Eva spoke with Gerry Strauss of The Hype Magazine recently, regarding the return of Total Divas and her time in the WWE. Listen to the interview ahead!
Eva spoke with Gerry Strauss of The Hype Magazine recently, regarding the return of Total Divas and her time in the WWE. Listen to the interview ahead!
Eva spoke with Kenny Herzog of Rolling Stone recently, about Total Divas, the main roster and how she handles her critics. Check it out ahead!
No WWE superstar’s been thrown to the wolves quite like Eva Marie.
The California-bred fitness model and wrestling neophyte was signed in 2013, and by that summer was thrust onto audiences as both a centerpiece of Total Divas and in-ring competitor on Raw. Fans summarily rejected the imposition and, in turn, Eva’s predetermined anointment as the future face of her division. Unfortunately, her innate sex appeal and presentation as flame-haired queen biatch couldn’t cover for her lack of polish. By early 2015 – and after combating injury – she willingly stepped out of the spotlight to train with former WWE tag champ Brian Kendrick, and has since resurrected herself as a legit lady heel in NXT, warring with Women’s Champion Bayley and seemingly priming herself for a return to the main roster.
One day following her near-win in a No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal at Full Sail Arena (and with a new season of Total Divas premiering Tuesday on E!), we asked the divisive Diva about whether we’ll be seeing her at Fastlane, tuning out those “Eva can’t wrestle” chants and why Asuka is what’s best for business.
So, for the record, can we infer from recent photo shoots that you’ll be back on Raw and SmackDown again soon?
I mean, that is the hope. I can tell you [the photo shoot] was definitely for Fastlane, and that is the goal for sure. I think there needs to be a little bit more of All Red Everything on Raw and SmackDown.
Where does Eva Marie fit into the Divas landscape, which is markedly different than during your last main-roster run?
So much has changed. I’m a pretty big bad guy, so that would definitely transpire on the main roster. I’d be coming in as a major heel. I think they need some heel blood for sure, so hopefully that can happen.
In terms of timing, has it been about waiting until your character generated enough heat in NXT before being called up?
Yeah, the fact that I’m able to be on the road and be performing in front of crowds and building my heel character, as well as on NXT TV, is huge, because you take what we’re doing there and put it up on the main roster. So far, so good.
Was part of the plan to have this Total Divas season introduce the work you’ve been doing in NXT to a wider audience before returning to the main roster?
Yes, exactly. I was not the most liked cast member last season, so this season you’re gonna see how and why I chose to go to NXT and the reasoning behind going to hone my craft and build my character as well. I think that’s great for not only the E! network, but our WWE universe to see, because you get to see the difference between myself and people like Natalya or Paige, who were born into wrestling. I think it’s good for people to see the difference between the two and how much work it does take to become a WWE Diva.
How do you win over fans that are still skeptical about your commitment to wrestling as opposed to the overall Eva Marie brand?
People are always going to have something to say, where it’s good, bad or indifferent. And for me, I know exactly why I became a WWE Diva. I think people forget I tried out to be a Diva before I got Total Divas. So I was given this amazing opportunity that, if presented to anybody, they would take. As far as my commitment to being a wrestler, the proof is in the pudding. I asked to go back to NXT when I really didn’t have to. I was already on the main roster, so I could have continued doing what I was doing up there. I never want to do anything mediocre, so I needed to make that personal assessment and ask Vince McMahon and Triple H, “Can I go to NXT?” Because we have the resources, so why wouldn’t I want to capitalize on that? I’ve put in blood, sweat and tears to progress, which is awesome, ’cause look at me now: I’m working a live event tonight. It was definitely one of the scariest – but best – decisions I’ve ever made.
Was there ever talk of completely overhauling your character rather than just changing her attitude?
A little bit, but then it was one of those things where I already had a little of this character created, and I just needed to bring it from a two and put it on a 20. You can see my progression from my first match back to my title match with Bayley and really embracing my heel character and coming into my own and enjoying the bad-guy persona.
Was the biggest obstacle not appearing rattled when fans antagonize you or chant, “Eva can’t wrestle”?
A hundred-and-ten percent. The Eva Marie two years ago? Sure, mentally, it would get to me, but that was before I had the skillset I do now. For me, it’s all about being the character, so those boos and the craziness are super-inviting – I want it and I want them to continue bringing it. If they were quiet, I’m not doing too much. It’s awesome for storytelling, and at the end of the day, that’s what WWE’s all about: telling a great story within the match.
And with the influx of talent brought in – or rumored to be coming – from other promotions around the world, does that put the NXT locker room on edge, or are you guys enthusiastic about it?
I think each individual feels differently about what talent’s getting brought in. For me personally, the more the merrier. Each person is an individual, and as long as you’re comfortable with your character and what you bring to the table, that’s all that matters, because there is enough room for all of us. For instance, them bringing in Asuka – it’s such a great thing for not only NXT but the WWE brand, because you’re able to pull in different audiences from all around the world. At the end of the day, that helps you with your performance and your character, because you’ll be able to step in the ring with someone like her or someone from a different organization. All around, it’s a win-win and beneficial.
NXT Women’s Champion Bayley recently spoke to Rolling Stone and she had a few things to say about Eva Marie. Read some highlights from the interview below:
And this might sound bad, but I really want to work with Eva Marie, just because it seems like that’s what people want.
My fans don’t like her, so I don’t want them to be like, “Oh, why do you want to work with her?” But the reason is because she’s a different competitor and I think we’d have an interesting dynamic. I get a lot of tweets about Eva, and I can’t blame the fans, because all they really know is what they see on Total Divas, and they base their cheers on that, I guess. I’ve never personally had a problem with her; I don’t see her much, but the shows that she has done, I’ve seen her progressing each match, each show, each training session. I know that the drive is there to get better, so it’s up to her to see how far she can go.
You better jump on the All Red Everything bandwagon before it gets too crowded. WWE Diva, Eva Marie is knocking the door down and grabbing that brass ring, and it doesn’t sound like anyone will stand in her way. The highly sought after Diva is starting to shine as bright as her red hair. Fresh off of her revival in NXT and a chaotic week for SummerSlam, the Total Divas star gave us insight into the real Eva Marie and opened up about her grueling training, the crazy world of reality television, becoming the face of the Divas division, and more.
Crave: You just made your return to NXT last month and showed your fans some of your training with Brian Kendrick along the way. What was the most difficult part of the training?
Eva Marie: Obviously, I didn’t come out of the womb wrestling so I think everything was the most difficult. I’m a field athlete. My sport was soccer growing up so just putting my body in all of those different positions was definitely new and different for me. It was fun each day because we got to learn something totally different than the day before but I haven’t been able to train that consistently since I joined WWE so for me that was really putting my body through the ultimate test.
Crave: Did Brian Kendrick have you study any particular film or style?
Absolutely! He didn’t specifically tell me to stay with any certain style but he had me watch film from Japanese wrestling to old school matches with WWE. I watched a lot of super crazy Tajiri matches, which were insane to me because of that style. It’s so fast doing moonsault after moonsault after moonsault was pretty impressive. I just pick and choose from different matches and different eras. Things are always changing but a lot of things are the same just with different little flavors.
Crave: Your NXT entrance attire had the Internet buzzing. What was the inspiration for the robe and the rest of your attire? How did you decide on that look?
Eva Marie: That was collaboration between Brian [Kendrick] and myself. His wife actually made my robe for me. I love the old school wrestling. That’s what I watched with my brothers so I wanted to bring back the over the top pageantry, the glam, and no Diva on the roster has an entrance like that so I wanted to be different and bring something new into the generation that I’m in right now.
Crave: I understand you have a crazy schedule this week and a charity softball game coming up. I know you played soccer at Cal State Fullerton so do you think that will carry over and make you a powerhouse on the field?
Eva Marie: I hope so [laughs]. I haven’t swung a bat in ten years so I think it will be all in fun. Thank goodness it’s for charity because my competitive side comes out and I need to win in everything I do, so hopefully I don’t get into too many arguments out there on the field.
Crave: You’re also participating in the Be a STAR anti-bullying campaign. What made you want to be a part of that?
I think it’s really important just for young kids especially because I’ll be speaking to kids between 6 and 15-years old as well as Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus. I think it’s really important to show it’s all about treating one another with dignity and respect no matter whom you are, no matter what your race, gender, it doesn’t matter. The golden rule I always live by is treat others how you want to be treated and I really believe in that. That’s what’s so rewarding about WWE. Not only do we get to go perform for millions of fans but we also, get to go out and touch lives and that’s what’s really important; just sending out that positive message because at the end of the day, that’s what we have; our relationships and interactions with people.
This week on NXT, Eva Marie made her highly anticipated return to the ring. A common target of both praise and criticism from the WWE Universe, the red-haired Diva claims she will do whatever it takes to ascend to the top of WWE. On the heels of her return, Eva speaks on her passion for sports-entertainment, addresses the words of her critics and explains why she plans on being one of the greatest Divas in WWE history.
WWE.COM: Eva, how did it feel to finally make your return to the ring?
EVA: It felt amazing! The crowd was awesome. The NXT fans are highly passionate and highly vocal. They let you know exactly how they feel about your performance. When I first came out, it was to a roar of boos, “you can’t wrestle” chants and a few cheers. However, as my match progressed, the crowd began to cheer for me and eventually the cheers were drowning out the boos. That was such a surreal moment for me. The crowd made my return an absolutely incredible experience and one I will always remember.
WWE.COM: Why did you take time away to re-train and work on your craft?
EVA: What most people forget is that I originally tried out to be a WWE Diva. I wanted to wrestle so that’s why I joined WWE. However, I was placed on “Total Divas” immediately after I signed my NXT contract and while that was incredible and a huge blessing, the filming and travel schedule all but eradicated my ability to train in wrestling. That never sat well with me because wrestling was why I joined WWE. But I was new and given an incredible opportunity with being on “Total Divas.” I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining or taking it for granted. When my health issues occurred, I promised myself that after my surgery I was going to make the time to work on my craft no matter what. I asked Triple H and Vince if they would be ok with me spending the next few months after my surgery training full time and they supported me 100 percent. So with their support, I stepped away from TV (RAW, SmackDown), scaled back on filming “Total Divas” and made the decision to train full time in Los Angeles and at the WWE Performance Center.
WWE.COM: Let’s backtrack for a minute. Why did you decide to attempt to become a WWE Diva in the first place?
EVA: I grew up watching WWF/WWE and have always been a fan of wrestling. When the opportunity to enter the WWE Diva Search was presented to me, I jumped at the chance! “Total Divas” wasn’t on my radar or even anything that I had heard of. Immediately after my tryout with the WWE Developmental system, I was asked to interview for a WWE project but I had no idea what it was for. I interviewed on a Friday, got a call on that Saturday saying I got the project. Next thing you know, I was on a plane to WrestleMania in New York and would begin filming that Monday.
WWE.COM: You mentioned growing up a WWE fan. Who were some of your favorites as a child?
EVA: I am the youngest of three older brothers, so I grew up not only watching WWE, but also jumping off the top of my bunk bed to crossbody my brothers while we pretended to be our favorite wrestlers. I was a huge Ultimate Warrior fan as well as Razor Ramon.
WWE.COM: Fast forward two years after you first came to WWE and your mere presence seems to incite an incredible amount of passionate opinions both positive and negative. How do you feel about that?
EVA: I absolutely love it! As long as people are talking about me, it’s a good thing. The moment people stop caring enough about you to discuss you, you are dead in this industry. I came here to make a statement and the amount of discourse surrounding me is proof positive that I am accomplishing my goal.
WWE.COM: What goes through your mind when you hear some of the negative comments, especially those which have been downright scathing?
EVA: At the end of the day, as long as you are giving 100 percent in all aspects of your life, you aren’t going to take it to heart when people are negative toward you because you know you are giving your all. Knowing you are doing all you can do gives you a sense of confidence that is hard to describe. In life, all you have to do is your best and then let God handle the rest. It’s that simple. When the fans make negative comments about my wrestling ability, I listen to it and respect it. The opinions help drive my desire to train and get better so I can perform at my very best for them. When I hear the girls speaking negatively about me on TV, it makes me smile huge because let’s be honest, it means that I’m on their minds.
WWE.COM: You’ve said in the past that you plan to be one of the greatest Divas Champions of all time. Do you honestly believe you can accomplish that feat?
EVA: Yes, I will accomplish this goal. Everyone who achieves greatness began with the dream to be great. That dream permeates into every aspect of their life and becomes a part of them. Being a great Diva doesn’t just mean being great in the ring, it means having a positive impact on the lives of others and being active in the community. My dream is to be one of the greatest Divas of all time both inside and outside of the ring and I will accomplish this.
WWE.COM: In your own words, how can we best describe you?
EVA: Confident. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is confident and comfortable in her own skin. That is the beauty of beauty and it comes in all forms of age, shape, height, color and culture. Confidence radiates from within and then manifests on the outside and it transcends any myopic cookie cutter definitions of physical beauty set by media or culture. Every single woman is beautiful and the more confident they are in themselves, the more their beauty is reflected outwardly to those they encounter. The goal of Eva Marie is to help empower women to be confident in who they are and radiate that confidence to all aspects of their life.
WWE.COM: Before we let you go, do you have a final message for the WWE Universe?
EVA: I will always give it 100 percent. I respect the fact that they are spending their hard earned money to come and see us perform. Every time I step in the ring, my No. 1 priority is to give them an awesome performance and show. I may not be the fastest, I may not be the strongest, but I promise I will always be working my hardest. It’s about to get a whole lot hotter up in this Universe so get ready. #AllRedEverything #RedStormRising