Monday, July 22, 2024

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Ranking Every Divas Champion: 2008-2016

With the unveiling of a new look WWE title for the women, it seems the perfect time to look back at the titles of yesteryear that the women (or then Divas) would be fighting for week after week.

One such title that was retired at the beginning of this era for the women, was the Divas Championship. Introduced in 2008 by Smackdown General Manager, Vickie Guerrero, who felt it was time her Divas on Smackdown and ECW had their own title as a counterpart to RAW’s Women’s Championship.

Over the near eight years of its existence, the title was held by 17 different women, moved from Smackdown to RAW, become the only title for the women after a unification match before finally being retired in 2016 at Wrestlemania.

As with any list like this, there will be Divas listed here that not everyone will agree on their placement so let’s explain what I will be considering.

  • Length of Reign(s) – Days title held taken from
  • Number of Successful Title Defenses – Not including titles retained via Count-out, DQ or non-televised bouts
  • Significance of the Reign – The importance of the reign on the division at the time and how memorable it may be today
  • Number of Reigns – Amount of times the Diva held the title

All this being said, this is only my opinion and as always would love to discuss and debate these in the comments so share your thoughts and even some of your favourite Divas title matches below!

#17 – Brie Bella

Total Days as Champion: 70 Days

Longest Reign: 70 Days

Times Held: 1

Successful Defences: 1

Let me preface this by saying that one of the biggest misses of the Divas Division, for me, was Brie Bella not becoming a two time Divas Champion around the time of her feud with Stephanie McMahon. That version of Brie Bella was a top baby face, solid in the ring and was seen as one of the top contenders in the division at the time.

It is unfortunate that this reign for Brie came at a time when this marked her as the top Diva across both brands as the WWE Women’s Championship had been retired and so her then flaws were highlighted. The success of Laycool and the hole left by Michelle’s retirement was definitely felt and it seems that the heel Bella Twins were perhaps meant to fill that void but when her only challenger to her reign was Kelly Kelly, the match quality was not there.

Not to knock either Kelly or Brie but at this point in their careers, neither were fully able to lead a match but still delivered where they could.

Unfortunately, the title didn’t do a lot when held by Brie Bella for those 70 days which is more a comment on WWE booking than on Brie’s ability especially when we came to see how capable she would become when she tapped in to #BrieMode.

#16 – Jillian Hall

Total Days as Champion: <1 Day

Longest Reign: <1 Day

Times Held: 1

Successful Defences: 0

Before you write that comment, hear me out.

Yes, this title reign was the shortest of any other reign on this list and Jillian holds the distinction of being the only Divas Champion to never successfully defend her title but it’s hard to deny it was a memorable moment.

If you were watching live when this happened, reactions ranged from confusion to sheer elation at Jillian’s reaction to having won her first and only title during her time with WWE.

What came to pass next saw Jillian drop the title to Melina who had just been drafted to RAW and it became clear this reign was simply to pass the title from Mickie James to Melina without the two facing off. (I mean, they could have done a title exchange ceremony, those always go down great!)

The reason Jillian’s reign just beats out Brie’s is down to the reaction to it from the fans and from Jillian herself, her screeching and joy at winning really portrayed how important the title was to her and for me, seeing a wrestler genuinely care about what they’re fighting for makes me care that little bit more.

#15 – Natalya

Total Days as Champion: 69 Days

Longest Reign: 69 Days

Times Held: 1

Successful Defences: 1

During the Unification match between Michelle McCool and Melina, the seeds were planted for the next challenger as Natalya found herself confronting McCool throughout the match and even inadvertently cost Melina the match when she distracted the referee.

What followed was a long feud where Natalya became the new target for the mean girl antics of Laycool, an almost full circle moment came about as Natalya was one of the first two Divas to compete for the title when it was introduced. Her chase for the title would say Natalya try her best to combat the numbers, facing Michelle and then Layla in back to back PPVs before deciding to face the threat head on and challenge them to a handicap match.

It was a perfect end to her chasing the title and it’s well known amongst wrestling fans today that Natalya is a work horse so fans were expecting even more hard hitting matches and feuds surrounding the title. We did get the first ever Divas Tables Match featuring Natalya and Beth Phoenix against Laycool in one of the first signs of the WWE giving their women more extreme stipulations in some time.

Regrettably, as with most reigns, the booking is what ultimately hurt Natalya as she only successfully defended the title once on RAW against a newly heel Melina before she would drop it to Eve in a Fatal Four Way match.

#14 – Kaitlyn

Total Days as Champion: 152 Days

Longest Reign: 152 Days

Times Held: 1

Successful Defences: 3

They say anything can happen in WWE and Kaitlyn’s reign and rise to the top of the division is probably a perfect example.

It is common knowledge now that Kaitlyn winning the number one contender’s battle royal on that fateful episode of RAW was not the plan but in a rare moment of good writing, the powers that be decided to run with what happened and what followed was a satisfying and entertaining chase for the title.

While Kaitlyn did not receive her original title opportunity and thus opened the doors for another Diva to swoop in, she would remain in the title picture for the following months and finally score the gold in her home state of Texas, spearing Eve right out of the WWE.

Kaitlyn is the first Divas Champion in the ranking to defend the belt more than once successfully but two of those defences happened on NXT and only one would occur on PPV. She would hold the belt for sometime but her title reign would only start to develop some steam when she began a secret admirer storyline with the reveal being that AJ Lee was behind the whole thing. Emotions got the better of the champion in her match against Lee and ultimately cost her the belt.

Around this time, Total Divas was beginning up so the potential of a longer rivalry was taken away from us and Kaitlyn would get lost in the shuffle, never regaining the belt but holding the 7th longest reign out of 17 champions is still impressive.

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