WWE's two Women's Divisions are currently the deepest they've ever been. The company is signing more women to developmental deals, and as of this writing have recently announced the Mae Young Classic tournament. It's a good time for women's wrestling.
Today's female athletes in WWE were not chosen out of fashion magazines (Maryse excluded), they were wrestlers who tried out at WWE's Performance Center and mostly driven by passion for the company. That creates a big difference in terms of their ability to connect with fans. Wrestling fans find it easier to support wrestlers who they know are fans themselves. Such is the appeal with Bayley.
Wrestlers such as Charlotte, Bayley, and Sasha Banks have some truly unique back stories however. While they all shared the same dream of making it to WWE, many of them took bizarre roads to get there. More than anything, this article shows off the different situations each performer faced earlier in their careers.
WWE would probably rather you never find out about these insane, real-life stories of their current women's roster.
15 Charlotte Was Charged With Assaulting a Police Officer
Unlike many of today's female wrestlers, Charlotte Flair still didn't know what she wanted to do with her life in 2008. She had just graduated college, and was working as a personal trainer when police were called to her North Carolina apartment to investigate a possible domestic disturbance.
The 22-year old was still four years away from starting her pro wrestling career at the time, and was evidently in a tumultuous relationship. Police arrived to her apartment, where Charlotte's boyfriend and father were both present. Charlotte, for reasons not altogether clear, decided to attack the officer. She was charged for it, and faced prison time.
She was sentenced to 45 days in jail but it was later reduced to supervised probation and a fine. Charlotte would then go on to get married and divorced twice over the next five years, and eventually started her pro wrestling career in 2012.
14 Emma Started Training at 13 Years of Age
28 year old Tenille Averil Dashwood, better known to wrestling fans as Emma, started her pro wrestling training when she was only 13. Wrestling is not generally considered a form of athletics that one starts before they're over the age of 18, but that didn't stop Emma!
Emma's older brother, Jake, was a big influence in her early love of wrestling. She began getting involved with the wrestling scene in Australia and training in 2003, only slightly out of her "tweens".
Emma became "Valentine" and appeared for PWA Australia. Training at such an early age may have hurt Emma however, as she suffered a shoulder injury at 16 that has plagued her throughout her career. As an 18-year old, Emma would train with Lance Storm in Calgary in 2008, returning again for more seasoning in 2011. Shortly after her second stint with Storm she signed a deal with WWE.
13 Carmella's Dad Was A WWE Jobber
Fans don't generally consider Carmella to be a second generation wrestler, but she is! The 29 year old Leah Van Dale (her real name) is the daughter of Paul Van Dale (shown above), who worked as a WWE enhancement talent in the 1990s.
He has a very "Dad"-like Twitter account @brawler54, where he pretty much talks about how proud he is of Carmella. According to the pro wrestling statistical site, profightdb.com, VanDale wrestled in 11 matches for WWE, and never won any of his matches.
After graduating college, Carmella was a Patriots' cheerleader for three years, followed by one year season as a Laker girl. She signed a deal with WWE in 2013. Her first appearance on WWE programming was as the hair dresser for Enzo and Cass on NXT. Eventually, Carmella became the manager of the team, and she'd go on to branch off on her own as a member of the SmackDown Live roster.
12 Becky Lynch Did Stunt Work for Vikings
While Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair were signed not long into their careers, Lynch toiled on the North American and European independent circuit for years. While doing so, Lynch picked up work as a stunt-woman for the historical drama television series, Vikings. For those unfamiliar with the program, it follows the adventures of the great viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, as he sails to new worlds and pretty much steals things.
Lynch actually got a degree in acting from the Dublin Institute of Technology, which doesn't sound like the greatest place to study acting. In addition to using acting work as a way to pay the bills, Lynch worked as a flight attendant for a couple of years until WWE finally came calling in 2013. Now that's quite the resume!
11 Paige Feuded With Her Own Mother
Lots of teenage girls don't get along with their mother, but for Paige and Sweet Saraya, their mother-daughter relationship actually turned into a wrestling angle, culminating in Paige's final wrestling match before signing with WWE.
In 2011, an 18-year old Paige feuded with her 39-year old mother, Saraya Knight. Saraya turned on her daughter and disowned her in the outrageous storyline. This led to the two facing each other in a No Dq match at Shimmer Volume 44. Paige reigned victorious and left the promotion. It was all meant to make the youngster shine one last time before she exited the wrestling company. As for her mom Sweet Saraya Knight, she's still involved with Shimmer and is currently looking to promote a women's tournament to rival WWE's upcoming version.
10 Summer Rae Played Lingerie Football
Summer Rae was a professional football player for three strong seasons in Chicago. Her brand of football was of the lingerie variety however, as part of the Legends Football League, perhaps better known by their previous name the Lingerie Football League. While the league was re-branded to become less sexualized in 2013, Summer Rae played in the league for the first three years in the not so PG days. She was a member of the Chicago Bliss, and even became defensive captain for a period. Her last year in the league, Rae was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
In 2011, Summer received a contract offer from the WWE however, ending her football career for the time being. It's unclear what Fashion Police members, Fandango and Tyler Breeze think about the Chicago Bliss' old uniforms.
9 Snoop Dogg Brought Sasha Banks Backstage at WrestleMania XXIV
Although there's a 20 year age gap between them, Sasha Banks and Snoop Dogg are cousins. Snoop has already been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, having been given the honors in 2016 and one day, it's likely that Sasha Banks will join him.
At WrestleMania XXIV, Sasha Banks was 16 years old and begged her older cousin to take her backstage at the show, and Snoop obliged. Banks says she was too shy to ask any of the wrestlers for photos or autographs however.
Banks had a tough upbringing, as her family moved around a lot. Her brother is disabled and her family struggled to find places with the best schools for him. Her love of wrestling stayed constant despite her family's frequent moving, and she would make her pro debut at only 18.
8 Paige Proposed To a Married Man
Although she has been out of action with an injury for some time, Paige is still under contract with the WWE. Her life has been something of a hot mess lately however. Not long after the brand-extension last year, Paige, and her boyfriend Alberto Del Rio, both left the company. The couple were upset that they had been drafted to separate shows. Del Rio quit the company, and Paige remains on the rocks likely to not appear until her contract expires.
Last October, Paige accompanied Del Rio on a trip to Puerto Rico. After his match she got in the ring and proposed to the man. Not long after, Del Rio's previous wife pointed out that her divorce proceedings were not yet final, and Paige had just proposed to a married man. She warned Paige that "history repeats itself". Yikes!
7 Natalya Has Wrestled More Matches Than Any Other Female in WWE
Natalya is the most experienced female WWE wrestler of all-time. The 35 year old has been with the company since 2007, and as such has now passed everyone else in the company's history in many categories. Most recently, Natalya passed Trish Stratus in the most PPV matches category, when she wrestled her 40th at Backlash.
While the Fabulous Moolah was World Champion for many years, she actually only wrestled for WWE from 1983-1987. This was during the Rock N Wrestling Connection era, and her feud with Wendy Richter. Women's wrestling didn't really catch on in WWE until the Attitude Era. What Sunny and Sable ushered in was re-tooled by Lita and Trish. WWE's lack of interest in the division up until the last two decades means Natalya is the most experienced female performer in the company's history.
6 Natalya Once Agreed To A Flatulence Gimmick
Now that we have established Natalya has wrestled more matches than any other female performer in WWE history, let's take a look at the most ridiculous storyline she ever took part in and one that some wrestling fans have thankfully forgotten about.
Always a trooper, and always willing to go along with a storyline, Natalya agreed to become the butt of some jokes, and these were not exactly high quality jokes. In early 2012, Natalya was involved in some backstage segments where she would loudly pass gas. One time, she confronted Eve Torres, and closed the segment by facing her back to her while a loud flatulence sound effect played. WWE abandoned the angle not long after beginning it.
It's doubtful that storyline will be mentioned during Natalya's future Hall of Fame induction. When you've been in WWE for as long as Natalya has however, you're bound to end up in some terrible segments.
5 Charlotte Brought the Macho Man to School for "Show and Tell"
Schools rarely have a "Bring your father's WrestleMania VIII Opponent to Work Day", so Charlotte Flair brought the Macho Man to school for "Show and Tell" day instead.
Charlotte is said to have wanted to bring her favorite wrestler to "show and tell" when she was in the first grade. She used her dad's connections in WWE at the time to bring that wrestler to her school. Only her favorite wrestler wasn't her father, who had won the Royal Rumble that year, it was instead Macho Man Randy Savage. She was a bigger fan of Macho than her dad apparently as the two were feuding at the time!
Despite having an early love of wrestling, Charlotte waited until she was 26 to begin her career. It wouldn't take her long to get going however, signing with WWE not long after starting her training.
4 Sasha Banks Loved All-Japan Women's Wrestling
Sasha Banks is a die-hard wrestling fan, which is probably a big reason why she's such a great performer. According to Banks, she grew up loving All-Japan women's wrestling, something most probably wouldn't predict. The promotion consisted of entirely women, wrestling a tough Japanese style. There were hardcore matches mixed in with mean-looking women like Bull Nakano (remember her?).
That Banks' would be a big fan of such a promotion goes to show how much deep her passion runs. She was also a big fan of Eddie Guerrero and has at times paid tribute to him through her ring gear, similar to how Bayley often does for the Macho Man.
At only 25 years of age, Banks has already been one of the first two women to headline a PPV. With so many good years left, you have to wonder what else Sasha Banks will achieve?
3 Becky Lynch Started Training At 15
Similar to Emma, Becky Lynch started training at a young age. Lynch was only 15 years old when she started to train at a brand new school in Ireland. One of the head trainers at this new school was 21 year-old Fergal Devitt, better known to WWE fans as Finn Balor. At the time, Balor had already been wrestling for the NWA in the United Kingdom, and struck a deal to open a territory, and a school named NWA Ireland. Lynch gives plenty of credit to Balor for teaching her, but Balor's recollection differs slightly. In his story, he just demonstrated the moves to her and Lynch picked everything up almost instantly.
Lynch had no easy road to the WWE, she had already been wrestling for 11 years before signing with the company in 2013.
2 Alexa Bliss Was a Bodybuilder
She's only five feet in height and not exactly a wide person, but that didn't stop Alexa Bliss from pursuing a career in professional bodybuilding. Bliss credits bodybuilding for helping her overcome an eating disorder. Bodybuilding taught her about how to gain weight and achieve balance in her life. She even competed at the Arnold Classic, an iconic annual event in the world of bodybuilding since 1989. Dana Brooke has also competed at the event reaching even greater amounts of success.
Bliss was also a Division I cheerleader and excelled at gymnastics. She was signed to WWE in 2013 at the tender age of 21. After being booked more as a manager than a wrestler, she was called up to the main roster in 2016. She's gone on to win three Women's Championships since then.
1 The WrestleMania XXX Entrance
At WrestleMania XXX, Triple H wrestled Daniel Bryan in a fairly significant match to open the show. It was significant in that this was the year WWE fans forced the company to rewrite WrestleMania so that Daniel Bryan won the main event.
In 2014, WWE was beginning the Women's Revolution in NXT. Two months after the above photo, Charlotte would defeat Natalya in the finals of a tournament to declare a new NXT Women's Champion. Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks were both in that tournament as well, each losing in the semi-finals.
Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair all took part as extras in Triple H's entrance that year, something of an analogy to him being the "King of NXT" and they being regarded as his pupils. Just two years later Charlotte and Sasha Banks would each make their WrestleMania debuts, and Alexa Bliss did the same at WrestleMania 33.