This week, Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke sat down with Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory to discuss how their tag team came to be this past September and how unexpected it was. Both Rose and Brooke were coming off big highs in their singles career, only to be off TV for some time. Luckily, things changed for the better.
“It was kinda unexpected, to be honest,” Mandy Rose began. “I just got out of a tag team with Sonya [Deville], and I thought I was gonna be a singles competitor, you know, for a little while. And then, we got traded to Raw.”
Brooke added how she questioned what was next for her before their pairing was formulated.
“We were both off TV for a little bit of time,” Dana Brooke added. “Everything goes through your head, everything. You start to think about why, when, how, what did I do, what happened? And you know, it was constant. It was during this pandemic that you just didn’t know what was going to happen. So, I wasn’t asking a lot of questions, you know, I put all my faith out there.
“Honestly, if I had to be in a tag team – and I’m not just saying this – I’d want it to be with her. We’ve gone through so many similar situations. We’ve done a lot of things in our lives that are relatable, as far as the fitness world, [and] the fitness industry. We have similar interests. We’re super silly outside of work, too. I remember her in the Tough Enough tryouts, and I actually came to train the girls. It was a late, late night with Billy Gunn; he was training the girls, and I was trying to move around with them, and I said, ‘She has everything it takes to be here.’ Like as far as looks, appeals, everything…We compliment each other. We have good chemistry.”
Rose admitted that she was all for being in another tag team that was similar to what she had with real-life friend Sonya Deville. However, she was skeptical she was doing something wrong as a singles competitor, and that’s why creative decided to pair her and Brooke together.
“I was a little bit, like, not discouraged to be in another tag team, but I was, like, worried, like, is everything ok? Did I not have a good match, or did something happen?” Rose pondered. “We all know the plans change, you know, day by day. So, I was just… I wasn’t getting answers. I wanted clarity of, like, what’s going on. So, when they finally told us we were going to be in a tag team, I went, ‘Ok, good.’ It’s something, you know? I just want to be on TV again. I just got off one of the biggest matches in my career with a win, and I just wanted to run with it.”
Since she made her debut, Rose has fought criticism from colleagues and the WWE Universe for being another pretty face in the industry. Like her idol Trish Stratus, she wanted to go above and beyond to prove why she deserved to be in WWE.
“I always say this, and I always think of Trish Stratus. But when I first started many thought, ‘Oh, it’s just because of the way you look. Oh, she’s not going to be able to do anything.’ But they didn’t see anything about me. Like, why are we judging someone by the way they look, you know?’ Rose questioned. “Trish had similar [comments] too. Trish is the prime example that you can still look like a beautiful smoke show and perform at the same time. I know they like to compare, but there are women out there that can have both. It’s a constant battle, like, it kind of gets in your head a little bit, and you really want to try and improve.
“Obviously, in NXT, I wanted to get that training in because I had that stigmatism since I first started. I was the second person out of the men and women to beat everyone in Tough Enough. It was such an accomplishment for me because I showed everyone that I can work. I’m not just here because I’m pretty; I didn’t just get here because I have a pretty face. I worked to get here.”
From her compelling promo to Ronda Rousey to her shot at becoming this year’s Money In The Bank contender, Brooke was riding a long-awaited and deserving singles push. But, that was cut short due to injuries and not having anything for her to portray on TV. Brooke mentioned that it’s hard to be a Superstar who seems to have a start and stop schedule where one minute you might be on top of the world, and the next, you’re on the sidelines for weeks.
“I hate the start [and] stop,” Brooke admitted. “I hate it because it makes me excited. Like, what am I excited for if it’s always a start [and] stop? Why can’t I go? Why can’t I [just] run with something? Why can’t I just go out there and show the world and show people, you know, behind stages that I can do this?
“I never complained. I never asked for things. I just always do what is asked of me, thinking that I’ll get somewhere. And then it’s like no. And then, going out there and cutting a heartfelt promo to the fans with Ronda Rousey, I was like, ‘Wow, this is everything.’ It was a great opportunity, but then I was injured. Not being able to perform and carry out that story, I thought, ‘All right. Maybe another time.'”
Now that there’s new Women’s Tag Team Champions in Asuka and Charlotte Flair, Rose and Brooke are looking to cement their legacy with the titles. For now, they’re more focused on the journey to get there and are in no rush to get those titles right away.
“Of course, we want to be the Tag Team Champions, but it’s not everything,” Rose noted. “Yes, it’s a title, and it’s amazing. But I think the more we stress about it, the longer and the less excited we are to get it.”
You can watch Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Lilian Garcia -Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.