To achieve success requires a great deal of effort. In any promotion, and in particular WWE, there are a number of men and women who have had to make personal and professional sacrifices to get where they are today. Many of today’s female WWE superstars have had to make a change after changing in order to earn the respect of today’s fans. However, for every sacrifice, there has come triumph. These women have blazed a trail that women on the independent scene aspire to follow. However, it hasn’t been easy, and each has had to take a different road. Some have had to endure the challenge of being second and third generation wrestlers, and face comparisons to their parents, while others have had to face the criticism of not having previous wrestling experience before coming to WWE.
Other women had to face near death, or never wrestling at all because of something that wasn’t their fault to begin with. There are cases where a woman’s ascent to the top was dependent on years of preparation just to get where they are today, hoping that they could become more successful than her siblings! Typically, these women were either told to change who they were or how they acted because they wouldn’t be successful otherwise.
Who are these women and what is generally kept secret about them? Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about current WWE female superstars.
15. Nia Jax’s Career Almost Ended Before It Began
Jax is among the most physically imposing females on either Raw or SmackDown Live and is certainly a threat for the Raw women’s championship. However, before she could even begin to establish herself, her career, not to mention her life, was in serious jeopardy. As many may know, Jax is the cousin of former WWE champion, and arguably the biggest star in Hollywood today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. On August 2nd, 2014, Jax and her aunt (The Rock’s mom) were in a serious car accident where they were hit head-on by a drunk driver as they were heading home. After the accident, both Jax and her aunt, Ata Maivia-Johnson, were in the hospital. Often people don’t get a second chance at life, but in the case of Nia Jax she isn’t only lucky to be alive, she is making the most of her chance.
14. Alicia Fox Was First Discovered In A Magazine
She is currently the on-screen girlfriend of Noam Dar, but Alicia Fox has an interesting background as well. A former Divas champion and someone that has held a variety of different roles since being a part of the women’s division, Fox has faced a number of different challenges. However, her decision to become a WWE superstar came almost by chance. What is not well known is, that Fox was a model. It’s maybe not surprising, as her looks have always been among her most notable qualities. However, as time has passed she has developed in the ring, and as an overall performer.
During her modeling career, her appearances in various publications were noteworthy and caught the attention of the right people, one of whom married the mother of two female superstars that Fox was in a faction with. After John Laurinaitis saw Fox in a fashion magazine, he signed her to a WWE contract.
13. Bayley’s Identity Was Initially Kept A Secret During Her NXT Debut
Between her brightly colored ring attire and her infectious smile, Bayley’s look is unforgettable. She has brought smiles to the faces of her fans both male and female, young and old. However, when Bayley first began in NXT, she wasn’t the same character that fans have come to love today. When she debuted she wanted to be a luchadora, a masked Mexican female wrestler whose identity was kept a secret. She competed under a mask with the only recognizable feature of her being her long black hair, though her ring attire was similar to what she wears today, with long tights and nearly knee high boots, Bayley’s desire to be a luchadora was very short-lived, however. Once she removed her mask fans were exposed to someone that embraces life, and hugs it too!
12. Becky Lynch’s Brother Also Wrestled
Sacrifices are made both inside the ring and out. For second and third generation wrestlers, there is always the challenge of having to live up to the legacy their parents or grandparents left before them. In the case of Becky Lynch, she didn’t have to live up to her parents’ legacy but did have another family member to whom her career could be compared. Her brother also pursued wrestling as a career, under the moniker Gonzo de Mondo. Lynch‘s brother didn’t come close to the level of success his sister has had over the past few years. Fans can certainly see that Lynch excelled during her time in NXT, and now as part of SmackDown Live. Unfortunately, de Mondo’s career ended eleven years ago after competing primarily in Ireland. Lynch‘s hard work continues to be rewarded, but knowing that her brother also attempted to do what she has been successful doing also has to inspire the lass kicker.
11. Bayley’s Trainer Wanted Her To Stop Smiling
One of the most notable and yet natural traits about Bayley is her infectious smile and zest for life. Fans love that about her and are drawn to that special quality. However, for as much as smiling is considered a positive attribute for a person, in the case of a wrestler it can be seen as a detriment. This was the case for Bayley when she was first getting involved in the wrestling industry. For all that she could do in the ring, and all the effort she put into training and developing her move set, her facial expressions were considered a hindrance by her trainer. That first trainer, Jason Styles, told her to “stop smiling so much.” While it usually is seen as a good thing to smile, it can be an issue when you’re trying to convey an array of emotions to those watching you.
10. Becky Lynch Previously Managed A Former WWE Divas Champion
Lynch‘s career at one point was in doubt. She suffered major injuries, but still had a passion for performing in the ring. As a result, she had to re-evaluate what she was going to do if she wanted to still be a part of the industry. After not competing for three years, having walked away from wrestling completely, she returned, only this time in a non-competitive capacity. She joined the all women promotion Shimmer, which gave her an opportunity to rekindle her passion. That company has been valuable to many who are now a part of the WWE since women such as Bayley carved their niche there. While Lynch was in Shimmer, she managed a mother and daughter combination with the last name Knight. “Sweet” Saraya Knight is considered the matriarch of the Knight wrestling family, and her daughter, who used the name Brittani Knight, now competes in WWE under another name: Paige.
9. Natalya’s Relationship With Tyson Kidd
For the third-generation wrestler and second generation star, Natalya’s value in the women’s division isn’t to be taken for granted. She has worked incredibly hard to get to the point where she is now and has made her family incredibly proud in the process. One interesting point to note about Natalya doesn’t necessarily have to do with wrestling, but rather a commitment. Anyone who has seen how committed she is in the ring wouldn’t be surprised how committed she is personally. Most fans, especially those that watch Total Divas, know that she and her husband, current WWE superstar Tyson Kidd, have been married nearly four years. However, that was just a way for them to show their longstanding love for one another. How longstanding might you ask? Natalya is 35 years of age and has known Tyson since she was 12. The two were dating for at least ten years before being engaged and then married.
8. Carmella’s Athletic Pedigree Wasn’t Achieved Overnight.
While the Princess of Staten Island isn’t actually royalty, Carmella’s athletic background and past ties to the wrestling industry have truly contributed to her success today. She trained in WWE’s developmental system NXT, and while there was aligned with her real-life boyfriend Big Cass, along with Enzo Amore. They were all called up and placed on separate brands, but Carmella hasn’t necessarily needed them. Before joining the promotion, Carmella’s background in athletics saw her heavily involved in fitness as both a personal trainer and fitness instructor. That background, coupled with being the daughter of a former wrestler, helped shape her into the performer she has become today. Her father is Paul Van Dale, who competed on the independent circuit and as enhancement talent for the WWE during the 1990s.
7. Alexa Bliss Overcame An Eating Disorder To Become A Success Today.
The physical and mental demands put on WWE superstars are quite high. Appearance is very important, and an emphasis on exercise and nutrition is crucial for anyone to be successful. In one instance, a current WWE superstar had to overcome an eating disorder as a teenager. Alexa Bliss has been a competitive athlete throughout most of her life, so how she appeared was always quite important. But first, Bliss had to overcome the challenges of an eating disorder that almost cost her life. With time, support, and a commitment to overall improved fitness, she did. She can now educate young fans that have issues with self-image and help them realize that preventing yourself from eating isn’t the answer. The current Raw women’s champion, Bliss has worked to improve herself both in the ring and as a character, and she wouldn’t have been able to do it if she didn’t overcome those challenges early on in life.
6. Naomi’s Athletic Background
Many can see that WWE SmackDown Live women’s champion Naomi has a very athletic array of moves. Fans have witnessed kicks, flips, and dives that truly showcase her abilities. Her ability to perform this array of moves comes from her athletic background. For those unaware, Naomi was a cheerleader for the NBA’s Orlando Magic for a year and a half. One can see how an ability to move is necessary for that profession, and that strong gymnastic background enables her to hit the moves she does in the ring. From her initial debut as part of the Funkadacktyls, fans could tell right away by how exciting she could be, with the backflips and front flips she used to her advantage. That background enabled her to become as exciting as she is in the ring.
5. Tamina And Mickie James Are Both Mothers
The demands put on WWE stars is incredibly taxing. Most of these superstars are leaving behind families, and there is a great deal of strain on them because they are travelling so much. It is a challenge to maintain a relationship without some sense of missing out. For two particular WWE superstars, being a parent has presented added challenges. Tamina and Mickie James have been all over the world and have been actively involved in all facets of the business. But in doing so, they are also called away a great deal, and have to balance being both a parent and performer on a daily basis. But they are committed to make themselves the best they possibly can be both in the ring and at home. Both women deserve kudos for managing this balancing act seamlessly, but it must have its challenges as well. Both women continue to strive to make themselves the best mothers and performers they can be.
4. The Symbolism Behind Charlotte’s Tattoos
She is the daughter of two-time WWE Hall of Famer and sixteen-time world champion, Ric Flair. She always carries with her the memory of her brother Reid who passed away over four years ago. In several storylines and feuds, Charlotte has mentioned Reid and become quite emotional over the thought of him and how much wrestling meant to him. Something that stands out about Charlotte is the number of tattoos that she sports. Of her four tattoos, a couple are a reminder of her brother, including one which was inspired by the Guns N’ Roses song “Patience.” The tattoos that can be seen on her ribs is a biblical inscription that says “Guard your heart above all else, for it will determine the course of your life.” On her right forearm is the text that says “a little patience…” from the famous GNR song. Both tattoos are dedicated to her brother Reid and are a daily reminder of him.
3. Maryse’s Influences Were Former WWE Women’s Champions
For any wrestler in the business today, there has to be someone that influenced their decision to pursue the career they did. For Bayley, there was her love of the outfits of the Macho Man, and for Tamina, there was her father’s Superfly splash off the top rope. In the case of current Raw superstar and valet to her husband The Miz, Maryse’s inspiration comes from a couple of former WWE female superstars. These were two women that achieved a great deal of success with the company, capturing the Women’s Championship at some point in their careers. One of the women is WWE Hall of Famer Lita, who was known for her ability to hit a moonsault, her part in Team Extreme with the Hardy Boyz and her role as Edge’s on-screen girlfriend. The other woman was Victoria, who was among the most technically sound women in the ring.
2. Maryse Has Had To Face Being Stalked
Before returning to WWE, Maryse saw her share of personal strife. Prior to dating and then marrying The Miz, she was faced with a very scary real-life scenario. In the summer of 2011, she requested a permanent restraining order for what was identified as a “crazed fan.” 61-year-old Lee Silber had reportedly sent in excess of 50 voicemails and several letters to the now Mrs. Mizanin that were said to be terrifying in nature. In a statement by Maryse during an interview for TMZ, she said she “feared for her life” and noted that Silber was a “crazy stalker who needs to be in a psychiatric hospital or in jail.” Within weeks of requesting the restraining order, it was granted by the courts. It had to be a very scary time for the former Divas champion, one she would most definitely like to leave behind and she moves into the next stage of her career.
1. Lana Was In Entertainment Long Before WWE
Lana is beginning her on camera return for the SmackDown Live brand, but her forays into entertainment go well beyond her time with the WWE. For those unaware, prior to joining the WWE’s NXT brand, Lana was a backup dancer for several entertainers, including Nelly, P!nk, Akon, and Usher. Her time dancing also saw her performing in music videos, and acting in them. She was also professionally trained as an actress and had roles in such feature films as the musical comedy Pitch Perfect, and in its sequel Pitch Perfect 2 she reprised her role. She also co-starred in a WWE produced film titled Interrogation, which was released in 2015. These past experiences in front of the camera had only helped her on-screen performance as the powerful, controlling manager and valet of her husband, Rusev. It is a well-developed skill set that many can see wasn’t achieved overnight.
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