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Women of the Year 2014: Rosa Mendes

Every hour until the clock strikes midnight (Eastern time) and we usher in 2015, Diva Dirt will highlight – in no particular order – the women who made an impact in 2014.

Rosa Mendes

Always and forever a controversial figure amongst fans, it cannot be denied that 2014 was truly the year we all got to see a whole new side of one, Rosa Mendes.

Starting off, Mendes found herself up to the same things as usual… in that of WWE pretty much barely using her to her fullest. It wasn’t until around WrestleMania that she finally got a chance to return to our screens in a solid role, being inserted into the first ever Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational. A match pitting 14 women against each other with the first fall getting the title, and also the only time thus far that our butterfly emblazoned championship was being defended on the grandest stage of them all.

Let’s be real… this had disaster written all over it from the get go. Fourteen individuals… in the same ring… not good. Add in the fact that it followed perhaps the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history… double not good. But they all worked it, and if you go back to watch the match without the conquered streak shock weighing down on you, those women — Rosa included — completely delivered to the best they could in the situation that presented itself before them.

Following Mania, it was then announced that Rosa would be taking on perhaps the biggest venture of her career when she joined the cast of Total Divas heading into season three. Many scoffed at the idea of putting her on the show, claiming she “didn’t deserve it” or would be of no interest to viewers. However, in the opinion of many at Diva Dirt, Rosa Mendes was hands down the best part of the show. Consistently stealing each episode she was featured in, Rosa provided a sense of realness and heart to the program we had not yet seen through the various relationship/family issues and Diva-on-Diva drama.

Instead of fading to the back or giving us something we’d already seen before, Rosa opted to show herself as a real person… and you know what? It works! Sure, she may have fame courtesy of the WWE, but she’s not perfect. She has regrets in life, and she wants to settle down with someone who isn’t just looking for a fun time, which has proven difficult. It was a side we’d never really seen from anyone on the show before, as each of the other girls tended to primarily focus on other aspects of their lives, or at least never targeted these with the raw sense that Mendes did.

It’s no secret that Rosa went in with a lot to prove. She was just off a horrendous year which saw her enter rehab due to alcohol abuse issues, wanting to return a new woman with a new outlook on life. That’s hard in general, but much more when you’ve got people you don’t know consistently tweeting or talking down about you, making jokes at your expense every which way you look. The price of fame, sure, but one that never gets any easier.

Mendes didn’t let that stop her though, and the show went on to prove to those people who made fun of her… that she was a real person. With real feelings. And real emotions. She may not be the best in ring technician in the world, but she has charisma, personality, and let’s be honest, whether you love her or you hate her, she’s always a buzzy topic of conversation amongst fans.

Throughout the third season, Mendes actually went on to shine brighter than ever before. She may have still been called “Rosa” on the show, but viewers finally got a sense of just who Milena Roucka actually was behind the lights and the action of WWE. At times, Total Divas can feel like people know they’re being filmed and put on a front for the cameras. Rosa, though, embraced the scenarios she entered and let it flow naturally, utilizing every second as a way to show people that there’s a sweet side to this girl the viewers just might like after all.

Following her success on Total Divas, she was selected to return to the second half of the season, and then put into a mini-storyline being mentored by Natalya. Ultimately, however, she went on to become the new dance valet to Fandango. Considering Rosa has always suffered from the classic WWE syndrome of them usually never having her remain in a stable role, this finally felt like they knew what they were doing… similar to the days she shined alongside Primo and Epico.

So while it may never be a popular choice, and while not everyone will agree with it… taking into account the revitalization she’s went through from being missing in action for periods of time to finally having a secure spot on TV each and every week, in addition to all she brought to Total Divas‘s third season, we firmly believe in and acknowledge Rosa Mendes as one of our 2014 Women of the Year.

Come back at the top of every hour to see who else has been crowned one of 2014’s Women of the Year.

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