It was back in two thousand and fifteen that fans first got a glimpse of Mandy Rose. A cast member in the latest edition of Tough Enough, she soon grabbed the attention of fans thanks to her striking resemblance to WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, and strong, confident personality. Throughout the competition, Mandy made for brilliant reality TV but impressed in the ring and as a growing character as it very quickly became clear she had a great deal of potential. Making it to the finals, Rose missed out on being crowned the female Tough Enough winner with Sarah winning over the fans. However, it wasn’t long until it was announced that WWE had signed the runner-up, something that did not come as a surprise to fans. Since then, the company has made it evident that they are high on her and the WWE Universe expect to see Mandy pushed as the next big thing in the women’s division.
The WWE has taken an interesting approach to Mandy Rose and her career as a WWE superstar. Following her Tough Enough performance, Mandy was quickly signed to a developmental contract and was cast as a member of Total Divas. The show gave her more exposure and was yet another indication those backstage were very high on her. It did take some time before we saw Mandy compete in the ring. Starting out at NXT live events, this was an opportunity for the WWE to see what works for her character-wise and evaluate where she was in the ring, preparing Rose for a bigger run in NXT. However, it never happened. Mandy made very brief appearances for NXT TV; in fact, you could probably count on one hand how many times she did actually appear. A tag team match where she stood alongside Alexa Bliss and Sonya Deville is possibly the most memorable showing she had during her time as part of the NXT roster.
In late 2017, fans were properly introduced to Mandy Rose when she, alongside fellow Tough Enough cast member Sonya Deville, debuted for Monday night RAW following Paige’s return, forming the team now known as Absolution. Fans were surprised to see the two moved up to the main roster so quickly, especially Rose who had far fewer appearances for NXT than Sonya Deville who, at the time, was being frequently booked for NXT TV. The pair made an impact on their debut night but to this day, they have a lot to prove in the ring to show fans and the WWE they are worthy of the push they both have been given. Rose so far has been booked to look like a powerhouse despite her small frame. She’s yet to compete in a lengthy match were viewers will be able to properly see what she is capable of, but Mandy’s best performance came from the Elimination Chamber, and it’s clear each time she steps in the ring, that we are seeing a more confident former Tough Enough star improving in the ring.
Now, throughout her career so far, Mandy Rose has been compared to the WWE Hall of Famer, Trish Stratus as we have previously touched on. Now, at this point, it is impossible to compare their in-ring work, but the comparisons will keep flooding in, even from WWE’s own mouth. Mandy represents a type of female superstar the WWE has always favoured. She has the model look. She’s attractive, blonde, and again, represents a certain look female wrestlers the WWE would have signed more frequently several years back. There is a minor concern amongst some fans that focusing on whether or not pushing a talent like Mandy may be the first sign in progress going backwards, where the WWE favour those model-esque female talents over better in-ring workers. However, if Rose does manage to continue proving herself in the ring then the big push will make sense.
Looking ahead towards the future, Mandy will be given standout moments, longer matches, and work alongside Sonya Deville will highlight her as a solid in-ring performer while pushing her popularity. There are plenty of different directions the WWE can go in when they decide to push Mandy as a singles competitor. They could have gone down a face root and have Sonya turn on Rose or the other way around. Rose does make for an excellent heel and breaking out on her and claiming she is better than Absolution is an easy path the WWE could have taken. The Mixed Match Challenge has also opened doors for Mandy. Aligning her with Goldust made for a brilliant pairing and it’s something that within the first few moments they shared the screen together was evident that they should work together more in the future. On a quest to prove she is better than Absolution re-visiting her alliance with Goldie is a very strong direction to go in and one that again opens doors for the Rose’s future as well as giving Goldust something new and exciting that reminds fans why he is such an iconic figure and where he shines best.
An eventual move to Smackdown LIVE is also on the cards and something that could help Rose break out and find something new that works much later in the year or even transition into 2019. I do also believe that it will be within the next 12 months that Rose will find her first title reign which could very well come from the Money in the Bank ladder match. She is a current favourite for the win this year and in my opinion, I do believe she is a brilliant pick for Miss Money in the bank and is the perfect step in giving her the push the WWE are clearly keen on.
While Mandy Rose hasn’t had the biggest standout moment of her career so far, she has had a strong first few months as part of the RAW roster. She’s a fresh new face with loads of potential. It’s perfectly clear the WWE are high on her and with time, Rose will be one of the biggest names on the roster. Will she be as strong in the ring as the likes of Charlotte and Sasha Banks? It’s unlikely, but if the WWE can learn from past mistakes, take their time and use the correct steps, Mandy Rose could be one of the biggest and best Tough Enough success stories.