Leah Van DaleD.O.B: 23 October, 1987
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts
Trained By: Sara Del Rey, Paul Van Dale
Family Ties: Paul Van Dale (Father)
Leah Van Dale is a cheerleader, dancer, model, fitness trainer, valet and professional wrestler, currently signed to WWE and working in their developmental territory NXT under the ring name Carmella.
She is currently performing as a singles wrestler.
Leah Van Dale grew up just outside of Worcester, Massachusetts. She attended the University of Rhode Island, before transferring to the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she successfully graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Upon graduating, she spent three terms as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots, finishing up in 2010. She then appeared as a Los Angeles Laker Girl from 2010-2011.
Van Dale is a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. She is the daughter of former professional wrestler, Paul Van Dale, who worked as an enhancement talent for WWE in the 1990’s.
She is currently dating fellow NXT wrestler Bill Morrissey, better known as Colin Cassady, whom she worked alongside as an on-screen valet, until he was called up to the WWE main roster.
Professional Wrestling Career
In June 2013, Leah Van Dale signed with WWE, and was assigned to their developmental territory, NXT. In December, she began using the ring name, Carmella.
On September 4th, 2014, Carmella made her debut on NXT, when she portrayed a hairdresser in a segment with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Two weeks later, Carmella once again appeared in a segment with Amore and Cassady, this time, she revealled that due to their actions the last time, she had lost her job as a hairdresser and wanted to work at NXT. She made her in ring debut with the company on the October 16th episode of NXT, where she fought a local wrestler named Blue Pants. Carmella went on to defeat Blue Pants on two separate occasions, before losing to her on the January 1st, 2015 episode of NXT, after Amore accidentally distracted her.
Alliance With Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady; Feuding With Alexa Bliss
Despite the accidental distraction, Carmella continued her involvement with with Amore and Cassady, who had just entered a feud with NXT Tag Team Champions, Blake and Murphy. Blake and Murphy tried to lure Carmella away from Amore and Cassady on several occasions, until, the May 13th episode of NXT, when they distracted Carmella during her match with Alexa Bliss, costing her the match in the process.
The following week, at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, Blake and Murphy took on Amore and Cassady. During the match, Alexa Bliss attacked Carmella, which allowed Blake and Murphy to pick up the win.
Following this defeat, Carmella continued to manage Amore and Cassady, but she also transitioned into a feud with Eva Marie. This led to a match between the two on the August 26th episode of NXT, which was won by Eva Marie. The pair would have a rematch on the September 23rd edition of NXT, which Carmella once again failed to win, this time, losing via count-out.
Number One Contender For The NXT Women’s Championship
On the 13th January 2016 episode of NXT, Carmella successfully won a battle royal to become the new number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, thus setting up a match with then champion, Bayley.
Carmella faced Bayley for the championship on the February 10 episode of NXT, with Bayley retaining the title. After the match, Eva Marie and Nia Jax attacked bot Bayley and Carmella, until Asuka appeared and made the save.
On the May 25 episode of NXT Carmella lost a triple threat match against Nia Jax and Akexa Bliss, which Nia Jax won to become the new number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship.