It’s been a long road back to the ring for former WWE Diva, Jillian, who was released by WWE last November, marking the end of a 7 year run.
After taking several months off to adjust to life after WWE, Jillian’s career now comes full circle as she returns to where it all started for her 13 years ago — the independent scene.
Joining the ranks of fellow former WWE Divas including Jazz, Serena and Kristin Astara, Jillian will debut for Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) tomorrow night in Union City, NJ. What’s more — her big comeback will air live around the world on Internet pay per view.
WSU is the all-female independent promotion that has picked up steam over the past few years, recently branching out into the iPPV business. The Jersey-based company has given stars like WWE’s AJ their break in wrestling, but also offered a sanctuary for TV names to continue wrestling after being uncermoniously dropped by WWE. Two-time WWE Women’s Champion, Jazz, has called WSU home for several years, while Serena and Astara recently joined. Even Mickie James competed in a WSU-sanctioned match last August following her WWE release.
The company also boasts a veritable “who’s who” of female wrestling names in its Hall of Fame including Dawn Marie, Molly Holly and most recently, Ivory. The latter, following her induction into the WSU Hall of Fame in March, even quipped that she wished a promotion like WSU existed when she was an active wrestler.
Now the spotlight is on Jillian, who has been billed as a star attraction on tomorrow’s card. Quite the difference from how WWE markets its Divas.
We briefly caught up with the former Divas Champion to discuss her return to the ring last weekend, and her big comeback with WSU. This Q&A is sort of a ‘part two’ to our more extensive interview with Jillian last year.
You had your first match since WWE in Orlando last weekend. Before the match, you expressed your nervousness on Twitter. What were you nervous about?
My nerves came from me not knowing if I was ready to be in a ring again. When I left WWE, there was a part of me that truly thought that chapter of my life was over. I had turned down many requests to do a match before taking the Orlando show because it just didn’t feel right and on top of that my body wasn’t and still isn’t 100%. You wouldn’t think it, but it was a very emotional day for me.
How was it being back in front of a crowd and in the ring?
I was nervous up until the very moment I walked out that night. I wasn’t sure how the people would react to me. When I walked out and turned “Jillian” up, it felt very natural like I had done it yesterday. I was literally afraid I was going to throw up when I took my first bump, but that, also, was very natural. The crowd accepted me even though I wasn’t 100% and that’s something I really appreciated.
Fans will have noticed that you continued your singing gimmick from WWE. Are you planning to continue this gimmick or hoping to reinvent yourself?
My WWE singing gimmick, some people want to see and some people don’t. I’m someone who’s up for giving people what they want to see. I can and will adapt to different shows and crowds. Part of that gimmick is who I am though, so there will always be a little of that in my performance.
You’re debuting for WSU this weekend live on iPPV. What about this company in particular is it that caught your interest?
WSU seems like a respectable group of ladies. Why not be a part of something like that? This will technically be my first full match back. Why not do it in front of awesome women’s wrestling fans??
This will be your first match on PPV in some time, albeit on Internet pay per view. The event will be seen around the world. Do you feel any pressure as this is sort of your ‘comeback’?
I do to an extent. Like I said earlier, I know I’m not 100% ready, but I plan to give it all I have to give at the time. Maybe it will be enough, or maybe I’ll disappoint. All I can do is try. Hopefully, if I’m not perfect, my fans will be forgiving.
Your opponent this Saturday at the Uncensored Rumble is Kristin Astara. How familiar are you with Kristin’s work & how are you feeling going into this match with her?
I’m not that familiar with Kristin’s work, but I hear she has gotten quite good. I know she had some developmental training, so I’m sure with that we will have certain similarities. I’m actually looking forward to it!
Beyond the Uncensored Rumble, do you have plans to stick with WSU?
We will see what happens… Only time will tell what’s in my future at this point.
See Jillian’s big comeback live on iPPV tomorrow when she faces Kristin Astara at the WSU Uncensored Rumble. The event kicks off at 7pm ET. Click here to order.
Follow Jillian on Twitter at @Jillianhall1.
Follow Melanie on Twitter at @MelanieTeamDD.