I had been stumped as to what to write about this week. I’m one of those people who have to be ‘inspired’ in order to speak or write in this case. I guess I feel like if what I have to say isn’t interesting or if I can’t be passionate while writing, then it’s just best to sit back on my pink aura lol (insert joke here) and simmer. But alas, something came to me tonight; I felt fidgety like I needed to talk but couldn’t tell if, maybe, it was just the full moon coming this week that’s throwing off my balance or what the reason for my restlessness was. And then it came to me… this week in the ‘Fair’, I’m gonna discuss heroes in the wrestling business.
When I started out many years ago, I was a bright eyed, naive, sheltered teenager eager to jump feet first into the world of pro wrestling. Being a North Carolinian, I grew up knowing the names of Ric Flair (fave wrestler ever), Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes and many others. With Crockett Promotions taking place practically in my backyard I couldn’t help but be educated. I would not have called myself a fan, however. My quite ‘southern’ father, an avid fisherman, hunter and ‘rassling’ fan made sure to keep me updated though on all that was professional wrestling. He would turn on wrestling every Saturday morning and make me watch Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Repeating to me weekend after weekend: “Kristin, you’re gonna grow up and be a rassler. You’re just as strong and as pretty as those girls.” I would always retort in my prissy way: “No I’m NOT gonna be one of those girls Daddy! I am a lady!” I couldn’t have been more than ten years old at the time, but my father had just predicted my future. Well to a point. Becoming a wrestler did become part of my path and I’d like to think I remained a lady while doing so. But we are talking about heroes right? I guess in the GLOW era it would’ve been Tina Ferrari but Barbie was my first love, not that you can tell that by looking at me (wink wink). As I grew up, the Saturday morning tradition faded however it apparently stayed with me through at least my late-teens when I decided to give up my budding modeling career and pursue wrestling. Hey, if Trish could do it, so could I! Here was a girl who looked like a Barbie (my first love) but was a wrestler. I thought back to my father’s words… he was right! And I had found the person who would become my guide… or so I thought.
Ahh, silly, clueless, overzealous Krissy Vaine. I jumped in and I moved up. I had a drive and a determination. It was calling to me and I knew it. Great things would lie ahead, hard work and dedication would get me to the big show! I just knew Vince would be calling me at any minute. No one on the independent circuit looked like me and I knew it. The ball was in my court. Five years into my venture I received the call. I was brought in for my first tryout…
Long story short, I was entirely too ‘green’ and not ready for the big time yet. However, they did like me and continued to bring me in for tryouts and watch me progress over the next year. Each tryout allowed me to be nearer to my heroes that I watched on TV every week. I got my first taste of being let down by one of them during the tryout I had a year prior to my signing. I was like a kid in a candy store and was thrilled to be in the locker room with all the beauties that I watched on TV every week! I wanted to be just like them. And I thought everyone was friends! It was so exciting being a kid in that environment. I was on top of the world and just made myself right at home. I was gonna be one of the girls, we were all gonna be BFFs and travel and see the world together while performing and doing what we love! Ahahaha, silly Krissy Vaine.
I didn’t know that you weren’t allowed in the locker room unless you were ‘over’. I think I’ve mentioned before I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have my stuff thrown out into the streets. And then I saw her, she might as well have been radiating because she was the be all and end all as far as I was concerned. My holy grail, the one I so admire! I was screaming inside with excitement! It was TRISH! The wrestler who looks like Barbie and the one I want to be just like! Oh my god, she’s putting on her makeup right in front of me. What do I say? What do I do? Breathe. Okay, I can do this. This is my chance to form my bond, my lasting friendship with my hero and future mentor! And then I started talking.
I introduced myself to her and started carrying on a conversation about how she had influenced me to get into the wrestling business and how I had followed her since her Muscle Mag days and so on and so forth. She talked back, but not graciously and I could sense that but I just thought maybe she was concentrating (makeup) so I continued. Molly Holly, who was also doing her makeup, getting ready for TV jumped in and started asking questions about me. Where was I training? how long had I been wrestling? So on and so forth. She seemed to be genuinely interested in me and totally sweet however, I really wasn’t that interested in Molly although it was super cool she cared about me, but hello… Trish was in our presence and she is the queen of my wrestling world. Molly, you’re really sweet but reall… Ahem Trish, Trish? Where was Trish? She had snuck off for a moment. Where did she go? What was she doing? We were having a great conversation… or so I thought! Eventually she came back and approached her mirror again, quiet as a mouse and picked up where she had left off five minutes earlier. Within 10 seconds of her return, a burly woman came in and escorted me out of the area and told to me go to the ‘extras’ locker room, which was a broom closet by the way. Grr broom closet? Do you know who I think I am? I’m Krissy Vaine!!! And then it hit me. Oh no. Did what I think just happened, really happen? Did she just ‘strategize’ me? Did my hero just have my jabroni butt kicked out of the locker room because I was admiring her? It sure looked like it! But it was so slick, so smooth — maybe I was mistaken? Maybe I was just paranoid? But no, I hadn’t reached the paranoia state in my career yet — that came a few years later. Molly on the other hand, as I was being taken out, said: “No, she can stay, she’s not bothering anyone. She’s fine, don’t worry.” But to no avail. Thanks anyway, Molly.
So that was my first taste of it. That first bit of sadness you get when someone you look up to disappoints you. But there would be plenty more to come. I’m not blaming Trish, if you let it, the wrestling business can bring out the worst in you, I know it did with me. I acted so out of character so many times, I’m ashamed. I became a sheep in the herd, rather than the leader I was born to be. Upon a return (if and when it were to ever happen) I would be okay. I would remain aligned with myself and stay true to me. After all, I’m the only person I can truly count on. I learned that from my hero! You see, it’s lonely at the top. Yes, you get all the glitz and glamour or so it seems, but it’s like Stone Cold says: DTA. And its the God’s honest truth. Don’t trust anybody. Trish was just protecting herself and her property, it was nothing personal and I feel for sure, that she’s a great person. But DTA apparently really works well for her as it does the many who master it. I was foolish and Krissy Vaine at the time was ‘TE’, trust everybody! Unfortunately that was the only experience I had with my her. Others who I wouldn’t have been a fan of or ‘mark out’ for on TV became my heroes in the locker room. It’s always the ones who never got the ‘big push’ who are wonderful mentors to the younger generation. Molly, Victoria and Dawn Marie all made an impact on me in one way or another that they probably don’t even remember. It may have been just a smile or a helpful hand but they were kind to a newcomer who was very nervous and just wanted to fit in. I’m so happy to see Victoria getting the push she deserves at TNA, she is beyond bomb! I try to carry on that tradition when a newbie crosses my path. Exceptions to the prior rule in my experience were Melina and Torrie. Both are/were ‘over’ on TV and both seem to be wonderful people. Melina talked me through an awful night where one of the boys had ripped me a new one for having a boyfriend. She’s really sensitive and beautiful. She did not know me from the next blonde over, but was a shoulder for me to lean that night. It meant the world. She probably doesn’t even remember. Torrie, as has been well documented, is an angel. She only dealt with me for a short period but it was when I was at rock bottom. Instead of kicking me while I was down (like many others), she helped me to rise above and be great. I could have never done that without her. Actually, she pretty much did everything. I was a zombie just going through the motions by that point.
So I guess the moral of the story is your heroes may not be who you think they are. And it’s okay if they are not. We are all just human and no one is perfect and we shouldn’t expect them to be. Look for heroes in your daily life. When you find one align, or as we like to say, ‘tag team’ with them and do something great! They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms. You just have to look. I’ve made a habit out of looking and its brought such amazing people to me. Look up to someone you would never even think to look up to and tell them you admire them. There is great power in our words. Now when I think of heroes, I don’t look to the top Diva or Knockout — I love real people. I love people who make real changes in the world or in others’ lives. I love humans who make a difference and I hope that in some teensy weensy way I can be one of those people too. Until next time y’all!