have a little bit of humor to it. There is a place for everyone.”
Maria has also gone on record stating her current contract status with IMPACT and she has had talks with Tony Khan, Triple H, and WOW.
“I’m on a per-appearance deal with them [IMPACT Wrestling] until October 8. It’s so hard to make decisions moving forward because I love what we’re doing in IMPACT and I know the possibilities of where we might go with it and where I might go with it as an individual. Scott D’Amore is a fantastic boss, if I’m not in the Maria Honor No More voice [laughs]. I absolutely love what we’re doing there.“
She continues, “Then it ended, and Scott gave us an opportunity. It’s really hard looking ‘where do I go next?’ I talked to Tony Khan, I talked to Triple H, I talk to Scott all the time. Recently, I talked to WOW [Women of Wrestling]. It’s a very interesting time for me. For me, it’s about creating opportunities for all of the women I’m working with now. Where does that make sense?”
Catch the full interview here where Maria talks about her future in wrestling, her own wrestling promotion, and more!
Would you like to see the Divas Championship return in today’s WWE? Let us know in the comments below!