Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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Wrestlers and Motherhood

Women in the WWE continue to break down barriers. While WWE continues to elevate the women’s division, giving the ladies more time, more matches, and sometimes deeper stories, there’s still so much work to be done.

One of the more impressive glass shattering stats that WWE is beginning to chip away is the amount of mothers on its roster.

A user on Reddit complied a list of stats from the Women’s Royal Rumble in January showcasing the amount of women who entered the ring to compete who were mom’s:

Mother with Longest Time in Rumble

  • Brie Bella (11:58)

Mother with Most Eliminations

  • Michelle McCool (Eliminated 5 also the highest Record)

Mother that had the Shortest Time in Rumble

  • Vickie Guerrero (57 Seconds)

Strongest Mother in the Rumble

  • Beth Phoenix (lifted 272 lbs)

Though many since-retired women wrestlers have gone on to have children, rarely do they parent and wrestle in WWE at the same time. This is starting to change.

A stigma still exists in America that once a woman becomes a mother, she ceases to exist. Her wants and desires aren’t valid anymore, which just is not true.

This unfortunately is reflected in our society through policies that hurt families such as a general lack of static paid maternity or paternity leave. Different states enact different policies and it’s now it’s finally becoming a federal issue, with several senators vowing to take up the fight for benefits for women.

This lack of care for mother’s can force women to choose between their family and their career. According to Moneyish, the issue is so awful that several women have had to crowdfund their maternity leave.

This doesn’t take into account the scores of people who still believe outdated views when it comes to a woman’s place in society, believing that once a woman gives birth, she’s just a mother now.

Brie Bella recently talked about this topic on her new YouTube show Total Mommyr:

Mickie James recently talked about the struggle of parenthood and wrestling on Lilian Garcia’s podcast.

By moving closer to extended family she’s been able to be there for her son. She can focus on her career and her son can lead a normal life, going to school and spending time with family.

Naomi, who’s married to Jimmy Uso, is a step-mom. In Total Divas Season 3, viewers got to see how she interacts with them.

In recent interviews she’s said she eventually wants to have children herself some day but is focusing on her career.

“I want to have kids one day. Not now because I’m in the ring, but definitely one day,” Naomi said.

Tamina has two daughters and has been wrestling in WWE since 2010. Her cousin Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, noted her struggles in an Instagram post several years ago.

Lacey Evans in NXT, has a daughter and said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel that she wrestles to show her daughter what’s possible.

“I’m proud to be a woman,” Evans said. “I think women are strong, I think women should respect themselves and I know that I’m a good role model for women. I know what I’m capable of. I can get down and run with the men, but I will always be a lady and I take pride in that. We need more women role models for our children. It’s something I hold dear to my heart that I believe in.”

Of course let’s not forget the Billion Dollar Princess herself, Stephanie McMahon. She juggles many roles behind the scenes and in front of the camera along with raising her three daughters with husband Paul Levesque, aka Triple H.

Other mothers in WWE during the Attitude Era and beyond include Terri Runnels and Vickie Guerrero.

While WWE plays catch up, Impact Wrestling has employed mothers for years.

Brooke Adams has been wrestling with Impact sporadically since having her son. In an interview with USA Today she explained the push-pull dichotomy between motherhood and getting back into the ring.

“I go back and forth with having this huge identity crisis with myself. ‘No, I’m not just a mom. I’m still this sexy athlete that can go in the ring and drop an elbow off the top turnbuckle on anybody and will do moves that I have never done but do them on TV. I’m still that person. I’m still that Brooke.’ I think I have that internal battle. At the end of the day, I still don’t know. What if I go back for selfish reasons and I get hurt? What if I can’t care for my son the way I need to? What if I break my neck or become paralyzed? I’m still battling that to figure out what it is I want to do as far as wrestling. Right now, I’m trying to help people get to their fitness goals. Is that my new passion? Can I do both? It’s up in the air.”

Madison Rayne wrestles for Women of Honor and sporadically for Impact also. She has a young daughter and says her flexible schedule makes both her career goals and being a mother possible.

She hopes to inspire her daughter to follow the beat of her own drum. Other mothers who’ve wrestled in Impact include Angelina Love and Taryn Terrell.

One of the most famous wrestling mothers and the head of a wrestling dynasty is Saraya Knight. She runs roughshod in promotions all over the UK and US. She even wrestled while pregnant with Paige unknowingly.

While Paige is currently General Manager of SmackDown, her mom has been able to juggle her role as a mother with her career – still wrestling at 46. Her entire family wrestles and she’s been nurturing the gift in Paige since.

In the documentary Fighting with my Family, which is also being turned into a feature film by WWE and the Rock due out next year, fans can view how the dynasty began.

Independent wrestler Sammi Baynes, who was trained by the aforementioned Knight, juggles raising her six-year-old daughter, Ruby, with wrestling in the UK. In an interview with Sports Retriever she says that the stigma of becoming a mother and being a wrestler at the same time is finally lifting.

“I think it’s great pregnancy is embraced in the WWE now,” she says. “There would have been a time when it would be natural for women to either leave or be fizzled out because of it, which is strange because it’s something that’s so natural for a woman. I think [there’s] more of a realization that pregnancy in any working environment is to be accepted and that’s exactly what’s happening now! It’s nice for women to still be part of things whereas before it was like a punishment for being pregnant.”

Women are returning to the ring after having children and it’s empowering both men and women to reach for their goals.

Rosa Mendes is one of the latest women to step back into the ring in honor of her daughter.

“To be back amongst so many talented friends I had worked with since OVW and [Florida Championship Wrestling] made me so happy. It felt like old times,” she said. “I feel like if I hadn’t make my return to the ring recently, [being there] would’ve made me kind of sad. But now that I’m back in the ring, it gave me that extra reassurance that this is my life.

“Wrestling and the business is a huge part of what has molded me into the strong woman and mother I am today.”

These barriers will continue to fold as generations stop viewing motherhood as a stand alone taboo, bringing with it equality and roles for women that men have been able to enjoy in their careers.

On this Mother’s Day Diva Dirt wishes all women have a happy one!

What do you think of this issue? Who would you like to see return to the ring after having a child? Sound off in the comments below.

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