It didn’t take long for the WWE Universe to notice and gravitate to Mandy Rose’s good looks, but God’s Greatest Creation will even tell you that only gets you so far in the wrestling business.
There is often a stigma attached to beautiful women in wrestling that they are only there to be eye candy, so Rose realised early on she would have to work twice as hard to prove she belonged.
With an ultra-successful angle with Otis at WrestleMania – that she pitched to Vince McMahon herself – and a brewing rivalry with former best friend Sonya Deville, things are clicking for Rose right now.
talkSPORT caught up with Rose this week and in part two of our chat with the 29-year-old we discussed overcoming stigmas, working with Paige, who came up with God’s Greatest Creation and what she’d like to see next for the women in WWE.
It seems that whenever an attractive woman enters the wrestling business, the pressure is on them to pick it up fast in this day and age, to prove they’re more than eye candy. There’s a bit of stigma there, is that something you’ve felt during your WWE run?
Obviously, it was from day one. On Tough Enough, when I didn’t even know that much about the business, I thought it was so strange. I was like ‘everyone liked me in the fitness world, why does no one like me here!’ [laughs]. The fans [I mean], ya know. It was definitely really weird to me and then actually, I was like screw it, I’m going to embrace this.
Then I obviously got more intuitive with everything and I thought ‘No, I can be a really good bad guy’ or whatever it may be. I think ever since I embraced it, I felt like I had to prove myself. It’s every day, I still battle that. Even today, it’s like I’ve come a long way and I’m in a great storyline, but I’m still in my own head thinking I have to prove myself because I know how it is.
I didn’t grow up wrestling. I was an athlete, I have my own background and experience and I could see that stigma people have on pretty girls. They’e just here to look good and blah, blah blah. But that’s not me.
I have a good athletic background, I’m a bikini world champion, I’m strong etc, so it is something that I have to prove. But, I do think now is where I’m feeling more confident in the ring.
I’m always learning and working to get better. So every day it’s gotten better for me and I think eventually the fans will see that – and they already have – but they’ll see that I’m not just a pretty face.
In the process of embracing that bad guy character, God’s Greatest Creation was born. Who came up with that? Is that a Vince idea? your own perhaps?
Corey Graves came up with that. I have to give him credit. He came up with it during a match one time ‘she’s like god’s greatest creation’ – whatever he said – and I was like that’s my new tagline, thank you [laughs]. So we joke around that I owe him on that one, I gotta give him some of my royalties.
It was cool. I liked it because I was going by the Golden Goddess in NXT for a while and then they started calling Alexa [Bliss] The Goddess so I was like ‘Ok…’ [laughs]. So I needed a new name anyway. But I think it suits me well and I gotta give Corey Graves credit for that one.
I must bring up England’s own, Paige. You worked with her in Absolution when you came up to the main roster. You said you didn’t have a background in wrestling as a kid, but Paige is the polar opposite! So how was that dynamic?
She’s awesome. She’s just been a good leader and mentor. We had so much fun with Paige. And it was just like full circle. She was hard on us on Tough Enough for the show and I was a little intimidated by here then. I was like ‘I don’t know if this girl likes me,’ but then going up with her into Absolution on RAW, it was just full circle.
Still to this day, she reaches out to us and says how proud she is on certain things. So she’s just always been amazing. I love her, she’s the best.
And, of course, you were there the night Paige’s career tragically ended. That must have been really scary to witness, especially when you were that inexperienced, too
That was so scary. It was the holiday tour I believe and it was like our third live event with Paige. And, oh my god, I’m still kind of new and haven’t worked with these girls that much and then all of a sudden this happens [Paige’s neck injury] and I’m like oh my god, what do we do? It was scary, yeah.
Fans are pining for an Evolution 2, a Queen of the Ring or another Mae Young Classic. Its great that there’s such a hunger for women’s wrestling, but what would you like to see most next?
I’d love to see an Evolution 2, I think that’s obvious. But what would I like to see in particular? I just think the women have been killing it, they’ve been raising the bar the past couple of years and it’s only going to get better for us. The women main event. The people want to see the women and that’s awesome.
It’s such a great time to be a woman in sports entertainment in general, not just WWE. So I’m super proud, it’s only going to get bigger, it’s only going to get better and who knows what’s going to be next for us, but I think an Evolution 2 would be really cool.
Catch Mandy Rose and WWE SmackDown on BT Sport every Friday night and catch highlights on Channel 5 every Sunday from 10:30am