Linda Miles wrestled in the WWE as "Shaniqua," but three years in the ego-driven world of professional wrestling were enough for her. She returned home to Cincinnati and to her love of basketball, which she now referees.
WWE's Linda Miles leaves 'Shaniqua' behind, rediscovers love of basketball
CINCINNATI -- Linda Miles made her mark in the Cincinnati Public School district. Miles was a star basketball player at Hughes High School and went on to play at Rutgers University.
Since then, she tried out wrestling in the WWE. But it didn’t take her long before she returned to the court, taking on a different role.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why’d you leave, why’d you leave?’” Miles said, “At the end of the day, you have to know yourself.”
Many people think Miles left the WWE, but it’s more accurate to say she stayed true to herself. As a wrestler, Miles was ‘Shaniqua’, where she brought S&M to the sport.
“She (‘Shaniqua’) was a strong woman,” Miles continued, “How about we say that?”
But Miles decided to walk away from the fame and the fortune. After three years in the WWE, ‘Shaniqua’ was no more.
“They’re all feeding these egos you have. If that’s not you, you sit back and say ‘I’m not into these crowds,’” Miles said.
She got back to being just Linda and back to the game she picked up as a seventh-grader in Avondale. Basketball made her an All-American at Hughes and a final four participant at Rutgers.
For the last nine years, Miles has worked as an official for women’s college games.
Miles told WCPO, “It’s where I want to be, the next 15-20 years, part of the game that has taken me around the world and given me a chance to be successful.”
“I still wrestle. I wrestle with my son all the time. My son loves wrestling. He’ll jump on mommy’s back, put me into a leg lock,” Miles continued, “Everything happened for a reason.”