Leah Van Dale is a 34-year-old professional wrestler, dancer, and model from Massachusetts. She is signed with WWE and performs on Monday Night RAW under the ring name, Carmella. Alongside her tag team partner, Queen Zelina, Carmella is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Leah Van Dale is a second-generation wrestler. Her father is Paul Van Dale, a former mixed martial artist and professional wrestler. He worked as a jobber for the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) in the ’80s and ’90s.
She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Van Dale then became a cheerleader for the NFL team, The New England Patriots for three seasons until 2010. For the 2010/2011 season, she was a Lakers Girl for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team.
Carmella’s WWE Contract
In June 2013, Van Dale signed a developmental contract with the WWE and was assigned to WWE’s NXT brand. She adopted the ring name Carmella.
Carmella made her television debut on NXT as a hairdresser in a spot with Enzo Amore and Cassady in September 2014. Her in-ring debut was a few weeks later against wrestler, Blue Pants. Carmella acted as Enzo and Cassady’s manager throughout 2015. She feuded with Eva Marie in August that year and then won a battle royal to become the number one contender for Bayley’s NXT Women’s Championship. She fought Bayley for the title on February 10, 2016 but lost.
Carmella’s Main Roster Debut
Carmella made her first appearance on WWE’s main roster in March 2016 at the RoadBlock pay-per-view. At the event, she accompanied Amore and Cassady for their match against The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Carmella wrestled for NXT until the 2016 WWE Draft when she was drafted to SmackDown. She made her main roster debut the following week and in August won her first match on SmackDown against Natalya.
Inaugural Women’s Money in the Bank Winner
In 2017, Carmella won the inaugural Women’s Money In The Bank match at the pay-per-view event. She was quickly stripped of it though by then SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan. Two days later, with the help of Ellsworth again, she won the Money In the Bank match.
On the April 10 episode of SmackDown and after 287 days, Carmella finally cashed in Money in the Bank and defeated Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship. She successfully defended her title until SummerSlam when she competed in a triple threat match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Carmella lost the match when Flair pinned Lynch to win the championship, ending her reign at 131 days.
Two weeks later, Carmella received her rematch against Flair but was unsuccessful in regaining the title.
Carmella Aligns With R-Truth
In September 2018, Carmella turned face and agreed to manage R-Truth for his match with The Miz. Carmella then started managing Truth and the two were announced as tag team partners for the upcoming season two of Mixed Match Challenge. They called themselves, “The Fabulous Truth.”
In November 2018, Carmella took part in Survivor Series as part of Team SmackDown. She went on to eliminate Tamina before being eliminated by Bayley. At the Mixed Match Challenge, Carmella and Truth lost the first three matches before defeating Rusev and Lana to qualify for the playoffs. They went on to defeat Jeff Hardy and Charlotte Flair in the quarter-finals and previous winners The Miz and Asuka in the semi-finals. In the finals of the Mixed Match Challenge that took place at the TLC pay-per-view, Carmella and Truth defeated Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox. As a result, this earned both superstars the number 30 spots for their respective Royal Rumble matches at Royal Rumble 2019.
Carmella participated in the Royal Rumble 2019 match, but was eliminated by Charlotte Flair. That February, Carmella started teaming with Naomi. They took part in a six-team Elimination Chamber match for the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Naomi and Carmella were the first team eliminated.
Carmella Wins the Women’s Battle Royal
At WrestleMania 35, Carmella won the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal after last eliminating Sarah Logan. She then took part in the Money in the Bank ladder match at the namesake pay-per-view. Carmella injured her knee at Money in the Bank and was unsuccessful in winning the match. Her “knee injury” was used to spark a feud with Fire and Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville), which ended abruptly because she continued to manage R-Truth. She would help him escape and defend the title against various competitors.
Carmella Wins 24/7 Title
On the September 23rd episode of RAW, Carmella rolled-up on R-Truth to capture the 24/7 Championship from him. Her title reign came to an end 11 days later, during SmackDown’s 20th Anniversary on October 4, when she was pinned by Marshmello backstage.
Later that night, Carmella regained the title from Marshmello. During the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Tamina pinned Carmella to end her second reign with the title at only 2 days. A few minutes later, Carmella helped Truth defeat Tamina to win the 24/7 Championship again.
The alliance between Carmella and R-Truth was ended abruptly when Truth was drafted to the RAW brand and Carmella remained on SmackDown. On the November 8th episode of SmackDown, Carmella and Dana Brooke defeated Fire and Desire to qualify as part of Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. At the event, they lost to Team NXT at the event.
Carmella participated in the Women’s Royal Rumble 2020 match entering at number 27. She lasted a little over six minutes in the match but was eliminated by Shayna Baszler. In the next few months, Carmella defeated several superstars including Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. These wins earned her a title match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Bayley but was unsuccessful.
Carmella then aligned herself with Dana Brooke and together they challenged Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, but they were unsuccessful in capturing the titles. She participated in her third ever Money in the Bank ladder match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but she failed to win the briefcase.
Carmella the Untouchable
In September 2020, WWE began airing vignettes on SmackDown hyping the arrival of a mystery woman. Six weeks later, on the October 2nd episode, Carmella revealed that she was the mystery woman. She then began using the new mantra of “Untouchable,” along with a new theme song.
After a five month hiatus, Carmella made her return appearance on on the November 6 episode. She attacked Sasha Banks following her title defense against Bayley, thus turning heel for the first time since 2018. Towards the end of 2020, Carmella and Bayley continued to cut promos and attack each other. This eventually led to a match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs event. At the event, on December 20, Carmella faced Sasha Banks but lost.
Carmella teamed with Billie Kay at WrestleMania 37 to participate in a tag team turmoil match to determine the number one contenders for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Carmella and Billie Kay were unsuccessful in the match. She then faced both members of the Riott Squad individually, and beat them both. She then proclaimed herself “The Most Beautiful Woman in All of WWE.”
Carmella Fights for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Carmella would then have three opportunities for the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Bianca Belair. The first was on the July 16 episode of SmackDown, one on the July 23 episode, and one at a house show in Louisville, Kentucky. Carmella was unsuccessful at all three opportunities. She was then scheduled to be Sasha Banks’ replacement for SummerSlam against Bianca Belair, but was then attacked by a returning Becky Lynch.
Carmella lost to Liv Morgan at the Extreme Rules kickoff show. As part of the 2021 Draft, Carmella was drafted to the WWE’s RAW brand.
After Crown Jewel, Carmella and Queen Zelina began appearing together as a tag team. On the November 22nd episode of RAW, Queen Zelina and Carmella successfully won the Women’s Tag Team Championships when they defeated Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley.
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- WWE 24/7 Championship (2 times)
- SmackDown Women’s Championship (1 time)
- Women’s Tag Team Championship (1 time, current)
- Mixed Match Challenge (Season 2)
- Money in the Bank (Women’s 2017)
- WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal (2019)