Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…
Looks like WWE‘s open casting call for wrestlers at the start of this month may not have yielded what they were looking for, as reports have emerged of the promotion seeking new Divas through another casting call. According to PWInsider, they are looking for women aged between 18-30 “with charismatic personalities, beautiful faces and great bodies,” and asked for resumes, headshots and bikini photos. It also says that WWE Divas “instantly gain a huge fan base”, travel the world, appear on TV worldwide and get to appear in photoshoots, videos and charity appearances.
The curious thing is that at no point does it ask for wrestling experience.
With Beth Phoenix finishing up, the number of women who were wrestlers before signing with WWE falls to just two – AJ Lee and Natalya. In developmental, you have Paige, Skyler Moon and Emma on NXT and new recruit Mercedes KV who have indie ring time, but that’s pretty much where it ends. All of the rest – including Divas Champion Eve Torres, Layla, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, Aksana, Summer Rae and Audrey Marie were trained from scratch under the WWE umbrella, with varying results.
Famously, recently departed Kelly Kelly and Fox were hired after being spotted working as models. Others like Torres, Layla and Mendes came in through the Diva Search.
The problem which has been apparent with so many women who didn’t come from wrestling backgrounds (such as the Bella Twins, Maryse and Maxine) electing to go of their own volition, and grapplers like Gail Kim and the aforementioned Beth Phoenix choosing to go, the revolving Diva door sees women have a short shelf life – and it’s especially short for women who didn’t grow up as fans or have been wrestling before signing up for WWE life, as it can be a shock to the system. After all, you have to love it, as it will see you stick around for longer – whereas models know that they can return to modelling if they don’t like the wrestling biz.
This leads to a big challenge for the trainers like Sara Del Rey who will be charged with training them from scratch, which is a hell of an ask. However, if anyone can get something out of these potential new recruits, it’s Death Rey – and she has been known to work miracles on the indie circuit with less accomplished opponents and making them look like a million dollars.
The big issue is that this means that instead of seeing a new wave of actual wrestlers emerging in the Divas gallery, we may get more ex-models given a modicum of training before being rushed to TV to stumble around. For those of us who want female wrestlers being given the opportunity to wrestle, we may have to carry on waiting.
- Lee Burton