Candice Michelle did an interview with Jim Conlan to talk about her wrestling career. Below are the highlights.
On how she got into the business:
I grew up watching professional wrestling every Monday night with my stepdad, but I think, to me back, then was not achievable. You look at them, they were superstars, so I never thought that was even something possible. So coming to LA for what I thought was my dream really lead me to audition for WWE.
When I moved to LA, I was about 19 years old, so I was really discovering myself. I was doing different modelling work and then I started to audition for TV shows, just discovering is this for me, what do I want to be on these shows. It was through the modelling agency that I got the audition for the Diva Search. It sounded so weird and I was like, heck yeah, I totally want to audition for that.
On not receiving any training:
I didn’t get any of that training. The pro on me getting thrown on TV right away was ‘I was in, I got this contract with WWE, I didn’t have to go to all these wrestling schools, I was in.’ The con to that was I had to figure out the ways on how to learn. And when you come into this world seeing all these different moves, I never thought that I had to learn how to fall, I thought ‘How can I get to the top rope and jump?’ I wanted to do everything super fancy, I didn’t even know there was a way to start, I knew nothing about that.
So I would rent a ring near my house, it was like the worst wrestling ring you could ever imagine. And I found this wrestling guy named Shannon and he was like ‘I’ll go with you.’ He was trying to run through the steps. Then I would go to the house shows early to set up the ring and I would get in with the ref. And once they saw I was serious, more and more wrestlers were willing to help me out. My training was on the road always, I never went to a school.
On women fighting for the spot at the time:
That’s kind of part of the business because you’re with this group of people more than the family. It is like your family, they’re kind of like your ride and dies. At the same time, women in the locker room were vying for the Women’s title, there was only one Women’s championship. No Tag Team, no Divas championship, there’s one that was flipped between both shows.
I did have some times with where I thought ‘This is my girl,’ and then they do something in the ring, where I was like ‘Wow you totally stabbed be in the back there.’ I just had to take those as learning lessons, I was way less experienced at that time, but then there were also girls like Beth Phoenix. She works for the match. It’s not about her getting all her stuff in, or me getting my stuff in. It’s about how can we work for the crowd. When you find somebody like that, and you click, you have the best matches. And we did have great matches.
On when Vince McMahon began to trust her as a wrestler:
There was one time that I’ll never forget. I was wrestling Melina and I think we had about 2 minutes of wrestling time, but it was that match where Vince literally saw the crowd reacting to me and saw me 100% in there for wrestling. I went back to the locker room, I was about to go shower, and there was a knock on the door and another one of my fellow Divas was like ‘Vince is at the door and he wants to talk to you.’ And I was like ‘What did I do wrong?’ So I threw a towel around me and I went to the door he’s like ‘That was awesome, kid. That was good work tonight.’ And for him to leave gorilla, to come to the locker room and say that, I was like ‘Okay, I’m doing the right thing.’ So that was a good moment for me.
On her heat with Melina:
For me, the biggest test was wrestling Melina. She didn’t feel I belonged there. She thought she came up through the wrestling ranks and I just came in from Hollywood, and how dare I be a wrestler and how dare I have a championship match. So to try and work with somebody who doesn’t want to work with you was extremely challenging and frustrating. I remember going out there like ‘If this was a shoot match, let’s shoot.’ We had no match put together, and I was thinking like ‘I don’t know what is gonna happen, I have to go out there, whatever happens’ And we had a great match and the respect slowly grew.
On how injuries played a part in her life:
It played a perfect path for me. I never would’ve wanted to quit at that point. I wish the injuries didn’t happen, but because of them it forced me to get released, and I have a beautiful family. So really what some female wrestlers think they have missed out on, I didn’t. I really got to have the best of both worlds. Don’t get me wrong, it sucked, I was devastated. I was on the couch, depressed, I knew nothing about the recovery at that time.
Then I got re-injured, re-injured, re-injured. Literally I was so bad at recovery that when I went back from my first match back after I was knocked out, my collarbone was still broken and somehow I convinced Johnny and the doctors backstage I was fine, I can move it. And on that first dropkick, I shattered it. So I take full responsibility, but it paved a path that is perfect for me.
You can watch the full interview below.