Independent wrestler veteran and Mae Young Classic competitor Mercedes Martinez recently spoke with Women on the RISE podcast to discuss her decision to take a two-year hiatus from wrestling, her in-ring return after her wrestling break, the rise of new female talents and possibility of signing with WWE. Highlights of the interview below.
On SHIMMER and SHINE reaching their 100th and 50th show respectively: It’s exciting to see the evolution of what its become from SHINE 1 to pretty much hit 50. It should be a pretty big show. I’m looking forward to SHINE 50. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun and traveling the world and just doing crazy things. Even with SHIMMER coming around – we’re hitting SHIMMER 100. All these milestones for all these companies, especially women companies, it’s an exciting time and it’s so much fun.
On her decision to take a break from wrestling: No one knew that I was pretty much going on hiatus. It was one of my last shows [SHIMMER 66] that I was doing for the year to take a hiatus due to injury and personal reasons. No one knew, not even Cheerleader Melissa. I kept it very quiet, I think Dave [Prazak] was one of the few that knew. It was surreal, it was a very emotional weekend and that taping pretty much cemented the fact that I knew I had to leave. It was my to go for a little bit and regroup. What people don’t realize is that when you are on the road for so long and you’re grinding and hustling and you’re putting your body through hell and doing real life stuff. I do have a real job, I don’t do wrestling full time even though it seems that way but I do have a real job that pays my bills. It takes a toll on your real life, family, friends and you need time to regroup and live in the real world and not in this professional wrestling world sometimes. That’s what I needed, not just for injuries but I needed time. I just got married, fans now just got wind of that within the last year, but I wanted time for my family, wanted time for myself to be away from wrestling and just live. I’ve been on the road at that time for 14 years in 2014 and it was just time give my body a break. It was very overwhelming and emotional for me.
On making her in-ring return after her hiatus: I came back like I never left. I came back with more fire and love for the sport. I took the time away. I had the shoulder surgery that no one knew I was getting. My mind needed to get away from wrestling and when it came back it was just like ‘Wow, this is something I want to do and need in my life.’ I think I just got bored of regular life but i needed to come back. When I came back, it was almost like a resurgence – almost like when I first walked out to the ring ever in my career. Those butterflies, that adrenaline, that passion came back. That’s what it felt like to coming back. I had taken a hiatus before when I had my right shoulder back in 2007 but this comeback surpassed that one. It was time for me to be back and show the world that no matter how long I’m gone and no matter what injuries, I’m still going to be art the top of my game, if not ten times better.
On her favorite part of working with the rising new female talent: I get to look at the new characters and my wrestling has gotten better in the last two years. Even my promo work and everything has changed in the last two years because of the new girls that came in. They make you step up your game ten times better because they come in that much better. They’re hungrier and they want more and they’re willing to learn. That is my role now, not only to stay on top but to help these girls reach the pinnacle that I am at. Maybe faster than I got there on my own. It’s such a great time to be a woman wrestler and I’m glad to be a part of it whether it’s helping the girls reach the next level of success or having kick ass matches all these young hungry talents. I’m having the time of my life doing it.
On wanting to help the next generation of talent: I’m a firm believer that all women wrestlers should support one another, regardless of what level you are on. If I can never make it to the big leagues and get that contract that I want, I am going to make sure I help the next person get there and not make the mistakes that maybe I did and I didn’t know because no one told me. I want to make sure they have the tools, knowledge, and experience to get to that next level and stay there. If I can help them get there than that it is more of an accomplishment to me than winning any title. That’s where I want to leave my legacy. If I have a match with you, I want to make sure I make you look like a star because at the end of the day it takes two to tango. If I can make you look great, I know you’re going to make me look great and that is my job. As wrestlers, we need to have kick ass matches. It’s not going to be one-sided. I don’t care if you’ve been in the business for two years. If you can go and you can give me a kick ass match then let’s go. Let’s tear the house down because it’s going to make you that much better, put that much more stock in you. That is my job now, at this point, in time, to help the girls. It’s really positive and it makes me happy.
On the possibility of signing with WWE: I’m glad that every promotion wants to have me. I love working for new companies and my regular companies and if WWE signs me, they sign me. If they don’t, it’s okay. I’m okay. I love working in front of the fans. I love just being a part of the ring with everybody. I love what I do, regardless of what scale it’s on. Whether I do get that contract now, later or never it’s okay. I’m still loving what I do and will always give 150% in that ring.
Martinez also discusses working with Aja Kong, teaching at the RISE seminars and winning the SHIMMER Championship.
What did you think of the interview? Have you enjoyed seeing Martinez since her return? What have been some of your favorite Mercedes Martinez moments? Let us know in the comments below!