The WWE has become quite infamous for having business practices akin to those of a low-stakes fascist government when it comes to acknowledging any person or event that doesn’t quite fit what they’re doing at the time. Get fired? Dead to the Motherland. Associated with someone who doesn’t like the company? Dead to the Motherland. Work in a different promotion? Dead ‘til you abandon your family and come back to the Motherland.
So it should come as no surprise that in the duration of the Women’s Revolution, the WWE only likes to acknowledge the women they want in regards to contributions to the movement. This got them in trouble not too long ago when they decided to lionise one Fabulous Moolah, but a bunch of educated and angry fans (and a threat from sponsor Snickers) got them to reverse that decision.
This all stems from the idea that the ‘E wants its fans to believe nothing happens outside of its “Universe” at the word and whim of the company. There are women who have made contributions to the way North American women’s wrestling has been received and portrayed in the modern era that the WWE, for one reason or another, won’t give credit to when credit is overwhelmingly due. So here’s a spotlight on five women who the Motherland won’t tell you about.
1. Gail Kim
Despite having two different runs with the company, Gail Kim was never really utilised very well at all. In fact, there are only a pair of things notable she did under the WWE banner and one of those was doing her own angry revolution and simply walking out of a match. The other is a horrid story about Vince McMahon being astonished that people found her attractive enough to be hired at all. I’m sure anyone would straight up walk out if something like that was going on behind their back.
Of course, Kim gained her rise to popularity being one of the figureheads if not the figurehead of the TNA Knockouts division. In reality, every woman in that division probably deserves a nod, considering what they were doing at a time when the WWE were strictly and explicitly only hiring women if they looked like a supermodel. Kim was at the forefront of that and was even put into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2016. She is a former WWE Women’s Champion, but she is probably more proud of being a seven-time TNA Knockouts Champion.
This is the reason why Kim will probably never be acknowledged proper by the WWE. She made her name in not just another company, but a company whose entire attitude was nothing but anti-WWE in virtually every way. That said, Jeff Jarrett got the WWE Hall of Fame nod. Maybe women like Gail (and another in particular on this list that helped build the division) will get their due props in time.
A woman who never performed for any major North American wrestling company, MsChif took her banshee gimmick all over the US and then the world. With her incredible ring work and a side of killing referees just by screaming at them, she was generally regarded as one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world in the mid-to-late 2000s. She held the NWA Women’s Championship and the SHIMMER Championship for a whole two bloody years.
If that weren’t enough to get her recognised, surely what she does outside of the ring would. In addition to being one of the greatest independent wrestlers of her generation, Rachel Frobel is also a microbiologist, studying tiny organisms by day and breaking women’s spines by night. She was even once featured in a documentary series about the secret lives of scientists. If the WWE is so determined to show that these are women who can do anything, it would make all the sense in the world to highlight a woman who is a mother, a genetic scientist, and a wrestling badass all rolled into one.
Someone get this woman some recognition before she screams at the lot of us and shatters our brains and then studies the remains FOR SCIENCE.
3. Awesome Kong
This one is a bit tricky because the WWE does acknowledge Kong under the Kharma name that she had in her extremely brief run with the company. She’s even one of three women to ever compete in the then male-exclusive Royal Rumble match. That’s a pretty damn good feat.
With that said, there is much more than what Kong has done than the little time she spent in a WWE ring. A woman of a large frame, she made a goal for herself to get into good enough shape to even begin her wrestling journey. After conquering a goal many people would’ve faltered at to begin with, she got her training done and became a sensation on the indies and in Japan. She finally got mainstream attention in TNA, where she, along with Gail Kim, were the two tent poles of the Knockouts division. She held the title there for a pair of reigns that totalled almost a year in length.
She’s something that, especially at the time, we just didn’t see in women’s wrestling and that’s an incredibly dominant woman with legit power and MMA ability. It’s no surprise she was built up as a “Barbie breaker” in her cup of coffee with the ‘E. She was women’s wrestling’s version of what Brock Lesnar would eventually evolve into. She did it first, Brock. Suplex that.
4. AJ Lee
A small woman even by women’s wrestling standards, AJ Lee stood out because, frankly, she was all-around awesome. She was great in the ring, great on the mic, and had a look that worked off of her real-life persona as a huge geek. She was once the longest reigning Diva’s Champion (remember when it was called that?) in WWE history and featured very prominently in the company even beyond the women’s division at her height from 2012-2013.
She even dropped a women’s wrestling version of the “pipe bomb” promo, infamously telling the “interchangeable women” that they couldn’t even lace her Chuck Taylors. She then proceeded to drop a Twitter pipe bomb a few years later by speaking out against female WWE stars not getting their due, despite some of them being in the top of merchandise sales. My word, she was dynamite. While AJ retired due to injury in 2015 and wasn’t personally on bad terms with the company, the way her spouse – one Mr. CM Punk – left the company doomed her to being blacklisted.
The WWE made it a mission to have someone eradicate her record-setting title reign so they never really had to mention her. The sad part is that AJ Lee is quite possibly the woman who got much of the talk of a Women’s Revolution started in the first place. Her “Chuck Taylors” promo being the first real shot. She’s kind of inseparable from the entire movement from an on-screen perspective. Don’t worry, AJ, we know who’s holding the real smoking gun.
5. Sara Del Rey
The top lady of this list couldn’t be anyone other than the woman who is secretly the engine for the entire WWE Women’s Revolution.
She was deemed worthy enough to be trained by Daniel Bryan himself. That’s really all I have to say to get your attention if you don’t know this dedicated woman. To expand on that, Sara Del Rey is one tough chick. Like many on this list, she made her name on the indies for being a technical and submission wrestling master in the same way that Bryan was before. She even went as far as to compete somewhat regularly against men, which is unheard of in today’s environment.
She gained quite the reputation of being married to the gym, possessing a physique that would rival even the fittest of her male counterparts. At the top of her game when the WWE was only interested in swimwear models, she was rejected a turn in the company in the late 2000s. Del Rey is also notorious for not posting pictures of herself looking ‘pretty’ or ‘glamorous’ out of protest to how women in the industry are often viewed as mere eye candy.
The real kicker is that the WWE hired Del Rey as a trainer in 2012, which is right around the time the quality of wrestling in the women’s division took a significant upturn. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Del Rey is now assistant head coach of the entire WWE Performance Center, being the artist who helped sculpt the skills of none other than the Four Horsewomen, the ladies portrayed as being at the epicentre of the Revolution. She continues to educate the many who come through the PC doors, being the straw that stirs the proverbial drink when it comes to women’s wrestling in North America.
“The Queen of Wrestling” more than deserves her props.
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