Leah Van Dale is a 33-year-old professional wrestler, dancer and model from Spencer, Massachusetts. She is signed with the WWE and performs on SmackDown under the ring name, Carmella.
Van Dale is a second-generation wrestler and is the daughter of Paul Van Dale, a former mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, who worked as a jobber for the World Wrestling Federation in the ’80s and ’90s.
She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and was a cheerleader for the NFL team, The New England Patriots for three seasons until 2010. She was a Lakers Girl for the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2010 – 2011 basketball season.
Carmella’s WWE Contract
In June 2013, she signed a developmental contract with the WWE and was assigned to the company’s developmental territory, NXT, in Florida. 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 managed Enzo and Cassady throughout 2015. She feuded with Eva Marie in August that year and then won a battle royal to become the number one contender to Bayley’s NXT Women’s Championship. She unsuccessfully fought Bayley for the title on February 10, 2016.
Carmella’s Main Roster Debut
Carmella made her first appearance on WWE’s main roster in 2016 at March’s pay-per-view event, Roadblock, where she accompanied Amore and Cassady for their match against The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Van Dale 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 she 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 but was stripped of it by then SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan. Two days later, with the help of Ellsworth again, she won the Money In the Bank match. After 287 days, Van Dale finally cashed in Money in the Bank and defeated Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship for the first time. 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 Carmella’s reign at 131 days.
Carmella has also won the WWE 24/7 Championship title after pinning R-Truth. She lost the title 11 days later after being pinned by Marshmello but she regained the title later that night. Two days later at Hell In A Cell, Tamina pinned Carmella to end her second reign with the title at only 2 days. A few minutes later, Carmella helped R-Truth defeat Tamina to win the 24/7 Championship again.
Leah Van Dale is also a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer.
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- WWE 24/7 Championship (2 times)
- WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship (1 time)
- Mixed Match Challenge (Season 2)
- Money in the Bank (Women’s 2017)
- WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal (2019)