Wrestling fans can feel good that the days of women's wrestling being more about supermodels in "Bra and Panties" matches than about actual wrestling are over. Now the top crop of women's wrestlers in WWE aren't picked from the pages of photo shoots, they are, for the most part, actual wrestling fans who grew up wanting to be professional wrestlers.
There is a reason why Bayley and Sasha Banks resonate with fans more than, say, Eva Marie does. While Eva Marie is drop-dead gorgeous, fans quickly recognized she really has no passion for the industry. Eva Marie would be happier to be on a runway somewhere or posing for a cover shoot. Bayley, on the other hand, only wants to be at WrestleMania. That's why fans love her as much as they do.
With WWE's lighting, camera work, wardrobe department and star-making machine behind them, today's women wrestlers still look the part. When the machine is away, though, most of them are just ordinary women who happen to be great athletes. Bayley, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and most of their contemporaries aren't supermodels: they're just wrestlers, and that's a good thing.
With that being said, here are 15 photos of today's WWE female talent without all the glitz from the WWE machine. These photos show off today's current female superstars in a more unflattering light.
15 Emma's Mug Shot
In 2014, Emma was arrested for allegedly stealing an iPhone case at a Walmart in Hartford. She was actually fired for it as well until someone finally looked into the matter and "un-fired" that same day.
Turns out Emma had been using the self-checkout aisle at the store and forgot to scan through the item. Evidently Walmart isn't fooling around with their self-checkout aisle. They arrested Emma and charged her for shoplifting the item, which was listed on sale for $21.14 at the time. She was sentenced to one day of community service for the incident, had to take an online course (presumably in self-checkout aisle etiquette) and eventually had the charge taken off her record.
At the time of the incident Emma had just been called up to the main roster.
14 Awkward Childhood Bayley
27-year-old Pamela Rose Martinez wasn't always the positive female role model she is today. Now known to wrestling fans as Bayley, she was admittedly an awkward youngster, one who was bullied growing up for being different.
As a kid Bayley loved WWE and has listed Bret Hart, Trish Stratus and Randy Savage amongst her biggest influences. She has stated that her love of wrestling and awkward appearance led to difficult times for her when she was younger. She posted the above photo on Twitter along with a statement saying she was picked on for the way she looked, dressed and acted. Bayley said that in particular she was picked on by other kids because they said she looked like a boy.
In her short time with the company, Bayley has also been involved with WWE's "Be A Star" anti-bully campaign.
13 Paige At Shimmer After Party
There is actually an 11-year age gap between the two girls in the photo above. The above picture depicts a 19-year-old Paige who had just begun wrestling for Shimmer in 2011. The other girl is Courtney Rush, arguably more well known now as Rosemary, current Impact Knockouts champion.
In Shimmer, Paige would wrestle under the name Britani Knight and form a mother-daughter team with Saraya Knight, her mother. Their team name was The Knight Dynasty. Paige's real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis and her mother's real name is Julia Hamer-Bevis. The two actually transitioned into a mother-daughter feud in Shimmer as well, with the elder Knight putting her daughter over in the end. It was Paige's last match before being signed to WWE developmental.
Currently The Rock is helping to produce a movie based on Paige's family.
12 Mickie James As Alexis Laree
Mickie James once posed nude for the magazine Leg Show. The publication is geared towards men with a particular fondness for feet, and similar interests . Those pictures are a touch less flattering to Mickie James than the ones involving her time as Alexis Laree, however.
Still under the Alexis Laree name, James debuted in TNA in 2002 as a member of Raven's latest Flock-esque stable. Her career wouldn't really launch until 2005 however, when she started her feud with Trish Stratus in WWE. The well-received storyline earned her cheers (despite being a heel at the time) when she defeated Stratus for the women's championship at WrestleMania 22.
Mickie James never stopped wrestling after being released by the company in 2010. Six and a half years later, WWE finally brought her back.
11 Summer Rae's Lingerie Football League Angry Face
Summer Rae has never been an aggressive character on WWE programming, but it was another story when she was a Lingerie League football player. She took those games seriously.
Real name Danielle Moinet, Summer Rae played with the Chicago Bliss from 2008-2011. Not only did she play on the team, she was the defensive captain. The Bliss made it all the way to Lingerie Bowl VII in 2010. After an All-Star season in 2011, she left the league after signing with WWE. She made her main roster debut two years later as Fandango's dance partner.
Summer Rae has been out of action since last summer with injuries. Unfortunately, she seems to have been lost in the shuffle at the bottom of her division for a couple of years now.
10 Lana Without Makeup
Lana is one of the few women on the WWE roster these days who is more model than wrestler. Since she rarely wrestles, this isn't much of an issue. She posted the above no-makeup selfie in 2015 and evidently got some hate from some of her followers.She would post another no-makeup selfie afterwards stating she does not care what the haters think.
Unlike Bayley, Sasha or Becky Lynch, Lana did not set out to work in wrestling. Real name CJ Perry, she was working to become an actress or singer when she signed with WWE in 2013. She immediately began managing Rusev. The two married three years later.
While Lana is American, having been born in Florida, she did spend a few years living in Latvia when she was a child. Her father was in the country working as a Christian missionary at the time.
9 Becky Lynch Dances Jig
Things could have turned out much differently for Becky Lynch had she stuck with the above pictured gimmick.
Being Irish in the WWE can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, Vince McMahon is fond of his Irish heritage and can be prone to push wrestlers with similar backgrounds.
On the other hand, he has put some Irish wrestlers in some truly terrible storylines. Lynch almost fell victim to a WWE-style Irish stereotype character, when they originally had her decked in green and dancing an Irish jig during her ring entrance. She can be seen above doing her best "Fighting Irish" leprechaun impression.
Her current orange-haired and goggled look is actually an homage to Magic: the Gathering character Chandra Nalaar. She debuted the new look at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable in 2015.
8 Eva Marie Without Makeup
Lots of women look different without makeup, but Eva Marie does not even look like the same person when she doesn't have stylists and makeup artists putting her together.
Eva Marie with makeup is the gorgeous supermodel type who only ever appears on the cover of magazines and never in real life. Without makeup she looks like she isn't even related to herself (if that makes any sense).
As of this writing Eva Marie is still under contract to WWE, but that could change quickly. She was suspended following a wellness program violation last year, but she hasn't been used even after her suspension was up. She has removed "WWE" from her social media bios as well, leading many to believe she is done with the company.
7 Carmella No Makeup/Black Eye
Carmella received this black eye at a SmackDown house show not long after her main roster debut. WWE.com released the photo, just to remind everyone how gruelling the industry can be, and the dues rookies like Carmella often have to pay.
Real name Leah Van Dale, Carmella has known since a young age how demanding pro wrestling can be. She watched her father do it growing up. Carmella's father was Paul Van Dale, a jobber on WWE television in the '90s.
Leah Van Dale was a cheerleader for the Patriots (which probably earned her praise from the McMahons, who cheer for the team) and the Lakers before signing with WWE in 2013.
Don't think Carmella isn't as tough as the other women wrestlers just because of her gimmick. Carmella is someone with a healthy respect for pro wrestling.
6 Awkward Pre-WWE Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks made her professional wrestling debut at 18 years old. A native of the Boston area, Banks caught on with local promotion, Chaotic Wrestling, under the name Mercedes KV. Her ring name was a take on her real name, which is Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado.
The Chaotic Wrestling promotion was also the launching point for the careers of other wrestlers from the area such as Kofi Kingston, Low Ki, and Damien Sandow. Banks was a month away from her 20th birthday when she won the CW women's championship in 2011. She would vacate the title when WWE signed her to developmental in 2012.
Nowadays Sasha Banks has the confidence of a "Boss," a big change from the shy looking Mercedes KV from the Massachusetts indie scene.
5 Charlotte Flair No Makeup, Black Eye
Charlotte Flair is a superstar, arguably the biggest in women's wrestling today. But if you take away all the lights, makeup, wardrobe and makeup, she's just a woman in her early-30s who kind of looks like Ric Flair.
Her father had the same sort of appeal. While Ric Flair was very athletic in his prime, in his later years he failed to live up to the bodybuilding standards which existed in wrestling during the '80s and '90s. Still, Flair got over more than any of the bigger characters who looked like they could easily overpower him. There is just something in the Flair aura that allows them to carry themselves as larger-than-life when they are in the wrestling ring. But as we've seen, David Flair somehow missed out on the same family trait.
4 Asuka Is Actually Frightening
It might not be easy to tell at the moment, but Asuka is actually quite frightening. Known as Kana while wrestling in Japan, she was a very serious and intense character on the Japanese women's wrestling scene between 2004 and 2015. She would occasionally wrestle for Shimmer between 2011 and 2014 as well.
Much like Finn Balor, or the Great Muta, Asuka would often adjust her face paint and attire for big matches. Shown above is Kana with a serious clown type look.
The 35-year-old Asuka has gone undefeated since debuting in NXT in 2015. Her debut on the main roster should happen sometime in 2017. As of this writing, Asuka is in the middle of turning heel for the first time since arriving in the company. She recently cheated to defeat Ember Moon at Takeover: Orlando.
3 Generic Indie Wrestler Bayley
Unlike Sasha Banks and Charlotte, Bayley was not signed by WWE right away. She didn't pass a WWE tryout after only a year of training like those two, rather she toiled on the indie scene for four years before getting her opportunity. Her indie appearance was rather bland, a far cry from the wacky, waving, inflatable tube men that surround her during her entrances these days.
At the age of 18, Pamela Rose Martinez adopted the ring name Davina Rose. She debuted for Big Time Wrestling in Northern California after training at the promotion's school for six months. In the years to come, she would also wrestle for Shine and Shimmer under the Davina Rose character.
This year at WrestleMania, Bayley reached the pinnacle of her profession, something few who had seen her as Davina Rose would have predicted.
2 WrestleMania Opponents/Three Girls You Know From High School
Sasha Banks posted this photo on the day of WrestleMania this year, though it is not clear when this photo was taken. No other photo in this article better illustrates how regular today's women wrestlers are. When not on the WWE stage, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley aren't supermodels, and don't have a Hollywood feel or style to them.
The above photo could easily be of three random girls who you may have gone to high school or college with. Three girls you know went to a bar and someone pulled out a camera: Sasha was the cool friend who knew immediately what pose she wanted to do in the photo, Charlotte is a little drunk and not sure how to react but tries her best, and Bayley is the friend who doesn't normally drink and wasn't able to react to the camera as fast as the other two.
1 Charlotte Flair Mug Shot
Four years before Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr became Charlotte Flair, she got into a little tiff with some police officers.
At the age of 22, Charlotte was arrested for assaulting a police officer. The officer had been responding to a domestic incident involving Charlotte, her boyfriend at the time, and Ric Flair. Neighbours called the cops when they heard arguing from Charlotte's apartment. Somehow she ended up assaulting one of the arriving police officers and got herself charged for it. She had just graduated college a few months prior.
Charlotte pleaded to a lesser charge and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. She never went to prison, however, as the sentence was later reduced to supervisory probation. At the time Charlotte was working as a personal trainer and had no plans to get into wrestling.