The history of professional wrestling is filled with men whose bodies defied logic.
Whether it be their unbelievably muscular physiques, their incredible height or somewhat disturbing excess bodyweight, big guys always found a spot on the card simply due to how physically imposing they were.
For women, however, history shows it has been much the opposite.
Rather than having can’t-miss monsters that almost feel like circus attractions, large North American companies in the likes of WWE and WCW opted to showcase beauty and grace in the early 90s before the inclusion of ECW brought about an era of downright degradation.
Though women’s wrestling has drastically changed from those days to now, the theme for successful female wrestlers has remained the same: small.
However, history features a cast of women who have been able to find success as genuine monsters of the ring. Much like the male powerhouses of yesteryear, these women have physical presences that make you stop and stare in awe.
Keep in mind we live in the wrestling land of make-believe where a few hundred pounds tacked on here or there is commonplace, so a few of the numbers may not exactly be accurate.
What is for certain, however, is that all of these female wrestlers had to be seen to be believed.
These are the 19 most physically imposing female wrestlers ever.
19. Diane Von Hoffman (5’7″, 190lbs)
Although her profile states so, Diane Von Hoffman was not 190 pounds, but let’s play along. So, coming in first at a very questionable billed 190 pounds is Diane Von Hoffman, who was trained by the legendary Fabulous Moolah and earned her first break in the WWF as part of the successful Moondogs stable that were prominent in the 80s and early 90s.
Along with her notable career in WWF and the United States Wrestling Alliance as Moondog Fifi, Von Hoffman is an incredibly accomplished wrestler in both the US and Japan with countless title reigns under her belt, most notably a USWA Women’s Title win over Jacqueline. On top of personal accolades, Von Hoffman is credited as being one of the hardest working women to step into the ring, playing a major role in continuing the growth of women’s wrestling in the early 90s.
18. Beth Phoenix (5’7″, 150lbs)
Unlike other on this list, Beth Phoenix isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary when you look at her height and weight. However, that 150 pounds was pure muscle and it set her apart from just about any other woman to step into a WWE ring.
What’s more impressive is that the Glamazon was at the peak of her powers when women’s wrestling was at its worst, polluted by ex-models and actresses that only had a passing interest in professional wrestling.
While others were offering little more than eye candy, Phoenix was providing at least a shred of legitimacy to WWE women’s wrestling by plowing through her competition and earning credit for being the shining light of an otherwise worthless division.
17. Bull Nakano (5’7″, 201lbs)
Most will be familiar with Bull Nakano from her days feuding with Alundra Blayze aka Madusa in WWF and WCW, but Nakano first made her mark as a menacing figure in Japan.
A prominent figure in All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling since her 1983 debut at just 15 years old, Nakano is as accomplished as they come, having been a WWWA World Tag Team Champion with fellow Japanese monster Dump Matsumoto – a tag team that even featured in WWF – as well as a Japan Grand Prix winner, All Pacific Champion and WWWA World Heavyweight Champion, a title she held for nearly three years.
Though she retired from wrestling in 1997 to become a professional golfer – successfully joining the LPGA in 2006 – Nakano’s official retirement ceremony came in 2012, where she was celebrated as one of the most versatile big women to step inside the ropes.
16. Dump Matsumoto (5’4″, 220lbs)
Speaking of Dump Matsumoto, the All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling legend was a menacing presence herself. Though Bull Nakano and Matsumoto are billed at the same weight of 200lbs, it’s clear to the naked eye that the latter was larger despite her smaller stature.
Unlike her tag team partner, Matsumoto lacked the versatility to become a mainstay at the top of the card. However, that’s not to say she wasn’t an incredibly successful performer in her own right. Within three years of her 1980 debut, Matsumoto won the AJW Championship and went on to be a two-time WWWA Tag Team Champion in both her first and second stints in All Japan.
Following her retirement match in 1988 against Bull Nakano – though she performed in an exhibition match 10 years later when she joined the AJW Hall of Fame – Matsumoto appeared in a number Japanese movies with varying success.
15. Aja Kong (5’5″, 227lbs)
Another prominent big woman of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling in the 80s and early 90s, Aja Kong earned her break in Dump Matsumoto’s stable Gokuaku Domei as the largest of the group.
With partner Bison Kimura at her side as part of the Jungle Jack stable, the pair won the WWWA Tag Team Championship twice before Kong continued her rivalry with Bull Nakano – which had already spanned two years – in a single capacity, eventually capturing the WWWA World Heavyweight Championship after years of failed attempts during Nakano’s three-year reign.
Kong was poised to become a major player in the WWF following a strong showing at the 1995 Survivor Series event, during which she pinned all four members of her opposing team including WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze. However, Kong’s opportunity was cancelled after Blayze’s high profile firing.
14. Jessicka Havok (6’0″, 230lbs)
Jessicka Havok, commonly known for her time in TNA, is the sort of wrestler that demands attention. From her alternative appearance to her unmissable frame, it’s no surprise that Havok has had plenty of success in her career already.
Along with her time in TNA, Havok is extremely accomplished in various women’s wrestling promotions including Shine, Shimmer and most prominently Women Superstars Uncensored, where she made her name.
Havok was on track to become an NXT signing when old tweets that were of a homophobic and racist nature were surfaced. Despite her apologising publicly for the responses to online criticisms that weren’t exactly all that shocking, her chance with WWE was lost.
13. Kaoru Ito (5’3″, 238lbs)
Kaoru Ito is one heavier performer whose weight has fluctuated over the course of her career that spans back to 1998, from being billed as 238 pounds to a slender 150 pounds.
A stalwart of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, Ito has found success both in Japan and Mexico under a number of varying gimmicks and monikers, most notably winning titles in AJWPW and Japanese Women’s Pro Wrestling as both a singles and tag team wrestler.
12. Kyoko Inoue (5’5″, 238lbs)
Kyoko Inoue displayed surprising athleticism for a woman her size and was rather progressive during the early 90s as a part of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling.
A three-time WWWA World Heavyweight Champion and one-time AJW Champion – on top of a host tag title accolades – Inoue won the Japan Grand Prix in 1991 and even became the first woman to ever win a men’s title in Japan.
Arguably even more impressively, Inoue founded both the NEO Japan Ladies Pro Wrestling and World Woman Pro Wrestling Diana promotions to solidify her as a genuine pioneer of the women’s wrestling world.
11. Nia Jax (5’10”, 240lbs)
It’s hard to tell exactly how much Nia Jax weighs considering WWE bills her at 272 pounds, though the company is no stranger to fudging the numbers. Realistically, Jax is probably closer to the 230-240 range.
Nevertheless, Jax is still a big human being and receives unnecessary criticism for exactly that. However, Jax’s size is somewhat deceptive given her significant muscle mass that is hidden by an irregular full-body suit seldom seen in the WWE women’s division.
Make no doubt about it, Nia Jax is a genuine athlete despite her large frame – just check her out back in her pre-WWE plus-size modeling days. Not to mention WWE would never let someone who can’t overcome the vigorous training at its Performance Center onto the main roster in the modern era.
10. Isis the Amazon (6’9″, 240lbs)
It’s not official, but good luck finding a female wrestler taller than Isis the Amazon. At a stunning 6’9″ at her tallest, she is an unmissable sight.
Able to lift an incredible amount of weight, Isis has proved she is more than just an image in her relatively short wrestling career that has seen her feature in just about all of the top independents, as well as TNA at one stage.
Isis, he real name being Lindsay Kay Howard, has stepped away from wrestling to pursue acting over the past four years – even receiving her own reality show ‘My Giant Life’ – but in 2016 began training with Brian Kendrick in hopes of one day featuring at WrestleMania.
9. Chyna (6’0″, 180lbs)
If you know about professional wrestling, you know all about Chyna. There may have been women bigger than her, but she made arguably the biggest impact of any woman in wrestling history.
From her unbelievably muscular frame to her surprising in-ring capabilities, Chyna smashed down the traditional image of being a WWE Diva by mixing beauty with power. Though the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita receive plenty of credit for transforming women’s wrestling, Chyna transcended the women’s division and matched it with some of the company’s best males.
8. Becca Swanson (5’10”, 240lbs – Wrestling Weight Billed as 310lbs)
If you thought Beth Phoenix was ripped, you haven’t seen Becca Swanson. Although she is nowhere near her billed weight of 310 pounds, Swanson is a legitimate 240 pounds of straight muscle.
A former bodybuilder and powerlifter, Swanson has been referred to as simply “The Strongest Woman on the Planet” for obvious reason, not to mention currently being the only woman to squat over 800 pounds. Along with her incredible feats in strongwoman contests since 2002, Swanson quickly earned a reputation in pro wrestling.
7. Reggie Bennett (5’8″, 249lbs)
In many ways, Reggie Bennett had a rather underrated career due to its timing. Despite her large frame and the fact she was competing at a time when women’s wrestling wasn’t exactly flourishing, Bennett was flying the flag on the American independent circuit in the late 80s.
Like so many other sizeable women, Bennett was signed to All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling in the 90s and frequently topped the card in a number of high profile matches, often with smaller opponents.
Bennett is most notable for her appearance at ECW’s Barely Legal in 1997, where she joined Raven’s Nest and interfered in the World Heavyweight Championship match between Raven and Terry Funk the night after speaking at a banquet honouring Funk. In 2001, Bennett wrestler her retirement match against long-time rival Manami Toyota.
6. Rhonda Singh/Bertha Faye (5’8″, 260lbs)
Most will know Rhonda Singh by her time in WWE as comedic fatty Bertha Faye, but she is so much more than what she portrayed on television.
For 16 years before her break on Monday Night Raw, Rhonda Singh (earlier known as Monster Ripper in Japan) had been a feature in Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States. Her success in Japan was particularly impressive given she was often given a hard time from fellow wrestlers who did not appreciate losing to foreigners.
Though she won the WWF Women’s Championship as Bertha Faye in 1995 from Alundra Blayze, Singh grew tired of the company after she was asked not to perform the same power moves men were doing. Years later in WCW, Singh would again become comic relief as she became a clear odd-one-out in the Nitro Girls. Singh unfortunately died from a heart attack in 2001.
5. Awesome Kong (5’9″, 272lbs)
For years Awesome Kong has been the most notable big woman in professional wrestling for her time in TNA and stint in WWE as Kharma. It’s a surprise to see any female wrestler that’s even slightly overweight in modern American wrestling, so Kong’s dominance through the ’00s was somewhat of a shock to the system.
However, even given her success in pro wrestling as a monster, Kong began a mission to lose weight in 2012 with the help of DDP Yoga and successfully lost an incredible amount of weight, revamping her wrestling career.
4. Matilda The Hun (6’4″, 300lbs)
It’s uncertain whether the oddly round number of 300 pounds is accurate or not, but if one thing’s for sure, it’s that roller derby athlete Matilda the Hun was one sizeable woman.
As a cast member of the women’s professional wrestling promotion GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), Matilda was one of two mammoths that stood out amongst the slimmer competitors on the roster. Rather than being a genuine wrestling company, GLOW was seen as light television entertainment featuring athletes, models and actresses hoping to use the wrestling business as a way to advance their careers.
Matilda followed one of the creators of GLOW, David McLane, to his new promotion Powerful Women of Wrestling that followed a similar formula, except with more of a focus on wrestling. Under a new moniker of Queen Kong, Matilda continued to wrestle for the new promotion despite moving into acting.
3. Betsy Ruth/Rosie Lotta Love (6’1″, 316lbs)
Betsy Ruth has done something rather impressive for any pro wrestler by recreating her career by losing a tonne of weight. Having first weighed up to 316 pounds during her career, Ruth is down to a much healthier 190 pounds at last billing.
Before she dropped the weight, Ruth was putting together an impressive career on the independent circuit, even receiving an opportunity to challenge for the Knockouts Championship in TNA under the name Rosie Lotta Love, though it never eventuated.
After two years working in Japan, Ruth decided to retire from wrestling in 2012 citing injuries as the cause, though she returned much lighter in 2014 under the new name of Andréa and has appeared at TNA tapings and even lost to Emma on a 2015 episode of NXT.
2. Mt Fiji (5’11”, 350lbs)
As mention in Matilda the Hun’s entry, GLOW featured two behemoths that stood out from the pack of fame aspirants. The other was Mt Fiji, a former high school shotput standout that dropped the jaws of GLOW viewers.
While feuding with Matilda through the first two seasons, Fiji was often seen coming to the rescue of her on-screen little sister, Little Fiji, who would constantly find herself in spots of bother. Understandably, Mt Fiji went her entire run with the promotion without a defeat; in fact, it was a shock if an opponent could take her to ground.
Fiji, real name Emily Dole, featured on a number of low-key TV programs following wrestling, but was most notorious for being part of a Rodney King-esque incident that saw Dole’s family receive overwhelming force from Los Angeles County police officers. Filmed by an observing neighbour, Dole stood in the middle of the street with her arms folded while the film showed officers unnecessarily beating her to the ground, leading to a successful law suit that settled for $23 million.
1. Klondyke Kate (5’4″, 392lbs)
Having joined the wrestling business in 1978, Klondyke Kate had been touring the world as a professional wrestling from 1980. After more than 30 years in wrestling weighing in at about the 300 pound mark, Klondyke Kate called time on her career in 2011 having reached a stunning 20 stone (approximately 392 pounds).
Due to her weight, Kate suffered multiple injuries over her career and had a number of health concerns. Additionally, and quite remarkably, Kate had been wrestling up until two weeks before she gave birth to her first son, only finding out when a wrestling-related visit to her general practitioner discovered the baby was pressing up against a nerve.
Since retiring, Klondyke Kate has been open about her struggles with depression. Having had stomach bypass surgery and a gastric band fitted, Kate is now down to about 14 stone, or roughly 196 pounds.