Dancing with Sharmell & the Nitro Girls

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June 05, 2012

Originally, the Nitro Girls were kept separate from WCW competitors and focused primarily on their own performances. However, in 1999, the dancers were thrust into the spotlight, becoming more involved with WCW competitors and their respective rivalries. With the exception of Diamond Dallas Page’s then-wife Kimberly, Sharmell was one of the first Nitro Girls featured prominently alongside a competitor.

“At that time in WCW, you never really knew who was in charge,” she admitted. “We kept having different people come in, and of course each had their own view of how things should go.”

According to the former Nitro Girl, she was told that she would make the move from dance team member to manager, a change that literally happened over a single weekend.

“I remember getting a call on a Friday afternoon, telling me to find a purple dress because I would be accompanying The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea to the ring the following Monday. And my name would be changed to Paisley,” Sharmell explained. “I had a couple of days to really embrace my new role, which was much more different from dancing, but I rolled with it and really enjoyed myself.”

Eventually, the Nitro Girls started actively competing, both amongst themselves and against other female competitors in WCW. As Nitro Girls Spice and A.C. Jazz battled for control of the group after Kimberly Page’s departure, Sharmell’s first match saw her square off with WWE Hall of Famer Sunny in 2000.

“We fully trained to compete. Our roles kept evolving, so we all embraced it, went to WCW’s Power Plant and trained to become wrestlers,” Sharmell remembered. Although her time training was brief – “my inexperience showed in that match with Sunny,” she admitted – Sharmell was victorious against the Diva. “We had a lot of great people to support us and wanting us to succeed.”

Sharmell wasn't the only Nitro Girl to be thrust into the ring and involved in situations outside of the dance troupe. One of today’s most famous former Nitro Girls, Stacy Keibler, joined the group after winning a dance contest and soon found herself becoming a major player in and out of the ring.

“I don’t think WCW management realized that the Nitro Girls would eventually become as popular as we did,” Sharmell explained. “When we held that contest, there were a lot of girls that really wanted to be Nitro Girls. We had the competitions in different cities and the auditions were packed, but we were fortunate to get Stacy. She won fair and square, and no one could have predicted the impact she would have on wrestling and pop culture.”



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