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Sara Del Rey

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Sara Amato (November 13, 1980) is an American professional wrestling trainer and retired professional wrestler better known by her ring name Sara Del Rey. She was a mainstay for Chikara and Shimmer, but also appeared for many other independent promotions in the United States, including Ring of Honor, IWA Mid-South and All Pro Wrestling, as well as Mexico's Lucha Libre Femenil. Del Rey has also taped several matches, competing under a mask and using the name Nic Grimes, for the MTV promotion Wrestling Society X. Del Rey was the inaugural Shimmer Champion and co-holder of the Shimmer Tag Team Championship with Courtney Rush, making her the promotion's first and only double champion. In 2012, Del Rey became only the fourth woman to make it to Pro Wrestling Illustrated's list of top wrestlers in the world. She is currently signed to WWE, working as a trainer in its developmental territory NXT Wrestling.

Early life

As a child, Amato considered herself a fan of wrestling. Citing Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior as two of her favorites due to their high energy characters and matches. She did not watch it for several years, but became interested again during high school. Sara admits that in high school, she was 'really shy and kind of awkward and scared of social situations.' Which made her doubt whether she would actually make it as a Professional Wrestler She briefly attended college following her graduation from high school, but disliked it and decided to become a professional wrestler instead. She initially trained with All Pro Wrestling's boot camp. In the beginning, Amato had to spend hours training, as wrestling did not come naturally to her. She went on to train in Japan.

Professional wrestling career

Japan and Mexico; other promotions (2002–2012)

In 2002, she tried out for ARSION, and she considers it a highlight of her career.

In early 2005, she won Impact Zone Wrestling's Women's Championship by defeating Adrenelyn on February 15. Later in 2005, she toured Japan and released a video that depicts six of those battles entitled "Sara Del Rey Japan Tour 2005". She wrestled in Mexico using the gimmick "The American Angel", in which she wore a wrestling mask. She was unmasked in a match in the Lucha Libre Femenil promotion on December 16, 2005. She later donned a mask once again as Nic Grimes, the storyline sister of Vic Grimes for Wrestling Society X.

On September 5, 2009, Del Rey took part at the debut show of NCW Femmes Fatales, where she defeated Cherry Bomb with the Royal Butterfly. Later in the night, after LuFisto's match, she attacked the owner of the promotion and challenged her to a match at the next show. Del Rey took part in the tournament to determine the inaugural NCW FF Champion, but lost to LuFisto in the first round on June 5, 2010.

Shimmer Women Athletes (2005–2012)

Del Rey appeared on Shimmer Women Athletes's inaugural show in 2005, where she wrestled Mercedes Martinez to a twenty minute time limit draw in a match that earned a standing ovation from the crowd. As part of Volume 2, she won a four-way elimination match against Daizee Haze, Lacey, and Martinez, last eliminating Haze with her Royal Butterfly. On February 12, 2006 she was able to defeat first Daizee Haze in the Main Event of Volume 3 with a Bridging German Suplex and then Rain as part of Volume 4 with her Royal Butterfly. In the Main Event of Volume 5 Sara Del Rey finally pinned Mercedes Martinez in a Single Match. Later in the night The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew challenged Mercedes Martinez to a Tag Team Match and Sara Del Rey agreed to be Martinez's Partner. As part of Volume 6 the team of Lacey and Rain was able to score a win against Sara and Mercedes. On October 22, 2006 Sara Del Rey scored a Pinfall against the debuting Nattie Neidhart. After the match she was challenged by Mercedes Martinez to a rematch on Volume 8 which Sara agreed to. Before the great encounter Sara Del Rey defeated Lorelei Lee in a Webmatch available on YouTube. In the Main Event of Volume 8 Sara Del Rey suffered her first lost in single competition in SHIMMER against Mercedes Martinez who was able to score the pinfall after four Saito Suplex.

On April 7, 2007 Sara Del Rey came stronger than ever as she defeated both Cheerleader Melissa and Nikki Roxx as part of the Main Events of Volume 9 and 10, leading her to the SHIMMER Title Tournament with two different wins. On June 1 the SHIMMER Title Tournament started and Sara Del Rey was able to advance to the semi-finals by eliminating first Cindy Rogers and then Alicia. As part of Volume 12 she then defeated Sarah Stock in roughly 20 minutes and in the finals she wrote history by defeating Lacey and becoming the First Ever SHIMMER Champion. Later in the night she teamed with Nikki Roxx to defeat the team of The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew. She made her first title defense in SHIMMER against Lacey in a Rematch from Volume 12 on Volume 14 in a match that lasted about 30 minutes. She continued her Winning Streak by defeating Amazing Kong as part of Volume 15 and "Dark Angel" Sarah Stock in a Two Outs of Three Falls Match as part of Volume 16. She suffered a Tag Team Loss on Volume 17 as the team of MsChif and Cheerleader Melissa was able to defeat Sara Del Rey and Allison Danger. As part of Volume 18 MsChif challenged Sara Del Rey to a match since she was able to hit with the Desecrator over the SHIMMER Champion during the tag team match on Volume 17 and Sara agreed to it. Later in the night Sara Del Rey suffered her second loss in single competition and as a result of the match she also lost the title to MsChif.

On July 5, 2008 Sara Del Rey took part in a 21-Women Battle Royal to declare the No. 1 Contender to the SHIMMER Champion but she was surprisingly eliminated by the Portuguese Princess Ariel. Sara then attacked Ariel leading to a match between those two on Volume 19 that was won by Death Rey with the Royal Butterfly. As part of Volume 20 she was able to defeat Serena Deeb by submission. On October 19, 2008 Sara Del Rey was challenged by Serena Deeb to a Rematch that once again was won by Sara, this time by pinfall. On Volume 22 she was challenged once again by Serena Deeb but this time she did not accept and left the building. However, after MsChif was able to defeat Ariel in the Main Event of Volume 22, she attacked the SHIMMER Champion who was saved by Serena Deeb and the Referee Bryce Remsburg agreed to a match between those two. After a hard-fought battle Serena Deeb was finally able to score a win against Sara Del Rey by hitting the Spear.

On May 2, 2009 Sara Del Rey was able to defeat Madison Eagles of the Pink Ladies. Later in the night she and Amazing Kong destroyed the SHIMMER Champion MsChif but they left the ring as soon as Cheerleader Melissa ran into the ring. As part of Volume 24 Sara Del Rey teamed with Amazing Kong to defeat in the Main Event the team of MsChif and Cheerleader Melissa after an Implant Buster/Splash Combination over the SHIMMER Champion becoming the No. 1 Contender at the SHIMMER Tag Team Titles of Ashley Lane and Nevaeh. On May 3, 2009 the Death Kongs failed to capture the SHIMMER Tag Team Titles since they were disqualified. The duo continued to brutalize the Champions after the match but they were forced to leave the ring by Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martinez. Later in the night, as part of Volume 26, the team of Amazing Kong and Sara Del Rey defeated the team of Serena Deeb and Mercedes Martinez after their Implant Buster/Splash Combination over Serena Deeb.

On November 8, 2009 Sara Del Rey forced Jessie McKay to submit in a Single Match. Later in the night she was disqualified against Ayako Hamada but the Japanese Wrestler wanted to restart the match to show what she was made of. In what is considered the best match in SHIMMER's History Sara Del Rey defeated Ayako Hamada with a Spike Piledriver. On Volume 33, Del Rey defeated Nevaeh. On Volume 34 she was defeated by Jessie McKay in a 3-Way which also included Ayako Hamada. On Volume 35, Sara defeated Rachel Summerlyn with some help from Daffney. On Volume 36 in an 8 woman elimination tag team match she was eliminated by Ayako Hamada after a Double Leg Jacknife pin. On March 18, 2012, Del Rey and Courtney Rush defeated Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara, the Canadian NINJAs (Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez) and Regeneration X (Allison Danger and Leva Bates) to win the Shimmer Tag Team Championship, making Del Rey the first woman to have held both of Shimmer's championships. On July 7, Del Rey and Rush lost the title to the Canadian NINJAs.

Chikara (2006–2012)

Del Rey had been wrestling for Philadelphia–based Chikara since May 2006, mainly as a face. In November 2009 she was placed in her first major storyline in the company, when she turned heel and aligned herself with Claudio Castagnoli, Ares, Daizee Haze, Pinkie Sanchez, Tim Donst and Tursas to form the stable Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (BDK). The stable has since been joined by Lince Dorado and Delirious. While in BDK Del Rey began regularly teaming with Haze and together the two of them picked up victories over tag teams such as The Osirian Portal (Amasis and Ophidian), Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream, Jr.), The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield and Sugar Dunkerton), Amazing Kong and Raisha Saeed, and Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw. On September 19, 2010, Del Rey wrestled Japanese joshi legend Manami Toyota in only her second match on American soil, when she and Claudio Castagnoli were defeated in a tag team match by Toyota and Mike Quackenbush. On October 23 Del Rey represented BDK in the torneo cibernetico match, where they faced a team of Chikara originals. She was eliminated from the match by Eddie Kingston. The following day Del Rey and Haze defeated the Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno and Player Dos) in a tag team match to pick up their third straight victory and, as the first all–female tag team, earn the right to challenge for the Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team championship), at the time held by their stablemates Ares and Claudio Castagnoli. However, Del Rey and Haze never got to cash in their points as Ares and Castagnoli ordered them to defend them in a four–way elimination match on November 21, where they ended up being eliminated by Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw and losing all of their points. In May 2011, Del Rey entered the 12 Large: Summit to determine the first ever Chikara Grand Champion. On July 31, Del Rey scored an upset win over BDK leader Claudio Castagnoli in a tournament match, after which both she and Daizee Haze were attacked by Castagnoli. On August 3, Del Rey announced her resignation from BDK. On October 7, Del Rey was eliminated from the 12 Large: Summit, when she was defeated by Mike Quackenbush. On November 12, Del Rey was part of Team Hallowicked in the eighth annual torneo cibernetico, facing a team of members of BDK and The Batiri. Del Rey eventually won the match by pinning her former stablemate Tim Donst. During December's JoshiMania weekend, Del Rey picked up big wins over Japanese wrestlers Aja Kong, Tsubasa Kuragaki and Ayako Hamada. In early 2012, Del Rey started feuding the Batiri stable, which culminated on June 2 at the Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur pay-per-view, where Del Rey and Saturyne defeated the Batiri via disqualification in a two-on-three handicap match. On July 28, Del Rey received her first shot at the Chikara Grand Championship, but was unable to dethrone the defending champion, Eddie Kingston. The following day, Del Rey was defeated by Icarus in her Chikara farewell match.

Ring of Honor (2006–2012)

In 2006, Del Rey feuded with Daizee Haze, whom she defeated on June 3, 2006 on a Ring of Honor (ROH) show. She was part of the team, the Dangerous Angels, with Allison Danger, and the two competed as a team in ROH. One of the few female mainstays of Ring of Honor, Del Rey was a member of Sweet & Sour Inc., a faction of wrestlers managed by Larry Sweeney. During her time in the faction, she was paired with Chris Hero by Sweeney and dubbed the "Intergender Heavyweight Tag Team Champions", though in reality the "titles" were never recognized by ROH. She walked out of the faction after Sweeney interrupted a match between her and Daizee Haze, on the April 11 Ring of Honor show and berated her. On the next Ring of Honor show which took place the very next day, Sweeney claimed, in storyline, that he was "grooming" Del Rey for World Wrestling Entertainment, and she responded by saying she was a wrestler and not a diva. She returned as a "proud member" of Sweet & Sour Inc. at the May 9 Ring of Honor show, sporting a new look. After Sweeney's departure from ROH, Del Rey followed Hero and became a member of the Kings of Wrestling.

In the second episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling on HDNet, Del Rey defeated Daizee Haze after hitting the Royal Butterfly. Instead, as part of the fourth episode, she lost in a Tag Team Match, along with Sassy Stephie, against Daizee Haze and Nevaeh. She also took part in a Triple Threat non-title match against Haze and Shimmer Champion MsChif, which Mschif won. She also appeared in a match on the 17th episode, when she and MsChif defeated the team of Haze and Nevaeh. On September 28, 2009 Del Rey won a match against Nikki Roxx using her Royal Butterfly finisher. On March 1, 2010 Sara Del Rey defeated Portia Perez after hitting with her Spike Piledriver.

Del Rey returned at the June 29 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, saving Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards from a beatdown from Mike Bennett, Brutal Bob and Maria Kanellis. On August 11 at Boiling Point, Del Rey and Edwards defeated Bennett and Kanellis in a tag team match.

Jersey All Pro Wrestling (2009–2010)

Del Rey was part of the Jersey All Pro Wrestling's women's division and took part in the division's very first show on January 10, 2009, by defeating Daizee Haze. In the second show on May 9 she defeated the debuting Amazing Kong and later in the night she also won a battle royal becoming the number one contender to the new JAPW Women's Championship. On June 27, 2009 she was able to defeat ODB in Jersey City to become the inaugural JAPW Women's Champion. She was also able to retain the title against Portia Perez at European Homicide on August 1 by hitting her with the Royal Butterfly. She made her second title defense against Hailey Hatred in Beachwood on September 12 of 2009 . She got the win after her classic Royal Butterfly. At Halloween Hell she squashed Roxie Cotton to make her third title defense. On November 13, 2009, Del Rey successfully defended her JAPW Women's Championship against Alissa Flash at a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling house show in Wayne, New Jersey. The following day at JAPW Girl Power Del Rey and Cheerleader Melissa went to a double DQ after Hailey Hatred attacked both Melissa and the Women's Champion. Later that night it was announced that at the next JAPW WD Show the three of them would face each other in a three-way no disqualification match. She made her sixth defense of the JAPW Women's Title against Sumie Sakai at Season's Beatings. On January 9, 2010, Del Rey won a three-way No DQ match against both Hailey Hatred and Cheerleader Melissa making her 7th title defense. Afterwards Del Rey accepted a challenge from Ayako Hamada. On January 16 Sara Del Rey retained once again her title against Sumie Sakai at the show January Infiltration from RCW. On January 23 she defeated Madison Rayne at JAPW's 12th Anniversary Show in her ninth title defense. She defeated Jessica James at Please Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves to make her tenth defense of her title and qualify herself for the Queen of Queens Tournament Sara Del Rey continued to defend her title and was able to defeat Hailey Hatred in a Falls Count Anywhere match at WildCard, a JAPW Show where the champions had to defend their titles against mystery opponents. She made her 12th title defense against Ayumi Kurihara at the JAPW Show Old School on April 17, 2010. She made her 13th title defense against Annie Social at Notorious Thunder on May 22, 2010. On July 3, 2010, Del Rey wrestled at another TNA house show, losing to Angelina Love in a match for the number one contendership to the TNA Women's Knockout Championship. On Saturday November 20 she defended her title once again against the challenger Mia Yim making her 14th defense. On December 11, 2010 Sara Del Rey made her 15th defense when she defeated LuFisto at the 13th Anniversary Show.

WWE (2012–present)

On July 9, 2012, it was reported that Del Rey had signed a contract with WWE. From September 2012, Del Rey became the first female trainer in WWE's developmental territory NXT Wrestling.

Personal life

Amato has cited Aja Kong and Mickie James among her heroes. Amato has dated fellow wrestler Claudio Castagnoli.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing moves
    • Omoplata crossface – 2010–2012; adopted from Bryan Danielson
    • Royal Butterfly (Standing butterfly transitioned into a butterfly suplex)
    • Spike piledriver
  • Signature moves
    • Bridging fallaway slam
    • Headbutt
    • Hip attack
    • Multiple kick variations
      • Axe
      • Pushing big boot to the opponent's chest
      • Rolling wheel
      • Shoot
    • Multiple suplex variations
      • German
      • Tiger
      • X
    • Release powerbomb
    • Samoan drop
  • Nicknames
    • "The American Angel"
    • "Death Rey"
    • "The Queen of Wrestling"

Championships and accomplishments

See also

External links

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