10 Wrestling Promotions (& Their Best Women’s Champions)
It took a long time women’s wrestling to gain notoriety, but today is doing pretty well. This wasn’t always the case, because even the big companies that had a women’s department didn’t pay too much attention to it. That has changed today with several promotions focused on women’s wrestling. There were also international promotions that always made a big deal, they just didn’t get as much attention in the United States.
With some promotions, it’s difficult to figure out who could have been their best champion, thanks to the long list of amazing women who have held the title. It’s a bit thinner for other spots, so only a few names pop up. These are the most prominent women’s champions from ten major promotions to show that the title’s history helped shape the world of women’s wrestling today.
10 Shimmer: Cheerleader Melissa
Founded in the mid-2000s, Shimmer has made a name for itself as a groundbreaking promotion for women’s wrestling and a stepping stone for many women in the business. It’s had some notable champions, but cheerleader Melissa has to stand as the best.
Despite her name, she was a badass fighter, including Steel Cage and other tough fights. She served as a champion for over 700 days and helped start the company. While her later run at TNA was a mess, Melissa has emerged as one of the top female workers during a difficult time.
9 AAA: Taya Valkyrie
She’s had a long tenure as an Impact Champion and has even had stints in WWE, but Taya Valkyrie is best known for her amazing work at AAA. She holds the record for both the number of reigns (currently on her fourth) and the longest with one (945 days).
Known for her strength and lots of fun, Valkyrie lives up to her name as a warrior who takes on all who come and easily dominates. With a total of over 1660 days (counting trend) across her various titles, this Valkyrie is the most dominant AAA wrestler in her history.
8th CMLL: La Amapolo
CMLL is another company with a wide range of great champions including Marcela. But Guadalupe Ramona Olvera, also known as La Amapolo, still holds the record for the longest tenure in company history, and one of the longest ever. She won the CMLL title in 2007 and held it for a whopping 1442 days.
Over the years she has lost her mask and hair in fights but she has carried on and had some fantastic fights against various rivals. La Amapolo has managed to make CMLL respected as a women’s champion and no wonder many consider her one of the best ladies to step into a Mexican ring.
7 NWA: Mildred Burke
It can be argued that Fabulous Moolah was a top NWA Women’s Champion, but then that folded to become the WWE Women’s title. Instead, Mildred Burke deserves attention as the woman who popularized women’s wrestling. As well as being beautiful, Burke was amazingly skilled in the ring and could have rivaled today’s top stars.
Combined, their title reign lasted almost twenty years, a sensational series of bouts that could turn into serious shoot-matches. While some bad politics put her out of business, Burke set the bar that every wrestler has followed and made a women’s championship special.
6 AJW: Bulle Nakano
All-Japan has seen a few women’s titles over the course of its run and that doesn’t help mixed in with the IWGP titles. Still, it’s easy to see Bull Nakano as the best defending champion in his history. Famed for her stocky physique and massive hairstyle, Nakano’s only title reign lasted a record 917 days.
This included taking on dozens of top stars of the era and easily defeating them. Nakano was also a CMLL and even WWE Women’s Champion, but her time in Japan has made her a legend in the business. No matter what All Japan’s belt was called, Bull was the best at defending it in the ring.
5 AEW: Britt Baker
AEW may be a newcomer to the wrestling world, but there’s no denying that Dr. Britt Baker DMD is the best woman to hold her belt yet. Already a skilled worker, Baker started as a heel with her hilarious lines and was soon on the rise. Her tenure as champion was spectacular, a fall from a heel getting big pops and delivering in bigger matches.
From regular fights to full blown wars in bloody battles with no DQ, Baker could come out on top. While she lost the title to Thunder Rosa, Baker is on the hunt and the idea of her becoming AEW’s first two-time women’s champion doesn’t seem too crazy.
4 TNA Impact: Gail Kim
This is pretty much a no-brainer. TNA Impact may have had longer women’s title reigns and bigger ones, but without Gail Kim, the Knockout Division would never have got off the ground. Gim held the belt more times (seven) than anyone else, establishing TNA as the better women’s division of the time.
She also worked in reigns as a knockouts tag team champion to keep her legacy alive. A true Hall of Famer, Kim is still TNA’s top female champion and her legacy stands for making the belt a big deal in wrestling.
3 AWA: Madusa
Before her fall, the AWA had a good women’s division and Sherri Martel was a strong champion. But Madusa Miceli was so much better. A fantastic powerhouse, Medusa blended strength with great abilities to be a powerful AWA Champion.
Such was her fame that she became the first woman to be named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Rookie of the Year. Miceli later went on to be known in WWE as Alundra Blayze, but that early work made her the best to hold the strap in the AWA.
2 WCW: Akira Hokuto
It’s amazing that what is probably the best woman on the WCW roster never ran to be her champion. Instead, poor Madusa Miceli was reduced to the cruiserweight title. Akira Hokuto defeated Medusa in a 1996 tournament for the inaugural title. Unfortunately, Hoktuo never got a high profile competition as WCW wasn’t that keen on a women’s division at the time.
Her reign lasted 168 days before returning to Japan, and the belt went to Devil Masami before being deactivated. As such, Hokuto is considered the “best” WCW Women’s Champion largely because there is so little competition.
1 WWE: Charlotte Flair
This might be a controversial choice due to her constant pushes, but there’s a reason WWE always has Charlotte on top. The woman was a marvel and held pretty much every title one could have in the company, including the old Divas belt.
She has also delivered in some amazing matches, several true classics including the first time women competed in the main event at WrestleMania. Charlotte can get a lot going, as even her critics have to admit that her wrestling skills are among the best of any woman on the list. That’s why she reigns so many titles and lives up to her father’s legacy as a true legend of her time.