The wage gap, equal treatment, healthcare—these are just a few of the things women fight for every day.
Another lesser known battle is occurring in the WWE. On television, it’s known as the Women’s Evolution. In fact, female wrestling matches have become more popular and more frequently broadcasted on the network in recent years. Not only that, the network plans to grow these numbers in the coming months, with more tournaments and specials featuring female wrestlers.
One of the wrestlers responsible for major strides in WWE is Lacey Evans. The Military Makeover cadet, known as the “Lady of the WWE,” is a driving force in the movement to make women’s wrestling a major player in the ring of sports entertainment.
A veteran, Evans was in the Marines for five years. She enlisted when she was 19 and graduated from Fort William Wood at the top of her class. She spent her time as a military police officer and a member of the Special Reaction Team at her base. When she was 22 and still in the military, she opened a construction business, creating a strong foundation for her eventual position on Military Makeover with Montel. She left the service as a sergeant in 2014.
The same year, while she was still in the military, Evans began professionally wrestling. She wrestled in high school but knew nothing about the professional sport when she started. In 2016, she was signed to WWE and has since performed in NXT and Smackdown matches despite her lack of experience. She even competed in the Mae Young Classic, which honors the late female wrestler who walked so Evans and many others could run.
Wrestling and time in the military are not mutually exclusive but moving from one to the other is very common. The women of WWE who are also veterans are tough athletes; and they will not let the fact that the sport is male-dominated get in the way of their success. The rise of female veterans-turned-wrestlers shows the strength of women in the military and women in general.
Evans is a great example of how gender does not deter one’s strength. She likes to say anything is possible. With hard work and diligence, she’s right. Regardless of gender, background, or experience, anyone can do anything he or she sets his or her mind to. Whether it’s wrestling or the military, construction or simply healing from life’s scars, her biggest message is if you try your hardest, you’ll surprise yourself with your potential.
Evans is carrying the lessons she has learned in the military to WWE by training new recruits with her drill sergeant attitude. On Military Makeover with Montel, she sympathizes with families who have had difficult post-military experiences. She knows what it’s like to live in struggle and wants to help those who need it.
“I’ve lost my father, I’ve lost my house… I know what it’s like to hurt. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps and I’ve seen brothers and sisters who’ve hurt as well. I feel like it’s important that everyone from superstars to regular people do what they can to stop the hate and the meanness, and help each other!” —Lacey Evans