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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 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 receive 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 the amazingly crass "Diss-the-Diva" segment.

  • 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 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:

  • Afro Asskicker: Tracie Wright from the 2004 contest, who scored the most eliminations in the Diva Dodgeball.
  • Alpha Bitch: Carmella DeCesare, who was so obnoxious that all of the other contestants, fans and WWE personnel hated her guts. She stuck around for a while afterwards playing into this character on TV.
  • Angels Pose: Before the finale of the 2005 season Ashley, Leyla and Elisabeth posed this way for a photo.
  • 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 exclusive, and its winner was not given a WWE contract, instead appearing in a magazine photoshoot.
    • Twins Chandra and Julia Costello competed in the 2004 contest and were treated as separate entities. Two years later the Bella Twins were told that the office didn't want twins in the contest on TV.
  • 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.
  • Fiery Redhead: Christy Hemme gave off this vibe. She even compared herself to fire in her 'Diss the Diva' promo.
  • Graceful Loser: Every runner-up bar Carmella would accept her loss gracefully and hug the winner.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The contest resulted in more bikinis, bra and panties matches, stripteases and innuendos on WWE TV.
  • Monochrome Casting: Early on, the contest was accused of favoring white or anglo looking girls, as the minority Divas tended to be eliminated quicker. This was subverted with the last two winners being the mixed Moroccan-Spanish Layla El, and the Latina Eve Torres.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Maria was eliminated from the contest, she hugged all the girls goodbye...and then gave Carmella the double finger.
  • Not Like Other Girls: Ashley Massaro did define herself this way, announcing that she wasn't like "the other sluts" in the contest, and expressing a desire to wrestle.
  • Plenty of Blondes: The contest usually featured lots of caucasian blondes, although Ashley Massaro was the only blonde to actually win her season (if you want to get technical, Christy Hemme is a natural blonde).
  • 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.
  • Red Herring: Candice Michelle appeared the week before the 2004 contest premiered to promote it, and she was the only one of the girls to not appear as a finalist the next week. She did end up getting hired later though.
  • 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 twice 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 Dark Horse 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several of the contestants as their careers went on.
    • Michelle McCool notably caught onto wrestling very quickly in developmental, and became the first Divas' Champion and a two-time Women's Champion. In her career she did compete in a hardcore match and a tables match, as well as doing lots of high risk spots (giving Melina a DDT on the security wall comes to mind).
    • Layla was initially a dancer on ECW and only did the occasional Cat Fight. Even when she joined the women's division, she just played the Beta Bitch to the top heel. Then she became Women's Champion, evolved into a gifted wrestler and received rave reviews for her ring work.
    • Christy Hemme redeemed herself in TNA by battling Awesome Kong for the Knockouts Championship, though injuries meant her retiring earlier than expected.
    • Eve Torres both in the ring and out of it. Outside she became a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and in the ring she became the first 3-time Divas' Champion, as well as the first winner of the contest to become champion.
    • Candice Michelle started out on TV as a seductress valet, but she put work in and became the first contestant to ever win a title, and the first woman to win 'Most Improved Wrestler of the Year' by PWI. Beth Phoenix to this day credits Candice with helping put her over when she re-debuted as The Glamazon.
    • Other women who evolved into good wrestlers and/or won titles included the Bella Twins, Angela Fong, Taryn Terrell, Maryse, and Brooke Adams. Kristal Marshall and Lena Yada became quite respectable in terms of ring work, but were rarely used in a wrestling capacity.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Leyla Milani from the 2005 season was disqualified from the Bikini Bootcamp when her top came off.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: The 2005 introduction segment had Jonathan Coachman ordering the contestants to strip to their bra and panties while they introduced themselves. The talent contest a few weeks later involved a lot of stripping as well.