December 2, 2017

Candice Michelle Talks Retirement Match, How Injuries Ended Her WWE Career, More

Former WWE Women’s Champion Candice Michelle, who will wrestle in her final match tonight against Victoria at Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore 36, spoke with On Milwaukee to look back at her wrestling career and how she’s been training to step in the ring for the first time in eight years. Here are some highlights:


How did you respond to Tommy’s offer to wrestle again?
“I just knew what he was going to say, and I knew it was the perfect timing. And it’s just such a gift, really, what he’s giving me. I didn’t realize I had so many feelings still, because I’ve been grateful to have moved on after wrestling, which I feel is a really hard thing to do.

But I had a beautiful family. I’ve been a mom full time. It was just time for me to be me again, to find out who I was. So to have this opportunity, to be in my home town, to come back and wrestle and to face my fans, and face my fears and everything that happened …”
On training for her final match:
“I did training at Knox Pro Wrestling Academy, back in L.A. That first bump … woo! That sh*t hurts. You forget. And my body forgot. I trained for a month and a half there a couple times a week. I cried every time I was there. Whether it was because I was in pain or because I missed it, or because of facing those spirits.”
On her interest to become a wrestler:
“I grew up on wrestling. At that time I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I want to be a pro wrestler.’ I didn’t even know you could train to do that. So it was really funny, because for me, it came full circle. I grew up watching it every Monday night with my stepdad, Ken. This is actually part of a little talk I give: I had a Hulk Hogan doll, instead of Barbie dolls. I went to the shows. I remember high-fiving The Bushwhackers. And then I move to LA, and my agent calls me. He’s like, ‘Hey Candice, you know, WWE’s holding this first-ever Diva Search contest, and the winner will get $100,000 and a one-year contract.’ He’s like, ‘Are you interested?’ It sounded a little weird to him. I’m thinking, ‘Heck yeah, I’m interested.’ I grew up watching this. I love it. I’m athletic. And it’s being on TV. So it’s the best of both worlds. I didn’t win that contest, but then they offered me the three year contract from there.”
On first arriving to the WWE:
“It was brutal. I remember I was in the locker room with Lita, who is very intimidating. I went to put my makeup on; I thought I took the worst spot in the locker room. I thought I was being respectful. I sat on the floor by a mirror. And she got up in my face, and she was like, ‘What? Do you think you can walk in here and take the best spot in the locker room?’ And I was like, ‘I’m sitting on the floor!’ I was considered the Hollywood girl. These wrestling girls, they paved the way of going to these Indie shows and training camps and putting their bodies through this for so long. And I just come from Hollywood and show up. So I get their side of it. I had to earn the wrestling respect side of it.”
How her WWE career came to an end:
“We were coming back from a two-week European tour, and it was our last match in Nebraska before we got a break. It was a big match with me and Beth Phoenix, and I went up to the top rope for a spot where she was gonna hit the rope and I was gonna eat it. But my boot caught, and I nose dived. So I was knocked out, on live TV. The next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance, and they said, ‘Your husband’s being flown in’ When you’re in a neck brace, and you’re in an ambulance, and they’re flying your husband in, it’s pretty scary. Thankfully I just had a broken collar bone and a concussion. But the hardest part is it shelved me. I worked so hard to get that spot, and that recognition from my coworkers, and from the fans. And now I’m shelved for six months. I think most wrestlers have a very relentless mentality. Somehow I had to convince (producer) Johnny Laurinaitis and the doctors there that my collarbone was not broken anymore, even though the X-rays show it was still. Somehow I weaseled my way into a match, and the first drop kick, I shattered it. But, I finished the match. I was shelved another six months. Then I was coming back, and WrestleMania was coming up, just being in overdrive. I did a Superman punch, landed on my ankle and tore two ligaments. That was the final injury where I got the call to say, ‘All right, kid. You’re done.’


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