Entertainment Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and Lindsey Vonn would all make great WWE superstars, Stephanie McMahon says
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- Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and Lindsey Vonn are just three sports stars who could transition into WWE and become superstar pro wrestlers.
- That's according to WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, who talked to Insider about advancements she has helped oversee in women's wrestling.
- McMahon told us that the same is expected of women as it is of men when it comes to going from a novice in WWE to a superstar name.
- "A lot of women might even say they have had to work even harder than the men, to earn the respect or attention of our fans and of decision-makers," McMahon said.
- "Everyone is fighting for their spot, and women are fighting for equality everywhere."
Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, and Lindsey Vonn could all make great WWE superstars should they ever wish to cross over into professional wrestling, Stephanie McMahon told Insider.
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WWE is the world's leading sports entertainment brand renowned for its signature events like Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series, for broadcasting toper week, and for developing Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and Triple H into some of the world's most iconic sports stars.
For more than a decade, WWE has also invested in its female superstars who have headlined significant shows, propelling Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and up-and-comers like Bianca Belair into the spotlight.
In 2018, McMahon, the chief brand officer and daughter of WWE CEO Vince McMahon, said she wouldas the company continued to revamp its women's roster with big-name signings following the full-time acquisition of the former UFC champion Rousey the previous year.
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Speaking to Insider late last month, McMahon added that if Williams — a 23-time Grand Slam champion in tennis — ever hung up her racket in favor of throwing an opponent over the top rope, then it would be entirely her choice if she became a hero or a villain, or as they're known in wrestling, a face or a heel.
"We'd have to talk to her about that and see what she's most comfortable being," McMahon laughed.
"I think whatever she was, she'd be formidable, that's for sure. It's funny, I said Serena, but I left out Venus. Venus is just as much a powerhouse."
Members of the USWNT, a boxer, and a skier, could also transition to the WWE, according to McMahon
McMahon told Insider that providing an athlete has a personality and can connect with the WWE audience, they have a future in sports entertainment, regardless if they've ever fought before. The business runs a state-of-the-art Performance Center in Florida, where coaches can train them in the art of pro wrestling, sports entertainment, and performance theater.
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McMahon even listed some big-name athletes who she believes could become WWE superstars of the future.
- Claressa Shields — an American world boxing champion
- Megan Rapinoe — an American soccer player
- Alex Morgan — an American soccer player
- Lindsey Vonn — an American skier
- Skylar Diggins-Smith — an American basketball player
"I'm a big fan of Claressa Shields," McMahon told us. "Claressa for sure [could be a WWE superstar], I'd be scared to death to get in the ring with her.
"From soccer, I'm going to name a bunch of Americans — I think Megan Rapinoe would be very outspoken. Alex Morgan.
"Lindsey Vonn … Skyler Diggins Smith. It's not for everybody, but the beautiful thing about WWE is that if you're an athlete with a personality and can connect, you can be trained in WWE.
"It doesn't matter what sport you come from. It opens the door a lot very widely for a number of female and male stars, for sure."
There are many milestones in McMahon's advancement of women's wrestling
McMahon was able to reel-off numerous milestones off the top of her head when asked what some of the most significant events have been which helped evolve women's wrestling into the beast that it is today.
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Things appeared to kick into overdrive in 2015 when a 30-second Divas tag-team match involving Paige and Emma against Brie and Nikki Bella spawned a trending tag on Twitter.
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From there, women became as popular in the business as men.
"There's so many milestones that have happened throughout history — too many, really, just to point out. But just in recent times, I think the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag, when that started trending.
"When we rebranded the Diva's division to the women's division and introduced the new championship belt. When we even brought through Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky … and the crowd was going crazy.
"We did the first-ever women's 'Hell in a Cell' match, the first-ever women's 'Royal Rumble' match which was huge, the first-ever all-women pay-per-view, 'Evolution,' where not only did we sell-out Nascar Colosseum, we trended No.1 worldwide for two and a half hours during the last game of the World Series. That tells you the success, power, and reach of that event."
McMahon also touted the firm's acheivements in placing women's matches in the Middle East, a region where opportunities for women are generally limited.
"Having our women be able to perform in Abu Dhabi which took us six years, and when we first went women weren't even allowed in the audience. And that chant that broke out, 'This is hope,' men and women chanting, that's not a typical WWE chant.
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"Then to have not one but two women's matches in Saudi Arabia where the chant was simply 'This is awesome.'
Under McMahon's oversight, women's matches have even headlined WrestleMania, the WWE's flagship annual event.
"To having our women headline Wrestlemania from MetLife Stadium with Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch. Those are some of the key milestones.
"Then I would say the fact that so many women's main events close the show on NXT, Raw, and Smackdown and the fact that's not a story, I think, is also an important point.
"Because it's just becoming more the way that it is."
The same criteria exists for women as it does for men when it comes to excelling as a superstar
If you speak to McMahon for any length it is clear she's excited about the advances in women's wrestling, the athletes in WWE's roster today, and who can become the big names of the future.
There are the big names right now like Lynch and Flair, but Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair are on the cusp of greatness, too.
"I think all of our women are so incredible," McMahon told us. "There's really so many. There's really incredible talent on all three rosters for women right now, and I look forward to growing that."
So what does it take for a female wrestler to learn at the WWE's Performance Center, graduate, and transition into a household name?
McMahon said that WWE superstars need to have physicality, obviously, but also an ability to make the firm's passionate fanbase feel something — regardless of whether that's positive or negative emotions towards them.
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McMahon told Insider that the same is expected of female superstars as it is of men when it comes to the attributes required to progress from a novice into a big-name superstar capable of headlining a marquee WWE event.
"It's charisma, first and foremost," McMahon said. "You have to have the ability to connect with the audience. If you can't connect with the audience, you are not going to be successful in WWE.
"The physicality for sure … the athleticism, the ability to talk on the mic. You have to be articulate and well-spoken.
"You know you have to be an actress. To be able to perform a character. Sometimes they're more akin to who you are as a person, which makes it a little easier, but sometimes they're not.
"So it really takes a very, very special person to become a WWE superstar and more than that, to become successful.
"A lot of women might even say they have had to work even harder than the men, to earn the respect or attention of our fans and of decision-makers.
"Everyone is fighting for their spot, and women are fighting for equality everywhere."
The WWE's next big event is the Survivor Series and takes place Sunday, November 22. A five-on-five Survivor Series match involving 10 women has already been booked.
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