Toni Storm
Toni Storm in September 2023
Birth nameToni Rossall
Born (1995-10-19) 19 October 1995 (age 28)
Auckland, New Zealand
Spouse(s)
(m. 2022)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Storm[1]
"Timeless" Toni Storm
Toni Storm[2]
Billed height168 cm (5 ft 6 in)[3]
Billed weight65 kg (143 lb)[3]
Billed fromGold Coast, Australia[2]
Stage 7 at Warner Studios (as "Timeless" Toni Storm)
Trained byDean Allmark[4]
Impact Pro Wrestling[citation needed]
Debut9 October 2009[citation needed]

Toni Rossall (born 19 October 1995), better known by the ring name Toni Storm, is a New Zealand-Australian professional wrestler. She is signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) where she currently performs with the epithet "Timeless" Toni Storm. She is the current AEW Women's World Champion in her record-tying third reign, and is a former member of The Outcasts. Rossall previously worked for WWE where she was a former one-time NXT UK Women's Champion.

Rossall first gained attention in WWE from her 2017 and 2018 performances in the Mae Young Classic tournament. She progressed to the tournament's semi-finals in 2017 and won it in 2018 at Evolution, WWE's first all-female PPV. She then performed on the NXT UK, NXT, and SmackDown brands before her release in 2021. Beyond WWE, she has performed in Japanese promotion Stardom, where she held the World of Stardom Championship. She also held Stardom's SWA World Championship for a record-setting reign of 612 days.[5] In the British promotion Progress Wrestling, she held the Progress Women's Championship. In the German promotion Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), she held the wXw Women's Championship twice.

Early life

Toni Rossall[4] was born in Auckland on 19 October 1995,[6][3] and moved to Australia's Gold Coast with her mother at the age of four when her parents separated.[7] At the age of 10, while living on the Gold Coast, she discovered WWE on television and developed an interest in professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Rossall began training at a small Gold Coast based wrestling company and debuted when she was 13 years old.[8] After five years of honing her skills with that company, she decided at the age of 18 that she wanted to receive further training to become a better wrestler, and got her mother's permission to move to England and live with her Liverpool-based grandmother.[4][7] While there, she trained under Dean Allmark.[4] She then started working internationally in countries such as Finland, France, Germany, and Spain.[4] She took part in a WWE tryout camp in Melbourne during WWE's 2014 Australian tour,[9] and attended another tryout camp in Manchester during WWE's 2015 UK tour.[10]

Progress Wrestling (2015–2018)

Storm made her debut for Progress Wrestling on 14 April 2015, being defeated by Elizabeth.[11] In May 2017, she became the first-ever Progress Women's Champion after defeating Jinny and Laura Di Matteo in a three-way match.[12] This match marked the first time that female wrestlers competed in the main event of a Progress event.[citation needed] Throughout the year, Storm went on to successfully defend the championship numerous times against challengers like Kay Lee Ray, Laura Di Matteo and Candice LeRae. She lost the title to Jinny at Chapter 69: Be Here Now.[citation needed]

World Wonder Ring Stardom (2016–2018)

In 2016, Storm began working for the Japanese promotion Stardom, where she won the SWA World Championship on 24 July.[13] On 2 October 2016, Stardom officially announced that Storm had signed with the promotion.[14] After winning the 2017 Cinderella Tournament on 30 April,[15] Storm also won the 2017 5★Star GP on 18 September, becoming the first wrestler to win the two tournaments in the same year.[16] On 24 September, Storm became the new World of Stardom Champion in an unplanned finish, when Mayu Iwatani was legitimately injured during a title defense against her, prompting the referee to stop the match and award Storm the title.[17][18] On 9 June 2018, Kagetsu defeated Storm in a title match, ending her reign at 258 days.[19]

WWE (2017–2021)

On 16 June 2017, WWE announced Storm as one of the first four participants of the Mae Young Classic.[20] Storm entered the tournament on 13 July, defeating Ayesha Raymond in the first round.[21] The following day, Storm defeated Lacey Evans in the second round and Piper Niven in the quarterfinals, before being eliminated from the tournament in the semi-finals by Kairi Sane.[22] On 9 May 2018, Storm was advertised for the upcoming United Kingdom Championship Tournament.[23] On 24 May, Storm signed a WWE contract.[24] On 18 June at the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, Storm defeated Killer Kelly and Isla Dawn in a triple threat match to become the #1 contender for the NXT Women's Championship.[25] The following day at the NXT U.K. Championship, Storm was defeated by the defending NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler.[26] Months later, she participated in the second Mae Young Classic, a tournament she won when she defeated Io Shirai at WWE Evolution.[27]

She also participated in a tournament to crown the inaugural NXT UK Women's Champion, but she lost against Rhea Ripley.[28] In a rematch on 12 January 2019 at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool, Storm defeated Ripley to win the title.[29] She reigned as champion until 31 August 2019 at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff, where Storm lost her title to Kay Lee Ray, ending her reign at 230 days.[30][31]

On 24 November 2019 on the TakeOver: WarGames post-show Q&A session with Triple H, Storm was announced to be a part of the NXT Women's Survivor Series team by team captain Rhea Ripley.[32] At Survivor Series, Storm was eliminated via submission by Natalya and Sasha Banks.[33] At NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II, Storm competed unsuccessfully in a triple threat match for the NXT UK Women's Championship against Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven.[34] Storm participated in the women's Royal Rumble match at the namesake pay-per-view and entered at #20 but was eliminated by Shayna Baszler.[35] Storm wrestled her last match in the brand on 27 February 2020 episode of NXT UK, losing to Kay Lee Ray in an "I Quit" match.[36]

After an 8-month hiatus, on 4 October 2020 at TakeOver 31, Storm returned to NXT following the NXT Women's Championship match between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae.[37] She then joined Candice LeRae's team with Dakota Kai, and Raquel González for TakeOver: WarGames, turning heel.[38] At Royal Rumble, she entered as #7 and was eliminated by Rhea Ripley.[39] She then competed in a triple threat match for the NXT Women's Championship involving Mercedes Martinez and reigning champion Io Shirai at TakeOver: Vengeance Day in a losing effort.[40] On 10 March 2021 episode of NXT, Storm challenged Shirai for the title, where she was again unsuccessful.[41]

Storm debuted on SmackDown on 23 July episode as a face, defeating Zelina Vega.[42] She was then defeated by Vega during the Queen's Crown tournament in the first round.[43] She participated in the 5 on 5 Survivor Series elimination match at Survivor Series; eliminating both Carmella and Vega but was then eliminated by Liv Morgan.[44] Storm then began a program with SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair[45] with Storm winning their first bout via disqualification.[46] She then received her title opportunity on the Christmas Eve edition of SmackDown[47] in a losing effort.[48] This was her last televised appearance in WWE; the following week, on 29 December 2021, Storm requested a release from her WWE contract and it was immediately granted.[49] In an interview with Renee Paquette six months later, she explained the reasons that led to her departure from the company and said, "I didn't feel that appreciated. And I just felt like [WWE], at times, didn't have very much respect for me. I feel like, over time, they just crushed my love for wrestling. It just wasn't even wrestling anymore. You're not even allowed to say 'wrestling'."[50]

All Elite Wrestling (2022–present)

Debut and joining The Outcasts (2022–2023)

Storm at AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door in June 2022

See also: The Outcasts

Storm made her AEW debut on 30 March 2022 episode of Dynamite as a participant in the qualifier match for the Owen Hart Foundation Women's Tournament, defeating The Bunny.[51] AEW then announced Storm signed with the company.[52] Storm defeated Jamie Hayter in the quarterfinals of the tournament,[53] and she was defeated by Britt Baker in the semi-finals.[54] On Road Rager special episode of Dynamite, Storm defeated Baker in a rematch to challenge AEW Women's World Champion Thunder Rosa for the title at AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door[55] in a losing effort.[56] At All Out, Storm defeated Baker, Hayter, and Hikaru Shida in a four-way match to become AEW Interim Women's World Champion.[57] She then defended her title against Athena, Baker, and Serena Deeb at Grand Slam.[58] She lost her championship in a title match against Hayter at Full Gear, ending her first reign at 76 days.[59][60] On the following episode of Dynamite, AEW recognized Storm's reign as lineal due to Rosa forfeiting the title.[61]

On 11 January 2023 episode of Dynamite, Storm teamed with Saraya in a losing effort to Hayter and Baker. Shida accidentally assisted the opposing team with her signature kendo stick, where Baker was able to capitalize, allowing for Hayter to pin Storm for the win.[62] The following week, Storm and Saraya turned heel as they attacked Willow Nightingale and began slating the AEW homegrown talent.[63] At Revolution, after Hayter defeated Ruby Soho and Saraya, Soho attacked Hayter and Baker officially aligning with Storm and Saraya.[64] On 10 March, the group became officially known as The Outcasts.[65] Over the next month, they continued a winning streak against the homegrown talent while humiliating them with their signature branding using spray paint.[66][67][68]

At Double or Nothing, Storm defeated Hayter to win her record-setting second AEW Women's World Championship.[69] On the first episode of Collision on 17 June, Storm and Soho made the debut in a tag team match against Blue and NJPW Strong Women's Champion Willow Nightingale.[70] Storm then retained her title against Nightingale at Forbidden Door.[71] In July, Storm defeated Taya Valkyrie in a title match at Battle of the Belts VII.[72] On 2 August episode of Dynamite 200, Storm lost the title to Hikaru Shida, ending her second reign at 66 days.[73][60] Storm failed to regain the title in a four-way match involving Shida, Saraya, and Baker at All In where she got pinned by Saraya.[74] At All Out, Storm turned on The Outcasts when she stopped Soho from using spray paint against AEW TBS Champion Kris Statlander in their title match.[75] At Grand Slam, Storm failed to win the AEW Women's World Championship from Saraya.[76]

"Timeless" (2023–present)

Heartbroken, after losing the AEW Women's World Championship to Hikaru Shida, Storm began to transition to a new on-screen persona of a demanding and paranoid Golden Age of Hollywood starlet.[77][78] Storm eventually dubbed herself as "Timeless" Toni Storm on 4 October episode of Dynamite.[79] Following the 25 October episode of Dynamite, Storm began to be accompanied in vignettes and to the ring by Luther, who serves as her personal butler.[80][81] In the same episode of Dynamite, it was announced that Storm would face Shida for the AEW Women's World Championship at Full Gear.[82] In the shows that followed after the announcement, Storm has been appearing after Shida's matches in attempts to steal Shida's spotlight to Shida's initial confusion and later, annoyance, causing Shida to attack Storm after one of her spotlight stealing attempts.[83][84][85] On the 8 November of Dynamite, the debuting Mariah May was introduced as an over-the-top fan of Storm.[86][87] At Full Gear on 18 November, Storm defeated Shida to win the AEW Women's World Championship for a record-tying third time.[88] On December 30 at Worlds End, Storm successfully defended the AEW Women's World Championship against Riho.[89]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2023)

On 21 May 2023, Storm made her debut for New Japan Pro-Wrestling at Resurgence, interfering in the street fight match between Juice Robinson and Fred Rosser, aiding Robinson in defeating Rosser, after getting physically involved during the match.[90]

Persona

Beginning in 2023, Storm took on the persona of a Golden Age of Hollywood starlet, drawing comparisons to Gloria Swanson and Norma Shearer

While competing on the independent circuit, Storm began to develop different personas before settling on one highly influenced by her enjoyment of 1980s glam metal music, leading her to take on a "rock star" aesthetic. This persona carried on through her time under the WWE banner and into the early goings of her run in AEW.[91]

Beginning in the latter half of 2023 in conjunction with her disassociation from The Outcasts stable, she adopted the "Timeless" Toni Storm persona which saw her transition into the character of a demanding and paranoid Golden Age of Hollywood starlet.[77][92] As part of the transition, Storm dropped her previous rock star aesthetic and began sporting a bobbed and curled haircut, wearing early 20th-century fashion-inspired outfits and appearing in black and white vignettes.[93] During her matches, "Timeless" Toni Storm began to dictate to AEW's director, telling them "I'm ready for my close up" (quoting Gloria Swanson's character in Sunset Boulevard) before a dramatic zoom as well as speaking directly to the audience, informing them "And now a word from our sponsors" just before a break for commercial.[94] The "Timeless" persona drew comparisons to actresses Swanson and Norma Shearer.[77][95]

One of Storm's finishing manoeuvres is a piledriver dubbed the "Storm Zero".[91]

Other media

As Toni Storm, Rossall is a playable character in the video games WWE 2K20[96] and WWE 2K22.[97] She also appears in AEW Fight Forever as DLC.[98]

In August 2022, Rossall was featured as the cover girl of Fitness Gurls magazine.[99]

Personal life

In June 2020, it was revealed that Rossall was dating American wrestler Juice Robinson.[100][101] They were married in 2022.[102]

In June 2021, during Rossall's takeover of the WWE NXT Instagram account for Pride Month, she came out as bisexual.[103]

Championships and accomplishments

Storm as the NXT UK Women's Champion in May 2019

References

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Preceded byHikaru Shida 12th AEW Women's World Champion 18 November 2023 – present Succeeded byIncumbent