Wrestling / Carmella

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Bada Bing! Hottest chick in the ring!

"My name is Carmella, and I am the princess of Staten Island, and the most fabulous Diva in N-X-T!"

Leah Van Dale (born October 23, 1987) is an American professional wrestler former cheerleader and dancer, currently signed with WWE under the ring name Carmella. Debuting for WWE NXT in late 2014, she appeared in a segment where she portrayed a hairdresser for Enzo Amore and Colin "Big Cass" Cassady. The pair's shenanigans cost Carmella her job at the hair salon and she begrudingly accepted an offer to be the team's valet, while also competing in the ring. Once Enzo and Cass were called to the main roster in 2016, Carmella remained in NXT in order to strengthen her in-ring skills, but was called up to the main roster four months later. In 2017, she became the inaugural female money in the bank winner. Twice.

As usual, That Other Wiki has a nice bio page for her if you want more info.

F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S Tropes

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Enzo making sexist comments to her, only for her to get annoyed, looked like it was setting her up to eventually go out on her own. But this was dropped and she was quietly turned face to become part of their act permanently.
    • Enzo and Cass's beef with Blake and Murphy never got much of a payoff - aside from a 6-person tag match. So the rivalry between Carmella and Alexa was never resolved, Alexa still holding all the victories.
  • Ain't No Rule: She uses this logic to defend Ellsworth giving her the MITB briefcase after being stripped and being forced to compete in another Money in the Bank match.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Not in the usual sense of being big, as she's quite slender. But she is very toned and has great abs. See Clark Kent Outfit below.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Alexa Bliss in NXT. Even a year after Alexa cost Enzo and Cass the Tag Team titles, things were still heated between them.
    • On the main roster, it's now Nikki Bella, who Carmella viciously attacked during her return promo.
  • Badass Bookworm: She attended the University of Rhode Island and later transferred to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, graduating with a degree in marketing.
  • Badass Normal: In a sense. In kayfabe she's meant to be a girl who came in off the streets to be trained by Enzo and Cass. So while she's not particularly strong, speedy or submission savvy she's just an all-round good brawler who can get wins through sheer enthusiasm to fight.
  • Berserk Button: She really didn't like Enzo and Big Cass throwing around sexist comments—she retaliated by picking up a medicine ball and throwing it at Enzo's stomach.
  • Big Applesauce: She's from Staten Island.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: More so as a heel but she loves to trash talk before she kicks ass.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Borrowed "How you doin'?" from the Realest Guys, since she was the third member of their stable. She ditched all of Enzo and Cass' characteristics after turning heel on the main roster.
  • Brownface: Her tan became much more obvious when she adopted the Carmella character.
  • But Not Too White: Look at that tan! This one is pretty justified since she was introduced as a hairdresser-turned-wrestler.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Bada bing, hottest chick in the ring". (Adapted, of course, from Enzo's "Bada boom! Realest guys in the room!")
  • The Cheerleader: Was one before getting into wrestling.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: First appeared in an online video with Enzo Amore and Big Cass as a friend of theirs that worked in a hair salon. She was recognised immediately from live events.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: At the gym, Enzo expects her to have no clue how to work out. Off-screen, she takes her tracksuit off - and she is ripped.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: By way of obvious fake tan in her case.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Alexa Bliss joined Blake and Murphy, thereby giving someone Carmella to wrestle in matches against them.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Carmella saw SummerSlam 2016 as her big homecoming, as it was in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. So when Nikki Bella made her return from a career-threatening neck injury to a raucous crowd reaction and pinned her in the six-women tag team match they were in that night, she felt upstaged. Reasonable enough, but her way of getting back? She has outright stated that her goal is to permanently end Nikki Bella's wrestling career.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Enzo and Cass. For example, she replaced Enzo's "bada boom, realest guys in the room" with "bada bing, hottest chick in the ring".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Her entrance promo was originally much longer - with a different line usually coming after the "most fabulous Diva in NXT" bit. After her program with Blue Pants was dropped, the promo appeared as it usually did.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy tried to get her to leave the Realest Guys by buying her jewelry and generally sucking up to her. It seemed to be working until they brutally attacked the Realest Guys backstage in front of her, and then later interfered in her match, making her lose.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Her nickname was originally the Queen of Staten Island. Presumably this trope was the reason she later chose to go by 'Princess' instead.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Of the hoop earrings and golden necklace variety.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When she debuted, her hair was a mix of brown and blonde. It became fully blonde around the time she sided with Enzo and Cass against Blake and Murphy.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn:
    • In her matches against Alexa Bliss, Carmella was initially the heel and Alexa the face. Then the Blake and Murphy stuff happened and it swapped around.
    • Did this with Nikki Bella in what appeared to be an invoked Author's Saving Throw. After Eva Marie got suspended for violating the Wellness Policy, her replacement in the 6-woman tag match at SummerSlam was Nikki Bella, who returned after a 10 month hiatus following a neck injury. Since Nikki received a face reaction throughout the match and Carmella had been getting lukewarm reactions from the main roster crowds since being called up, Carmella attacked Nikki unprovoked during two separate interviews, swapping their roles.
  • Good Bad Girl: As a face she was presented as somewhat tacky and trashy - not to mention with a bit of an attitude - but deeply loyal to her friends when the time came around.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Went from the heelish companion of the Realest Guys to a wholly supportive member of their trio, despite Blake and Murphy's advances. She became an unambiguous babyface after befriending Bayley and competing in singles action following the main roster call-ups of her male buddies.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bayley. Their friendship didn't even waver when Carmella became the top contender to Bayley's title, and they remained best buddies after Bayley beat Carmella.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: She told Blake and Murphy that no one was allowed to pick on her boys except her. Them doing so was what prompted her to properly unite with Enzo and Cass against them.
  • I Have Brothers: And she claims to be tougher than all five of them.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes:
    • The leopard print tracksuit she wore to the gym. But averted with her sensible training gear.
    • Her ring gear combines leopard print with lots of rhinestones.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Enzo and Cass criticised her for accepting presents from their rivals, Blake and Murphy. Carmella's response was to point out that Blake and Murphy were treating her better than Enzo and Cass were. Given that Enzo frequently refused to stop hitting on her even when she clearly told him she wasn't interested, she wasn't wrong.
    • When Nikki Bella accuses Carmella of attacking her at Survivor Series 2016 before their match against Raw's women due to their recently rivalry, she blatantly denies it and later accuses Natalya - the "coach" for their team who decided to take Nikki's place after she was declared unfit to wrestle that night - who would eventually confess. Carmella would later say during the accusations that if she was the one who attacked Nikki, she'd have happily bragged about it.
  • Moonwalk Dance: Does this in her entrance and as a taunt.
  • Multicolored Hair: Honey blonde mixed with brown, originally. Now she's completely blonde.
  • Not Me This Time: After Nikki Bella, her then-archenemy, was attacked backstage by a mysterious assailant right before the women's Survivor Series match, Carmella had been the prime suspect. However, after being defeated in a no disqualification match, she immediately pegged Natalya as the one responsible. And she was right.
  • Odd Friendship: With Bayley given that Carmella had been shown to be Good Is Not Nice and only softened towards Enzo and Cass due to common enemies. But Bayley being an All-Loving Hero brought out Carmella's softer side, and their friendship endured even when the latter won a title match against her.
  • Phrase Catcher: "And this right here? This is Carmella, and she's hot as hell. And you can't. Teach. That."
  • Plucky Girl: More so as a face, but she's very scrappy and determined. It's what helps her win despite her kayfabe inexperience.
  • Power Stable: The Welcoming Committee with Natalya and Tamina
  • Red Baron: "The Princess of Staten Island".
  • The Rival: An as-of-yet-unnamed girl that is simply known as "Blue Pants" (Leva Bates, from SHIMMER). What had been an introductory match with what was supposed to be a Jobber ended up becoming a short series that actually saw Carmella come off worse. The program was eventually dropped after Blue Pants got a surprise win over her, thanks to Enzo's accidental interference.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Actually played this role during her feud with Nikki Bella. Nikki was attacked back stage and (understandably) spent the whole time thinking that Carmella did it. Despite her want to continue her beef with Nikki even after losing a No-DQ match, for no real reason other than apparently For the Lulz, she sold out Nikki's real attacker: Natalya. Natalya, annoyed that Carmella just broke down all the work Nattie put into trying to convince Nikki that it wasn't her, promptly gave Carmella the title of "Little Staten Island Snitch."
  • Token Evil Teammate: To Enzo and Cass, originally. They're friendly and endearing to fans and other faces even in their arrogance, while she was dismissive towards everyone except maybe Cass, got jeered for it on NXT, and played the heel role. With Enzo and Cass beginning to be pushed as serious contenders, she changed, becoming more fan friendly and showing support for both of them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Began as just a valet who only occasionally wrestled. She buckled down, trained hard and earned a shot at the NXT Women's Championship. What's also notable is the first time she faced Nia Jax - which was pretty much a Squash Match. Months later they were in a #1 contenders' match together - and Carmella came close to beating Nia several times. This was ratcheted Up to Eleven on the main roster, where she was able to dominate Nikki Bella for most of their first match together.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: With Enzo and Big Cass.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Enzo and Cass called in a favor from her at her salon during their rivalry with the Legionnaires. The resulting fallout from her involvement ended with her in an NXT ring, the Legionnaires breaking up, and Marcus Louis losing both his hair and his mind.
  • Ur-Example: The first female Money in the Bank winner.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Inverted—she's a hairdresser turned wrestler.
  • Wrestling Family: Her father Paul was also a wrestler.
  • You Go, Girl!: To a small extent. Enzo frequently underestimated her in training, only for her to get the better of him.
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