When my alarm goes off on my phone every morning, I abruptly turn it off, look at my email and then check twitter. For some weird reason my thumb hit on the “Discover” button and I saw something I never thought I would see. Sara del Rey was the number one trending topic on twitter. My first honest thought was that she had died. Awful, I know. What is even more awful is that I considered that to be the case over what had actually happened: She has signed a WWE contract.
This is a huge deal for a number of reasons. Sara Del Rey, born Sara Amato, has spent the last ten years on the independent scene working on her craft in promotions like Ring of Honor, Shimmer, and Chikara. Wrestling didn’t come naturally to her. It was something she worked incredibly hard to be successful at, and something that ten years later, she was still pursuing at the same rate. Is it possible to be proud of someone that you don’t even know?
Anyone that watches WWE knows that the Diva’s Division, which is their annoying name for the Women’s Division, is hilariously flawed. There’s an unbalanced mixed of former models who can’t run the ropes (Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes) and actual women who can wrestle (Beth Phoenix, Natalya, AJ, Tamina). Last year, they signed former TNA Knockout’s Champion Awesome Kong, now known as Kharma, but they also lost tremendously talented ladies (Mickie James, Melina, Maryse, Gail Kim, Maxine) that have been forced to find homes at Impact Wrestling and back in the Indies. Oh, and yes, only four of them women currently in the division are 30 or over. And only two of those women debuted over the age of 30. At age 31, del Rey is the first woman to be signed over 30. This is another reason why her signing is so shocking. By WWE standards, she is way too old.
My second thought after “OMG SARA DEL REY” was “They’re going to fuck this up.” WWE creative has been struggling with story lines for all of their talent lately. They gave one of their strongest in ring performers, Natalya, a horrific farting gimmick. Beth Phoenix was Diva’s Champion for six months, but was barely seen on television and eventually lost the title to one of the Bella Twins after faking an ankle injury. Yes, they had to have one of their strongest performers fake an injury to get pinned and lose the title, because it was not believable any other way.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see del Rey wrestle at two Chikara shows over the last year. Thankfully, she will be returning to Boston with the promotion later this month so I will have one more chance to see her before she relocates to Tampa and begins her training. Hopefully, I will not be a giant social leper this time and will actually bring her some gum and tell her how inspiring and awesome I think she is without sounding like a total lunatic. Any help with this is greatly appreciated.
So, what happens when your favorite indie wrestler signs a WWE contract? You wear their shirt all day despite how wrinkled and covered with cat hair it is. And you celebrate it. You celebrate the shit out of it, because you’re almost 30 yourself and you realize that you can still work hard to achieve your goals and be rewarded no matter how outlandish and ridiculous they may seem.