- Total Divas
She made her debut as the lip-synching popstar, Kandi Kisses on the first ever episode of Wrestlicious TakeDown this past week and she’s here to tell us all about it, we catch up with the gorgeous Lizzy Valentine. We get Lizzy’s reaction to the first episode, find out about her character and get her thoughts on some of the negative reaction the show has gotten. We also learn discuss Lizzy’s time in TNA in 2003 as well as her one-night only return last December, plus what was it like working with WWE’s Evan Bourne in Wrestling Society X? Read on for the full interview.
You were on the premiere of Wrestlicious TakeDown this past Monday, how was it like doing that performance scene?
“I was so happy that I was on the first episode. Actually, like a few years ago, I was also on the first episode of Wrestling Society X so I was like, ‘Oh look at that, I’m on the first episode again’. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from my friends about the show, they all thought it was funny and they liked my segment. I had a lot of fun doing that part, playing the role of Kandi Kisses. I’ve known Johnny C [Wrestlicious producer] for a long time. Like, about six years ago we shot a pilot for CRUSH, it never got picked up but I’ve known him for all this time and he’s always known that I was a big fan of Britney Spears so he kind of developed the character for me which was kind of cool.”
We talked a little bit about your friends’ reaction to your character, how did your fans react?
“For the most part, I’ve gotten pretty good feedback from people. I mean, people of course are gonna be negative about it and say, ‘Oh it’s not real wrestling, it’s making a joke out of women’s wrestling’ but Wrestlicious is not trying to be WWE, it’s not trying to be TNA, it’s its own show and its own product so it is what it is.”
There’s been some negativity towards the show. Have you run into any of this in particular?
“Well, my regular friends outside of the wrestling business, just like my friends from like the gym or just my normal friends that I hang out with and family members, they all see it as just a TV show. So they look at it and they think it’s funny and they like it for what it is. On the other hand, like my friends that are in the wrestling industry, they don’t like it. I think they’re being a little close-minded, they’re not thinking about it like the way it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a funny show, it’s supposed to be an action-comedy. It’s not supposed to be a serious wrestling show like TNA or WWE, so people in the industry are kind of like, ‘Oh, it’s making fun of women’s wrestling blah blah…’ but I don’t think it’s really making fun of women’s wrestling. A lot of the characters, their stories are goofy but you know what, they’re characters and we all liked playing our characters. The girls on the show, for the most part, were really, really good wrestlers and you’ll get to see that if you keep on watching it.”
Definitely, a lot of the girls work for SHIMMER and we talk a lot on the site about how great the wrestling is there so I’m sure the wrestling will be on-point as the season goes on…
“Yeah definitely! All of us girls were impressed with each other. We were all watching each other’s matches and we were like ‘wow’. Even the girls who weren’t wrestlers on the indies or anything like that, some of the newer girls that may have been just trained for the show, even they did a really good job too. They worked hard and they did the best they could and everything ended up being okay. For the most part, the matches were really, really good so you’ll definitely be seeing some awesome matches.”
How did you feel just before the show went on the air. Were you nervous? Excited?
“I was really excited because I’d been wanting to see it for a long time and I’d been reading stuff about it on the Internet and everything. But I was a little bit nervous too because my character’s a little bit silly and I didn’t actually wrestle on the show, I was just doing a performance and lip-synching so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t look too silly’. But I was really excited for it. Everyone has fun at Wrestlicious and I just really, really wanted to see it.”
Can you tell us more about Kandi Kisses and what we can expect from her in the next few weeks?
“Well, Kandi Kisses is definitely this big take-off of Britney Spears. The whole performance that I did on the show, it was supposed to be similar to Britney’s performance at the Grammys, I think it was, a few years ago. She was kind of like stumbling around and seemed a little bit drunk, you know? That’s what it was supposed to be like. Kandi Kisses is just full of herself and a popstar – a typical popstar. [Laughs] But Kandi Kisses definitely knows how to kick butt so wait for that!”
Were there any other popstars you channelled with this character?
“No, just Britney because she is the popstar. I love Britney Spears and that’s why I was doing some of her dance moves, like when I came out to the ring those were some of the dance moves from ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. [Laughs]”
Well speaking of the singing, was that actually you on the backing track or did someone else do those vocals?
“I wish that was me! I cannot sing at all. [Laughs] No, I was lip-synching. The song was written by Jimmy Hart.”
Do you have any idea who might have sung the actual song?
“No, I have no idea who sings anything. I have no clue.”
Do you think there could be some crossover, putting these songs on the market?
“You know what, this was mentioned to me like six months ago. One of the producers, Johnny C, he told me that Jimmy Hart had written a song for me and wanted me to sing it and make it a part of Wrestlicious. But I don’t know if that’s going to happen because I’m not really a singer, so I’m not sure if I’d want to go through with that. I think I’d be too embarrassed to have people listen to me sing. [Laughs]”
I mean, it’s all in good fun though…
“Yeah, I’d love to do that for sure and like have a music video, that’d be totally fun!”
Have you taped more for Wrestlicious?
“I have one match on there against Lil’ Slam and her character is basically like a hip-hop character like Lil’ Kim. So it’s like popstar versus hip-hop star.”
That should be interesting…
“Yeah, it was really good. It was a great match actually, so I’m excited for that to air.”
To backtrack a little bit, how did you get involved with Wrestlicious to begin with?
“Well, as I mentioned earlier, like six months ago I had met Johnny C. He had seen my work on the independents and he contacted me about filming a show called CRUSH which is basically the same concept as Wrestlicious, it’s the same thing just a different name. So I did that a long time ago. That time around I was called Jersey Jean, I was this kind of Jersey Shore kind of girl. I was Jersey Jean from Jersey City – that was my line. But the show never took off back then so they tried it this time around and it worked. So I’ve known him a long time and he’s always thought of me and wanted to put me in any projects that he comes across so I’m glad it finally worked out. I’m glad I have a newer character too, Kandi Kisses is way better than Jersey Jean! [Laughs]”
So how was the experience at the tapings? Did everyone get along? You hear stories about when put a whole bunch of girls together!
“Believe it or not, it went really, really smoothly. I was shocked too because when you put a bunch of girls together like that, you always expect there to be a little bit of cattiness. For the most part, everyone got along, everyone was there for each other, helping each other out. I didn’t see any kind of bickering or anything like that. Everyone was supportive towards each other, we all had fun and it was a great experience. Johnny C and all of the Wrestlicious crew treated us really, really well so we had a great time.”
We spoke to Rain [Felony] who said some of the girls were eyeing each other’s outfits and characters. Was there any character you might want to play instead of Kandi Kisses?
“No. Kandi Kisses is the best! I love my character. I would not trade my character ever, I love Kandi Kisses. But actually, six years ago when it was CRUSH, I was supposed to be the character of Shauna-Na. Have you seen her in Wrestlicious yet?”
Yeah, we also saw pictures from CRUSH where [The Lovely] Lacey was playing Shauna-Na…
“Yeah! That was supposed to be me originally but Johnny C had seen some of my work on the independents and was like, ‘You’re a great heel, we need to have you be a heel’. I really wanted to be Shauna-Na but I was like, ‘Okay, I like being a bad girl so I’ll just do that’. [Laughs]”
You had a little stint in TNA some years ago as Cheerleader Valentina. How did that come about and what was the experience like in TNA?
“Well, let’s see, I was 19 when I did that. It was a while ago, I really wanted to get my foot in the door, so I moved to Nashville and I started going to their shows and started meeting with the people backstage. And then finally a role came up and I was there, I lived like five minutes from the arena so they asked me if I wanted to do the show and of course, I wanted to do it. I had fun. I was working with Nurse Veronica [Simply Luscious] and it was cool, we were Team Bitchslap. It was fun but at the same time, there wasn’t much to go further with the characters, like we were just fighting with the cage dancers and they weren’t even wrestlers so there’s only so much you can do. At that time, they did not have a women’s division so you know, the storyline got scrapped after about a month and that was that unfortunately.”
Well speaking of Bitchslap, you were also working with Traci Brooks who was just released. How was your experience working with her?
“I really, really like working with Traci. I think we have good chemistry, she’s one of my favourite opponents so I really like to work with her. She actually wasn’t in Bitchslap at that time, it was just me and Veronica. She was supposed to be in it but I remember that time, she had trouble getting over the border from Canada. She was supposed to be in the group or it might have been listed somewhere that she was but we never actually did anything together. It was just me and Nurse Veronica, also on one of the shows Trinity was with us, we came to the ring with her.”
You were also part of the short-lived Wrestling Society X on MTV, which I actually liked a little bit…
“Wait, you only liked it a little bit? What?!”
[Laughs] I didn’t get to see it very often…
“You gotta get the DVD boxset. There’s extras of me and Lacey!”
So how did that come about?
“I moved out to California when I was 19, started to work in a company called XPW – are you familiar with it? Xtreme Pro Wrestling, they’re kind of like a hardcore wrestling company, kind of like ECW. I was working for that company and one of the guys backstage, one of the writers and bookers – his name was Kevin Kleinrock. I was working for him and then when Wrestling Society X came about, it was his idea for that show and he wanted me to be part of it. I was so happy because I love MTV, I watch MTV all the time so I was like, ‘Yay I’m gonna be on MTV, this is so cool’. A lot of the time in the business, you get further by who you know and who you’ve worked for in the past and by referrals.”
On the show, you were the valet and girlfriend to Matt Sydal who we know now as Evan Bourne. What was he like to work with?
“He was so fun. The first episode, we didn’t have that much chemistry but we eventually got it and we just started working together really well and like, thinking of little things to do in the ring. When I was on the outside of the ring and he was on the apron, we did a little dance and I’d always kiss him when we got in the ring. We thought we should really make this a great team, so we thought of things to do together and he was totally awesome. I love watching him wrestle, he is so perfect – everything he does is so crisp and clean and to perfection. I loved watching that guy wrestle. It was so, so fun to be his valet. I love watching him, he’s amazing.”
This is a question from our female team members, they would like to know was he as hot in person as he is on TV?
“[Laughs] I think he looks just like he does on TV, so yeah.”
You were on an episode of Nip/Tuck which just ended this week after six seasons. You were part of the storyline with The Carver as one of his victims. How was it like working on that show and how did it all come together?
“That is one of my favourite TV shows ever so I was really, really, really excited to get to play the part of a Carver victim which is one of the [show’s] biggest storylines too. When I moved out to California, I started doing a little bit of modelling and photoshoots and one of the photographers that I met, he also worked on the show. Eventually, there became a part and he asked me if I wanted to be on it so of course I said yes! I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yay! Nip/Tuck. I love Nip/Tuck!’ And that was awesome too, getting to see those guys, they’re just totally hot – I was in shock. It was so fun, it was really good. I’m kind of sad the show’s ended now, I love that show.”
Do you think you might want to go down that avenue one day, as an actress?
“I don’t know. I’ve thought about it… I just really hate going on auditions. Auditions suck! You go in the room and you go in front of a couple of people and they just stare at you, they look very cold and they make you feel nervous and uncomfortable. I hate doing that. If someone made a role that I know I can do really well, I would totally do it. If someone was like, ‘Hey, I have a part for you in a movie’, I’d definitely say yes. But going for auditions day after day, I don’t think that’s for me. I don’t like doing that.”
You returned to TNA for one night last December for the New Year’s Knockout Eve taping in a dark match with Amber O’Neal. We interviewed Lorelei Lee who said she was invited by Amber to come along, how did you get approached for the show?
“I have been in contact with TNA for about a year. I’ve tried really hard to get a job there. I’ve been emailing Terry Taylor back-and-forth for about a year. I had met him about a year ago at an autograph signing and he asked me if I’d be interested in working for TNA, so since then I’ve been in contact with him and so finally this past December, they were like, ‘Hey we want you to come in for a tryout match’ and that was it. So after about a year of contact, contacting him and harassing him through email, I finally got a shot. [Laughs]”
We didn’t get to see your match on TV, can you tell us how you think it went?
“The match went okay from what I heard. The ending got kind of messed up, the finish, it didn’t go as planned but for the most part, everyone said the match was solid and it was good. I got really positive feedback from all the agents and people backstage, they were happy with it. It’s not so much about how you wrestle, it’s more about your personality and charisma. It’s not just like, your moves and your holds, you need to have more than that to be a great wrestler so they were happy with my charisma and my attitude and they liked my outfit. They were happy with it, I didn’t receive any negative feedback even though we had a botched move.”
How did it feel to be part of such a big event? That was the first night the Knockouts had the limelight all to themselves.
“I was so excited. I really want to work for TNA so I was happy to be there and also, all of the girls were so cool especially like Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne, they were so nice. I was just so happy to be there, I really want to get a job there and work for TNA. I hope their women’s division keeps on striving, it’s one of the best women’s divisions in the world so I want to be part of it.”
Was there anyone in particular you were excited to meet?
“Well, I knew a lot of the girls. I knew most of those girls actually so I was just happy to see them again and I was excited to meet Kong. I think she’s awesome and I’ve never really worked with her or anything before so I was happy to meet her. I think she really did a lot for that women’s division so she’s awesome.”
Did management indicate that they’d like to have you back on a more permanent basis?
“Well, things are up in the air right now with all the changes that are going on in TNA. So like I said, I left there that day on good terms and they were happy with me so hopefully things work out. There’s nothing definite though, there’s no definite plan to bring me into the company. I hope so.”
You’re a very attractive woman and you have a look that WWE seems to like, do you have any interest in working for WWE?
“Well, back in the day, when I was like 20, I had an audition for WWE and I didn’t really wrestle or anything, I just kind of rolled around in the ring. The feedback that I got from them was like, ‘Oh you have a really cute face but you need to lose the baby fat’ so that’s what they told me. But since then, I’ve really been trying to get my body in the best shape that I can get it but I’ve tried again to get a job there but it just seems like they’re not interested right now.”
Any of the girls on WWE that stand out to you that you may like to work with?
“I love Maryse actually. I’m a big fan of her, I think she’s so awesome. I love her charisma, her attitude, I love everything about her. I think she’s super sexy so I’d love to have a feud with her or maybe team with her. I think we’re kind of similar in the way we wrestle and our attitude. Maryse is just wow. When I look at that girl, she’s so sexy, she’s so beautiful and she’s a great wrestler now. I think she’s really improved from like those skits in the bath tub, you know? [Laughs]”
“I’m not too familiar with the girls in FCW. I think I’ve heard of AJ Lee, she used to be Miss April. I think she’s really pretty and I would like to wrestle her, I’ve heard good things about her. I think I’ve seen a couple of things with her and she’s pretty good. I also like Kelly Kelly, you know a lot of people want to hate on her because she started off as a model but she’s improved so much. She tries really hard, so I would like to work with her.”
Back to Wrestlicious before we wrap up, do you know of any plans for more tapings?
“From what I’ve heard, there’s going to be more tapings and they’re going to be pretty soon. I can’t confirm anything, I’m not 100% sure but that’s the rumour right now.”
Do you know if you’ll be booked for these tapings?
“I don’t know. I hope so! [Laughs] Like I said, these are just rumours right now. I mean, I want to be part of Wrestlicious and do more shows, for sure.”
We’ve been told by some of the other Wrestlicious stars that it’s not comparable to WWE and TNA because it’s not a wrestling show but an action-comedy show. Do you think people are unfairly judging it?
“Yes. I think a lot of people aren’t being fair with it. Most of the people in the industry that I talk to, they’re all like badmouthing it and saying, ‘Oh it’s such a joke and oh, that’s terrible’. But they can’t judge it, they can’t look at it at the same way as WWE or TNA, it’s not even trying to be. It’s its own thing, its own brand – it’s Wrestlicious and that’s all it’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be a serious wrestling show, it’s not like SHIMMER portraying women as serious, serious athletes. It’s a goofy show, it’s goofy and silly and all the girls knew that before we went into it. You know, people in the wrestling industry are just, I don’t know, too close minded. They need to be more open minded about it. Like I said, anyone that I’ve spoken to about it outside of the wrestling industry, they all love it and think it’s hilarious. My trainer at the gym, my friends – they all think it’s so funny, they think it’s so cool.”
What do you say to people who take the show a little too seriously and find it ‘insulting’ to women’s wrestling?
“I think they should just chill out! Just enjoy it for what it is, it’s supposed to be funny, it’s supposed to make you laugh. Like the jokes are really cheesy but it still makes me laugh. This past week, the joke about the girl, you’ll see the girl in the Spanish restaurant and the guy says, ‘I hear there’s a roach problem’ and she says ‘No, the rats ate them all’. It’s so cheesy and it’s silly but that’s what it’s supposed to be and even though the jokes are really, really cheesy, it still makes me crack a smile. It’s not supposed to be that serious. I just wish people would watch it and enjoy it for what it is. It’s supposed to make you smile and it definitely makes me smile. It’s a funny action-comedy and it’s Wrestlicious! I hope people do continue to watch it though because there is going to be some great matches on there. From what I saw and what I’ve heard, all of the matches were like amazing so there’s really good wrestlers there. So if they judge it by a couple of little things that’s on the first episode, they’re going to miss out on a bunch of great matches.”
It seems like the premiere was a hit. Do you think the show will continue to be successful and perhaps last as long as GLOW did?
“I hope so. I’m not sure though, it is a different style and it is a different time. Like, back in the 80’s, maybe that was what was funny to people? I’m not sure. It’s a different time now, it’s 2010. I hope it’s successful though. I had a lot of fun and all of the girls did. I really want it to take off and be successful.”
That just about wraps things up…
“Thanks for having me! And before I go, I wanna give a special shout out to a couple of people, Ian and Mike, thanks so much for all of your help and all of your support and always being there for me throughout my career. And thanks to Diva Dirt, I love this site and I’m a big fan so thanks for having me.”
Wrestlicious TakeDown continues tomorrow on Bite TV in Canada and online at www.bite.ca/wrestling at 11pm. The show will air on America on Wednesday at 11pm on Mav TV.
Additional reporting by Melanie.