Last month in a match with Roxanne Perez, former WWE wrestler Mandy Rose was kicked in the stomach. Moments later, Perez grabbed Rose, jumped on her back and threw her to the ground using her signature Pop Rocks. It was a crushing defeat for Rose, who abruptly ended her reign as NXT Women’s Champion.
Despite the loss, which she said left her in tears, Rose was applauded as shocked fans shouted “Thank you, Maddie!”
“For me to lose the title on such a whim, on a random Tuesday night with zero narrative and zero pre-fight promotion was shocking. I was very surprised,” Rose, 32, born Amanda Rose Saccomanno, told The Post exclusively from her home in South Florida about her final WWE match.
Rose said she expected the title fight to take place sometime in January. On Dec 13, when she thought she was taping a promo, she was told the match was being held without notice. Such a move “doesn’t normally happen in our business,” he said.
But the worst was yet to come.
The next day, WWE released her from her gig, Rose said, claiming she violated her contract because she had a subscription account on FanTime, where she posted sexy, sometimes inappropriate, photos and videos for a fee.
The rejection came just days after the risqué content she had shared with FanTime subscribers began circulating online, including photos from videos Rose had posted of her swimming naked, as well as more candid photos of her in the shower with fiancé Tino Sabbatelli .
“They didn’t tell me about racist imagery,” Rose said, referring to the reasons she was let go. “They didn’t tell me anything else. They told me about the subscription-based platform.”
A self-proclaimed tomboy, Rose preferred riding bikes to Barbies as a child growing up in Yorktown, New York. He played youth basketball and enjoyed all sports, especially WWE. She watched games with her dad and three older brothers, which she said sparked a competitive edge in her. He began training after college and in 2015, at the age of 25, he landed a spot on the WWE reality competition series ‘Tough Enough’. She won thousands for one of the coveted 13 spots, placing second and meeting her future partner, Daria Berenato.
In the same year he signed a multi-year contract with WWE. He would appear on E! reality show “Total Divas” compete on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw.” and get drafted for “SmackDown!” In 2021, he would return to the “NXT” developmental roster, where he had a brief stint as the leader of the Toxic Attraction tag team.
During her time in WWE, Rose became known for her sexy and tough personality — and for badass moves like the Bed of Roses, a double under-hook slam.
Her defeat and uncharacteristic dumping was a blow to her ego, as well as the decade she spent perfecting her craft.
“Of course I was disappointed,” Rose told The Post. “But the emotions really kicked in after the race.”
When the news broke hashtags like #JusticeForMandyRose and #RehireMandyRose started trending on social media. On his ‘Wrestling with Freddie’ podcast, Freddie Prinze Jr. he called it “the first fumble [WWE executive] Triple H had.”
“How do you fire a woman who carried the entire department for over a year? Mandy Rose deserves better for working so hard.” one fan wrote on Twitter.
WWE Hall of Famer Madusa, aka Debrah Ann Miceli, 58, blasted WWE for having double standards.
“Guys are getting warnings in this business and they’re still working there, which is unfortunate,” he told the “Wrestling Perspective Podcast.”
Fans also called Rose’s firing hypocritical, citing a moment when WWE reposted a photo of Rose posing nude covered only by her championship belts.
“What is the definition of race? My photo with two captions – I was completely naked underneath, that’s considered a racist photo, right?’ Rose said.
WWE did not return multiple requests for comment. However, in 2020, WWE Superstars working as independent contractors were prohibited from using Cameo, Twitch and other third-party platforms without obtaining written permission from WWE.
Rose is also not the first to be penalized for having a subscription-based platform. WWE fired Zelina Vega in November 2020 for creating an OnlyFans account, which did not include racist content. The Vega was returned by the company the following summer.
But not everyone has sympathy for Rose, who gained her following through WWE’s massive media platform.
“It had the subscription service and it became popular and profitable. He kept going farther and farther, and the feeling was that he crossed the line,” wrote Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
On the “Hall of Fame” podcast, Booker T, the lead commentator in NXT, also believes Rose made a mistake getting on the wrong side of WWE with her subscription-based account.
“The older she is [Rose’s] star would have risen in WWE, the more money he could demand to continue in life. Away, out of mind,” he said. “Being on TV is very important to be relevant. These days they say, “We don’t need TV, we can do our own thing.” Of course you can, but your star isn’t going to shine as bright.”
Rose said that if she had been given proper warning, she might have considered deleting her FanTime account.
But so far he has no regrets. She told The Post that since her WWE debut, she has earned more than $1 million on FanTime, where she raised her membership price from $25 to $40.
“I am grateful and very humbled by all that I have done and have done in the company [WWE]but in this day and age, there are so many other avenues and so many other marketing opportunities, it’s like I can’t do both?”
She added: “At the end of the day I’m the only one looking out for myself and my career. Everyone is replaceable in our business – it’s true.”