World Wrestling Entertainment has been claiming women’s wrestling is undergoing a revolution, and if that’s true, it should follow that more women have opportunities to succeed in the company than ever before. Thanks to NXT rising in prominence as a training ground, even virtually untrained athletes are getting shots at become WWE superstars, or total divas, as the case may be. The company has been known to hire women for both their looks and their abilities in the ring, and we have a handful of suggestions for them either direction they happen to be looking.
The list you’re about to read isn’t based on any inside information, just fan hopes and dreams, and thus it shouldn’t be taken as any sign these women actually will return to WWE soon or ever. Several of the women we want in WWE have spent some time there already, and it isn’t always clear whether or not they’re wanted back. Others are currently working for independent companies, TNA, or Lucha Underground, often with long contracts that might make a WWE debut somewhat of a pipedream for the distant future.
There are lots of things WWE needs to take care of even before 2016 ends, but they also have to start planning for the next year by scouting some new talent. All around the world, female wrestlers have been upping their game thanks to the examples set by superstars like Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Bayley, and it’s about time they had a chance to dance with the titans of industry already working for Vince McMahon’s empire. Keep reading to learn about 15 female wrestlers we hope join WWE in 2017.
15 Amber Gallows
Inspired by Attitude Era superstars like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Sable, Amber Gallows started her career in 1999 for the Professional Girl Wrestling Association. Regardless of her slightly advanced age over the other women on this list, Gallows has an obvious connection to WWE that should make the company take notice, in that she’s been married to superstar Luke Gallows since 2014. Before meeting her future husband, Amber worked extensively for Shimmer Women Athletes, plus dozens of short stints in the NWA. Gallows is arguably most famous for her time working with Luke in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where she was one of the very few female associates of the Bullet Club, getting nicknamed the Bubble Babe because of it. Gallows was a great addition to her husband’s act in Japan, not to mention that she had a fantastic career as an in-ring performer long before she met him. Her age might mean WWE won’t use her in the ring for long, but she could no doubt help The Club’s general act in one way or another.
14 Taeler Hendrix
Always bubbling close to the stop without quite breaking through to the mainstream, Taeler Hendrix has been wrestling on the independent scene since 2008. She debuted for New England Championship Wrestling, moving on to a longer stint in Ohio Valley Wrestling and then more recent runs at Ring of Honor and Shimmer Women Athletes. Hendrix also has significant skill as a manager, having stood behind Jay Lethal during most of his landmark 427-day reign as ROH World Champion as co-members of The House of Truth. Along the way, she also made a handful of appearances for Total Nonstop Action and even had some run-ins with WWE, but didn’t stick around long enough to make any sort of impact in either company. Proudly proclaiming herself Gingerlicious and Dangerously Delicious during her time as a Woman of Honor, Hendrix fits both qualities required to catch Vince McMahon’s attention, and could be a great addition to either the main WWE roster or NXT, should they feel her experience precludes her from an immediate debut on television.
13 Candice LeRae
Best known as half of The World’s Cutest Tag Team, Candice LeRae started as a solo wrestler for Empire Wrestling Federation in 2002. She’s worked for dozens of NWA affiliates in addition to a lengthy relationship with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, standing out for her tenacious intergender matches and willingness to wrestle a much more hardcore style than the average female wrestler. She eventually became the only woman to win the PWG World Tag Team Championships, along with her “cutest” partner, Joey Ryan. LeRae’s true partner in life, however, is her husband, Johnny Gargano, famous to fans of the WWE Universe for his NXT tag team with Tommaso Ciampa. The three actually live in an apartment together, and LeRae could make a spectacular addition to their already standout team. At the same time, however, if WWE wished to hire LeRae and use her unique talents on their own without her husband’s interference, that could also prove an exciting way to spice up the roster of whichever brand they send her to.
Inspired to resume her childhood interest in wrestling after the untimely death of Eddie Guerrero, the knockout who would one day earn fame as Rosemary made her wrestling debut in 2008 as Casey Maguire. She also went by names like P.J. Tyler, Courtney Rush, and El Tigre Diablo, spending most of her time in either Shimmer Women Athletes or NCW Femme Fatales in preparation of a modern day run on top of the TNA Knockout’s Division. Regardless of what you called her, the real Holly Letkeman showed intensity under every name, and there was even some face paint back when she was Courtney Rush, but nothing quite anticipated her current state as the devilishly clownish Rosemary of Decay. Along with Abyss and Crazzy Steve, Rosemary has been entertaining the few fans TNA has left with her over-the-top antics and macabre characteristics could easily flourish in WWE, where strong characters are arguably the most important part of a wrestler’s career.
11 Nicole Matthews
Early in her career, “The Riot” Nicole Matthews had a handful of matches against future WWE superstar Nattie Neidhart, and yet she hasn’t managed to stand out much in comparison to The Queen of Harts. Matthews made her pro debut in 2006 for Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling, where she would spend most of her career, eventually starting to wrestle men and win the ECCW Championship twice in 2014. She’s held plenty more gold than that, also winning that company’s women’s championship four times, plus the Shimmer singles and tag team championships, alongside former partner Portia Perez. Their team was known as the Canadian NINJAs, or the National International Nation of Jalapeño Awesomeness. Perez retired in 2015, leaving Matthews on her own, and Nicole has little left to prove on the independent scene now that she’s lost the Shimmer Championship. Catching the attention of WWE or NXT is exactly what she needs to take her singles momentum to the next level.
Having watched pro wrestling since she was a young girl, Stephanie Bell wasted no time in starting her career upon her 18th birthday, beginning her training in 2008 while also attending Marymount University. Under the name Mia Yim, she wrestled and trained throughout America for a few years before spending time in Japan and Mexico, making her a triple threat with backgrounds in American wrestling, lucha libre, and puroresu. Time in Combat Zone Wrestling with DJ Hyde also adds a solid hardcore education to the mix. Jade arguably spent her best years in Shimmer Women Athletes, moving on to a solid tenure in Total Nonstop Action starting with a 2015 repackaging as Jade. Shortly prior to that, Yim also made a handful of appearances in WWE, although no contract was ever signed. Now that she’s proved herself as a top talent with reigns as TNA Knockout’s Champion, Shine Champion, and Queen of the Knockouts, it’s high time WWE reevaluated if they could use her talents in NXT or on the main roster.
9 Mercedes Martinez
His dubious status as “the Sexiest Man Alive” notwithstanding, Jason Knight wasn’t without his contributions to the wrestling world, such as training female wrestler Mercedes Martinez shortly before her debut in November of 2000. Calling herself the “Latina Sensation” and earning comparisons to Eddie Guerrero, Mercedes has wowed fans with her charisma primarily in Shimmer Women Athletes and Ring of Honor, amongst dozens of other independent promotions across the globe. She even once wrestled in a match televised on WWE Sunday Night Heat, in a losing effort against former Women’s Champion Victoria. At 36 years old, Martinez is a little bit older than the average incoming WWE superstar, especially amongst the females, but her age has in no way slowed her down. In fact, the one thing blocking her from debuting in WWE particularly soon is that she currently reigns as the Shimmer Champion. No championship reign can last forever, though, and one way Martinez could top herself might be showing up in the WWE Universe.
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Ivelisse Vélez started training in her native land under Carlos Colón, Quique Cruz, and Savio Vega in 2002 when she was only 14. After spending her teenage years on the independent scene, Ivelisse actually spent close to a year and a half in March WWE from 2011 to August 2012, first as a contestant on Tough Enough and then a wrestler for Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT with the ring name Sofia Cortez. Ivelisse was standing to thrive as an ally of Paige against superstars like Natalya, Tamina Snuka, and Kaitlyn when she dramatically left WWE allegedly due to her having been one of the first whistleblowers to tell management about Bill DeMott’s abuse of Performance Center trainees. Since then, Ivelisse had a short stint in Total Nonstop Action and then moved on to a great run as one of the top female wrestlers in Lucha Underground. Now that the DeMott scandal is being accepted for what it was, and especially thanks to her having proved herself on LU, a WWE return could easily be in the cards for Sofia Cortez, or more likely, a debut for Ivelisse.
7 Black Lotus
Far more than the mere ring announcer WWE cast her off as, Angela Fong admittedly started her career in a manner that could put her credentials into question, specifically as a contestant in the 2007 Diva Search. She didn’t have any luck, but did sign a developmental deal with WWE that lead to a run in Florida Championship Wrestling, and then the aforementioned tenure as the ring announcer for ECW and NXT. She was released from WWE in 2010, wrestling on the independent scene for the next four years until she was hired to compete on Lucha Underground as Black Lotus. The Lotus character had a deceptively minor first few months, only to soon reveal herself as one of the most important and well performed characters in the entire cinematic promotion. Realistically speaking, the Black Lotus character is so connected to LU that Fong would need to rethink her character if she made a WWE return. She most definitely deserves the chance to do exactly that, though, and prove to the Universe she has something to offer almost everywhere on the show.
Arguably too creative for her own good, Karlee Perez made her pro wrestling debut for Florida Championship Wrestling as The Candy Girl in 2009. She soon changed her name to Liviana, although it wasn’t until a name change to Maxine that she made her official WWE debut as Maxine. Feeling she was harshly underutilized on NXT and worried the company might be stealing her ideas and giving them to other wrestlers (specifically Aksana), Perez quit WWE in 2012 and soon stood out as the dark and sultry Catrina on Lucha Underground. It took no time at all for Catrina to prove what she meant about WWE not using her to her fullest potential, managing top names like Mil Muertes and Fénix while rising her way up to being named the on-screen owner of the company. Though her in-ring appearances have been few and far between, Catrina has definitely made it clear she excels at character work like few others, and could easily fall into a top role in WWE if the company would only take her seriously.
5 Cherry Bomb
Immediately signing up for training upon her 18th birthday, Laura Dennis has been wrestling as Cherry Bomb since May 2005. After spending several years wrestling throughout the independent scene in her native Canada, Cherry Bomb fast became one of the most legendary names in both Shine Wrestling and Shimmer Women Athletes, especially when wrestling with her partner Kimber Lee as The Kimber Bombs. In addition to stints with Women’s Superstars United, Ring of Honor, and Combat Zone Wrestling, not to mention a one-off appearance with WWE, Dennis has recently been receiving the most attention of her career in Total Nonstop Action, where she performs as Allie. Despite a one-day reign as TNA Knockout’s Champion, it could easily be argued that Allie has been heavily underutilized by being stuck in a semi-comedic role where she’s treated like a rookie. Especially now that her former partner Kimber Lee as started making appearances in NXT, perhaps Allie would be better off giving up on TNA and recheck if WWE is interested in setting off a Cherry Bomb.
4 Mandy Leon
The youngest athlete on our list, albeit not necessarily the least experienced, Mandy Leon made her debut in 2014 and soon started appearing in Ring of Honor. Mandy is one of the first homegrown female RoH talents to earn widespread attention, having trained at the Ring of Honor Dojo to become both a standout wrestler and a strong onscreen presence. Leon has particularly gained notice for her time as a broadcaster, conducting plenty of memorable interviews before she felt ready to step into the ring herself. Improving with practically every match she wrestles, the self-proclaimed Exotic Goddess seems like a natural fit for the WWE Performance Center, not to mention Vince McMahon’s dreams. She actually had a tryout with the former in 2015, which wound up fruitless outside of a few unnamed and forgotten appearances as one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds. Nearly two years of fine tuning sounds like more than enough for WWE to take a second look some time soon.
3 Veda Scott
The bespectacled beauty Lindsey Kerecz is far more than some sexy librarian, having debuted in the ring as a wrestler for Horizon Wrestling Alliance in 2011. She soon moved on to short stints in Shimmer Women Athletes and Shine Wrestling, although fans of hers would surely argue the most significant portions of her career have all occurred while working for Ring of Honor. Scott was hired to be an interview, but soon showed such wrestling knowledge that she moved on to a role as a commentator and then a wrestler, rapidly improving in all forms of performance as she learned to be a superstar in real time. By constantly adding new roles to her repertoire, Scott’s ensuring there is no dearth of places in WWE where she could serve a strong addition. In November of 2016, it was reported Scott had asked for her ROH release, instantly starting speculation she might be NXT bound. Since no official announcement has been made, we have to assume this wasn’t the case, although it possibly could and definitely should be.
2 Marti Belle
Under the guidance of WWE Hall Of Famer Johnny Rodz, Mari Belle made her debut in 2008 as a valet in World of Unpredictable Wrestling, then stepped inside the ring herself the following year. She formed a dominant tag team with former WWE Women’s Champion Jazz when working for Women Superstars Uncensored, and also spent some time in Shimmer Women Athletes, Ring of Honor, and Evolve. Bell dropped the “e” from her name in 2015 when she signed with Total Nonstop Action, and she’s been performing for that company ever since. Initially teaming with Jade and Rebel as The Dollhouse, Bell entered the singles division to feud against her former partners, always exhibiting a unique charisma and strong presence in her matches and promos. The best moments of her career always seem to involve a partner, and the WWE Universe could very easily be the place she finds one who sends her into wrestling history. All it’ll take for that to happen is the company taking notice and giving her a chance.
1 Sexy Star
Representing the Sexy Star that shines in all women, Dulce Maria García Rivas made her wrestling debut in 2006 as Dulce Poly in Federación Internacional de Lucha Libre. She instantly started a long career of intergender matches by teaming with her trainer Humberto Garza, Jr., meanwhile standing out in the solo division and winning the FILL Women’s Championship. The true story of Sexy Star started when she lost the title and started wrestling for Asistencia Asesoría Administración, where she spent the next 10 years as a top draw against both male and female wrestlers. She continued her status as one of the top female superstars in lucha libre immediately upon the debut of Lucha Underground, where she eventually became the first female Lucha Underground Champion. Although she only just recently achieved some of her greatest career heights, Sexy Star has also been floating the idea of retirement, announcing her departure from AAA and putting her wrestling career in general jeopardy. WWE offering her the right amount of money or opportunity might be what it takes to change her mind, and in that sense fans could benefit more from this signing than any other.