WWE Divas Championship
|WWE Divas Championship|
The WWE Divas Championship belt
(July 2008–April 2016).
|Date established||July 20, 2008|
|Date retired||April 3, 2016|
The WWE Divas Championship was a women's professional wrestling championship in WWE. The championship was created by WWE in 2008, and was introduced as part of the WWE brand extension via a storyline by then SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero as an alternative to Raw's WWE Women's Championship. Michelle McCool became the inaugural champion on July 20, 2008, when she defeated Natalya at The Great American Bash. After then-WWE Divas Champion Maryse was drafted to Raw as part of the 2009 WWE draft, she took the title with her. McCool won a match against Melina to unify the WWE Divas and Women's titles at the Night of Champions pay-per-view on September 19, 2010, creating the Unified WWE Divas Championship; it eventually dropped the "Unified" moniker.
The title was retired at WrestleMania 32, after WWE Hall of Famer Lita revealed a brand-new Women's Championship (now Raw Women's Championship) to replace the Divas Championship. The match for the new title took place at the event between the reigning Divas Champion Charlotte and her opponents Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks in a triple threat match. Therefore, Charlotte was the last champion.
With the first WWE brand extension in 2002, a storyline division in which WWE assigned its employees to different television programs and touring companies, the WWE Women's Championship was originally to be defended on both brands. At some point that year, however, it became exclusive to the Raw brand. Thereafter, only Divas on the Raw brand were able to compete for the title, while the Divas on the SmackDown brand were unable to compete for a women's-exclusive championship. However, on a few occasions the regulation was bypassed with Melina, Ashley, Torrie Wilson, and Nidia challenging for the title while on the SmackDown brand, but none were successful.
As a result, WWE created the WWE Divas Championship and introduced it on the June 6, 2008 episode of SmackDown when then SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced the creation of the title. On the June 6 and July 4, editions of SmackDown, Natalya and Michelle McCool won their respective Golden Dreams match (also Involving Maryse, Victoria, Kelly Kelly, Cherry, and Layla) to qualify for the Divas Championship match. At The Great American Bash, McCool defeated Natalya to become the inaugural champion. When Maryse won the title from McCool in December 2008, she dislocated her kneecap at a live event later that month. Similar to how Trish Stratus kept the Women's Championship when she was sidelined with a herniated disc in 2005, Maryse was able to keep the Divas title upon her return in late January 2009. As part of the 2009 WWE draft, then Divas Champion Maryse was one of the people drafted to the Raw brand, in the process making the championship exclusive to Raw.
On January 4, 2010, WWE vacated the title after the current Divas Champion Melina sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament. A tournament was started two weeks later on Raw, where former Divas Champion Maryse qualified over Brie Bella, Alicia Fox qualified over Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres qualified over Katie Lea Burchill, and Gail Kim qualified over former Divas Champion Jillian Hall. In the semifinals, Maryse defeated Eve Torres, and Gail Kim defeated Alicia Fox. On February 22 episode of Raw, Maryse defeated Gail Kim to win the vacant championship, making her the first person to hold the title on more than one occasion. It was announced on the August 30 episode of Raw that the Divas Championship would be unified with the Women's Championship at a match at Night of Champions. With that, the title (known briefly as the WWE Unified Divas Championship) became accessible to both WWE brands and the champion could appear on both shows, a situation made permanent by the ending of the brand extension in 2011.
On September 16, 2012 at Night of Champions (2012), Eve Torres defeated Layla to win the title, making her the first ever woman to held the title on a record three occasions. On September 21, 2014 at Night of Champions (2014), AJ Lee defeated Paige and Nikki Bella in a triple threat match to win the title and tied with Eve for the most reigns ever at three.
On the Wrestlemania 32 pre-show, former WWE Diva and Hall of Famer Lita announced that the scheduled triple threat match for the Divas Championship between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks was instead going to be for the new WWE Women's Championship (now Raw Women's Championship), that the Divas Championship would be retired and that the word "Diva" would no longer be used to refer to WWE's female performers.
WWE Divas Championship Tournament (2010)
On January 4, 2010, WWE vacated the title after then Divas Champion Melina sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament. A tournament was started two weeks later on Raw.On February 22 episode of Raw, Maryse defeated Gail Kim to win the vacant championship, making her the first person to hold the title on more than one occasion.
|Katie Lea Burchill|
- The tournament final was originally scheduled at Elimination Chamber, but when official consultant to the SmackDown General Manager, Vickie Guerrero interrupted, she was changing the match to an interbrand Divas tag team match, facing LayCool (Michelle McCool and Layla) from SmackDown. The final was held at the following night of Raw.
Brand designation history
The following is a list of dates indicating the transitions of the Diva's Championship between the Raw and SmackDown brands.
|Championship moved to the Raw brand.|
|Championship moved to the SmackDown brand.|
|Date of transition||Notes|
|June 6, 2008||Championship established for SmackDown.|
|April 13, 2009||Divas Champion Maryse was drafted to Raw, while Women's Champion Melina was drafted to SmackDown.
The championship remained with Raw until unification with the WWE Women's Championship in September 2010.
|August 29, 2011||End of first brand extension.
The championship was retired and replaced by the new WWE Women's Championship in April 2016.
Eve Torres and AJ Lee hold the record for most reigns as Divas Champion with three each. AJ Lee holds the record for most combined days as champion with 406 days, while Nikki Bella holds the record for longest reign at 301 days. Jillian Hall has the shortest reign at five minutes. Layla is the oldest Divas Champion, having won at the age of 34, while Paige is the youngest Divas Champion in history, at 21 years of age, and is also the only woman to win the title in her debut.
The final champion was Charlotte, who was in her first and only reign. She defeated Nikki Bella on September 20, 2015 at Night of Champions in Houston, Texas to win the title. Charlotte was originally scheduled to defend the title at WrestleMania 32 against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, but during the event it was announced that the scheduled triple threat match would instead be for the new WWE Women's Championship (now Raw Women's Championship), with the Divas Championship subsequently being retired. Charlotte won the match and the Women's Championship; this ended her reign as Divas Champion and began a new reign as Women's Champion.
- "WWE Entertainment To Make RAW and SMACKDOWN Distinct Television Brands". World Wrestling Entertainment. March 27, 2002. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- Hoffman, Brett (April 1, 2007). "Playboy Covered". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- "Women's Champion Trish Stratus def. Melina". World Wrestling Entertainment. November 28, 2005. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- Passero, Mitch (June 6, 2008). "Golden Dreams". WWE. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Passero, Mitch (June 6, 2008). "California dreamin'". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
- Hillhouse, Dave (July 24, 2008). "The Great American Soap Opera". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
- "History Of The Divas Championship - Michelle McCool (1)". World Wrestling Entertainment. July 20, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Trish Stratus Bio". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
- Plummer, Dale (April 14, 2009). "RAW: Drafting a fresh start for the WWE". SLAM! Sports: Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
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