The WWE Diva Search was a series of annual contests held by WWE, in which unknown women would compete to become the next WWE Diva.
- 2003: The first Diva Search took place from July 1 - August 24, 2003 on WWE.com. Unlike later contests, the winner, Jaime Koeppe, was not given a WWE contract and instead participates in a photoshoot for WWE Magazine that same year. Due to it not being televised, this version is far less known than the ones that would follow.
- 2004: The second Diva Search took place from July 15 – September 20, 2004. Like the previous incarnation, the contestants were models and actresses with no wrestling experience, but this time the contest aired as weekly segments on WWE Raw and the winner would recieve a $250,000 WWE contract, which Christy Hemme would go on to win. The 2004 version is by far the most well-remembered Diva Search as it produced the most successful contestants with Michelle McCool, Maria Kanellis and Candice Michellenote going on to become huge names in later years. It is also infamous for its Crossing the Line Twice style of presentation, with its contests consisting of selling ice cream, seducing Kamala, competing in The Rock's pie eating contest, and it's "Diss-the-Diva" segment that didn't get crap past the radar so much as obliterate the radar with a nuclear missile.
- 2005: The third Diva Search took place from June 27 – August 15, 2005. It continued the trend of its predecessor by airing on Monday Night Raw and awarding the winner a quarter-million dollar contract. Ashley Massaro was the winner this time around. Other signees were Kristal Marshall, who would have modest success before being released two years later, Trenesha Biggers and Elisabeth Rouffaer.
- 2006: The fourth and final televised Diva Search took place from July 10 – August 16, 2006. It was hosted by The Miz. This version was slightly different from the 2004 and 2005 versions in that the segments were held on both Raw and SmackDown. The winner was Layla El. Runner-ups Milena Roucka (a.k.a. Rosa Mendes), Maryse Ouellet, Rebecca DiPietro and Amy Zidian were signed on, as were missed-the-final-cut contestants Brianna and Nicole Garcia.
- 2007: The fifth Diva Search was held from September 10 – October 29, 2007 and returned to airing exclusively on WWE.com. Eve Torres was the winner this time. Taryn Terrell, Angela Fong and Lena Yada were the runner-ups that WWE chose to sign. The 2007 version wasn't very successful and WWE cancelled the contest after this.
- 2013: After a six year hiatus, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported in February 2013 that WWE held an un-aired diva search in the Los Angeles area. The contestants were Natalie "Eva Marie" Nelson, Jojo Offerman, CJ Perry and Devin Taylor. Eva Marie would win the contest, with Jojo and Devin going on to become backstage interviewers and Perry to become Lana, manager of Alexander Rusev.
Rumors were circulating of a revival of the Diva Search to air on the WWE Network in 2015/2016, but WWE put the kibosh on those plans due to the term "Diva" being retired and the focus on actual women's wrestling increasing, instead choosing to launch the Spiritual Successor, the Mae Young Classic, in the summer of 2017, which would focus on women's wrestling, similarly to the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
Tropes Associated with the WWE Diva Search:
- Alpha Bitch: Carmella DeCesare, who was so obnoxious that all of the other contestants, fans and WWE personnel hated her guts.
- Bare Your Midriff: In addition to other forms of fanservice.
- Distaff Counterpart: The 2004 season served as this to that year's season of WWE Tough Enough, which featured all-male contestants and was airing its segments on SmackDown at the same time the Diva Search was airing on Raw
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first Diva Search was WWE.com exclusive, and its winner was not given a WWE contract, instead appearing in a magazine photoshoot.
- Fanservice: More or less the entire purpose of the contests, as it had little, if anything to do with any actual athletic prospects. Many fans found it too trashy to be sexy, however.
- Faux Action Girl: Most of the contestants were only there to use WWE as a stepping stone to other forms of entertainment, but it did produce a few women who would go on to become competent wrestlers.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "Diss-the-Diva" segment of the 2004 version. Each remaining competitor was given a live mic to trash talk their opponents, which resulted in them using language so crass that even the Attitude Era would cover its ears, such as Christy Hemme calling Carmella a "cum-burping gutter slut" and Amy Weber telling her that having a cock in her mouth had nothing to do with wrestling.
- Jiggle Show: Well it certainly wasn't about wrestling.
- The Prima Donna: 2006 contestant Amy Zidian was fired for behaving this way backstage, specifically for being rude to Stephanie McMahon and refusing to apologize once informed of Steph's identity.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All:
- Christy Hemme won the 2004 contest and got put on TV almost immediately. She then got pushed into a WrestleMania program with Trish Stratus (as a replacement for the injured Lita) that she was nowhere near ready for, and was bad enough she went around apologizing for her poor performance afterwards. She then wound up having to be the focus of the entire WWE Divas division (injuries, firings and departures left WWE with few veteran female wrestlers in 2005) before being released by WWE in December of that year. Meanwhile, Michelle McCool (who placed seventh) bided her time in some bad gimmicks before winning the WWE Women's Championship three times and being the first WWE Divas Champion as well as being 1/2 of the most hated female duos ever, Team Lay-Cool (with 2006 DS winner Layla). Maria Kanellis, while not the best wrestler, became a major Ensemble Darkhorse and was employed for six years before being released in 2010, then went on to become a bigger cult favorite by managing her boyfriend (later husband) Mike Bennett on the indies, before returning with Mike in 2017. Christy went on to continue wrestling for TNA, but her career was cut short following a string of injuries. She stayed on as a backstage interviewer and announcer until 2016, though.
- Ashley Massaro is an odd aversion. She and Kristal Marshall were the only two participants in the 2005 season to see any measure of success in WWE, and she did do better than Kristal in the long run. Despite being a fan favorite at first, she was never trained to wrestle properly despite being one of the few contestants who actually wanted to wrestle. As a result, she was an injury-prone botch-monkey whose career went absolutely nowhere, finally requesting to be released in 2008 to care for her sick daughter.