In less than a year Lola Vice has shown the growth that many weren’t expecting as she made the transition from MMA.
The transition from mixed martial arts to professional wrestling sometimes brings success like Shayna Baszler, Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and others. But there are also those that fail in the switch for a variety of reasons. Lola Vice, real name Valerie Loureda, is working through said transition as a part of the WWE NXT women’s division and she’s someone that fans should keep an eye on because there’s potential to see success as she grows in this space.
WWE is actively looking for younger talent to build for the future. Each week, NXT features a wealth of talent being thrown in front of crowds and television to see who rises to the occasion. Individuals like Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams, Tiffany Stratton, and others are thriving. But there are a lot of talented performers showing the potential to become lynchpin pieces for WWE’s roster. Vice fits into that space.
At 26 years old, Vice was a competitor that Bellator was ready to hitch its wagon to for the long term. Yes, some sports enthusiasts will cringe, but mixed martial arts typically promote itself and the fighters with the male gaze at the forefront. Vice was able to capitalize on that and build a following, even though her fighting skills did not keep pace. Her 2021 MMA performances left a lot to be desired and when she started hinting at making the jump to professional wrestling, it immediately seemed like the perfect place for her. And so far, that assumption has been correct.
In less than one year Vice has found her way to consistent booking on WWE NXT television. She and Elecktra Lopez teaming up and have picked up victories in the last two weeks. On the September 19 episode, she had a quick, but back-and-forth match with former NXT Women’s Champion, Roxanne Perez. This is the steady progression that WWE typically takes when building young, inexperienced talent for the future.
Lola Vice brings the opportunity to leverage a few different benefits for the WWE
First, she already knows how to draw attention. She’s already nearing 1 million followers on Instagram and 273k on TikTok. Much of this following was already in play during her MMA career, and the bigger platform available to her as a part of WWE television will only see that grow.
Second, Vice is the first Cuban-American woman to be signed with the WWE. As the company continues to expand its fanbase to other demographics around the world, it will be interesting to see if Vice is factored into plans to tap into the Latino market. The success of Bad Bunny leading WWE’s charge in Puerto Rico for Backlash 2023 shows there is a market for the company in the Latino community. Perhaps even bigger than the company originally recognized. Expect to see Vice being used in those spaces in the future.
Third, Vice is young and inexperienced in the industry. WWE doesn’t need her to be main event-ready today. Taking the long route with her development, giving her the reps on television, and the space to grow backstage can help her become a better talent. Her growth in the last 10 months shows promise for what is to come.
WWE continues to build a strong roster of talented young women to lead the next generation of performers. When Valerie Loureda joined the WWE as Lola Vice, many rolled their eyes, but in less than a year she’s getting a different type of look as more people are interested in seeing what her future in wrestling becomes.