Although women competed for decades in WWE rings before her, Sable is considered by many as a pioneer. Behind her amazing athleticism and spine-jarring Sable Bomb, the blonde bombshell became the sixteenth Women’s Champion in WWE history in 1998. Despite her impressive in-ring accolades, however, Sable will be long remembered for being the first of many beautiful WWE Divas to pose nude in Playboy — she was followed by Chyna, Torrie Wilson, Christy Hemme, Candice Michelle, Ashley Massaro and Maria Kanellis.
Sable’s earliest WWE days were spent by the side of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but when he began to mistreat the fair-haired Diva, her husband, Marc Mero, ran to her aid. For the better part of the next two years, the loving couple shared a strong bond both on and off the air.
By 1998, the spotlight began to shine brightest on Sable, leaving Marc’s star to fade. Jealous of his wife’s popularity, Mero tried everything in his power to dim her bright career and hide her voluptuous curves. His attempts eventually backfired when Sable escaped from his grasp, delivering a Sable Bomb in the process.
The Jacksonville, Florida native then went on to achieve never-before-seen success. Her first step toward greatness was capturing the WWF Women’s Championship from Mero’s new lady, Jacqueline. In the months that followed, the new champ rode her popularity all the way to Hollywood, landing guest roles on a few television programs such as Pacific Blue, Relic Hunter and First Wave.
Sable’s inevitable break into mainstream came when she landed the cover of Playboy in April 1999. The overwhelming success of her nude spread led to two more covers, but more importantly, helped pave the way for future Divas. She made a shocking return to WWE in 2003, when she was featured in another Playboy spread — this time with Torrie Wilson.
Whether she is remembered as the Diva of WWE Divas or a Playboy cover girl, one thing is certain: Sable was a pioneer and broke new ground for the Sexiest Women on Television. That may be her greatest legacy.