To see the expansion of the revolution of the evolution of women’s wrestling, it seems only fitting that the honor of 2017 Miami Herald Sports Entertainer of the Year goes to a woman, and deservedly so.
That woman made history multiple times in 2017, proving time and time again it’s not the size of the WWE Superstar in the fight but rather the size of the fight in the WWE Superstar.
It’s Five Feet of Fury Alexa Bliss.
After the kind of year she had, it’s no wonder why Amazon named it’s intelligent personal device Alexa.
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Bliss, an inspiring talent, edged Cody Rhodes, Charlotte Flair, The Miz and AJ Styles for the honor of top sports entertainer in 2017. Rhodes had a stellar 2017, competing at a high level on multiple major promotions while incorporating sports entertainment elements, especially via social media. Charlotte continued her reign as champion Queen of sports entertainment, adding co-author and guest star to her resume. The Miz is Mr. Sports Entertainment, and Styles proved once again in 2017 why he is one of the best in-ring workers ever while integrating the sports entertainment format.
About the winner
To put the title on someone means the company has faith you can do the job as the face of the brand, and that expressive face looked and talked the part of an arrogant, cocky top heel type who resonated greatly with fans.
Climbing two mountains in 2017, Bliss rose to new heights as did the divisions she led as champion. She not only wore the SmackDown women’s belt on two separate title runs in 2017 but when drafted to Raw, she captured its title twice. Most impressive is how she overcame any odds and defeats to remain a top superstar. She began 2017 as a champion and ended 2017 as a champion.
Bliss opened 2017 as the SmackDown women’s champ, leading to her WrestleMania debut, defending the SmackDown women’s title against the SmackDown women’s roster in a six-pack challenge at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando. Hometown hero Naomi (a former NBA Orlando Magic dancer) made Bliss submit to win the gold, but that did not deter Bliss from having her first WrestleMania moment and once again reaching for the sky. She later beat Becky Lynch to become the first to win the SmackDown women’s title twice. After being drafted to Raw, she captured its women’s title on two occasions, beating Bayley and Sasha Banks, respectively, for the belt.
At Survivor Series as the Raw Women’s champ, she faced SmackDown women’s champ Charlotte Flair. Charlotte won the match and bragging rights, but again Bliss regrouped and re-led the Raw women’s division.
What really sets Bliss apart from the rest is her ability to draw heat, rule as a heel. She can cut a promo to draw the ire of the crowd or make you react without saying a word. Bliss shows how facials are an important element in sports entertainment. Her expressions are captivating. She gives The Miz Girl a run for her money.
You can see and feel the disgust and disdain as she glares at her opponent or crowd or interviewer. Facials are also important in cheerleading, and this top competitive cheerleader took what she learned from that discipline and turned it 180 in WWE from smiles to scowls.
But Bliss is more than just another pretty irritated face.
She helped prove women can work aggressive style stipulation matches. In 2017, the Ohio native successfully defended the belt in a steel cage match against Becky Lynch and later a kendo stick on a pole match against Bayley.
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In an interview I conducted with Bliss in March, she explained her mother’s reaction, when she told mom pro wrestling was her career choice.
Bliss said: ““My mom’s actual response was, ‘The he** you are...You’re not doing that.’ She’s like, ‘Lexi, there’s women like Chyna [6-0, 180]...Lexi...Chyna. You are five feet, and you’re 100 pounds. You’re going to get killed in the ring.’ I was like, ‘No. it’s fine. I’m athletic [bodybuilding, cheerleading, gymnastics, kickboxing, softball, track]. I can handle it.’ I definitely went against my parents’ words and tried out, and I’m so glad I did.”
The WWE Universe is so glad, too.
For that complete interview, click http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/article141162208.html
Her parents, Angela and Bob, who helped save her life, are caring and very supportive of their little girl.
A much improved wrestler from the one who debuted in September 2013 in NXT, Bliss battled opponents of all shapes and sizes in 2017, continuing to prove women can compete on a big stage. All this after overcoming her biggest challenge -- nearly losing her life as a teenager from Anorexia.
Note: Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by attempts to lose weight, to the point of starvation. A person with anorexia nervosa may exhibit a number of signs and symptoms, the type and severity of which may vary and may be present but not readily apparent.
Here is an amazing behind-the-scenes WWE interview in 2017 with Bliss and her parents where they discuss those difficult times and more.
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Bliss, a four-time champion in WWE, became the first woman to win the Raw and SmackDown women’s titles. She became the first women to defend he SmackDown belt at a WrestleMania and is the first two-time SmackDown champ. Her ongoing second reign as Raw women's champ is the longest in the title’s history at 130 days and counting.
An even bigger first achieved in 2017 occurred in a match in Abu Dhabi, the capital and second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. Bliss as Raw women’s champ made history with Sasha Banks by becoming the first women to wrestle there. The match displayed -- to the young girls in attendance, to women in the crowd, to females abroad -- what women can do, can compete like men do, when given the opportunity. Equal rights, liberation, empowering women.
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Also in 2017, Bliss was ranked No.3 of the Top 50 female wrestlers worldwide in the PWI Female 50. Furthermore, she’s featured in the WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18 video games, and she joined the cast of WWE “Total Divas” on E!, where she introduced the world to the love of her life...a deaf pet piglet, Larry Steve. #SorryBuddy
Yes, Larry Steve has his own Instagram. Click:
Interesting to watch the maturation process of Bliss from her days as a cutie pie, newcomer on the NXT roster, skipping to the ring with soft, baby blue coloring, a tutu and plenty of glitter. Her finisher aptly titled The Sparkle Splash. A fan favorite, she later found her true calling as a menacing, trash talking, nose raising heel, leading Blake and Murphy to NXT tag team gold ... wrestling for the NXT women’s title... and then called up to the main roster.
The rest is Twisted Bliss history.
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A graduate of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando under the tutelage of a great coaching staff which includes Sara Amato, the 26-year-old Bliss is looking forward to 2018. The new year already started with a bang on New Year’s Day night (2018) when Bliss wrestled Asuka in a high quality match on Monday Night Raw at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.
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A Blissful Year
In 2017, WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss:
Had two title runs as the SmackDown women’s champ
Won the Raw women’s title twice
Became the first woman to win the Raw and SmackDown women’s titles
Is the longest reigning Raw women’s champ
Successfully defended her SmackDown title in a steel cage match
Successfully defended her Raw title in a kendo stick on a pole match
Had her first WrestleMania moment at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, competing as the SmackDown champ
Represented Raw as the women’s champ against SmackDown women’s champ Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series
Wrestled in the first women’s match in the history of Abu Dhabi
Was ranked No.3 in the PWI Top 50 Women’s Wrestlers globally
Was featured in the WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18 video games
Joined the cast of WWE “Total Divas” on E!
Was interviewed by ESPN and so many others
Got engaged to NXT’s Buddy Murphy
Adopted deaf piglet Larry Steve