Dancing with Sharmell & the Nitro Girls

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June 05, 2012

The WWE Universe may remember Booker T’s wife, Sharmell, as the queen who reigned by his side after he won King of the Ring in 2006 and declared himself “King Booker.” However, Sharmell’s sports-entertainment career actually began in WCW in 1998, when she auditioned for a spot  with the Nitro Girls. The WCW dance group that dazzled WCW television and live audiences from 1997 to 2001. It’s a time in her life that she remembers fondly, recalling the fun had and the evolution of the ladies who comprised the group. (PHOTOS)

Formed by Kimberly Page in 1997, the Nitro Girls quickly became one of Monday Nitro’s most popular elements. Though originally intended to entertain live audiences during commercial breaks, the dance troupe’s popularity rose exponentially within a year. By the winter of 1998, the Nitro Girls sought to expand its ranks, and Sharmell was invited to audition, soon earning her spot in the group. Although she had no ambitions to get involved in sports-entertainment at the time, it was an opportunity she couldn’t let pass.

“There was a closed audition for well-known dancers in the Atlanta area. I was fortunate enough to be invited and I got the spot,” Sharmell told WWE Classics, adding, “Dance is my first love; at the time, I didn’t have my eyes set on wrestling at all.”

An accomplished dancer prior to her time with WCW, Sharmell toured with music legend James Brown before joining WCW. Upon debuting with the Nitro Girls in December 1998, Sharmell immediately noticed the stark differences between touring with the R&B legend and performing in front of a live audience, specifically wrestling fans.

“Touring with James Brown, I was able to go all over the world. … Words can’t even describe what it was like to dance for a living legend,” she explained. “When I joined the Nitro Girls, the atmosphere was amazing, but completely different. Wrestling fans are like none other; the energy was electric, and it just gave me goose bumps. After experiencing that feeling, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

Sharmell recalled the “nervous energy” that she and the other Nitro Girls felt every week. She attributed much of that to the troupe being featured prominently on live television –  something, by her own admission, that was far different than dancing on stage in a concert.

“We had to be on point and perfect every night because we knew the whole world was going to see it,” the former WWE Diva told WWE Classics. “And every week we had a different [live] audience, so we never knew what to expect. All of that just added to the excitement of performing on Nitro. The electricity from the fans, the desire to be perfect … that’s what made the Nitro Girls so memorable.”

The Nitro Girls were individually known by unique names that often reflected their personalities, such as Whisper, Tygress and Fyre. With the opportunity to choose her own name, Sharmell did not hesitate to pay tribute to one of her favorite fictional characters – Storm from Marvel Comics’ X-Men – and adopted the moniker.

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