35 WWE Divas After the Ring: Where Are They Now?
The WWE has garnered a cult following since its inception. One of the top reasons wrestling fans have ravenously followed the organization is the WWE Divas division. The evolution of women in the wrestling ring has undergone some radical changes, but no matter the transformation, the Divas have continually delivered one promise – pure entertainment.
So what happens to our favorite Divas when they exit the WWE? This list dives in to take a look at what some of the most desirable, daring and dastardly Divas have been up to since stepping out of the ring.
1. Molly Holly
It sure was a wild ride for Molly Holly in her time in the WWE Divas ring from 2000-05. She went by many names: Lady Ophelia, Molly Holly, and Mighty Molly before returning as the iconic Molly Holly once again. Following her wins as she became a two-time WWE Women’s Champion and one-time WWF Hardcore Champion proved equally as entertaining as her losses, like when she got hit in the face by a door to lose the Hardcore Championship – right after winning it.
Since Molly Holly’s departure from the ring, she has been on a philanthropic mission. This former Diva is dedicating her life to good, working with youth battling substance abuse issues. As if that isn’t enough, she has also been working in Guatemala as a missionary. Now that’s a Diva on a divine path.
2. Candice Michelle
One of many WWE Divas to get her start on “Diva Search” in 2004, the gorgeous Candice Michelle was a sight for sore eyes. Michelle enjoyed as much stardom outside the ring as she did in it, until her departure from the WWE in ’09. Michelle starred as the first GoDaddy Girl in the company’s now (in)famous Super Bowl commercials and appeared on the cover of Playboy. She also earned PWI’s Woman of the Year title in ’07 and bagged a Women’s Championship.
A slew of injuries played a large role in Michelle’s release from the WWE in 2009. Since retiring, Michelle has shifted her focus to family life with her husband, Ken Gee Ehrlich, whom she married in 2005. They have three daughters together.
3. Trish Stratus
There’s no argument, Trish Stratus is one of the most successful WWE Divas to have ever competed in the ring. Stratus came onto the scene in 2000, and quickly went from just another easy-on-the-eyes Diva to one of the most recognizable faces of the WWE (including both men and women). Her accolades include WWE Diva of the Decade, WWE Hardcore Champion, four-time PWI Woman of the Year, and seven-time WWE Champion.
The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee continues to live it up after calling it a career in 2006. Stratus wasted no time getting hitched to her high school sweetheart just two weeks after her initial retirement. The pair recently welcomed their second child. Though she still occasionally returns to the ring, Stratus has dipped her toes into various other pursuits, including acting and running her wildly successful Stratusphere yoga program.
Chyna wrestled her way through the WWF, serving as a trailblazer for all women in the sport. She first entered the scene in 1997 as a member of the iconic D-Generation X stable with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude. Up until her departure in 2001, Chyna set the tone for female wrestlers, as she paved the way with firsts competing against (and putting a whooping on) men.
Life after wrestling was tumultuous for Chyna. The wrestling icon appeared on numerous reality TV shows and eventually turned to a career as an adult film star. Unfortunately, Chyna struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction that eventually led to her premature death in 2016 at the age of 46.
5. Mickie James
Mickie James made her official WWE debut in 2005 in a seemingly innocuous role, alongside Trish Stratus as her “biggest fan.” In a creepy turn of events, James turned out to be downright obsessed with Stratus, creating one of the more entertaining and odd feuds between the Divas. James remained a fixture amongst Divas, racking up five WWE Women’s Championships before her exit in 2010.
Stepping out of the WWE ring didn’t stop this performer from doing what she loved. James soon launched her music career, releasing her first country album in 2010 and her second in 2013. James’ success in the music industry didn’t stop her from competing in TNA, Impact Wrestling and Global Force Wrestling. In 2016, the two-time Woman of the Year made her return to the ring; she continues to throw down with the toughest WWE Divas today.
A list of WWE Divas wouldn’t be much without the lady who is widely considered the first Diva, Sunny. The original Diva first made a name for herself in 1995 as manager of The Bodydonnas. By ’96, Sunny had already taken over, winning PWI’s Manager of the Year award. She fell out of the WWE’s good graces as fast as she rose, as rumored problems with Sable and alleged drug problems led to her dismissal in ’98.
Sunny saw her share of troubles after her untimely dismissal from the WWE. While bouncing between different promotions over the years, Sunny endured several hardships including five arrests over the course of four weeks in 2012-2013 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The WWE Hall of Fame inductee is now cancer-free and even released an autobiography, “A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall of Wrestling Diva Tammy ‘Sunny’ Sytch.”
7. Terri Runnels
The WWE world was first introduced to Terri Runnels in 1996. She appeared as Marlena, the mysterious, cigar-smoking manager of Goldust, who was actually her real-life husband at the time. After their divorce in ’99, Runnels returned to the ring under her own name. She spent time wrestling with the Pretty Mean Sisters stable, then managed numerous other acts.
After leaving WWE in 2004, the former Diva took up an entirely new mission. Runnels has been heavily involved with a number of charities, working with groups such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Children’s Miracle Network.
Sable didn’t have the longest tenure in the WWF, but it was a red hot run from the moment she came onto the scene in 1996. Her scantily clad showdowns were a fan favorite, which isn’t too surprising. Sable’s beauty earned her three Playboy covers, including two in the same year (1999).
In June 1999, Sable abruptly quit, filing a $110 million lawsuit against the WWF for alleged sexual harassment. After settling out of court, Sable surprisingly returned to the ring in ’03. The reunion was short-lived, however. Sable left again in ’04 to be with her three kids and husband Brock Lesnar, whom she married in ’06. Read on for more WWE Divas power couples!
Who would have thought Victoria’s television debut as a member of wrestler The Godfather’s gaggle of girls would lead to such lucrative opportunities? Trish Stratus seemed to feud with just about every Diva that entered the ring, but for much of Victoria’s WWE career (’02-’09), the two women duked it out to make for some all-time great matches. Victoria left the WWE as a two-time Women’s Champion and was named PWI’s Woman of the Year in ’04.
Victoria may have been done with the WWE in ’09, but this Diva wasn’t even close to finished whoopin’ women in the ring. Under the new name “Tara,” she racked up five TNA Knockout Championships. Victoria has since began numerous business ventures, ranging from a pair of restaurants to a custom car shop.
10. Torrie Wilson
Torrie Wilson was a heartthrob, without a doubt. She stood above the rest as one of the most desirable WWE Divas from the time she entered the ring in 2001 until her eventual departure in 2008. During that time, Wilson graced the cover of Playboy in ’03 and ’04 and was featured on reality shows, video games and even in music videos.
Even after retiring in 2008, the blonde bombshell still looks more than capable of jumping in the ring today. From 2011-2015, Wilson dated another heavy hitter: former MLB star Alex Rodriguez. Wilson still keeps plenty busy as a fitness trainer and model.
Jacqueline was a staple Diva in the Attitude Era. The tough Texan’s injury in 1994 delayed her initial debut, but she made up for it when she came out hot in 1998. Through that first feud with Sable, Jacqueline claimed her first Women’s Championship. A second Women’s Championship and a WWE Cruiserweight Championship marked other career highlights before the Diva left in 2004.
Jacqueline continued to wrestle in the IAW and TNA until 2013. In 2016, Jacqueline’s illustrious career earned her a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. The Dallas native may have stepped away from the WWE some time ago, but she prefers to say she is “just not active” in the sport, rather than retired.
12. Stacy Keibler
Everyone remembers Stacy Keibler as “The Weapon of Mass Seduction.” Destruction would have been a much more fitting name, had she actually brought any talent to the ring. Fortunately for Keibler and her fans, she was able to get by just fine with her lovely long legs from 2001-2006.
Keibler parted ways with the WWE in ’06 to compete in the second season of Dancing with the Stars, where she placed third. In 2011, Keibler dated Hollywood icon George Clooney. After a two-year romance with the famous actor, Keibler wed Future Ads CEO Jared Pobre.
Ivory came out of the gates swinging in her 1999 WWF debut. Not one to let her unfortunate starting point (she was a member of The Godfather’s infamous female entourage) slow her down, she set off on her own journey. Ivory won her first of three Women’s Championships that same year.
In 2005, Ivory decided to call it quits when her WWE contract reached its end. Since stepping out of the limelight, Ivory has been heavily involved as an animal rights advocate. The Diva even opened her own animal daycare center.
14. Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly was only 19 years old when she made her WWE debut in 2006. The stunning beauty quickly made a name for herself with the crowd-favorite weekly segment Kelly’s Exposé on the now-defunct ECW. Kelly found herself on the wrong end of championship bouts on numerous occasions, but was finally able to claim a WWE Women’s Championship in 2011 she retired in 2012.
Since 2015, the stunning WWE Diva has starred on the E! network reality show WAGs (wives and girlfriends). Initially, Kelly appeared as the fiancée of NHL star Sheldon Souray. The couple married during the show’s second season and continue to ride the show’s success through season three.
15. Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool made her 2004 debut on “Raw Diva Search.” Though she only took seventh place, that didn’t stop her from having a long, successful career in the WWE. McCool was a Diva to be reckoned with throughout her seven-year run. 2010 was perhaps “the year of McCool,” as she won PWI’s Woman of the Year and was named the Slammy Awards’ Diva of the Year before retiring in 2011.
Before her retirement, McCool added to her amazing 2010 by marrying The Undertaker. In 2012, they welcomed a daughter to the family. In 2016, McCool announced that she had been diagnosed with skin cancer. The Undertaker has since retired, so he and McCool can focus on their family.
In the absence of the dominant Diva Chyna, the WWE’s attention turned to another professional badass. In 2001, Jazz made her debut in a six-pack challenge. Although she wasn’t successful on the Survivor Series PPV, Jazz quickly proved a formidable opponent. Even plagued with injuries, Jazz was the Women’s Champion in ’02 and ’03.
Aside from a brief return in 2006, Jazz’s run in the WWE ended in ’04. However, injuries and age haven’t stopped Jazz from competing. After the WWE, Jazz competed on the independent circuit, Women Superstars Uncensored, and has been back at it since ’11. Jazz and her WWE husband, Rodney Mack, run a professional wrestling school called The Dogg Pound.
Keep going to check out which other WWE Divas traded competition for tutelage.
17. AJ Lee
AJ Lee entered the mainstream WWE world when she competed in the third season of NXT in 2010. Lee went on to have a solid career, winning (and defending) a WWE Divas Championship and taking over 2012 and 2014 as the Slammy Awards’ Diva of the Year and PWI’s Woman of the Year.
According to AJ, there were two main factors that led to her 2015 departure: her husband CM Punk’s controversial exit from the WWE, and spine damage she had suffered over the years in the ring. The renowned Diva offered these insights in her memoir – a New York Times best seller in 2017 – “Crazy Is My Superpower.”
In 2000, Lita took the WWE by storm. After a very short stint as Essa Rios’ valet, she teamed up with the Hardy Boyz as part of the iconic Team Xtreme trio. Lita won four WWE Women’s Championships and developed one of the most heated rivalries amongst the WWE Divas with Trish Stratus. However, a variety of injuries throughout her career contributed to her early retirement in ’06.
After Lita stepped out of the ring, she starred on a different stage as the lead singer of punk band The Luchagors. The band had a solid run, touring from their inception in 2006 through 2014. Lita was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in ’14 and has been working as a full-time writer for WWE since ’15.
19. Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon, everyone’s favorite devilish Diva to despise. She initially debuted as the sweet little innocent daughter of WWE CEO Vince McMahon in 1999. McMahon showed everyone that she’s one Diva who doesn’t care who she’s messing with, getting into everything from a whipping match with Trish Stratus to a family feud with dad (which resulted in her unforgettably being choked out with a lead pipe).
McMahon’s time in the ring has significantly waned since 2005, as she has continually taken on a larger role behind the scenes. Far from her start as a receptionist in ’98, McMahon was Senior VP of Creative by ’06, and rose to become Executive VP in ’07. Since 2013, she has served as the WWE’s Chief Brand Officer.
20. Christy Hemme
Christy Hemme broke new ground in 2004 as the winner of the inaugural “WWE Raw Diva Search” on Spike TV. Not only did Hemme cash in on a $250,000 prize, she landed a one-year contract with WWE. Hemme launched plenty of feuds with other WWE Divas during that year, but her first contract ended up being her last.
Though Hemme’s time with WWE was brief, she continued on in the sport with TNA Wrestling in 2006. In ’09, Hemme transitioned to a new role as a ring announcer and interviewer until ‘16. Hemme also enjoyed a successful modeling career, posing in magazines like Maxim and Playboy. She also tried her hand in the music industry, recording a few songs in ’06. Hemme and her husband, Charley Patterson, had their first child in 2015. She revealed she’s expecting quadruplets in 2018.
Keep reading to see which other WWE Divas have earned their bunny ears.
21. Alundra Blayze
It was a long road to the top for Alundra Blayze. She wrestled all over – AWA, Zenjo, WCW – before gracing the WWF from 1993-1995. Blayze ruled the ring, becoming a three-time WWF Women’s Champion – only to make an exit that has lived on in infamy.
Blayze left the WWF with the women’s title in hand, dropping it in the trash on live TV for an unforgettable departure. She returned to WCW as Madusa from 1995-2001 before turning to another adrenaline fueled world: monster truck racing. With two Monster Jam championships under her belt, the former Diva is now keeping busy as the commissioner of Japan’s World Wonder Ring Stardom and even hosts her own podcast. Surprisingly, she’s not the only Diva to reach the airwaves after leaving the wrestling ring.
22. Eve Torres
Thanks to the fifth installment of “WWE Divas Search,” a star was born in Eve Torres. After winning the show in 2007, she worked her way up the ranks to win three Divas Championships. In 2013 – arguably the height of her career – Torres decided to step away from the ring and take her talents elsewhere.
Torres, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, married BJJ practitioner Rener Gracie in 2014. She gave birth to her first son in ’15. Torres serves as spokeswoman and head instructor for Gracie Women Empowered, a self-defense class at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
To say Melina’s time in the WWE was “contentious” would be a gross understatement. Throughout her career (2004-2011), Melina was one of the toughest heels in the WWE and seemed to feud with just about every Diva out there, claiming two WWE Divas Championships and three Women’s Championships.
After an ugly exit from the WWE, Melina continued her wrestling career on the independent circuit until 2012. Then, she took a three-year hiatus from the sport through 2015. Melina has enjoyed a triumphant return to the ring on the independent circuit since then.
24. Nikki Bella
In 2008, Nikki Bella launched her WWE career in a one-of-a-kind manner. She would hop out from under the ring to take over, after her twin sister Brie Bella had hidden underneath it. She then joined forces with Brie to dominate as The Bella Twins (save for a brief hiatus from 2012-2013) and on her own.
Even with everything Nikki has been balancing – starring in two reality shows, founding a clothing line and running a YouTube channel to name a few – she still had no trouble holding down her title as the longest reigning WWE Divas Champion. All of that came to a halt when longtime boyfriend and WWE legend John Cena proposed to Nikki after their tag team match on April 2, 2017. Two days later, Nikki announced via Instagram that she would be stepping away from the ring.
25. Maria Kanellis
In 2004, Maria Kanellis was introduced to the big stage on “WWE Raw Diva Search.” Though she only placed fifth on the reality show, the WWE signed Kanellis. She started as a backstage interviewer, but quickly worked her way up and was competing by ’05. Kanellis became a household name, even posing for Playboy in ’08 . She won the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year in ‘09 before her release in 2010.
While Kanellis continued to wrestle in a number of circuits outside the WWE, she also tried her hand in other ventures. Kanellis released an album, “Sevin Sins,” acted in films, and appeared on numerous reality shows such as “Celebrity Apprentice.” In June 2017, Kanellis briefly returned to the WWE alongside her husband, wrestler Mike Kanellis. In September 2017, Kanellis began a leave of absence from wrestling after announcing her pregnancy.
26. Brie Bella
Brie Bella’s 2008 WWE debut was a telling sign of things to come. She promptly put a whooping on her would-be rival, Victoria, on Smackdown. Of course, Brie’s “remarkable talent” turned out to be her twin, Nikki, tapping in from underneath the ring. Nonetheless, Brie remained one of the toughest WWE Divas until she decided to take a break from competing in 2016.
Not long after, Brie announced that she was expecting a child with her husband, pro wrestler Bryan Danielson. She gave birth to their daughter in May 2017. Amongst the Bella twins’ countless projects and ventures, Bella has served as a WWE ambassador since taking her leave.
27. Judy Martin
Modern day WWE Divas need to give it up for their girl, Judy Martin. Stepping into the ring in 1981 as one of the OGs of the WWF era, Martin made up half of one of the toughest tandems of all time: The Glamour Girls. Alongside her partner, Leilana Kai, Martin won the now-defunct WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship in ’85 and ’88.
Martin’s time in the WWF ended in 1989, but she continued to Judy Drop her opponents in other promotions until finally calling it a wrap in ’99. According to Slam! Wrestling, after her time in the ring, Martin worked in law enforcement for several years before transcribing medical records.
Read on to see which other old school legends make this list!
Nidia entered the WWE world in 2001 after winning the first season of MTV’s “WWE Tough Enough” reality show challenge. But it wasn’t until ’02 that Nidia debuted on Smackdown with on-screen boyfriend Jamie Noble. The two were known for their trailer trash gimmick, though it didn’t last long – she was released in ’04.
Nidia’s life since leaving the ring is a far cry from the glitz and glamor of the WWE Divas spotlight. She gave birth to a girl in 2007 and now resides in her home state of Texas with her family. Nidia reportedly started attending Houston’s Culinary Institute LeNotre in 2010 and now leads a local Girl Scouts troop.
29. The Fabulous Moolah
There are wrestling legends and then there is The Fabulous Moolah. Ever since the early days of professional wrestling, Moolah dominated the NWA, holding her throne for 28 years as NWA World Women’s Champion. She joined the WWF in 1984, making her the first WWF Women’s Champion. In 1987, Moolah finally stepped out of the ring, and spotlight… or so we thought.
After becoming the first female inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame (1995), Moolah returned to the ring in ’98. Moolah never lost her unique charm in her later years. Entertaining and spirited as ever, Moolah reclaimed the WWE Women’s Championship in ’99 at the ripe age of 76. Officially retired in 2004, The Fabulous Moolah still managed to make a special appearance at SummerSlam in August 2007. She passed away shortly after, in October of that year.
30. Maryse Ouellet
Maryse Ouellet first appeared on the scene in 2006 on WWE’s Diva Search. Maryse didn’t make it past the final eight, but that was enough to help launch her wrestling career. By 2008, fans knew Maryse’s face well, as she became a two-time WWE Champion on Smackdown and Raw.
Maryse ended her WWE contract in 2011. Like many WWE Divas, the talented beauty went on to star in a number of film and television roles. In 2014, Maryse married professional wrestler Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and returned to the ring as his manager in 2016. She has recently stepped out of the public eye after announcing she and The Miz are expecting a baby.
31. Wendi Richter
Oh, what could have been. Wendi Richter exploded onto the scene, making her WWF debut in 1983. Richter’s famous fight “representing Cyndi Lauper” in The Brawl to End It All, where she dethroned The Fabulous Moolah, made her a megastar in 1984. It all came to a screeching halt in The Original Screwjob. The infamous moment at MSG saw Richter pinned (off-script) in suspect fashion by a mysterious masked wrestler named The Spider – who turned out to be none other than Moolah exacting her revenge.
Enraged, Richter stormed out of the Garden, marking an end to her final bout in the WWF. Richter went on to wrestle on the independent circuit for 18 years, from 1987 through 2005. She kept plenty busy after exiting the ring, earning a B.A. in physical therapy and an M.A. in occupational therapy. Richter has since traded in wrestling competitions for dog shows.
32. Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix, three-time WWE Women’s Champion, is known for the physical dominance she exhibited in the ring. She was actually a wrestler in high school and signed her first developmental contract with WWE in 2005. Known as the Glamazon, Phoenix performed her Glam Slam finishing move against many formidable opponents throughout her professional wrestling years.
Phoenix retired in late 2012. She married WWE veteran Adam “Edge” Copeland; the pair have two daughters. In 2017, Phoenix was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. While there are many married couples in the world of professional wrestling, Phoenix and Copeland are currently the only spouses who are both WWE Hall of Famers.
33. Lilian Garcia
Lilian Garcia got her start in the WWE as an announcer and singer on “Monday Night Raw.” The talented beauty rose through the ranks to host several top-rated shows, including “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown” on Friday nights. Garcia began singing at an early age and continued to hone her skills, performing the National Anthem at sporting events for the MLB, NBA, and NHL. She even surpassed Aretha Franklin’s record for singing the most times at Wrestlemania.
Over the years, Garcia released several musical albums and her first single “Shout!” debuted at No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 in ’02. Garcia had two long-term stints with WWE, eventually leaving in 2016 to care for her ill father. Since then, she has made a few sporadic appearances at WWE events. Garcia began hosting two podcasts after leaving WWE. In July 2017, she debuted her latest podcast project, Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia, on PodcastOne.
34. Velvet McIntyre
Velvet McIntyre was a beast, an absolute animal in the ring. Seriously, McIntyre’s high-flying escapades, wild hair and trademark barefoot look in the ring was unforgettably wild. McIntyre’s time in the WWF (1986-1990) may have lasted longer had the women’s division not gone on hiatus. However, her time as a Women’s Champion and two-time Women’s Tag Team Champion won’t soon be forgotten.
The Irish-born wrestler took her talents back to Canada, where she had started her wrestling career. There, she wrestled for various promotions until discovering she was pregnant in 1998. McIntyre gave birth to twins and has largely stayed out of the public eye since.
35. Debra McMichael
It takes a certain special type of person to bring a whole new meaning to word “puppies.” During Debra McMichael’s run in the WWF (1998-2002), she won a Women’s Championship and earned PWI’s Woman of the Year title in 1999. Yet, she’ll always be remembered as the ultimate distraction when she gave the crowd what they wanted and showed them her “puppies.”
McMichael, who attended highly lauded Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute before beginning her wrestling career, has revisited both acting and her studies since retiring. She returned to Tuscaloosa, where she graduated from The University of Alabama, to pursue a master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
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