The WWE Performance Center has a new women’s coach on staff, and she’s none other than Serena Deeb. You may remember Serena as a follower of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society, who had her head shaved in the middle of the ring back in 2010. She didn’t stay in WWE long after that, but she returned last year to compete in the Mae Young Classic, where she beat Vanessa Borne in Round One, before losing to Piper “Viper” Niven in Round Two.
The storyline she was given at the Mae Young Classic was one of redemption, in which she said that she had lost her position at WWE for “irresponsibly using alcohol” and was proud to have clawed her way back up from rock bottom.
However, reporting at the time suggested that she was actually fired for breaking kayfabe by being seen publicly drinking alcohol at all, when she was presenting as straight edge on SmackDown. So there’s an argument to be made that by reaching out to her with job offers all these years later, WWE is actually the one gaining a little redemption.
As she explains in an interview on WWE.com, the possibility of a coaching job was actually part of her original invitation from WWE to compete in the Mae Young Classic:
“I knew of the tournament and was aware of it, and then I was contacted by the company to see if I had any interest in being one of the talent in the tournament, but it was also coupled with the idea of potentially coming in as a coach following the tournament. The tournament was the first stop on the tracks, and following that, I came back in a week in the fall for an official coaching tryout, and following that, it was pretty quickly offered.”
In addition to wrestling for Shimmer and other indie promotions, Serena has also taught yoga for years, which is an experience she brings to her new position. As she explains in the interview, an important part of teaching yoga is approaching each student at their own skill level, which is also very applicable to teaching wrestling.
She’ll start out her job working alongside Assistant Head Coach Sara Amato, and will begin teaching her own classes down the road. What those classes will be is up in the air, but she expresses an interest in working with students who are brand new to wrestling. When she came up as a young wrestler, coaching styles were very different than they are today, something she’s very cognizant of:
“I experienced more of the tough love, and in hindsight, I’m extremely grateful for that because it gave me a thicker skin. I think when a lot of athletes look back on impactful coaches in their lives, a lot of those coaches will lie in that area of tough love because it’s kind of an unforgettable experience. At the same time, especially getting into wrestling so young — I was 18, just a baby — I definitely craved a little bit more of the compassionate approach, [but] I realize it would have molded me differently. It’s kind of a tricky question. I’m super grateful for the approach that was taken, but I will be bringing something totally different to the table.”
You can read the whole interview with Serena Deeb at WWE.com.