Mandy Rose was this week’s guest on Corey Graves’ After the Bell podcast, where she talked about her experience going through the WWE system.
When Rose joined WWE, Graves mentioned there was a clear divide in the locker room between the wrestling kliq who were lifelong fans of the business, versus the athletes and fitness people who were signed for their physical traits and abilities. Rose comes from the latter group, and she said this divide is something she still gets flak from fans about:
“Especially from fans too it was like ‘Oh you didn’t grow up watching this’ or ‘You didn’t want to always do this through your whole life’ and ‘You don’t belong here’ type of thing.”
“It kinda drives me and makes me more competitive than I even am, to prove those haters wrong and show them that I can do this. And if I love it, why can’t I pursue it?”
Rose is, of course, correct that it’s extremely silly to dismiss anybody as a pro wrestler simply because they didn’t grow up as a fan of the business. Pro wrestlers should be evaluated by their ability to connect with people through avenues such as storytelling, mic work, reading an audience, marketable catchphrases, work rate, timing, selling, innovation, character development, and so forth. And just because someone didn’t grow up as a fan doesn’t mean they can’t develop a passion for pro wrestling.
Maybe growing up as a fan of pro wrestling can enhance one’s ability to excel in some of these areas, but it’s of course not a necessary condition. Perhaps Braun Strowman wouldn’t say stupid things on the internet about independent wrestlers if his own background was grounded in that experience, but it doesn’t mean that he can’t be a successful pro wrestler.
Similarly, Mandy Rose can achieve great things as a pro wrestler despite the fact that she is not a lifelong fan of the business. It’s not fair for anybody to give wrestlers a hard time about this sort of thing when there are so many legitimate ways to evaluate pro wrestlers as it is.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Mandy Rose interview without some talk about her current storyline with Otis. Mandy and Corey discussed how Otis is one of the few characters in WWE who gets a universally acclaimed reaction from the audience. They capped it off with this exchange:
Mandy: “Who doesn’t love Otis?”
Corey: “You, apparently.”
Ouch, that one hurts.
You can check out Mandy Rose’s full interview on Graves’ After the Bell podcast here, where she also discussed her friendship with Sonya Deville, and building her own brand outside of WWE.