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Why did WWE roll out the red carpet for Kurt Angle but not for Tamyra Mensah-Stock?

“I’m now a freaking Olympic Champion” – Back at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Tamyra Mensah-Stock etched her name in the history books! She clinched a gold in the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle final and became the first Black woman representing the United States to do so. However, while she wasn’t the first female American to achieve this feat, the last time an American wrestler won a gold was Helen Maroulis in 2016. While this wasn’t her first Olympic run, this was the first and only Summer Games she had made it to the finals and won.

Her historic win in Tokyo put her in the spotlight. But after clinching another gold at the 2022 Tunis Ranking Series in Tunisia, Mensah-Stock decided to end her amateur career and pursue her dream of joining WWE. She became a part of it in May 2023, and after over a year, she finally made her In-Ring TV debut on July 2nd, 2024. While most of us know her as Tamyra-Mensah Stock, she graced our screens with a completely different name!

From Tamyra Mensah-Stock to Tyra Mae Steele

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Tamyra Mensah-Stock is the first female Olympic wrestling gold medalist to join WWE. Like many before her, Mensah-Stock would be using a pseudonym in the ring. WrestleTalk announced the news on Twitter, captioning it “WWE has filed to trademark Tyra Mae Steele, the new name for Olympic gold medalist Tamyra Mensah Stock” While this isn’t out of the ordinary for wrestling fans, this isn’t something Hall of Famer Kurt Angle had to face!

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Kurt Angle won his only Olympic gold at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In a thrilling showdown with Iranian wrestler Abbas Jadidi, they both ended up being tied 1-1. After careful speculation by the officials, Angle was declared as the rightful winner. He did all of this with a broken neck too! WWE quickly extended a contract to Angle, although he didn’t join until 1998. He made history by becoming the first Olympic wrestling gold medalist to join the organization.

However, unlike Mensah-Stock, Angle decided to go ahead with his own name. While this isn’t odd, the decision to trademark a stage name for the 2020 Olympic gold medalist has rubbed many fans the wrong way. WWE often allows popular personalities to keep their name since this would help bring their large fan following to the sport. However, they also often trademark stage names to use for merchandise. While they can still market someone’s legal name, no one else can use their stage name, post them being released.

Mensah-Stock’s stage name, Tyra Mae Steele, has been derived from her legal name itself. Tyra, taken from Tamyra, while Mae Steele has the same initials as Mensah-Stock. The Olympian made a few non-televised appearances earlier in the year, but she was seen locking horns with WWE NXT’s Wren Sinclair in her TV debut.

From Tokyo to the WWE ring

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In her Olympic Debut, Tamyra Mensah-Stock battled it out with Blessing Oborududu. She clinched a gold in the women’s 68kg freestyle final by defeating the Nigerian wrestler 4-1. Despite the loss, Oborududu became the first athlete from her nation to win an Olympic wrestling medal. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at us representing. It’s so freaking awesome. You’re making history, I’m making history. We’re making history. So it meant a lot.

Mensah-Stock, refusing to break down, ran to hug her coaches. But she couldn’t keep it together once she draped the American flag around her!

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After the historic win in Tokyo, the Olympian competed at the 2021 World Championships and walked away with a bronze. While the fame and recognition kept her going, a back injury abruptly put a stop to her career for eight arduous months. After some much-needed rest, she returned to the wrestling ring. A second world title, early retirement, and a new dream. Mensah-Stock shifted her focus to WWE and joined in May last year.

As Tamyra Mensah-Stock starts her second career from scratch, fans are excited to see what Tyra Mae Steele will bring to the table. Will we see more of her in the ring? Will she walk away with any new titles in the ring? We will just have to wait and watch. Stay tuned, because we know there’s so much more to come!