Wrestling fans are a bunch who loves nostalgia. After all, wrestling these days is not as it used to be back when the greats were active and in their prime. For example, you will not find a lack of people who clamor for the return of the Attitude Era. It depends on who you talk to, but the consensus seems to be that people used to find wrestling more fun back in those days. While the numbers might tell us otherwise since the WWE keeps telling everyone that their ratings are rising and whatnot, the past is a comfortable time for wrestling fans.
However, it might not be such a comfortable time for wrestlers. By that, we mean that some wrestlers have little bits from their past that they might want to hide from their fans and maybe even their employers. Still, the main point of this list will be to show you the women’s roster of the WWE before they joined the wrestling promotion. There are ladies who have been involved with wrestling since they were kids, but photos of them when they were young are still funny enough that you won’t believe they turned out as pro wrestlers. Some had odd jobs, and others followed a trend that we discovered while researching for this article. Either way, we are sure you will not regret taking a little time to delve into this list and see a bunch of pictures of the current WWE women’s roster before they were who they are today.
15 Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose has made a name for herself in the WWE as one of the most entertaining and beautiful wrestlers on the women’s roster. She has yet to make a run for a title, but if she keeps the good work going, we can’t see why she wouldn’t get her chance in due time.
One interesting fact about Mandy is that before she joined the WWE, she already had quite the career as a fitness model. Yes, before Mandy Rose was a thing, Amanda Saccomanno was already turning heads all around the country in bodybuilding competitions. She even took first place in the World Bodybuilding Fitness & Fashion Boston Show. Another win she got as a bodybuilding competitor was during the 2014 World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Bikini Championship.
14 Ember Moon
Here is a funny one. Unlike most of the other wrestlers on our list, Ember Moon did not have another career before she started wrestling for the WWE. Much on the contrary, she actually did things the old way. And by the old way, we mean that she grinded her way through the independent circuit until she was noticed by wrestling’s biggest promotion.
Before she was NXT’s Ember Moon, Adrienne Reese wrestled under the stage name Athena in several different promotions. The biggest ones were Shimmer Women Athletes, Women Superstars Uncensored, Inspire Pro Wrestling, and Anarchy Championship Wrestling. But she was successful nonetheless, as before joining the WWE she was a three-time ACW American Joshi Champion. Still, she is probably happy to have finally made it to the big leagues.
Her English might not be the greatest, but it is hard to deny that Asuka is one of the best entertainers in the WWE. The Empress of Tomorrow is really looking like the Empress of Today if her competitors don’t keep an eye out for her. But before starting her wrestling career, Asuka actually had a few jobs, some of them are so random that you probably won’t believe.
For example, she was a graphic designer back in Japan. Asuka also wrote for Xbox Magazine in her native country. How awesome is that? Another thing that people might not know about her is that she owns a hair salon in Yokohama. Wrestling is also not the first sport in her life, as she grew up playing badminton and figure skating.
12 Alexa Bliss
The Goddess of the WWE has come a long way from being tried out as a ring announcer to becoming the RAW Champion. But the life story of Alexa Bliss goes way beyond her WWE days. First, everyone should know that her real name is Alexis Kaufman, she is from Columbus, Ohio, and she is indeed 5’1” tall.
The next thing you need to know is that she has always been fascinated with sports. Alexa competed in everything from softball, to kickboxing, and even gymnastics. She was also a Division I cheerleader at the University of Akron, which is not surprising at all given her athleticism and her looks. But perhaps the most exciting thing about her pre-WWE days is that she participated in the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition. How’s that for Five Feet of Fury?
One of the most crucial things in the life of a wrestler is to be able to perform in front of thousands of people. Looking at it from the outside it might seem easy. But that is when you should remember the times you had to give a group presentation and almost wet yourself. Yeah, going in front of thousands of people and talking, much less wrestling, has to be an incredibly tough ordeal.
Luckily for a few wrestlers like Carmella, they have experienced performing in front of big crowds before joining the ranks of the WWE. In Carmella’s case, she has performed in front of even bigger crowds than she sees in WWE arenas. After all, before becoming a wrestler, she was a cheerleader for both the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Lakers.
10 Dana Brooke
In much similar fashion to Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke was someone who loved sports from a very early age. Under her birth name, Ashley Sebera, Dana made a name for herself as a pretty good gymnast, a sport she competed in for almost 18 years. Of course, we are not sure how good she was, but to be in the business for that long you can’t be too bad, right? Unfortunately, a series of injuries pushed her to an early retirement from gymnastics.
But that was not enough to keep her away from competitions as she jumped right into the world of fitness and bodybuilding. She started participating in competitions and won a bunch of them. She still competes, as she finished in fifth place in the 2017 Arnold Classic.
9 The Bella Twins
Here is one interesting thing about wrestlers: try to imagine them as kids. It is hard, right? When you think of the Bella Twins, you always picture two beautiful women, but you can hardly imagine that they were kids once. Let’s just drop another example so you can get a good grip on how weird this is. Try and imagine Brock Lesnar as a child. That is just impossible.
That being said, the Bella Twins were kids once, and despite being born 16 minutes apart and having their differences, the twins had a lot of common interests growing up. The first thing was soccer. Both of them played during their youth and Nikki even went on to play at college. These two sure have come a long way since those soccer playing days.
Finding a pre-wrestling picture of Paige is borderline impossible. Why? Because this young lady has always been a wrestler. Yeah, some people do it because they are in love with the sport, some think it is a great way to make money, and some are discovered by talent scouts. Nevertheless, for Paige, the whole thing was the family business. She is the daughter of a pair of British professional wrestlers. Her mom was apparently still wrestling while she was pregnant with Paige. Sure, she did know about the pregnancy, but it is still a crazy story.
For Paige, her debut in professional wrestling came at the age of 13. Yes, talk about having experience despite being young. Unfortunately, she has hit some cobblestones along the path, including a reportedly career-ending injury, but we still hope she will bounce back and somehow get to wrestle again.
7 Becky Lynch
Since we gave a young Paige a place on our list, we thought it would only be fair also to give Becky Lynch her spot on this list. Just like her British counterpart, the Irish wrestler is someone who started her career at a very young age. How young? 14.
Yeah, she just one year older than Paige when she started wrestling. For Becky, however, wrestling was kind of a family business but one that started out with herself and her brother. When Becky was really young, she and her brother would constantly be watching wrestling, and the two developed a burning love for the sport. Unavoidably, they began practicing and became professional wrestlers. At the beginning of her career, the two of them competed in mixed tag team matches.
6 Nia Jax (Basketball)
Another wrestler who has an interesting back story from before she joined the WWE is Nia Jax. Despite already being 33 years old, Jax only began wrestling in the WWE in 2014, which means she started wrestling very late in terms of age. Which brings the questions to mind as for what she did before wrestling. The answer to that is quite a lot of stuff.
Professionally, before she entered the wrestling world Jax actually made a living posing as a plus size model for various brands. Something that is not surprising at all for her fans, since she really knows how to interact with a camera. Other than that, we found out that she was a college basketball player, as she played for Palomar College down in San Marcos, California.
We might have just found a trend when it comes to the professions female wrestlers had before joining the wrestling world. Gigs like modeling were a given, of course. At the same time, we have not one but two ladies who were professional cheerleaders before they joined the ranks of the WWE. After we found out about Carmella, we also got wind that Naomi was a cheerleader before she became a wrestler.
Her career choice has much to do with her love of dancing, as she was a dancer for the Orlando Magic from 2007 all the way to 2009. And that was not the only reason for us to believe that she is an amazing dancer. The other thing is that she already starred as a background dancer for the rapper, Flo Rida.
4 Nia Jax (Modeling)
We mentioned Nia Jax's backstory before WWE already, and with her fascinating past, we just had to include another old picture of Jax. Jax often shares past photos of herself and details her life, saying that she's often felt insecure about her figure but has chosen to embrace her body type. This photo's a gem from Jax's modeling days, as it's almost guaranteed to make you see her in a different light. She has plenty of opportunities to forge a long career outside of the wrestling business, but elected to follow in her family's footsteps and now seems like she can be a star for a long time with the company. Meanwhile Nia, keep sharing those amazing photos on your Instagram page!
3 Renee Young
Even before she started working with the WWE, Renee Young was already using her wits and voice to conquer a large audience. The Toronto native was a presenter for the show Right After Wrestling in The Score television Network. So, her previous job had to do with wrestling, but it was not with the WWE, so we think it still qualifies her for this list.
But to talk a little more about Renee, we have to go all the way back to her youth in Canada. Do you think she started modeling right after high school like many women who ended up in the WWE? No, what this lady did after high school was to apply to several colleges and begin training in improvisational comedy. Believe it or not, she wanted to be a comedian.
2 Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair is also one of those people who grew up in a wrestling household. It cannot be easy to be the daughter of one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. Nevertheless, it never seemed like Charlotte would be happy just staying under her father’s shadow as she tried really hard to diversify and find what she really wanted to do with her life.
When it came to sports, the answer was volleyball. It seems like Charlotte was one hell of a volleyball player as she won a pair of state championships in high school. She also played volleyball in Appalachian State University, before transferring to North Carolina State and graduating with a degree in public relations. But she ultimately stayed true to her roots and did not run away from the destiny of becoming a great wrestler.
Despite putting on a Russian front, this 32-year-old professional wrestler was born and raised in Florida. Hell, she even went to college at Florida State University. If there is any way for someone to be less Russian than that, please let us know. Either way, it is not just her time away from the so-called motherland that would surprise wrestling fans about Lana’s past.
Catherine Joy Perry has actually done pretty much everything there is to do in the world of entertainment. She started out her career as a dancer in 1999 and then branched out to avenues like singing, modeling, and acting. All of these are careers that undoubtedly helped her become successful in the WWE. Her filmography prior to the WWE includes a few very recognizable names, like the movie Pitch Perfect, where the above photo comes from (that's her in the background), and an appearance in The Real Housewives of Atlanta.