Diva Dirt presents its annual selection of women who have been most newsworthy and talked about in 2012. The 12 women selected have embodied the zeitgeist of the year by hitting the headlines, breaking boundaries, stopping the show, and becoming trending topics. The Diva Dirt editors and contributors have picked one woman as the Diva Dirt Woman of the Year, as well as 11 runners-up who have helped define 2012. Join us as we count down our runners-up before unveiling the Woman of the Year on December 31st.

The Dream Catcher

sara-del-rey3Not many people can say that they scored their dream job in 2012, but Sara Del Rey sure can.

When she and Courtney Rush were defeated by the Canadian Ninjas for the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships at NCW Femmes Fatales IX in July, rumors abounded that Courtney – who’d just taken part in TNA’s on-the-road “Gut Check” alongside LuFisto – had been signed to one of the big two. But news slowly filtered out, it wasn’t Courtney who’d scored her dream job, but Sara…

Coming off an absolutely stellar 2011, in which some of her highlights include defeating former ally Claudio Castagnoli in a singles match, competing in two highly praised matches with joshi star Kana, headlining CHIKARA’s JoshiMania events (where she was victorious in all three nights of action, including matches with the likes of Aja Kong and Ayako Hamada), Sara revealed in an exclusive interview with Diva Dirt that her “main focus and goal” for 2012 was signing a contract with the WWE, saying she was ready for the challenge.

And ready she was.

Before getting comfortable in WWE, however, Sara kicked off 2012 on the independent circuit. She wrestled in the 2CW Girls Grand-Prix tournament in February, toppling both Allysin Kay and Mercedes Martinez before finally falling to Rachel Summerlyn in the final round.

She fearlessly took on anyone that CHIKARA threw her way, regardless of gender – beating Archibald Peck, Saturyne, Leah Von Dutch, Tim Donst, Kodama and El Generico, just to name a few.

Sara also managed – somewhat reluctantly – to find herself a brand new tag team partner in SHIMMER, the aforementioned Courtney Rush. In October 2011, she had defeated Rush in singles action on Volume 44. Prior to the match, Rush questioned why Sara was so angry all the time and informed her that she needed to dance to let it all out. Instead of dancing, Sara just kicked her in the face before laying the smackdown on her. Someone, somewhere, must have liked the dynamic between the two though.

After Sara beat Leva Bates on Volume 46 in March, she attacked her post-match just because she could (Bates’ partner Allison Danger made the save). Now, Del Rey needed a partner of her own to take on Regeneration-X as a team. After getting knocked back by the likes of Cheerleader Melissa, Nicole Matthews and Lacey, Courtney Rush made yet another appearance in her life by offering her gum. A well-known fan of the treat, Sara said “yes” to the gum – which Rush took as a “yes” to the team – and the “Queens of Winning” were born. The odd couple tag team shockingly managed to pick up a win over Re-X on Volume 47, before taking out three other teams in a four team elimination match on Volume 48 to pick up the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships.

Sara added another title to her collection when she defeated Sojournor Bolt to become the new Remix Pro Women’s Champion in April.

In July, she main-evented the NCW Femmes Fatales IX show (by taking on Kalamity for the Femmes Fatales title), the debut SHINE show in a dream match with former WWE superstar Jazz and a CHIKARA show on July 28th, where she challenged Eddie Kingston for the CHIKARA Grand Championship in a near thirty minute match. Sadly, she lost all three encounters but by that time, she was already on her way to bigger and better things.

As previously mentioned, news of her signing with WWE broke in early July and Sara began wrapping things up on the indy scene.

She lost to Hailey Hatred at Girls Night Out 7 on August 4th, extending Hatred’s AIW win streak, and dropped the Remix Pro Women’s title to Sassy Stephie the very next day.

She made a couple more appearances for Ring of Honor, the company she’d called home for the last several years, during which time she entered into a mini feud with Maria Kanellis. On August 11th, Sara teamed up with Eddie Edwards to defeat Maria and Mike Bennett in Maria’s first ever ROH match (and Sara’s last).

By September, her WWE deal was finalized and it was revealed that she had signed on to become their newest (and first ever female) NXT developmental trainers, joining Bill DeMott, Norman Smiley and Joey Mercury. Although many fans are disappointed that she won’t be utilized on television (that we know of…), Sara is widely considered one of the best wrestlers in the world, male OR female, and will be an extremely invaluable asset to the women of NXT, whom will surely prosper from having her train them. She has already been profiled on their official website and her coaching has also received high praise from WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross.

Ranked on 2012’s PWI 500 (only the fourth female in existence to) at #430, as well as at a prime position of #4 on the PWI Female 50, Sara has had what many would call a dream year. And if this is how good 2012 has been for her – we’ve no doubts that 2013 will be nothing short of amazing.

Queen of Winning, indeed.

Check back tomorrow for another Women of the Year post.

More Women of the Year: Lita | Saraya Knight | Brooke Tessmacher | Jazz | Ronda Rousey | Beth Phoenix | Kim Nielsen