WWE Women's Championship
|WWE Women's Championship|
The final belt design of the WWE Women's Championship
(June 2002 - September 2010)
|Date established||September 18, 1956|
|Date retired||September 19, 2010|
The WWE Women's Championship was a professional wrestling championship in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion. Created in 1956, it was the oldest active professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment history until its retirement in 2010 after unification with the WWE Divas Championship.
The WWE Women's Championship was originally known as the NWA World Women's Championship of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). In 1956, The Fabulous Moolah became the inaugural champion on September 18 as recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE Women's Championship is descended from the original NWA World Women's Championship of the National Wrestling Alliance, which is still active today. In 1983, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) disaffiliated with the NWA and recognized then-NWA World Women's Champion The Fabulous Moolah as the promotion's World Women's Champion. The Fabulous Moolah's reign is considered to have lasted 10 years by the promotion. The WWF soon renamed their recognition of the title as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Women's Championship.
In 1990, the Women's Championship became inactive after Rockin' Robin vacated the championship following her departure from the WWF. Then in December 1993, the title was reactivated with Alundra Blayze winning a tournament for the vacant Women's Championship. The Women's Championship, however, became inactive again when Blayze unexpectedly signed with World Championship Wrestling in 1995 while still champion, forcing her to relinquish the title. The Women's Championship was reactivated again in September 1998 when Jacqueline Moore defeated Sable to win the title.
After the WWF/WWE name change in 2002, the championship was subsequently referred to as the WWE Women's Championship. With the WWE Brand Extension, the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship became the only titles allowed to be defended on both the Raw and SmackDown brands, while all other titles were exclusive to a single brand. Later[when?], the Women's Championship became exclusive to only the Raw brand.
On June 24, 2007, Candice Michelle became the first ever former WWE Diva Search contestant to win the Women's Championship by defeating then champion Melina at Vengeance. The Women's Championship remained the sole championship contested by women, until July 4, 2008 when a counterpart to the championship, called the WWE Divas Championship, was created for the SmackDown brand.
On April 13, 2009, the Women's Championship became exclusive to the SmackDown brand when reigning champion Melina was drafted from Raw to SmackDown during the 2009 WWE Draft. On June 28 at The Bash (2009) pay-per-view, Michelle McCool became the first ever Diva to have held both the WWE Women's Championship and the WWE Divas Championship in her WWE career. Other divas that have held both the Women's and Divas Championship include Mickie James, Melina Perez, Beth Phoenix and Layla. Michelle McCool and Melina are the only women in WWE history to record multiple reigns with both Women's and Divas Championships.
It was announced on the August 30 edition of Raw that the championship would be unified with its counterpart, the Divas Championship, at the Night of Champions event. This match was won by Michelle McCool and unified both titles creating the Unified WWE Divas Championship, thus making the Women's Championship defunct as the unified title follows the lineage of the Divas Championship.
The inaugural champion was The Fabulous Moolah who defeated Judy Grable on September 18, 1956. Moolah by far had the longest official reign by holding it for 3,651 days, or 10 years and 1 day, and has had more recognized reigns than anyone else, with eight. Mickie James has the shortest reign. While in Paris on April 24, 2007, James defeated then-champion Melina and Victoria in a Triple Threat Match. However, Jonathan Coachman, the Acting General Manager for Raw said that since Mickie pinned Victoria, Melina deserved an immediate rematch which she won by having her feet on the ropes.
The only male Women's Champion was Harvey Wippleman. On January 30, 2000, Wippleman won the WWF Women's Championship from The Kat while he was in a disguise and used the name "Hervina" in a "Lumberjill Snow bunny" match, a match that took place in a snow filled pool surrounded by female wrestlers whose purpose was to keep the competitors from leaving the pool.
The women's division was deemed inactive in 1990 during Robin's reign. Alundra Blayze won the Women's Championship after it was reactivated in 1993 before finally relinquishing the title in 1995 when she left to join World Championship Wrestling. Chyna departed from the company during her reign. Trish Stratus won her record setting seventh title reign in her final match at the 2006 Unforgiven ppv against Lita before retiring the same night, thus vacating the championship the next day. Michelle McCool unified the Women's and Divas Championships in Layla's place, thus leaving Layla the final undefeated champion.
Layla (officially) was the final champion after she defeated Beth Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match, on the May 11, 2010 taping of SmackDown, which aired on May 14. Overall, there have been a total of 29 recognized champions with 59 official WWE Women's Championship reigns combined.
On March 28, 2015, Debra Micelli (as both Madusa and Alundra Blayze) pulled the WWF Women's Championship belt from a trash can during her WWE Hall of Fame acceptance speech, saying the belt was "back where it belongs" after twenty years. She emphasized it is a "women's wrestling" belt, and challenged any "Diva" to try and take it from her, before immediately saying she was retired and joking. At the end of her speech, she nonetheless proclaimed herself the "reigning WWF Women's Champion", with the belt over her shoulder. WWE does not recognize this reign.
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Layla is the last-ever Women's Champion.
- "History of the Women's Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- "WWE Hall of Fame Report, March 28, 2015", by Jason Powell, PWTorch.com
- Official WWE Women's Title History
- WWE Women's Championship History
- Wrestling-Titles.com: WWE Women's Championship
- WWE Women's Title History