The Blossoming of a Rose: The Rise of Mandy Rose to Championship Status

Mandy Rose NXT Women's Championship

It is hard to believe that Mandy Rose has already been under the WWE umbrella for the better part of seven years bow. The former fitness competitor has certainly made strides in that time, going from one of the most successful female Tough Enough alums to now blossoming as a solo competitor, poised to take the NXT Women’s Division by storm. From her in-ring debut until now, Rose has certainly shown the ability to adapt, not just in-ring, but as a character. Her personality shines through in all she does and she’s managed to garner fans, working both as a heel, such as during her time in Absolution, and a babyface, including during the memorable angle with Otis. Rose has grown as a competitor and a performer, embracing each opportunity and challenge along the way. Now, at the helm of NXT 2.0’s most must-see faction, Toxic Attraction, Rose is finding herself in a mold not all that dissimilar to the likes of Trish Stratus. She’s more than a pretty face, and now as the NXT Women’s Champion, she is ready to prove it.

The Rise of Mandy Rose

Early Beginnings

Amanda Rose Saccomano, out of Westchester County, NY was originally a fitness competitor competing in bodybuilding before she decided to try out for the 2015 edition of Tough Enough. There, Rose placed second to women’s winner Sara Lee-Weston. But like many others in the season six cast, Rose would eventually sign and surpass the success of the actual winners of the show.

After wrestling her debut match on the Tough Enough finale in August 2015, Mandy Rose would make her NXT television debut on the August 17, 2016 edition of the program alongside fellow Tough Enough alum Sonya Deville (known at the time by her real name Daria Berenato) and a departing to the main roster Alexa Bliss. The trio combined in a losing effort to an also departing Carmella, Liv Morgan, and Nikki Glencross (currently Nikki A.S.H.). Rose would make her singles debut against Ember Moon a month later in a losing effort.

Mandy Rose on the Main Roster & Various Storylines

Debuting alongside Deville after the 2017 edition of Survivor Series to align with a returning Paige, Absolution was formed on the Raw brand. Rose would participate in various first-ever matches for WWE, as a participant in the first Women’s Royal Rumble, first Women’s Elimination Chamber, as well as competing in the first (and at the time of writing this, only) WWE Women’s pay per view, Evolution. Despite losing efforts, Rose was still a prominent figure in the women’s division without needing a championship. Rose would also embrace various storylines as to a certain degree the “Femme Fatale,” a precursor to her current state of affairs.

One of Rose’s most memorable early storylines saw her in a rivalry against Naomi which involved the real-life husband of the latter, Jimmy Uso, in an affair storyline. This angle allowed Rose to showcase her character, one who took advantage of her good looks and didn’t much care how anyone else came to see her. Rose used this opportunity as a springboard to her most prominent storyline, which would be prior to WrestleMania 36 as Rose showed a softer side as Otis would show interest and vise versa, involving partner Deville and Dolph Ziggler as a foil in the plans of these lovers, which was paid off at Mania.

Rose and Deville would have a feud that culminated at 2020’s SummerSlam event in which Deville lost and had to “leave” WWE. Rose would challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Championship alongside Deville as well as Dana Brooke on numerous occasions throughout the title’s birth but has so far been unsuccessful in winning.

Mandy Rose’s Return to NXT

Mandy Rose made her return to the brand in July of 2021, scouting the talent which was a surprise to the fan base as Rose despite not being a champion, was a prominent member of the women’s main roster. A month later, Rose would return with a darker, edgier look, teaming up with Gigi Dolin (the former Priscilla Kelly) and Jacy Jayne (formerly Avery Taylor) to form Toxic Attraction. NXT’s Halloween Havoc would see Rose win her first title under the WWE umbrella, beating Raquel Gonzales in a Street Fight, ending her reign at 201 days.

As of writing, Rose is still the titleholder, becoming the first women’s Tough Enough contestant to win singles gold.

Rose is at the top of the NXT brand heading into WarGames. With the likes of Cora Jade, Raquel Gonzales, and Io Shirai looking to dethrone the head of the division, many will be tuning in to see what’s next for this Rose as she continues to blossom.