Sonya Deville is part of the LGBTQ+ community and famously came out as gay on WWE’s “Tough Enough” show, stating she had a girlfriend while giving insight about herself in the ring. While on Busted Open, the former assistant to Adam Pearce and current WWE star addressed whether or not she has experienced any anti-LGBTQ negativity while working for WWE.
“I think I’m the first openly out female in the WWE. I know Darren Young was an out male before me and he certainly, you know, shared his story and laid some groundwork for me,” Deville said. “I think the environment has changed a lot and I’ve never had any negative experiences backstage or within the company, I can honestly say.”
Deville began her career in WWE on Season 6 of “Tough Enough” in 2015, however, she was not able to win, being the third person eliminated and the fourth person out overall due to one person quitting. The winner on the women’s side ended up being Sara Lee, who wrestled a total of nine matches throughout her career, the last one coming in August 2016 at an “NXT” house show. Notable wrestlers who also competed on Season 6 include current NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose and Chelsea Green.
Despite not winning “Tough Enough,” Deville eventually got hired anyway, making her “NXT” TV debut in July 2016 under her real name, Daria Berenato. Since then, Deville has been a part of each brand, starting with “NXT” and then moving to “Monday Night Raw,” debuting alongside former “Tough Enough” opponent Mandy Rose and the returning Paige in a faction that would come to be known as Absolution in November 2017. The group did not last very long, however, as Paige would be bit by the injury bug yet again and has not wrestled since late December 2017. In mid-2018, Deville made her way over to “Friday Night Smackdown.”
Deville and Rose remained a team until early 2020, when Deville went behind Rose’s back in a feud also involving Otis and Dolph Ziggler. Deville and Rose had their grudge match at SummerSlam 2020, which Deville lost, and per the match stipulation, was forced to leave WWE. She eventually returned, however, as Adam Pearce’s assistant on “Raw” and “SmackDown.”
As time went on, Deville began abusing her power, making life difficult for Naomi on “SmackDown” and giving herself title shots. Deville was relieved of her official duties and is once again an active competitor on the WWE roster, last wrestling on the June 24th edition of “SmackDown,” where she lost in a two-on-one handicap match against Raquel Rodriguez and Lacey Evans.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “Busted Open” podcast and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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