For a lot of the current WWE Divas, it all started with a dream during childhood. The likes of Sasha, Paige, and Bayley have visualized making it with the company since their younger days.
This isn’t the case with the entire locker room of Divas, however. Some had other plans in mind, though along the way they would stumble upon the WWE and reach new levels of fame.
In this article, we throw it back to old photos of our favorite current WWE Divas from when they were children. At this point, WWE fame wasn’t on their minds, at least for some of the Divas. As you’ll see in these throwback pics, they got a kick out of the simpler things in life like hanging out with Goofy or opening up a gift of their favorite Pokémon.
Today, that adrenaline rush is working in front of thousands in attendance live, along with the millions watching at home. Yes, the times have definitely changed for the 20 Divas featured here.
The real kicker from the images in this article is the fact that they were all personal photos from the Divas' private collections. All the pics posted in this article are from their IG accounts. As you’ll see on this list, some Divas are a lot harder to recognize, while some true fans can spot despite the difference in years.
20 Becky Lynch
Becky has come a long way since rocking a panda suit as a child. Lynch posted this hilarious photo to her IG account.
In truth, given Becky’s history, she was the one that wasn’t supposed to make it. Becky recently revealed that even when she finally made it to the WWE, the company contemplated letting her go even before her NXT debut. Thankfully, someone wise enough saw the potential in Lynch and knew she had potential. Lynch would grow into one of the most popular talents in the entire company. This is the same WWE star that was once slapped with a dancer gimmick.
19 Stephanie McMahon
This is a rare photo of Stephanie during her younger days, alongside big brother Shane. Steph caused quite the stir online when she posted the rare photo to her IG account. As you can imagine, the picture got lots of double taps.
Prior to her WWE involvement, Stephanie obtained a bachelor's in communication at the University of Boston. She would start off with the WWE working at the old headquarters out in New York. She spent time in both the reception and accounting positions. Everything would change for McMahon when she debuted as an on-screen personality. Stephanie would later turn into one of the greatest wrestling villains.
18 Mandy Rose
Mandy posted this photo along with a nice message to her mother. This was a post she put up on Mother’s Day, and the throwback was followed by a picture of the two of them today. Mandy’s mom definitely means a lot to her.
Prior to WWE, Rose actually earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology. She would later switch gears and enter the world of fitness as a bodybuilding competitor. It all changed for Mandy when she entered the WWE through Tough Enough. Although she didn’t win the show, her contribution was enough to warrant a WWE deal. She’s now a main roster talent making a six-figure salary, so clearly, it all worked out really well.
17 The Bellas
Most fans would never believe that the Bellas actually grew up on a farm, especially given their A-List lifestyle that they continue to live today, enjoying the best clothes and cars. However, long before their fame, the twins grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The twins were also very athletic during their younger years. Nikki, in particular, was a gifted soccer player and she actually contemplated prolonging her time on the field at the college level. Instead, the Bellas ultimately chose to pursue fame, moving to the Los Angeles area. Clearly, the decision was a good one as the twins are now followed by millions via IG, Twitter, and YouTube.
16 Sasha Banks
Let’s be honest here, if Sasha’s name wasn’t at the top of the picture, you might not have recognized The Boss from her younger days! As a child, Sasha and her family did a lot moving around. She was born in California but finally settled down in Boston. Today, she’s happily residing in the Florida area.
For Sasha, wrestling was always the only path. She used wrestling as an escape during her earlier days. Banks would earn her stripes outside of the company and be molded into a top talent with NXT. She continues to work her craft on RAW as a current Tag Team Title holder, alongside Bayley.
By the age of 13, Paige was already in the ring taking bumps as a replacement for her family’s wrestling promotion. If you haven’t done so yet, we urge wrestling fans to watch Paige’s film, Fighting with My Family, as her story is truly one like no other. It is surreal to see all that she’s been through—yet Paige is only 26 today.
In the photo above she’s photographed alongside her brother, one of her siblings whom she rarely speaks about due to his illnesses. She posted the emotional picture via IG and in her message, Paige wished her brother well and hoped for a speedy recovery.
14 Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan literally came out of nowhere. She had no prior experience when joining the company. Though in truth, she was such a quick learner and would storm through NXT. And don't let her innocent expression fool you; she’s now on the main roster alongside some of the top female talents in the world.
Prior to her WWE fame, Morgan had other interests, like playing with her brother’s Pokémon toys. She posted this hilarious throwback photo detailing her brother’s birthday party; “Happier than my brother on his own birthday. I couldn’t wait to play with all his Pokémon toys.”
13 Nia Jax
Yup, that is, in fact, the former Women’s Champion Nia Jax back in her earlier days–she was giving off that signature Nia look, even back then! Similar to Sasha earlier in the article, Nia did a lot of moving around early on. She was born in Sydney, Australia and was later raised in Hawaii. Ultimately, Jax would call San Diego her home. She had quite the basketball stint at the high school and college level, but that wasn't meant to be.
Ultimately, Jax would completely change paths, pursuing the WWE. Since day one, given her look, it seemed quite obvious that she was going to become a star. After just two years with developmental, Nia was called up to the main roster.
12 Peyton Royce
Like many of the other Divas, making it with the WWE was Peyton’s only plan. She started off on the independent circuit, attending Lance Storm’s wrestling school. Finally, in 2015, she joined WWE with six years of experience on the road. Somehow, she’s still only 26 with so much ahead of her. Surely, she’ll become a Women’s Champion at some point.
She posted this throwback photo to IG. Royce also made the hilarious claim that the jacket above actually still fits; “Tell me about how cute I was. I also still have this denim jacket. It's in my closet. And it still fits.”
11 Alexa Bliss
Like lots of other kids growing up, Alexa was a huge fan of anything Disney related, including Goofy. She actually recently visited Disney Land and had the time of her life, posting most of the experience to her IG account.
Since the pic above, Alexa has gone through many twists and turns including a cheerleading stint, an eating disorder, and work in bodybuilding, which actually helped her become healthier in the long run. Today, she’s one of the most popular WWE Divas in the entire company and one of the best on the microphone, which is a big surprise considering Alexa’s actually quite shy in real-life.
Back in her earlier days, Carmella was watching her father compete in a WWE ring. Paul Van Dale was a wrestler for the WWE briefly during the ‘90s. They mostly used him as an enhancement talent.
Prior to following her dad’s footsteps, Carmella served as a cheerleader for some of the more prominent professional organizations, including the NFL’s New England Patriots and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. She actually chose to accept the Laker Girl gig over a WWE tryout, something that might surprise fans. But clearly, she reversed the decision years later, earning a spot with NXT in 2013.
9 Zelina Vega
Zelina posted this emotional throwback photo alongside her late father. Given the nature of the post, it seems quite clear that she’s trying to thrive every single day in memory of her late dad;
“I truly believe that you have been there every step of the way... bringing certain people in my life to love and care for me like you would.. for that I am grateful and feel truly blessed. I love you, Daddy. I won't let your memory fade, I won't let them forget your name. You live through me and Tim. Everything I do is to make you proud.”
8 Mickie James
It would take a hardcore WWE fan to recognize Mickie James in the photo above. The throwback photo was posted to her IG account as James wished her father a happy 60th birthday. Here’s what she had to say in the post; “Happy 60th birthday to the greatest man on the planet... MY DADDY!!! I love you to the moon... around the Sun... and back again! Hope you have the best day in 60 years ever!”
The 39-year-old is set turn 40 in the summer if you can believe it. Mickie just doesn’t age, though, so some might think she’s still in her early 30s given her look and in-ring work these days.
That’s right, even back then Bayley was throwing up the Hardy Boyz sign. She was a huge superfan back then and the same holds true today. Heck, Bayley even admitted to splitting up with one of her former boyfriends due to the fact that she loved the Hardy Boyz–you can’t make this stuff up! Nowadays, she’s working with them and is part of a tag team act herself.
Like lots of other Divas, Bayley got her start outside of the company wrestling for smaller promotions. Her big break came with NXT, where she would become one of the most popular babyfaces in the developmental brand’s history.
6 Sonya Deville
The unrecognizable photo above features Deville alongside her mom–she posted this photo via her IG account. Sonya actually got her start in the world of MMA. Her dream was to stand face-to-face with Ronda Rousey. That dream ultimately came true, but ironically it was in another ring, not the octagon. Instead, the epic moment happened in the WWE’s squared circle.
Sonya entered the company through the Tough Enough reality show in 2015. Although she was the third contestant eliminated, WWE saw a lot of potential in the young 25-year-old. She got a WWE deal and is now on the main roster alongside another Tough Enough alum, her best friend Mandy Rose.
5 Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke posted this cute photo alongside her father from back in the day. As Dana wrote in her post on IG, it was a much simpler time back then;
“Anyone knows if they have met my father, I look up to him & still to this day see him as my life-size hero!! His guidance his heart and his loyalty to my family is something I have never seen before!! Even now that I am older, our relationship is stronger than ever before!! Although I miss our carefree moments and nothing better than being in your dad's arms, the best and safest place on earth!!”
4 Ruby Riott
Ruby had a lot of fans talking online when she posted this throwback photo. Sure, Ruby looks unrecognizable, but the real talking point in the comments section was how much her mother resembles the late great WWE manager Miss Elizabeth. Fans had a lot of fun with this photo for that reason!
In terms of Ruby’s path to the WWE, it wasn’t an easy one, not in the slightest. She earned her stripes with several small-scale promotions such as Ohio Valley Wrestling. She would also wrestle for popular indie promotions such as Chikara, World Wonder Ring Stardom, and Shine Wrestling.
It wasn’t always about wrestling for Lana—in fact, far from it. Lana had a passion for dance and singing at a younger age. She even did lots of modeling prior to her WWE days, a passion she maintains today. Lana had several noteworthy gigs, though she would really peak in fame when she joined the WWE, managing her real-life husband Rusev.
She never really made it for her in-ring work, but Lana connected with the fans nonetheless. She’s used sporadically on WWE programming nowadays–some fans predict that she’ll revisit dance, modeling, and acting once her WWE days come to an end.
Charlotte seems like she was destined for WWE fame. However, that wasn’t always the plan. Unlike her brothers and father, Charlotte went in a different route. She excelled in volleyball and she would later become a personal trainer. Finally, in 2012, she would change paths once again, joining WWE’s developmental brand, NXT.
Without a doubt, this was the best decision as Charlotte thrived. Nowadays, she’s on the main roster as one of the top acts in the company. Who knows, maybe she’ll even surpass her father’s title record. She’s already almost halfway there as a seven-time title holder, so there's no telling what's next.
1 Ronda Rousey
Rousey posted this emotional photo to her IG account. The throwback photo is Ronda next to her late father, and she posted the picture on Veteran’s Day; “As a veteran's daughter I can't tell you how much I appreciate the sacrifice and commitment of those who serve - happy Veteran's Day!”
From her start, when she was living in her car, to modern day and becoming one of the most popular and dominant MMA fighters of all-time, Rousey would definitely make her dad proud over the years. She continues to thrive today, this time with the WWE as the current Women’s Champion.