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Kimber Lee and Heidi Lovelace among WWE Performance Center’s new recruits
From a punk-rock pugilist to a powerhouse protégé of The Dudley Boyz, four new female recruits have joined the WWE Performance Center, bolstering the already robust pipeline of competitors into the NXT, Raw and SmackDown LIVE Women’s divisions.
Independent standouts Kimberly Frankele, Dori Prange and MaryKate Duignan Glidewell, along with former mixed martial artist Julia Ho, reported for training this week in Orlando, Fla.
Frankele has competed for more than six years under the ring alias Kimber Lee. Trained by WWE Cruiserweight Drew Gulak, she came to sports-entertainment from the world of classical dancing, where she earned a degree in dance education and was a ballerina for much of her life. In addition to capturing titles throughout the independent scene, including in both Shine Wrestling and SHIMMER Women Athletes, Frankele was the only female to ever hold the Chikara Grand Championship. Frankele has also fought in NXT, coming up short recently against the undefeated Ember Moon.
Joining Frankele will be one of her most noted peers and rivals from the indies, Dori Prange, aka Heidi Lovelace. Nicknamed the “Punk Rock Ragdoll,” the outspoken Prange has competed not only in the U.S. indie scene but also in Japan, where she wrestled under the banner of World Wonder Ring Stardom.
“Pro Wrestling Illustrated” ranked Frankele and Prange at 17 and 20, respectively, in its 2016 list of the world’s top female grapplers.
Five-foot-eleven Glidewell, who has competed under the name Andréa, brings a powerful arsenal to the WWE Performance Center. A product of Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley’s wrestling academy, Glidewell is a 10-year veteran who has fought all over the globe, including matches teaming with and against the likes of Japanese legends Aja Kong and Kyoko Inoue.
Rounding out the newcomers is Julia Ho. A professional model and singer, Ho is looking to parlay her success in mixed martial arts — where she is undefeated — into the squared circle.
Which of these women will be the first to make her mark in WWE? Stay tuned to WWE.com for continuing coverage of the WWE Performance Center’s newest recruits.