If there’s one industry where barriers are practically made to be broken, it’s professional wrestling. To be the first of anything, be it a champion, a competitor in a certain match type, or what have you, comes with considerable prestige. Over the last few years, we have seen barriers continue to be broken, largely in the women’s wrestling scene. One of All Elite Wrestling’s proclamations was that it would welcome all competitors, regardless of traits like race, religion, or background. One wrestler that made history early this year was the first-ever transgender women’s competitor to sign with a major American wrestling promotion. In this week’s AEW talent preview, we will look into the career of Nyla Rose.
In 2012, Rose began training at the KYDA Pro Wrestling School, based out of Morgantown, West Virginia. Many graduates from the school went on to become well-known talents. These include, but aren’t limited to, Joey Mercury, Jade, and current WWE Superstar Mickie James. Another notable graduate is Christian York, who Rose learned under. From there, Rose would make her way to the now-defunct Covey Promotions in Berkeley Springs.
In 2013, Rose became one of the rising stars in Covey Promotions, first taking part in the Covey Pro Rumble at Wrestling for a Cure. From there, she started to wrestle for United Pro Wrestling Association in Wilmington, North Carolina. At Southport Beach Bash, Rose defeated Samantha Starr to become the UPWA Women’s Champion. In CP, at the 2nd Annual Dave Duncan Memorial Cup, she would defeat Mary Elizabeth Hatfield for the CP Women’s Championship.
As 2014 kicked off, Rose remained in title contention in both CP and UPWA. In May, she would debut in Valour Pro Wrestling located in York, Pennsylvania. In her first match for the promotion, at Apocalypse, she teamed with Rockin’ Rebel to defeat Eric Deshields and Ty Reno, collectively known as Da Gunnaz, for the VPW Tag Team Championship. The team of Rose and Rebel would ultimately drop the titles back to Da Gunnaz the following July. Rose would close out the year with a bang, at CP 4th Annual Veteran’s Day Weekend Wrestling Extravaganza, defeating Amber Rodriguez and Selene Gray in three-way action to become CP Women’s Champion for the second time.
Rose made her first CZW appearance in January of 2015, defeating Amber Rodriguez in singles action. Later that month, she dropped the CP Women’s Championship to Ray Lyn at Unchained. By the end of 2015, though, Rose would defeat Maria Manic at Homecoming to become a three-time CP Women’s Champion. Rose developed a strong reputation, as a wrestler, up until this point. However, as a new year drew close, she would become involved in the world of acting.
While Rose would continue to wrestle in 2016, it was during this year that she starred in a TV series called “The Switch.” In this show, Rose plays the role of Su, a transgender woman who is laid off from her job and attempts to overcome the challenges life confronts her with. Though the show addresses sensitive issues, it does so with a sense of quirkiness. The show became positively received, too. At the 2016 Leo Awards, which recognizes British Columbia film and TV, “The Switch” was nominated for one award and won another.
In terms of Rose’s wrestling career, in 2016, she would join Marvelous, a Japanese wrestling promotion headed by Chigusa Nagayo. In her first Marvelous singles match, Rose defeated Cassandra Miyagi. Rose would continue to wrestle for Marvelous throughout the year, challenging the likes of Aki Shizuku, Takumi Iroha, and KAORU. Additionally, she began working for Sendai Girls, headed by Jinsei Shinzaki and Meiko Satomura. Making her Sendai Girls debut in June, Rose teamed with Iroha to defeat DASH Chisako and Chihiro Hashimoto. The Washington, D.C. native continued to hone her craft against other Japanese talents, including Hiroyo Matsumoto and Hikaru Shida.
In 2017, in addition to her Marvelous, Sendai Girls, and various independent work, Rose began work for Warriors of Wrestling, based out of New York City. She debuted for the promotion in October, at Livewire, in a three-way match featuring Holidead and WOW Women’s Champion Nikki Addams. Rose’s next match, against Holidead, ended in a draw.
Rose continued to work for WOW in 2018, this time seeing greater success. Not only did she defeat Jessicka Havoc in February, at Women of Warriors IV, but she earned a WOW Women’s Championship at Hostile Takeover the following April. At Hostile Takeover, Rose successfully defeated Addams to win the title. Rose would hold onto the WOW Women’s Championship until the following August, where she would drop it to Iroha at a Marvelous event in Tokyo. In September, Rose successfully challenged titleholder Iroha, becoming a two-time WOW Women’s Champion in the process. She remained champion throughout the rest of the year.
2019 proved to be arguably Rose’s best year yet. A successful WOW Women’s Championship defense against Izzy McKenna, at New Beginnings, was just the beginning. What had the wrestling world, at large, buzzing was the announcement of All Elite Wrestling. With the formal announcement of AEW in January, fans wondered who would join the talent roster. The following February, AEW held their Double or Nothing announcement event. On this night, Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes highlighted various women’s wrestlers.
After signee Kylie Rae spoke at the podium, Rhodes brought out her second signee of the evening, Rose. Matters quickly became contentious between Rae and Rose, with Rhodes attempting to diffuse the situation. Ultimately, both signees were separated from one another, much to the displeasure of the audience that was hungry to see a brawl break out. It was later announced that at Double or Nothing, AEW’s event to take place on May 25th, Rose, Rae, and Dr. Britt Baker would face off in a three-way match. Given the aforementioned confrontation between Rose and Rae, this match is unlikely to begin, or even end, with handshakes.
Since her earliest days in wrestling, going back to 2012, Rose developed a reputation for being an unmoving powerhouse. Her nickname “The American Kaiju” isn’t a mere promotional vehicle; it’s a declaration that she backs up whenever she steps into the ring. The news of Rose’s AEW signing was monumental, even beyond the reasons previously stated. It made clear that professional wrestling has become open and accepting to various performers. As long as those performers are sound in the ring, not to mention able to engage audiences, success isn’t outside of the realm of reality. It’s easy to fathom that “The Barbie Breaker” will go on to break more barriers in the future.
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