WWE Women's Championship (1956–2010)
|WWE Women's Championship|
The final belt design of the original 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 women's professional wrestling championship in the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E) promotion. The lineage of the Women's Championship dates back to September 18, 1956, when The Fabulous Moolah became the NWA World Women's Champion. The WWE did not exist at that time, and although they did not create their own women's championship until 1984 with The Fabulous Moolah as the first WWF Women's Champion, they claim 1956 for the championship's establishment and do not recognize any title changes from when Moolah became champion in 1956 until she lost it in 1984. This made the Women's Championship the oldest active professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment history until its retirement in 2010 after unification with the WWE Divas Championship. The final champion was Layla.
A new WWE Women's Championship (now Raw Women's Championship) was created in 2016, and although both championships had shared the name and the original is considered to be the predecessor, the new championship does not carry the lineage of the original.
On September 18, 1956, The Fabulous Moolah became the third NWA World Women's Champion. At that time, the WWE did not exist and did not become a company until 1963 when it was established as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Moolah, who bought the rights to the championship in the 1970s, defended the championship as the NWA World Women's Champion up until May 19, 1984; by this time, the WWWF had been renamed to World Wrestling Federation (WWF). In 1983, the WWF disaffiliated with the NWA and Moolah sold the championship's rights to the WWF in 1984, and she was recognized as the WWF Women's Champion. Instead of beginning her reign in 1984, the WWF claimed the lineage of her reign from when she first became champion in 1956. The preceding champions and the title changes between 1956 and when Moolah lost it in 1984 are not recognized by WWE (although they are recognized by the NWA). As a result, The Fabulous Moolah's first reign is considered to have lasted 28 years by the promotion.
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. However, the Women's Championship became inactive again when Blayze was released from the WWF. Blayze, as Madusa, unexpectedly signed with World Championship Wrestling in 1995 and threw the championship belt, which was still in her possession, in a trash can on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro (in Blayze's 2015 WWE Hall of Fame speech, she "returned" 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 in March 2002, the Women's Championship at first was still defended on both the Raw and SmackDown brands, while most titles were exclusive to one brand. In September, the Women's Championship became exclusive to only the Raw brand. 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 to replace the current WWE Divas Champion Maryse, who had been drafted to Raw.
The Women's Championship was unified with the Divas Championship at Night of Champions in September 2010, creating the Unified WWE Divas Championship and making the Women's Championship defunct as the unified title followed the lineage of the Divas Championship; the title eventually dropped the "Unified" moniker.
On April 3, 2016 at WrestleMania 32, a new WWE Women's Championship (now called the Raw Women's Championship) was introduced to succeed the Divas Championship. This new title does not carry the lineage of either the Divas Championship or the original Women's Championship, but is acknowledged by WWE as the successor of both.
Brand designation history
Following the WWE brand extension on March 25, all titles in WWE became exclusive to either the Raw brand or SmackDown brand. The following is a list of dates indicating the transitions of the Women's Championship between the Raw and SmackDown brands.
|Date of transition||Brand||Notes|
|September 2002||Raw||Women's Championship became exclusive to Raw.|
The WWE Divas Championship was created for SmackDown in 2008
|April 13, 2009||SmackDown||During the 2009 WWE draft, Women's Champion Melina was drafted to SmackDown and brought the title to the brand, while Divas Champion Maryse was drafted to Raw.|
|September 19, 2010||N/A||At Night of Champions, Michelle McCool unified the Divas Championship with the Women's Championship. The Women's Championship was retired and the Divas Championship became briefly known as the Unified WWE Divas Championship.|
As per WWE's official title history, the inaugural champion was The Fabulous Moolah, who defeated Judy Grable on September 18, 1956 Moolah had the longest reign by holding it for 10 years, although the WWE considers it to be longer at 28 years, as title changes between 1956 and 1984 are not recognized by the promotion. The Fabulous Moolah technically has the most reigns with 8, but because the WWE does not recognize the title changes between 1956 and 1984, Moolah only has 4 and Trish Stratus has the most reigns with 7. Mickie James has the shortest reign with 1 hour. 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.
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; the match 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. Chyna departed from the company during her reign. Trish Stratus won her seventh title reign in her final match at Unforgiven in 2006 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 and undefeated champion.
- The Fabulous Moolah technically became the inaugural WWF Women's Champion in 1984, but as per WWE's official title history, she became the inaugural champion in 1956 when she won the NWA World Women's Championship.
- The Fabulous Moolah technically has the most reigns at eight, but the WWE does not recognize title changes from 1956 until 1984. As officially recognized by WWE, Moolah only has four reigns and Trish Stratus has the most reigns at seven.
- As per WWE's official title history. The Fabulous Moolah's real consecutive number of days as champion is 3,651 days, which is still the longest reign. Moolah first lost the championship in 1966, but WWE does not list recognize title changes from 1956 until 1984.
- "Mickie's third Reign". WWE.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
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- "Women's Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8.
- "Alundra Blayze's first reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Scott Fishman (October 20, 2007). "Rena enjoys home life". Miami Herald.
- "History of the Unified Divas Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- "The Fabulous Moolah's first reign". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Melina's second reign". WWE. Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Hervina's first reign". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Rockin' Robin's first reign". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Alundra Blayze's first reign". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Trish Stratus' seventh reign". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- Raymond-Santo, Katie A. (September 24, 2010). "Flawless mark on history". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Hall of Women's Champions". WWE. Retrieved April 4, 2016.