7 Notable African-American WWE Superstars of the Modern Era
At only 31, Alicia Fox is one of the most tenured women’s superstars, with well over a decade on WWE television. She was introduced to the main roster on SmackDown as a wedding planner for Vickie Guerrero and Edge’s storyline wedding. From there, Fox went on to make history as the first and only African-American Divas title holder.
It was an eight-year climb before Ember Moon made it to WWE, and she is making the most of her opportunity as the current NXT women’s champion. Moon may still be in the developmental brand, but that didn’t stop her from having an impressive showing in the first-women’s Royal Rumble match.
Naomi is among the top female talents on SmackDown Live thanks to flashy moves and her unique “Feel the Glow” presentation. The Total Divas star parlayed her background as an Orlando Magic dancer and other entertainment experiences into WWE stardom. She continues to be a prominent part of the “Women’s Revolution” with two reigns as champion.
New Day: Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston
Collectively known as the New Day, the trio of Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston always bring the entertainment. The longest reigning tag champs in WWE history are so popular the group has their own Booty O’s branded cereal and were featured in a lip sync battle with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Shelton Benjamin is enjoying his second stint with WWE after returning to SmackDown Live after seven years. The star collegiate athlete is a former Intercontinental, United States and tag team champion. The veteran has found new life, entertaining a new fresh crop of fans tagging with emerging talent Chad Gable.
Titus O’Neil transitioned from a Hall of Fame run with the Florida Gators to WWE superstar, starting on NXT when it was a reality show competition. He found success with former partner Darren Young in the Primetime Players and now heads up “Titus Worldwide.” O’Neil is heavily involved with charity work and is the only WWE superstar to host a TED Talk.
Since her days in NXT, Sasha Banks has been marking one milestone after another. She has headlined episodes of Raw and pay-per-views. The “Bo$$” was in the first women’s Royal Rumble, Iron Man and Hell in a Cell matches. And coming up, she participates in the inaugural all-female Elimination Chamber match. The cousin of Snoop Dogg is also a four-time women’s champion on Raw.
WWE is doing its part to celebrate Black History Month by airing video tributes of historical figures within its ranks. Bobo Brazil, Ernie Ladd, Ron Simmons, Rocky Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Jacqueline, Teddy Long, Ron Simmons and Mark Henry are just a few who helped break down barriers over the decades to pave the way for a new generation of African-American pro wrestlers. They excelled to the top through sheer perseverance, unwilling to accept the status quo.
These beloved figures inspired a new generation of those looking to follow in their footsteps in an effort to build on what they managed to accomplish within their respective eras.
Naomi talks to us about the E! reality hit, being one of the competitors in the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match, and more.
Click through the above gallery to see seven of these notable WWE superstars of today who are making their own legacies within the business.