As I took in the implausible in-person atmosphere at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view back in May, wrestling music producer Josiah Williams’ voice and a mix of other sounds blared over the Daily Place’s speaker system, signifying one thing – it was time for Serena Deeb vs. Riho. The match was the first match in front of a full AEW crowd since March 11th, 2020 and the two delivered a fantastic match despite being on the Buy In pre-show.
Deeb is seeing a career resurgence in All Elite Wrestling, led by her veteran presence and renowned in-ring skills. Her re-emergence in the front of the camera comes after she retired from the business in 2015 following a few stints with SHINE, Shimmer, and TNA. Before all of those ventures, Deeb was a member of the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental system.
Serena started wrestling when she was only eighteen years of age. In 2005 she officially joined OVW, which was a WWE developmental base at that time. Deeb spent four years in that system, where she became a six-time OVW Women’s Champion. During her time in OVW, she also wrestled a few matches per year with the Illinois based Shimmer. Eventually, OVW and WWE would end their partnership and Serena would transition to Florida Championship Wrestling in 2009.
Serena wouldn’t experience the same success in FCW. She won the Queen Of FCW one time in 2009 under the name “Serena Mancini” before transitioning up to the WWE main roster in early 2010. Dropping the “Mancini” from her name, Serena joined CM Punk’s “Straight Edge Society” group. Serena was awarded with a ton of TV experience as a result, although the stuff she was regulated to was considered bad by most.
The group was short-lived, partly due to the fact that Serena was released from the company only eight months into the stable’s run. Her release reportedly had to do with her not “living” the straight-edge style gimmick.
After her release from WWE, Serena ventured back onto the independent wrestling scene. She would go on to wrestle for Shimmer again, as well as a few other promotions like 2CW and WNC. She wrestled until 2015, with a couple of breaks sprinkled in here and there due to injury. Over time, she adopted the Deeb last name and started going by Serena Deeb.
In the summer of 2015, Deeb announced she was retiring from wrestling. In her heartfelt announcement, she stated that she has grown apart from the business and that she had no regret.
Her retirement was thankfully short lived though, as she made her return to the WWE two years later as a member of the original Mae Young Classic. Deeb defeated Vanessa Bourne in the first round of the tournament before going on to lose to Piper Niven in the second round.
Unfortunately, that was all we would see from Deeb in terms of in-ring wrestling with WWE. A few months later, Deeb became a full-time coach at the WWE Performance Center, a move that usually signals the end of an in-ring career.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Deeb was a part of one of WWE’s mass releases. Deeb has repeatedly called this “the best thing that has ever happened to her” and cited that if it never happened, she probably would never have gotten the chance to sign with AEW.
Deeb officially made her AEW debut on the September 2nd edition of AEW Dynamite, facing Thunder Rosa. Only a few weeks later, Deeb officially signed with the promotion and began to rack up wins.
October 27th, 2020 was a big day for Deeb as she captured the NWA World Women’s Championship from Thunder Rosa at a United Wrestling Network event. This propelled Deeb to multiple Dynamite appearances, where she defended the title against big-time opponents like Allysin Kay, Tay Conti, and Riho.
Deeb held the title until June 6th, 2021 where she dropped it to NWA’s Kamille at the When Our Shadows Fall pay-per-view. Deeb was sidelined with a lingering knee injury only a few weeks later, an injury that has kept her from participating in AEW’s return to touring across the country.
Deeb is undoubtedly a bright spot on the AEW women’s roster, and she’ll look to prove that when she returns to in-ring action on tonight’s episode of AEW Dynamite. Deeb has a tough task with former AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida standing on the other side of the ring. Neither Shida or Deeb have appeared on Dynamite in over four months, so hopefully they will get the time to construct a good, story-filled match.
As the knee issue clears up and Deeb returns to full-time action with AEW, we can all hope that the “Woman Of A Thousand Holds” gets an opportunity to thrive and be successful in the latter stages of her career.