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Wrestlicious Exclusive: Interview with Felony (aka Rain/Payton Banks)

We’re just three days away from the series premiere of new Wrestlicious series, ‘TakeDown’ which premieres on Monday night at 11pm on Mav TV in America and Bite TV in Canada. Diva Dirt has been given exclusive access to the stars of the show and earlier this week, we caught up with Wrestlicious’ resident jail bird, Felony. You may know her better as Rain in SHIMMER or Ms. Payton Banks in TNA.

Wrestlicious TakeDown premieres Monday. You have to be excited about that, right?
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, I won’t be able to see it because I’ll probably be on the road somewhere but I’m definitely excited to be on it.”

How did you get approached about the project and what made you want to participate?
“I’ve known Johnny Cafarella [producer, Johnny C] since 2002, and we did Crush back in 2003, and we did Wrestlicious, I think it was like a year and a half ago? So that’s why I was on board, he had me help him. I was actually in the office as well helping with booking the talents, doing the flights and much more. I’ve been kind of a workhorse for Wrestlicious!”

A lot of the girls on the show are playing different characters than we’re used to. Was that weird for you or did you embrace it?
“Not at all! That’s any character that anyone wants me to play. I’m just Felony and I’m being a bad guy and I have no problem being a bad guy. I’m always the bad guy, I love being the bad guy and I just took it upon myself to act the way I wanted to act when I was being Felony, so it’s kind of still me but just with a different outfit basically.”

Tell us about your character, Felony.
“Well, I [as Felony] have a criminal background but I’m not gonna share it with you guys. It’s none of your business! I have my own security guard with me because I’ve basically broken out of jail so many times that I need my own cop with me at all times. And if you’ve seen, he actually tries to get me in the ring as much as he possibly can and when I’m not in the ring, he has me caged up. Basically, he has me hand cuffed 24/7, so I can’t really do too much. I don’t really have the coolest life. You know what, you make mistakes and you pay for it but I just keep breaking the rules and that’s my problem!”

How many episodes are you featured on?
“I think there wass like three episodes that I’ve been on. I think there was three shows taped and I’m on three different episodes. I did all three tapings; I had a tag team match, I had another tag match and I also had a singles match.”

Not to spoil anything but who was your tag team partner?
“Erm… oh what’s her name! I know she also wrestles as Mercedes Martinez but I’m trying to remember her other name.”

What has the experience with Wrestlicious been like so far? Have you enjoyed it?
“It’s been a great experience. Plenty fun. Lots of girls I know already and it was just a great time. A lot of hard work, a lot of stress as well but it was great.”

We hear all sorts of rumours about groups of women working together, what was the backstage atmosphere like?
“Oh, it was fine! I was in control and Lexie Fyfe was also in control of the girls, so none of them wanted to step on our toes when we were trying to help them as well. Everybody was pretty cool, pretty calm – I didn’t see any major problems. Some girls wanted other girls’ outfits, they were like: ‘Oh I like that outfit, that one’s really cool’ or ‘I like that one better than mine’ but you got your outfit and you work with it the best you can.”

There’s a lot of crazy segments, lots of character as opposed to wrestling. What do you prefer, the character part or the wrestling part? You have a pretty big character in SHIMMER as well.
“Well that character in SHIMMER is me. That is me and my whacky friend Jetta as well. But in Wrestlicious, I like to wrestle, that’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. I absolutely love wrestling and that’s what I wanna do. I mean, I like having something different to play with, you know, besides my own character but when you wrestle you’re still a part of yourself. Like, Triple H is still himself. I mean, he may turn it up. It’s just like taking the volume and turning it up – that’s you turned up and that’s your bad side turned up. So it’s like, don’t ever cross me because you’re gonna see that side.”

Your former tag team partner, Lacey is also in the cast as White Magic. How was it seeing her in that light? That character is particularly ‘out there’.
“She loved it and she just went along with it, you know because it’s something different that she can do and that’s why she wanted to do it. I mean, she came out of retirement to do that. She doesn’t want to wrestle anymore but if she’s going to have fun and be a character like White Magic, she’s all about it. She doesn’t want to work where she’s getting killed every single night and with Wrestlicious, you don’t have to worry about getting hurt. There are obviously going to be some bumps and bruises and there’s gonna be some girls that work harder than other girls but she has a character. Hers is basically just a character and she gets to play it kind of like The Boogeyman, he comes in and he’s a character and his job is to play a character. So Lacey can come in and she can just play her character. She wanted out of wrestling and she’s busy with school but she’ll come back just for that.”

You also work for SHIMMER where we know you best from your work with the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew and the International Home Wrecking Crew. What’s the difference between Wrestlicious and SHIMMER from an in-ring standpoint?
“Well, there’s a lot of the same girls at SHIMMER and Wrestlicious, so they’re just putting on different characters and we play up our characters. At SHIMMER it’s a little different because you’re just being yourself, amping yourself up a little bit more but it’s more your own personality, your own character development, you decide what you want to be. It’s not TV so the time limits are a little more extended, you get to wrestle a little bit longer but otherwise, the wrestling’s just as good. It’s a lot of the same girls so you’re going to get a lot of the same styles of wrestling because a lot of the girls that are gonna wrestle at Wrestlicious are also gonna wrestle at SHIMMER, so they’re gonna have the same style, just different outfits. There are some girls there that aren’t on the SHIMMER roster and each girl plays their role and they add a little bit more to the show than the other characters. Some are wrestlers and some are not wrestlers so you’re going to get a different feel from each person.”

A couple of weeks ago you were on The Krissy Vaine Project…
“Yes I was! That was a lot of fun.”

Yeah, I heard the show – you guys did a great job. Well, you alluded that you may not be at the SHIMMER tapings in April. Is there any update on that?
“I did not say whether I will be there or not. I said I’m waiting for my schedule and I will be able to decide once I have my schedule whether I can be there or not. So it’s kind of up in the air but if I do miss, it’ll be the first one I’ve ever missed. But we’ll see. It’s a possibility that I’ll miss it, but it’s not for sure yet so fans are just gonna have to wait and see if I’m there or not. I guess it’s a surprise! [Laughs]

Well, SHIMMER has announced some of the stars for the tapings – four Japanese stars, Hamada and Sarah Stock making her return. If you are there, are you looking to facing anyone in particular?
“I would like to face them all. I mean, I would like to wrestle anyone that I’ve never wrestled and I’ve never wrestled any of them. The only Japanese girls I’ve wrestled is Sumie Sakai and Mariko Yoshida. I’ve only wrestled those two Japanese girls. I’d definitely love to get my chance to wrestle Hamada or anybody else. I mean, I’d love to wrestle Manami Toyota but I think she might be in retirement right now. I think she comes in and out but maybe she’ll come out some day so she can wrestle me. [Laughs]

One last SHIMMER question for you. At the last SHIMMER tapings, Portia Perez, one half of the Tag Team Champions, was out due to swine flu so they didn’t defend the championship. So once again, if you compete in April, I’m sure you have your sights set on those two?
“Oh definitely! Jetta and I want those straps. We had them for probably like 30 seconds?! The referee’s a complete cheater there, so we would’ve still had them to this day. But we are former champs! We will have them back again.”

Yeah, I thought you were the favourites. You were cheated.
“We were definitely cheated! Everybody basically cheated in that tournament except Jetta and I. We never cheat!”

How do you think Wrestlicious stacks up to the WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts?
“Everyone is different and Wrestlicious is definitely different. It has wrestling, which they all have, but it has a lot more characters. It’s a lot more aimed towards kids, towards young adults. It’s just fun. Some of it’s really seriously but some of it’s not as serious. It’s just different. It’s more entertainment, more TV show with really good wrestling mixed in with it.”

We talked about Felony earlier. You also worked as Payton Banks in TNA. Which character do you prefer?
Well, Rain’s the easiest but I always like a challenge. I’d say Payton and Felony are definitely different and it’s fun. I would say it’s more fun because I get to not be myself, I get to be who someone else wants me to be for a little bit. It’s like taking a new movie role. I still wrestle like I wrestle and I still act like I do but I have it turned up how they want it turned up basically. If they say, ‘Hey, I want you to act like an old lady one day’, sure, no problem! Put on the makeup and I got it. I’ll have fun with it.”

Can we expect to see more of you in Wrestlicious?
“Well, I definitely did those three tapings so if one hasn’t aired, it’s definitely gonna be the next one. I think there’s another taping, I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to make it or not but we’ll just have to see.”

Do you see Wrestlicious being a huge hit? Can it stand up to competition with the Divas, Knockouts and TNA?
“I think Wrestlicious will definitely be a hit. I just don’t think it will be compared really to WWE or TNA because it’s more of a TV show. It’s an all-girls thing. We’re basically like cartoon characters but we wrestle at the same time but we’re real life cartoon characters. It’s just fun. It’s like Sesame Street – on Sesame Street you’ve got Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, you’ve got this, you’ve got that. In Wrestlicious, it’s kind of the same thing except we wrestle as well. And with WWE, it’s all wrestling and you may get a girls match, maybe two. And with TNA, it’s the same – you may get a girls match, maybe two. It’s not really focused all around the girls. This is focused all around the girls. You know SHIMMER is also focused all around women, SHIMMER doesn’t have TV yet – maybe in the future… I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no. I am keeping my mouth shut! We’ll see what happens. But definitely right now, Wrestlicious isn’t focused on men, it’s focused on women and the only men that are in Wrestlicious are the referees – who also appear on SHIMMER by the way.”

So once again, Wrestlicious TakeDown premieres Monday on Mav TV, so definitely check that out…
“Yes, definitely check that out… because I’m on it.”

Any last words for your fans here at Diva Dirt?
“Check me out at Radiant-Rain.com and MySpace. Make sure you watch me on Wrestlicious TakeDown and also check me out on AAA, I think that appears late at night. I’m not sure when. Like I said, I’m not home to watch any of it but please watch me… because you obviously wanna watch the best! [Laughs]

[nggallery id=362]

Wrestlicious TakeDown premieres on Monday, March 1st at 11pm ET on Mav TV in America and Bite TV in Canada. Episodes will also air on America One on Saturdays at 11.30pm ET. For syndication, check your local listings. Full length episodes of Wrestlicious will appear at www.bite.ca/wrestling the day after transmission.

Additional reporting by Melanie.

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