From dance studios to the squared circle, these five WWE female superstars performed in both.
According to former WWE Superstar and current AEW star Cody Rhodes, pro wrestling is like dancing. Answering a question regarding the reality of his profession, he said:
"What we do is sports entertainment; it’s not just wrestling and not just entertainment. What we do is like a dance. It’s fixed, not fake. It’s in between real and fake and that’s the beauty of it."
These five WWE female superstars have done both. They have all learned to dance before starting their wrestling careers. While a few of them just danced in high school, others went on to become professionals. One even earned an academic degree in dancing.
Despite quitting dancing and pursuing a wrestling career, these five women have given fans a glimpse of their dancing skills on their social media accounts.
Let's take a look at 5 WWE female superstars who were dancers before getting into wrestling.
#5. Former WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Peyton Royce
Peyton Royce has loved dancing since her childhood. She practiced dancing growing up before joining Westfield Sports High School in Fairfield, Australia.
"I did a lot of dancing. That took up most of my time as a kid. I did some sports in school, but dancing had a really big place in my heart. Because of it, I found the transition to pro wrestling quite easy."
"Dancing really teaches you to be aware of your body, and that transitioned well into wrestling. The footwork came easy to me. The rolls came easy to me. The basics made sense quicker to me than maybe someone without that type of background.”
Despite this, she stated that she did not want to look like a delicate dancer in the ring:
"I was a ballerina, and everything I did in dance was delicate, pretty. In this I want to look vicious, mean...but dancing has been a big help to me in my wrestling career."
Peyton Royce had a change of heart following graduation and decided to pursue a wrestling career instead.
Royce joined WWE in 2015. She would eventually win the Women's Tag Team Championships alongside her Iconics partner Billie Kay.
Recently, Royce has expressed her desire to challenge for the WWE RAW Women's Championship.
#4. Former WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella
Carmella sacrificed a lot for her love of dancing before becoming a WWE Superstar. A young Camella could not afford to pay for dancing lessons. She had to clean toilets and sweep the floor of her dancing school in exchange for lessons.
Her sacrifices paid off. She became a professional dancer and worked as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots and the LA Lakers. In 2013, The Princess of Staten Island joined WWE, shifting her career to pro wrestling.
Carmella spoke about that transition in an interview with SI Magazine:
"When I finished with the Lakers, I had an itch to keep going. That’s the way I’ve always thought, ever since I grew up in a very small town called Spencer, Massachusetts. There were about 100 kids in my graduating class, and I knew I wanted to do more. I cheered for the Pats for three years, and then people thought I’d settle down. But then I went to LA to keep dancing, and that’s when I became a Laker Girl. Then people thought I’d settle down, but no, that’s when I got into WWE. I always know I want to keep going.”
She revealed her motivation to quit dancing and pursue a wrestling career in WWE:
"I loved dancing, performing, and fitness, so when I heard about an opportunity with WWE for a tryout, I thought it was so perfect. It had everything—my passion for performing, working out, training, and it connected to my dad’s history. Growing up, my dad used to say, ‘You should be a Diva!’ And I’d say, ‘I’m not going to do that!’ And here we are."
#3. Former WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi
Naomi is one of the most athletic WWE Superstars today. She is also one of the best dancers on the roster.
The 33-year-old was a professional dancer before joining WWE in 2009. She was an Orlando Magic Dancer for two years. The former SmackDown Women's Champion was also a professional dancer for Flo Rida.
She told the story of her dancing career in an interview with Athleisure Magazine:
"I started dance at the age of 8 and I studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop up until the age of 18. I competed nationally and once I was 18, I was too old to compete and graduated high school. So it was time for that next chapter and from there, I auditioned and went to the Magic from there."
"I wanted to go to Alvin Ailey Dance School, but at the time I just wasn’t mentally prepared and honestly, I was just scared to leave home! I had never been away from home so I ended up doing community college and stayed local and ended up doing Magic."
Naomi stated that she is glad things did not go as she wished back then:
"I’m kind of glad now that I didn’t go, because I don’t think that I ever would have gotten into wrestling and then I would have never met my husband and so on and so forth! It all kind of worked out how it was supposed to."
Naomi went on to become a successful WWE Superstar. She is a two-time WWE Smackdown Women's Champion. The Glow Queen now competes on Monday Night RAW, chasing the Women's Tag Team Championships alongside her partner Lana.
She regularly posts dancing videos on TikTok and Instagram.
#2. WWE Superstar Mandy Rose
Rose went to Iona College to study speech-language pathology and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. After graduating, she pursued a career in fitness and modeling before joining WWE in 2015. The Golden Goddess finished second in Tough Enough behind Sara Lee. Despite this, WWE offered her a contract.
God's Greatest Creation made her way to the main roster in two years. She debuted as part of Absolution alongside her best friend Sonya Deville and Paige. Rose is now part of a tag team alongside Dana Brooke on Monday Night Raw. They are determined to win the Women's Tag Team Championships.
Rose's WWE career did not take her away from dancing. She continues to post dancing clips on TikTok and Instagram for her fans.
The 30-year-old spoke about it in an interview with Fox Sports:
"That’s another thing that I’ve just—it’s a lot of fun, it’s a little addicting, I feel like. I danced my whole life, so I feel like it’s just a cool, fun hobby for me, too, to learn these dances. A lot of them are really hard. And I noticed it’s the biggest, hottest thing going on right now, TikTok, so I’ve gotta be involved in it. It’s another platform we can have for our fans, so it’s been a lot of fun."
#1. WWE Superstar Lana
This list of WWE Superstars includes former amateur and professional dancers. However, Lana is not just a professional dancer like Naomi and Carmella. She is the only woman on this list with an academic degree in dancing.
The Ravishing Russian has a dance and acting degree from Florida State University. After graduation, she worked as a model, singer, and actor before trying her luck in professional wrestling.
She told the story of how she started dancing in an interview with Runway Magazine:
"I started dancing with my Mommy at three years old. I was always choreographing dances. At 9 years old, I auditioned for the Latvian National Ballet Academy where I started dancing 40 hours a week. I started to dance professionally as a ballerina at 11 years old."
"In college, I was offered the chance to audition for a girl group NeYo was putting together. They loved that I could break dance in heels, so they asked me to sing and I sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and I got hired."
Lana joined WWE in 2013. She is now part of a tag team alongside Naomi on Monday Night RAW. They have their sights set on winning the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.
Lana is very active on TikTok and Instagram like Mandy Rose. She constantly publishes dance videos. The Ravishing Russian stated that dancing makes her feel good in an interview with Haute Living. Asked about how she was coping with social distancing last April, the WWE Superstar said:
"I am in Los Angles and I’m coping with social distancing by doing a lot of TikTok dancing videos! Dancing makes me feel good so I started a TikTok account and have been dancing my life away ! You can follow me @thelanawwe3 and come and dance with me."
"I might not be able to go out and dance with my girls but we have been using TikTok to virtually dance with one another! With all the sadness and seriousness going on in the world, TikTok dancing is a way to bring a bit of happiness and human interaction with my girls into my day while still staying safe at home."