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Summer Rae, a natural heel who was always ready to strike – Unsung Heroes

To celebrate Women’s History Month Diva Dirt will be highlighting some of wrestling’s greatest unsung heroes. These individuals for some reason or another don’t get the recognition, respect, and status they deserve. These retrospectives will occur throughout the month of March

Here at Diva Dirt, we have already touched based on several who we feel are unsung heroes in the industry for the past several decades. Here is who we have gone over so far. You can click on their names to go to their respective articles.

Wendi Richter

Judy Martin

Luna Vachon

Tori

Victoria

Nidia

Dawn Marie

Kaitlyn

Emma

As the month of March is coming to a close, let’s continue into the 2010 decade and celebrate the natural heel herself – Summer Rae.

Rae started with WWE in 2011 as she was signed to its then-developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Not only did she wrestle in FCW but she held other hats such as Ring Announcer and even General Manager. Her debut match was a Triple Threat against Sofia Cortez and Paige. Cortez picked up that win.

As FCW dissolved and NXT became the new developmental territory, Rae would continue her ring announcing and eventually became more of an in-ring competitor. She aligned herself with Sasha Banks and coined themselves as Beautiful Fierce Females (the BFF’s). They would consistently take on both Paige and Emma. Eventually Charlotte would join the pair.

The stable wouldn’t last too long and after a hiatus by Rae, she would find herself on the ousts first. She faced Becky Lynch in her debut match and fell short to the newcomer. After she attempted to receive some friendly help from Banks and Charlotte, they denied her request. Banks would subsequently disband the group shortly thereafter in a backstage segment.

Rae would go on to win a number one contender’s match against Bayley to face Charlotte who was the current champion at that time. She would receive that match but fell short and was unable to capture the title.

Although her future looked promising in NXT, her move to the main roster wouldn’t provide as many championship opportunities as her fans would have hoped for.

Her debut on the main roster at the time coupled her with Fandango as his dancer. Through this, she was able to not only entertain in the ring but outside of it as well.
During this time she was most notably known for her feuds with Emma and Layla, the latter being more predominant.

Rae was dumped for Layla as Fandango’s dance partner which caused the heated rivalry to brew. The dynamic between the two would last for quite a few months and would receive a pay-per-view match at Money in the Bank. Layla would come out as the victor. 

The two would then come to realize that they should be working together instead of fighting against each other. They would then attack Fandango, cutting ties with him, and briefly be known as The Slayers. This exciting duo wouldn’t continue for too long together and would disband when Layla went out of action for surgery.

Perhaps one of the biggest moments in Rae’s career didn’t even happen in a WWE ring and that is when she joined the cast of Total Divas. She would become a main cast member in the second and third seasons and her feud with Natalya would turn into the slap heard around the world. This came about on the reality show when Rae approached Nattie at her home to confront her about talking behind her back.

Nattie wouldn’t take kindly to this approach and would call Rae a stripper from the way that she dresses. This didn’t sit well with Rae and she would slap Nattie across the face as she is then instructed to leave and never show up at her house again. There were many crossovers from Total Divas to WWE programming, however, this was just briefly pushed on-screen. This was a missed opportunity that could have transferred better into the ring.

After filming The Marine 4, Rae returned to her last big storyline that saw her form an on-screen relationship with Rusev and feud with Lana. This also included Dolph Ziggler as he and Lana formed an on-screen relationship as well. Rae would taunt Lana by becoming her in the way Rusev wanted her to be. The storyline would receive a good bit of attention but would come to a screeching end when the real life engagement between Lana and Rusev made the news.

This would blur the lines of kayfabe and Rusev would state that he would not marry Rae as a result. She would help Ziggler in the end by referring his match against Rusev in which he won. Afterward, she would move on to a brief partnership with Tyler Breeze.

From here Rae wouldn’t have another major storyline. She would have a series of random opponents and participated in 10-woman tag team match at WrestleMania 32.

After a series of injuries and over a year of inactivity, Rae was released alongside Emma and Darren Young in October 2017.

Summer had a unique way about her that she could captivate the audience during her promos and major feuds. Her acting chops were proven. In what I considered one of the best entrance music in recent memory, Rae called to me with her perfect mixture of the diva look and in-ring ability that should have catapulted her towards the top. It was obvious from her time in FCW and NXT that she could hang with the Four Horsewomen before they even came to be known as such.

She certainly gets snubbed when talk occurs about the women’s evolution, but she was definitely in the thick of it.

What are your thoughts on Summer Rae’s career and do you think she ever truly got the right recognition for her services to wrestling? Let us know below.

There is just one day left of March, and perhaps we will squeak out just one more Unsung Hero. You don’t want to miss this one.

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