April 1st, 2008 | Author: Anthony Springer Jr
In a game of word association, “professional wrestling” typically conjures up images of muscular, high flying men beating each other to a pulp with their arms, feet and any weapon they can get a hold of. Several generations of fans have laugh, cried, been entertained and argued about their favorite stars of the squared circle. Despite a handful of pioneers in women’s wrestling, including the late Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze, and Miss Elizabeth (also deceased), pro wrestling was still primarily seen as a boys club.
2005 marked the debut of Melina to the WWE. Nearly three years after gracing the squared circle and two women’s championships later, she proved she has the beauty to hang with the WWE Divas, the brains to manage a team to tag team gold…oh, and did we mention she can kick ass too?
HipHopDX caught up with Melina when the Wrestlemania Fan Axxess tour rolled through Las Vegas where she chopped it up with us about her humble beginnings, her biggest influences, and her famous ring entrance. You’ll also see that she has a thing for aggression.
HipHopDX: Tell me a little about the moment you knew you wanted to get into professional wrestling.
Molina: Well there wasn’t a significant moment where I felt like this is it. Well maybe yeah, because I always watched wrestling. Never imagined that I’d be a part of it, but I did it as a hobby and for the physical activity.
When I got scouted by Dr. Tom Pritchard, he said that I had potential and gave me his card. He invited me to a workout held by the WWE. When he gave me that card and said that, it was like “whoa” this could actually be a career for me. I kept training and kept going until finally I made it.
But I never thought, “I’m gonna be a wrestler!“, but that moment when he told me that, that’s when I knew I could do this.
DX: You started out as one of the WWE Divas correct?
M: I started out as a manager. When I made my TV appearance, I managed a tag team called MNM.
DX: Do you enjoy the wrestling more than managing?
M: I enjoy both. There are two different aspects for each. I love being aggressive, I love wrestling. I got into the WWE because I wanted to wrestle, but I have a new love for managing. I get to show my character off and tell stories in a different way. I love them both; I’d do it all. [Laughs]
DX: Are there some challenges to being a female in the world of professional wrestling?
M: I feel like you have to do more… I feel like I have to prove myself more so because they just see me like I’m just there to stand at ring side. I had to prove that I could actually be a wrestler. People thought I could just cat fight but there’s a lot more to it. I take pride in working hard and trying to prove myself. I think I have to be more aggressive too because the guys are so much bigger and everything you know what I mean?
M: People take notice of [the guys] because of the way they look. But I feel like we’re so small that we have to be more aggressive for people to take us seriousl
DX: Do you feel that the quality of the women’s division has gotten better over the years?
M: I think it’s just changed.
DX: What do you mean?
M: We have more of a variety of girls. There are not just body builder types; now we have a variety of girls. I think that’s good because now when girls are watching they can identify with different types of body shapes or different kinds of images or styles. There’s just more of a variety of girls now wrestling.
DX: Who were some of your influences, male or female when you were growing up? I remember you saying you were a big wrestling fan.
M: Sensational Sherri was a big influence on me. I love her, I love her still [note: Sherri Martel passed away last year]. As far as more current wrestlers, Rey Mysterio and [Chris] Jericho. Also in the female division, Lita and Trish [Stratus]. They influenced me a lot.
DX: If you could pick one female from any era to wrestle, who would it be?
M: I would say Sensational Sherri. [Laughs] To me, she’s so creative and very emotional. You can feel what she’s doing. I feed off of another person’s energy and their emotions and when they’re creative, I’m creative. Who knows what we could’ve done and what could’ve come out of that? She’s such an inspiration to me.
DX: You’ve gotten a lot of attention for your ring entrance, how did that come about?
M: It’s so weird because when I started training at OVW [Ohio Valley Wrestling] —which is the WWE’s old developmental camp—I was always able to do the splits, but what do I do with that? When you’re in a fight, you don’t just do the splits. Everybody told me I should do something with that but I didn’t know what. When it came time to do a [television taping] for our developmental camp, my partner Johnny Nitro, he was telling me, “We gotta come up with an entrance, you gotta do something sexy.” Another friend of mine, Skyfire was like, “Okay, maybe you should stroke the ropes, it’s gotta be sexy.“
And I said, “How about this?” and I just did [the splits]. They said, “That’s it!” From there I would do that and it just evolved from there.
DX: How do you want to be remembered in professional wrestling?
M: I want to be remembered as a female who made a mark. That I was very aggressive, that I would take anything. It’s an aggressive sport. Somebody who did a lot of creative things and took it to a different level. I want to be remembered for inspiring other women to be themselves and not be afraid. Also for ethnic women too, that they can make a mark in entertainment or wrestling.