It’s not easy being a women’s wrestler. Not only do female superstars have to deal with the physical pains of the sport such as nagging injuries and chronic pain, as well as the rigors of wrestling’s intense travel schedule, the lack of privacy and the seedy backstage politics of the business, they have to juggle all of that while also dealing with the unique problems of being a woman in a male dominated industry. Women’s wrestlers aren’t taken as seriously as their male counterparts, every bit of success they achieve punctuated by that little caveat, “for a woman.” As in “That was a great match, for a woman,” or “That move looked great, for a woman.” This means they have to fight harder to earn even a modicum of the glory, screentime and opportunity and even then, one bad match can make it all go away.
However, that’s not the only downside to being a female performer in an industry overflowing with testosterone, many women having experienced much darker setbacks in their careers. Some have admitted to dealing with extreme harassment from the male locker room, having to navigate uncomfortable comments and touching while trying to focus on their upcoming match. Others have revealed intense hazing that goes on behind closed doors, some even having their bags defecated in by colleagues. And while it’d be nice if these were just isolated incidents, they’re really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to disturbing things these performers have endured on their road to wrestling supremacy.
The following list examines some of the most disturbing confessions women’s wrestlers have made, either regarding distressing incidents that happened on the road or traumatic events from their past that have influenced who they are today. Here are 15 highly disturbing confessions from female wrestlers.
15 AJ Lee Sank To A Very Dark Place
There are few wrestler biographies as raw, candid and arresting as AJ Lee’s New York Times Bestseller, Crazy Is My Superpower. The trailblazing women’s wrestler holds nothing back in the harrowing tome, chronicling her turbulent childhood and struggles with mental illness. However, perhaps the most affecting passages, detail a time in which Lee overdosed on anti-depressants while in the midst of a deep depression after graduating from high school. The scare led her to seek help, being formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
However, in an interview with Fox Sports, the one-time longest reigning Divas Champion said that the attempt was a little more complicated. “Bipolar disorder that is being treated by anti-depressants, that is the most dangerous thing for a bipolar person. Because you just want to be level, you don’t want something that is supposed to shoot you up. It’s the complete wrong reaction in your body. And so what that does is it kind of makes you go on auto-pilot and say, okay, I’m just going to fix this thing. I just want to stop feeling this pain.”
14 Chyna Was Assaulted In College
There’s no question that Chyna (real name Joanie Laurer) had a hard life. From dealing with the divorce of her parents and the resulting revolving door of stepparents at a young age, to enduring constant harsh criticisms about her appearance and her tumultuous release from the WWE, there was no shortage of tribulations thrown in Laurer’s path.
However, while attending the University of Tampa in 1992, Laurer became the victim of a terrible crime that likely had a lasting effect on her psyche. In her 2001 autobiography, If They Only Knew, Laurer revealed that while at a party, her drink was drugged and she was sexually assaulted by two members of the university’s football team. No charges were filed in the case but the Ninth Wonder of the World said that writing about the ordeal was a therapeutic experience.
13 Paige Had A Miscarriage
When you think about Total Divas, chances are you don’t think of Earth-shattering revelations or dark secrets being uncovered. However, every now and again, the docu-series drops the fake fights and manufactured drama in favor of something a little more real and that’s exactly what happened when Paige revealed on the show that she suffered a miscarriage as a teenager. The Norwich-native said that she found out about the pregnancy when she was 18 years old, shortly before her move to America to join the FCW roster.
She revealed she had names picked out and everything when she was told the baby didn’t survive. However, to make matters worse, a medical condition she suffered later in her life would bring into question whether she’d ever be able to become pregnant again. “Being a wrestler, a female wrestler for so long, it’s very hard for female wrestlers to have babies. I had surgery while I was here to remove a cyst, they said that I may not have another chance to have one again.”
12 Mickie James’ Rough Upbringing Led Her Taking Undesired Jobs
When Mickie James sat down with Lillian Garcia in early 2017, few could have predicted the heartbreaking revelation she’d make, revealing that as a child, she and her sister were molested by her step-grandfather from the ages of nine until she was 14 years old. It’s an event that would prove to be a watershed moment in her childhood, deeply shaping the person she’d become and as she elaborated in the sit-down, affecting many decisions she’s not proud of as well. Before she began wrestling training, James revealed that she worked a number of odd jobs to make ends meet, including working as an exotic dancer and participating in some provocative modelling pictorials.
The six-time Women’s Champion admitted that her relationship with her body and her view of herself were greatly impacted by her childhood trauma, saying that likely had a lot to do with her employment decisions. “Almost every single [dancer] that I came across [suffered]. I think it’s because you don’t pride yourself on your body. Even though there are a lot of beautiful women, they don’t think much of themselves in that aspect because it’s all they’ve known. They have low self-esteem and a feeling of very low self-worth. You have to kind of recognize those patterns and those things so you don’t repeat those patterns.”
11 Sunny Wanted To Suffer The Same Fate As Marilyn Monroe
Sunny (real name Tammy Sytch) has never been shy about telling it like it is. The “Original WWE Diva” has dropped countless revelations in shoot interviews over the years from torrid affairs with wrestlers to heated feuds with fellow talent. However, perhaps the darkest of her confessions came during a 2012 interview with RF Video in which she confessed that she had always hoped she’d die at the age of 36.
Sytch said that she had wanted to be just like Marilyn Monroe, identifying with her due to their shared roles as blonde sex symbols and history of substance abuse. Monroe famously died at the age of 36 due to a drug overdose. In the video, Sytch recalls a time in her 20s when she looked in the mirror and said, “I’ll probably die at 36. I actually looked in the mirror and said that to myself.”
10 Charlotte Survived Domestic Issues
While there still seems to be a stigma attached to it, if history has shown us anything, it’s that anyone can fall victim to domestic violence. Be it man or woman, your average run-of-the-mill person or the reigning Queen of the WWE. It’s something Charlotte Flair details in her literary debut, Second Nature: The Legacy Of Ric Flair And The Rise Of Charlotte, chronicling her abusive marriage to first husband Riki Johnson.
In the autobiography, Flair writes about a particularly dark moment in which a shouting match with Johnson turned physical. Flair was able to end things with Johnson, later getting married a second time to TNA superstar Bram. She says that she hopes sharing her personal experiences will help any women who have been affected by similar situations.
9 Ashley Massaro Says She Was Violated During A WWE Tour
One of the most serious allegations levelled against the WWE in recent years has come from Ashley Massaro who accused the promotion of covering up an incident of s**** assault she experienced while visiting a military base in Kuwait with the company in 2006. While she refrained from revealing details of the incident, the 2005 Raw Diva Search winner said that she was examined by WWE doctors after the incident, saying that while they apologized to her for their negligence, they encouraged her not to come forward to authorities. Massaro said this is one of many reasons she’s decided to join a landmark class action lawsuit against the wrestling giant in which several former WWE superstars are suing due to the organization’s treatment over injuries and wrongful deaths.
8 Awesome Kong’s Stillbirth
Going through a stillbirth is one of the most traumatic and devastating things a woman can go through, forcing a parent to endure the pain of childbirth while grieving the loss of that child. It’s a pain Kia Stevens (known to wrestling fans as Awesome Kong or Kharma) knows all too well. In 2011, just four weeks after accomplishing her dream of debuting with the WWE, Stevens discovered she was pregnant, requiring her to take a leave of absence just as her tenure with the wrestling giant was taking off. However, tragically, the pregnancy was not to be; Stevens lost her child six months in, forcing her to deliver. To make matters worse, the delivery would not be an easy one, Stevens suffering a multitude of complications that would cause her to be in and out of hospitals for months, recovering.
It’s a harrowing experience that Stevens opened up about while being interviewed by GLOW co-star, Marc Maron on his podcast earlier this year, confirming that her emotional state while grieving the loss of her child ended up costing her, her job with the company. “I think they felt I wasn’t in the shape or emotional space to be on the road and they were right. I was very broken up.” The former TNA Knockouts Champion says she sunk into a deep depression for three years afterwards and while it’s a loss she’ll always carry with her, she’s begun to turn a corner, her Netflix comedy GLOW premiering earlier this summer.
7 Torrie Wilson’s Eating Disorder Had Her In Poor Health
From the moment Torrie Wilson entered a WWE ring for the first time in 2001, she instantly became a fan favorite. Known for her bright smile, likeable persona and stunning good looks, for many, Wilson defined what it meant to be a WWE Diva. You’d think someone as beautiful and athletic as her would have all the confidence in the world but long before she laced up her wrestling boots, the Boise, Idaho-native battled deep-rooted body insecurity, leading to two eating disorders that almost cost her, her life.
It all started when Wilson got into modelling as a teenager. Like many young girls, the fitness guru dreamed of making it in the entertainment business. However, this fixation on her looks lead her to developing anorexia, which later turned into bulimia. The dehydration resulting from her anorexia ended up putting her in the hospital. In a blog post from her website, Wilson writes that it was there, she knew she had to make a change. “That was the moment I realized I had to change something fast or I am going to die.” Interestingly enough, it was this low-point that inspired Wilson to get into fitness competitions, a path that eventually lead her into the world of wrestling.
6 AJ Lee’s Father Scarred Her After Incident With Her Mother
As earlier stated, AJ Lee’s debut memoir, Crazy Is My Superpower is full of raw and fearless depictions of her unconventional upbringing. However, even amongst the sea of gripping stories the book contains, this moment stands out, leaving an indelible impression. Raised by teenage parents with little support from their families, Lee didn’t grow up with much, her family often moving around and even living in their car on occasion due to the frequency at which they were evicted. Lee writes that her father was abusive towards her mother at times, recalling one particular incident when she was a child in which she heard her parents having a particularly nasty fight in their bedroom and decided to investigate.
Opening their bedroom door she saw a sight that would traumatize most grown adults, her father standing over her mother with the TV in his hand, about to drop it on her. Lee says she threw herself onto her mother, pleading with him to stop, her presence enough to defuse the situation. The three time PWI Woman of the Year, says that much of their problems as a family stemmed from the fact that they were unable to confront their struggles with mental illness, writing that just hours after that incident, the three of them were sitting on her parents’ bed, watching that very same TV as a family like nothing had happened.
5 Kelly Kelly Was The First To Know Of Test’s Passsing
When it was announced that veteran WWE superstar Test had passed away just four days shy of his 34th birthday due to a drug overdose in 2009, it sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling community. However, one person who was informed well in advance was his friend and on/off girlfriend, Kelly Kelly, who revealed during an appearance on Kevin Undergaro’s The Tomorrow Show that she was actually the first person to find out about his passing, alerted by police even before his own parents during a particularly inopportune moment.
“The police called me before they called his family. They were like, we can’t tell you much but you know we have Andrew [Test] here and I just immediately knew. And I was backstage, I just had a match, I was like, the one to tell [the rest of the WWE roster].”
4 Eva Marie Battled Serious Substance Dependency
There are few women in the WWE more polarizing than Eva Marie. Ms. All Red Everything has become somewhat infamous for her ability to make an area full of people boo her at a deafening decibel just by walking to the ring. However, what fans may not know is that the Total Divas star has privately battled severe alcohol dependency, a fact she first revealed on the E! reality series. Marie revealed that she had been sober for three years before a relapse sent her back to her recovery program shortly before signing with the WWE in 2013.
Marie opened up about her struggles staying on track while touring with the wrestling organization in a Q&A video posted to her YouTube page earlier this year, saying, “I have an amazing sponsor. She keeps me in check and I talk to her weekly. It’s just like anything, you’ve got to want it bad enough. You have to not only be determined but focused. It’s the same thing with your sobriety but this time, it’s a life or death thing and that’s a bit scary.”
3 Natalya Was Accused Of Having A 'Second Career'
Of all the entries on this list, this has to be the craziest. Those who’ve watched Natalya Neidhart throughout her nearly decade long career probably have a good idea of who the third-generation superstar is. A celebrated technical grappler and the lone female graduate of the Hart Family Dungeon, Neidhart is known for her warm, nurturing personality and love of cats. However, one accusation from a Pennsylvania inmate seems to suggest a very different woman lurks beyond the surface.
In 2014, the SmackDown Live Women’s Champion was sued for $250,000 by Christopher Donnelly from a Pennsylvania penitentiary for being an “evil dominatrix” who allegedly abused him mentally, physically and emotionally between 2005 and 2009. Obviously, the judge didn’t take these claims seriously and dismissed the case, citing that his filing was handwritten, full of spelling mistakes and bursting with “delusional language.”
2 Alicia Fox’s Father Was Abusive
When Alicia Fox sat down with Lillian Garcia to be interviewed for her podcast, few could have predicted just how much she would open up to her. From insecurities over her career, to her mother being homeless, the former Diva’s Champion left nothing on the table, especially when talk turned to her father. Fox revealed that she grew up in an abusive home, remembering one particularly harrowing memory from her childhood.
“I don’t really know if I understood at that point what I was really witnessing, I just remember one night my sister and I in Texas, I think it was one of our last nights at my house in Greenville, Texas. I remember we were going to open the window and just start screaming for help. It was the first time that I, for whatever reason, saw myself and my sister screaming out that window from above in a very weird meditated state.”
1 Sasha Banks’ Traumatic Childhood
When it comes to Sasha Banks, the sky seems to be the limit, the insanely popular superstar having become a four-time Raw Women’s Champion as well as the first woman to headline a WWE pay-per-view and compete in Hell in a Cell, all in just two years. However, the acclaimed wrestler’s road to WWE supremacy was not an easy one as she revealed during an interview with Lillian Garcia. During a sit down on her podcast, the typically private Banks opened up about her turbulent childhood, her early years spent growing up with an abusive father who was extremely violent towards her mother.
After her parents separated, her mother moved around a lot, finding odd jobs to make ends meet while supporting her and her younger brother who has special needs. Banks says she grew up with very little, living in a motel at one point. She recalls being so embarrassed of where she lived, she would tell her school bus driver to drop her off in front of someone else’s house so her classmates wouldn’t see. The Boston-native says that the police were a regular fixture on her doorstep due to her brother’s outbursts and eventually, she had to drop out of school in order to take care of him. Banks would of course go on to become a trailblazing figure in women’s wrestling, a feat made all the more impressive knowing everything she had to overcome to get there.