In her now-five years as a professional wrestler, Victoria’s Chelsea Green has developed into one of the prime examples of what makes the sport of professional wrestling great.
Since first stepping inside a wrestling ring in January 2014, the former Laurel Van Ness has racked up accolades across nearly every promotion she’s been involved in. Green is a former IMPACT Knockouts Champion, was one-half of the first-ever QOC Tag Team Champions with Taeler Hendrix, and has been listed on the PWI100 – a yearly ranking of the top female wrestlers in the world – for the past two years. In-ring, Green continues to be one of the most innovative and entertaining wrestlers in the world today, and likely should be recognized purely based on her wrestling skill alone.
However, in a world of wrestling that often features generic gimmicks and unoriginal characters, “The Hot Mess” Chelsea Green stands alone as one of the most unique professional wrestlers in the industry today.
It hasn’t exactly been the traditional path to WWE for the former Jaida, but for somebody now known as the Hot Mess, could anything different really be expected?
Retweeting the #SWA success stories feels good…
I walked into Storm Wrestling Academy 5 years ago with zero wrestling knowledge. I wasn’t a lifelong wrestling fan. I had never seen a live wrestling show. I didn’t even know what a suplex was. What I did know, was that I wanted
— Chelsea Green (@ImChelseaGreen) January 1, 2019
Green’s beginnings in wrestling are well-documented; however, it doesn’t make them any less interesting. Many professional wrestlers will espouse their early love of the sport, claiming to have grown up knowing that stepping inside the squared circle was their destiny.
Not so in Green’s case.
“I knew nothing about pro wrestling. Not a thing,” said Green in an interview with 411mania in May 2018. “I had never seen a pro wrestling ring until I was maybe around grade 11. Lance Storm taught me everything that I know.”
The Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary, Alberta is widely regarded as one of the premier training facilities in the world for professional wrestlers. Founded by Lance Storm, the school has gone on to produce high-level talents like Rachael Ellering, Tyler Breeze, and countless major names on the independent scene.
Despite a lack of experience or long-term knowledge of the sport, Green’s natural talent was evident early. A natural athlete, Green took to the sport quickly and in May of 2014, Green debuted under the name Jaida for Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling in a six-person tag team match including former Mae Young Classic competitor Nicole Matthews.
“I actually wrestled for quite a few companies around B.C.,” said Green in a 2015 interview. “I wrestled for Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling, ECCW of course, and I wrestled for All-Star Wrestling as well as Girls Gone Wrestling. The indie scene around B.C. is amazing because we do have some great talent and so it forces me to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. Whether it be trying new moves or trying new characters or new looks. I had a really fun time learning from all of the talents I met around B.C. It definitely forced me to step my game up.
Within months, Green had developed a reputation as one of the top workers in not only British Columbia, but the rest of Western Canada. It was enough to get her noticed by the WWE, where she made her first appearance in August 2014 as Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist during a feud between Stephanie McMahon and Bryan’s wife Brie Bella. While it was her first appearance for World Wrestling Entertainment, it wouldn’t be her last, as in 2015 Green was selected to appear on the 6th season of Tough Enough, replacing Dianna Dahlgren.
“No matter what happened, win or lose I was coming out of this experience a winner,” Green said of her Tough Enough experience in an August 2015 interview with Vancity Buzz. “How could I not? Being surrounded by legends, superstars and divas every day, and being able to take advice from each of them and use them to further my career was amazing. Any wrestler out there would kill to be in this position, I wanted to make sure I took full advantage of it.”
Green entered the competition in the shows fourth episode, replacing Dianna Dahlgren, who had left the competition the week prior. In her short time on the show, Green made a major impact, winning two competitions in her four appearances. However, despite a strong showing in the competition, Green was eliminated in the season’s 7th episode, finishing in 4th place among females.
While Tough Enough, unfortunately, didn’t land her a WWE contract, it wasn’t long before Green reappeared on the independent scene in a major way. In 2016, Green made her first two tours of Japan. While, unfortunately, the first was cut short due to a broken collarbone, Green made a name for herself in World Wonder Ring Stardom. Through her first tours in Japan, Green was undefeated in singles action, eventually earning a championship opportunity against WWRS Champion Kairi Hojo. Despite the loss, the time in Japan was hugely influential on Green.
“I still didn’t really know what I was doing,” said Green in 2018, “but with the language barrier over in Japan, they don’t know that you don’t know what you are doing, so every crazy move that I wanted to try, they were like, okay, let’s try it. That is how my confidence and movesets grew by trying things that I wouldn’t have tried had I been here in the United States.”
That confidence translated into a contract with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) in June of 2016. Making her televised debut as Laurel Van Ness in September 2016, Green defeated Madison Rayne in her first match before immediately entering a feud with Allie and developing a relationship angle with Braxton Sutter. It was during this storyline that Green would develop into the character that would gain her worldwide notoriety, the Hot Mess.
The Hot Mess
Wedding angles are always a risk in wrestling, but the impact of the February 23, 2017 storyline union between Green and the aforementioned Sutter is still being felt in wrestling today.
How else can you describe the event that created the most unique character in the wrestling scene today?
We exist in a universe where an undead mortician can go on an undefeated streak of over 20 years at the sports biggest yearly event; the possibilities are truly endless in the world of professional wrestling, and it’s a fact that’s played up far too little in this writer’s humble opinion. Van Ness’ slow descent into madness following Sutter’s shocking wedding betrayal was a highlight of 2017 throughout each episode of Impact, and watching the Hot Mess develop weekly was a clinic in character development. She instantly became must-watch on each episode of Impact, and fortunately, the wrestling world began to take notice. As with any gimmick, it’s not the character itself but the conviction in which it’s played. In that department, there’s no one better than Green.
The character shift paid immediate dividends; by the end of the year, Green’s character shift and aggressive new attitude in-the-ring led to her first IMPACT Knockouts Championship. It was a fitting conclusion to her tenure with the company; within months, Green had left the promotion and become one of the most in-demand wrestlers in the world.
“I can’t speak for all wrestlers but I can speak for myself,” said Green in 2018. “My goal from the beginning was always WWE.”
Frankly, it was always something that was assumed would happen. With an individual as talented as Green, many wrestling fans were genuinely surprised at her lack of inclusion for either of the Mae Young Classics thus far. Appearances on Lucha Underground as Reklusa and at the record-setting All In only raised Green’s profile, and shortly after the September 1st event, many speculated it was a matter of when, not if Green would be signing with the largest wrestling brand in the world. On October 17, 2018, Green was confirmed to be among the class reporting to the WWE Performance Center and on October 26, her first match under the NXT brand took place against long-time friend Deonna Purrazzo. Since then, the pair have aligned with the currently-rehabilitating Rachael Ellering as VXT, though the origin of the name has vexed wrestling fans worldwide since it’s first appearance a few months ago.
On Wednesday, both Green and Purrazo were given a patented in-the-crowd shot on the second-ever live NXT on the USA Network, one of many hints that WWE knows exactly what potential stars it has in the pair. Given the crowd reaction for her first appearance at the home of the black-and-yellow brand, it looks as though the Hot Mess will be as beloved by the WWE Universe as she has been worldwide.
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