Sable was the first woman to truly break out of the shadows of her male charge and become a mega-star. Becoming the first female star as immediately recognizable as any male on the show, she would go on to appear on the cover of one of the hottest-selling Playboy magazines of all-time.
Unfortunately, not unlike Wendi Richter a decade before, Sable's newfound ego led to her departure from WWE. In 2003, she made an unlikely return and created a new WrestleMania memory for her fans eight years after her debut.
Sable's on-air debut occurred at WrestleMania XII in Anaheim, Calif. Seconding Hunter Hearst Helmsley to the ring before a squash loss to the Ultimate Warrior, Sable appeared to be just another escort for the privileged native of Greenwich, Conn.
After the crushing defeat, however, Helmsley was quick to blame Sable. As he berated her backstage, "Wildman" Marc Mero, in his debut, defended his real-life wife and came to her aid. What resulted in the ensuing weeks was a partnership between Mero and Sable that catapulted both to the upper mid-card level of WWE.
In late 1996, Mero suffered a knee injury and Sable was left to parade around in the latest WWE tee shirts, little more than a walking advertisement. When Mero returned, he appeared to become more and more impatient with Sable's increased stardom.
As the weeks and months wore on, Mero's impatience turned to absolute jealous over Sable's ever-increasing popularity. Mero enlisted the likes of Goldust and Luna to help him humble and humiliate Sable.
Week after week, the beautiful blonde was subject to poor treatment at the hands of Mero and his associates. Then, on the road to WrestleMania XIV, Goldust laid his hands on Sable, pulling her off of Luna during a catfight between the two. Mero took exception, not wanting any man to touch what he considered to be his property.
A week later, when after Goldust and Luna embarrassed a helpless Sable, the deranged couple issued a challenge to Mero and his manager for a mixed tag match at WrestleMania. The challenge was accepted and the match was official.
The WrestleMania XIV mixed tag match had absolutely nothing to do with Mero, Goldust, or Luna. The only purpose it had was to elevate Sable and it did just that. She exploded into the ring like an uncaged animal, laying into Luna with hard rights and lefts and stiff kicks to the midsection.
She even laid into Goldust with a forearm that knocked him down to the apron. Sable would finish Luna with a vicious TKO, the finishing move of the newly-dubbed "Marvelous" Marc Mero.
Following her performance in Boston, Sable became a star on the level of Steve Austin. Much like Wendi Richter had become in 1984-1985 in relation to Hulk Hogan, Sable's face was plastered all over promotional products and her merchandise was below only Steve Austin and D-Generation X in terms of popularity.
Heading into Philadelphia for WrestleMania XV, Sable seemed different. Now a heel, her portrayal of a snobby starlet who knew she was popular and knew she was the hottest woman in the company seemed far too real.
Rumors and reports from the backstage area had painted her as a complete "diva," far before the word was affectionately used to describe the WWE's female talent.
She was clearly becoming a problem behind the scenes but her popularity was at a high due to her Playboy appearance and as a result, the company had no other choice but to add her to the WrestleMania card.
The whole build to the match with Tori in Philadelphia was shoddily done. Sable, her on-air ego nearly as large as her behind-the-scenes ego, repeatedly shunned a woman sitting ringside, claiming to be her biggest fan.
Then one week, out of the blue, she seemingly accepted Tori, only to beat her down. A match between the two was soon set and Sable's appearance became sporadic, at best. The lackluster build for the WrestleMania contest was only a foreshadowing of what was to come.
The Sable-Tori match at WrestleMania was one of the worst on a card full of bad, poorly-booked contests. Sable seemed disinterested and the match was a mess because of it. With the help of her new bodyguard Nicole Bass, the Women's Champion defeated Tori and left Philadelphia with her title in tact.
Weeks later, in a turn of events that may or may not have been reminiscent of the Wendi Richter screwjob 14 years earlier, Sable lost the championship in controversial fashion and was never seen on WWE television again. It was a disappointing end to a career that, at one time, looked destined for greatness.
Four years later on the first post-Wrestlemania edition of Smackdown, Sable made her return to WWE in shocking fashion. No one expected to see her on World Wrestling Entertainment television again.
She immediately was inserted in a storyline involving Torrie Wilson, one that saw the two ultimately compete in a bikini contest at the Judgment Day pay-per-view. From there, Sable would align herself with Mr. McMahon as his new arm candy.
In February 2004, it was announced that the original Playboy cover girl and the latest one, Torrie, would pose on the cover as a duo. Storyline jealousy from Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie led to the challenge for an Evening Gown tag team match between the two teams at WrestleMania XX.
Sable's involvement in the match was minimal, thanks in part to an injury suffered shortly before the event. A ruptured breast implant meant Torrie did most of the work for her team.
However, after leaving in the manner she had five years prior, seeing Sable stand victoriously and proudly in the center of the squared circle made up for her poor performance half a decade earlier.
Sable was the first must-see female act in wrestling history. The fans were invested in her, not only because of the way she looked but because there was a sense of the unexpected that had not existed with the women who came before her.
What would she wear? What would she say? Do? She was as exciting to watch on a weekly basis as Austin, DX, or the Rock.
Her exploits were as much apart of the Attitude Era as Austin's beer drinking, swearing, and middle finger flipping.
And for that reason alone, she should be remembered not only as a memorable woman of WrestleMania but as a vital piece of the industry-changing attitude WWE had flaunted during that era.