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The Five to Watch 2010: Leva Bates

Welcome to the conclusion of the Five to Watch 2010! Diva Dirt is always on the look-out for bright, young talent breaking into the scene in women’s wrestling. Always with a finger on the pulse of up and coming talent, over the next week, we will bring to you the five talents we that we feel could be breakout stars in the future. Meet the Class of 2010…


Who is she?
Ever since her debut in 2007, Leva Bates has cultivated quite a fan following. The 26-year-old was trained by Bubba and D-Von Dudley at Team 3D Academy in Florida. Her background included dancing as well as acting, and she wound up at Universal Studios in Orlando as a stuntwoman. She had been into wrestling ever since she was a child, so while working at Universal, she came across TNA. From there, she found out about wrestling schools and enrolled in Team 3D’s school. Leva has worked for several independent companies, such as SHIMMER, Full Impact Pro, World Xtreme Wrestling, Coastal Championship Wrestling. While I was researching her story, I found out that she’s a fellow Kentuckian – you go Leva!

Her story so far…
Being trained by Team 3D probably led to her having a spot in Awesome Kong‘s $25,000 Challenge. She was one of the participants who tried, but ultimately failed to pin Kong to win the cash and a TNA contract. Leva has had several notable feuds, mixing it up with the likes of Betsy Ruth (former TNA Knockout Rosie Lottalove), Amy Love, Lexie Fyfe (actually winning the Southeastern Championship Wrestling women’s title in April 2007 by pinning Ruth, then Fyfe in a gauntlet match), Malia Hosaka (whom she pinned to win the United States Championship Wrestling women’s title in July 2009). At the SHIMMER tapings in April 2010, she made her SPARKLE debut by defeating She Nay Nay on April 10th. She worked another SPARKLE match on the 11th, teaming with PJ Tyler to defeat the team of She Nay Nay and Anna Minoushka. However, she was fortunate enough to gain a match against old foe Malia Hosaka on SHIMMER Volume 30.

At the SHIMMER tapings in September 2010, she made it onto the main roster and had a standout match against Allison Danger. Even though Danger won the match, Leva gave her a run for her money. After the match, Danger got on the mic and really put Leva over as a breakout talent. The match itself was phenomenal, definitely one to watch when the DVD comes out. That weekend, she also faced off against Melanie Cruise and Cat Power, both fun and entertaining matches as well.

But what really makes Leva Bates stand out is her obvious passion and love for wrestling. This is demonstrated in one significant way: her outfits. Not satisfied with standard gear, she mixes her love of cosplay (costume play, for those not in the know) with her love of wrestling to come up with fantastic outfits. To quote a friend, Leva “gets it” in a way that other women don’t. She’s not content to go into a bargain basement store and buy a cheap shirt and black pants. No, she wants to make a statement, to stand out, and her past outfits have created quite a buzz. If you haven’t yet, check out her MySpace for photos of her past work. She has dressed as Captain America (complete with shield!), Harley Quinn, Indiana Jones, a Ghostbuster, the Joker, Chun Li and scores of other characters. To quote her directly on this topic:

“A lot of people in the wrestling world ask me what exactly is ‘cosplay.’ Its simple: Cosplay literally means ‘Costume Play.’ Dressing up as a fictional character (usually from a sci-fi, comic book, movie or anime character). It’s pretty big in the convention scene and Japan. Why do it? To have fun! Its the challenge of making a specific costume; Its appreciation to a character or particular media; Plus its different than the norm.”

As a fellow sci-fi/comic book/anime geek, her distinctive dress has endeared her to me, as it has to many others. This past September, one outfit in particular wowed the crowd. She came out in full Iron Man costume, complete with mask and gloves that had repulsor rays in the palms! This led to several chants of Black Sabbath’s song “Iron Man” as well as “Iron Maiden.” Most definitely a stand out moment for Leva, I’m sure. She embraces her inner geek and celebrates it through her love of cosplaying in wrestling. If she was ever signed by one of the big companies, they would do well to keep her doing cosplay as it will go over wildly with fans.

Leva and Isis the Amazon vs Betsy Ruth and Jessika Havok

Why we chose her…
At this past SHIMMER tapings, Leva Bates was one woman that really stood out. She was insanely over with the crowd everytime she came out and wrestled, and showed how dedicated she was to the craft by taking the time to have a different outfit for each match. We chose her for our ‘Five to Watch’ list due to these facts, and also the fact that she keeps learning. Leva still puts in training at the Academy and has also learned from the women in SHIMMER. She is constantly re-inventing herself to stay fresh to the fans. Her hard work, devotion, passion and still-evolving talent has endeared her to us. Plus, to quote another friend, Leva represents the geek in us all. For her fearless embrace of all things geeky, we salute you Leva Bates!

Leva vs Betsy Ruth

More on Leva…
Follow Leva on Twitter

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