Now that I’ve successfully gotten her theme song stuck in your head, here are five fast facts about the Princess of Staten Island, Carmella.
5. She’s Not From Staten Island – Or Even New York
Carmella’s entire persona is based on the fact that she’s from Staten Island. However, Carmella – real name Leah Van Dale – is not from Staten Island at all. In fact, she’s not even from the state of New York.
Carmella was born in Worcester, Mass., and – like many pro wrestlers – currently resides in Tampa, Fla. Prior to joining WWE in 2013, she attended both the University of Rhode Island and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. In other words, it appears she has no connection to Staten Island or New York whatsoever. But hey, it wouldn’t be the first time WWE claimed a Superstar was from somewhere they’re not (I’m looking at you, Kofi Kingston).
4. Byron Saxton Helped Her Develop Her Character
As it turns out, there’s actually a pretty good reason Carmella is the “Princess of Staten Island,” and she has WWE commentator Byron Saxton to thank for helping her flesh out her character.
Carmella explained on the Lilian Garcia Podcast that when she heard the name “Carmella,” it made her think of an Italian mob wife. Furthermore, because Sasha Banks was already billed from Boston, Saxton suggested that Carmella’s character hail from Staten Island – and voila! Money ‘Mella was born.
3. She Was A Patriots Cheerleader and A Laker Girl
Being from Massachusetts, it’s safe to guess that Carmella likely grew up a fan of the New England Patriots. Well, she must have been a pretty big fan, because after graduating college she became a Patriots cheerleader for three seasons, ending her tenure with the team in 2010. After that, she took her talents to the West Coast and danced as a Laker Girl from 2010 to 2011.
2. Her Father Was A Pro Wrestler In The 90s
Believe it or not, Carmella is actually a second generation wrestler. Her father, Paul Van Dale, worked as “enhancement talent” for WWE in the late 80s and early 90s. In other words, he didn’t reach nearly the level of success of his daughter – but he did instill a love of pro wrestling in her by watching VHS tapes with her when he returned home from work.
These days, Van Dale runs a real estate business and Carmella claims he’s living vicariously through her.
1. She’s The Longest Reigning Money In The Bank Contract Holder In WWE History
This might not be something to brag about, but it’s certainly noteworthy: not only was Carmella the first woman to win a Money in the Bank contract, but she’s also the longest reigning Money in the Bank contract holder in WWE history.
Carmella held the contract for 287 days before cashing in on Charlotte on the SmackDown after WrestleMania 34 and successfully capturing the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Interestingly, prior to her record-breaking reign, Edge was the longest-reigning Money in the Bank contract holder, and also the first contract holder ever.
There you have it: five fast facts about Carmella! Did you learn anything new? Are you a fan of Carmella’s? What do you hope to see from her in the future in WWE? Share your comments below!