On Wednesday night, April 13 I had the opportunity to interview former WWE Raw Diva Search finalist and former SmackDown! star, Amy Weber. What I intended to be a 20-minute interview turned into an hour and a half as Amy spoke candidly and honestly about a variety of WWE topics including the Diva Search process, her agreement to work with the SmackDown! brand, the events during the infamous WWE Japanese tour that led to her departure, her thoughts on those involved, WWE’s efforts to get her back, and much, much more.
Part two of the interview (which is 29 minutes in length) is now online at JimmyVan.com in Windows Media and Real Audio formats. You can also listen to a five-minute preview clip of the interview in Real Audio format at this link.
Here is a text transcript from this portion of the interview.
You did a Raw segment with The Rock in August. What was it like working with The Rock?
Amy said it was great. She didn’t get the chance to talk to The Rock because the minute they got backstage, Carmella approached him saying, “Oh my boyfriend, Jeff Garcia,” etc. Amy said Rock was in and out and was a busy guy. She said it isn’t her way to approach people anyway.
You were eliminated from the Raw Diva Search in September, and were injured arm wrestling Christy Hemme on that Raw episode.
Amy said Christy knew how to professionally arm wrestle. She said arm wrestling is about technique rather than strength. She had never arm wrestled before and was doing it wrong. Her hand got twisted and she tried to correct it, but when she tried Christy thought she was going to make a move, so she slammed Amy’s arm down and tore her rotator cuff. She said she did physical therapy three times a week and was able to avoid surgery.
WWE.com had a clip of you backstage after your elimination looking emotional. Also, there were rumors that WWE would offer contracts to girls regardless of whether they won the contest. Did you know that a contract was coming?
First of all, Amy said she wasn’t upset about getting eliminated, she was just in a lot of pain. She said when she was on stage after the arm wrestling, she told Joy Giovanni that she thought that she was going to throw up and that her arm was broken. She said she just wanted to get out of there and go to the hospital. She wasn’t thinking about the contest at that point. She said she played it off until she got backstage, then fell to her knees and started screaming. She said Vince McMahon and others came running. She was sitting backstage with the WWE.com camera in her face waiting for the limo with Sarge. She said she wanted to break down but tried not to because of the camera. “At that point, I guess I was almost sort of glad it was over,” she said.
Did you have an idea about a WWE contract coming?
Amy said no. There were rumors, but that was it.
JV mentions that Michelle McCool was one of the first contestants to announce that she was being signed during an interview in her local paper.
Amy said nothing was said to Michelle that was solid. “Some people take things a step further. I mean the twins even said that,” she said. She said she’d been in Hollywood long enough to know that until something is in writing and you’re on the set, nothing is for sure. “The only person that can really offer you a job is Vince McMahon, and it comes through John Laurinaitis,” she said.
Did you think that Christy was the right choice to win the Raw Diva Search? What do you think about her wrestling now?
Amy said she thought Christy was the right choice, and it’s wonderful that she’s in the ring now.
You were signed by WWE and moved to the SmackDown! brand. You seemed to have the highest profile position among the Raw Diva Search alumni from the start and were even getting more airtime than Torrie Wilson at that point. First, how were you received by the SmackDown! locker room?
“So much better,” said Amy. “It was wonderful.” Amy revealed that WWE gave her the choice to go to either the Raw brand or the SmackDown! brand. She said that WWE wanted her to go to Raw in Peoria and do backstage interviewing (which Maria Kanellis ended up doing) because Amy is from Peoria. She had to tape a show for NBC called “Little Monsters” the day that WWE wanted her to fly to Raw, so she couldn’t make it. They then asked her what brand she wanted to be on and she said, “I don’t want to go to Raw.”
Did you intend to make WWE your career, or did you only intend to do the TV tapings?
“From the get-go I think they really understood that I have so many other things happening that it was really going to be a TV career for me,” she said.
You did a feud with Joy and you did some brawling around ringside and spilled things on each other. Did WWE ever come to you about actually training?
“We did train,” said Amy. “Fit (Finlay) was training us.” Amy said she was going to work the No Way Out PPV in February (Amy left the company prior to the show). She said she worked a practice match with Joy Giovanni. “I was like, kipping up just like Rey Mysterio. We had a crazy match,” she said.
If you’d stuck around longer, you think you would have started working full matches?
Amy said she’s not sure about full matches, but she would have worked mixed tags.
JV points out that Amy had used terminology during the conversation including “carny” and “gorilla”. He asks what she thought about the wrestling terminology used in WWE.
Amy said you *have* to learn it. She said when you come to LA you have to understand what “key light” is, and what “mark” is, and what “first position” is. She said everything has its own language. “But it’s crazy,” she laughed about WWE’s terminology.
Did you hear any of the old school’ers throw around the word “kayfabe”?
Amy said she did and she knows exactly what kayfabe is.
JV mentions that kayfabe has sort of died off due to the Internet, but some performers like Ric Flair are still protective.
“I love Ric Flair,” said Amy. “He’s awesome.”
Around the time you and the other Raw Diva Search girls started in WWE, the company did some talent cuts. They released Jacqueline, Gail Kim and Jazz. It was questioned why WWE brought in the inexperienced girls and released the trained girls. Did that create any animosity in the locker room or did people look at it as a business decision?
“I think more than anything, I think it put all of the experienced Divas just on edge. Not so much about us but just that anyone can be fired at any time because it just happened,” Amy said. “And no one understood why those people were fired. I know why they were fired because I asked the right people. And really, it’s none of my business but they were each fired for their own specific reasons. All I was told is that WWE… they wanted it to be the place that people came to see the most beautiful women in the world. And that was just the strategy I think that they decided to maybe try. Whether that’s working or not, I don’t know. And then what they also wanted to do was, basically after seeing us for 10 weeks in the Diva Search or however long, they knew each of our strengths. And they wanted to make the most of our strengths so for me, mine was the gift of gab, so luckily I knew how to speak. And they saw that from the different tasks that we had to do. And Michelle is very athletic so they tried to put that into her thing.”
Have you heard that they’re doing another Raw Diva Search? You think Amy Weber might go for it again?
“Actually they talked to me about possibly hosting it,” Amy said.
Would you have interest in going back for something like that?
“I wouldn’t go back,” she said.
How did you feel working with JBL?
(Amy pauses). “Up until the very end… very much respected the man. Think he’s wonderful on the mic. I think it’s very, very hard to bring in people that are more athletically inclined and then turn them into basically actors. It’s very difficult. Most people are strong in one area. And that’s tough, I have to tell you, this is something where it’s almost like live theatre where you’re getting thrown a lot of stuff at the very last minute. Things are changing… I remember running because I had to tape so many pre-tapes, and then I had to go live so many times with different outfits, I was running to gorilla with no shoes on trying to get my shoes on, to try to make it out there. This is something that JBL does on a nightly basis.”
JV and Amy talk about JBL’s WWE Title reign and JV says it was very political. He says JBL isn’t a bankable main eventer yet but has done well in his role.
“Merchandising wise, I think it’s a lot easier to have Cena there,” said Amy. “But I definitely think it’s interesting to have a heel as your champion.”
What do you think of John Cena?
“I think he’s okay, I really like him. John Cena’s definitely very nice, he’s very respectful, and he keeps to himself.”
Did you have any regular friends or travel partners on SmackDown! beside Big Show?
Amy said she and Dawn Marie talked a lot, as did she and Joy Giovanni.
Did you notice any change in any other aspects of your life from working with WWE? More recognition on the street or more opportunities for outside projects?
“It was very similar to when I was starring on Howard’s show, where people would stop me for my autograph,” Amy said. “Had I not experienced that sort of little mini-fame with that, then it would have been like, ‘Whoa, this is crazy,’ but because I’d already gone through it, it was very similar. But the fans are incredibly loyal, and I always appreciated the fact that… you know, if they’re gonna be at the airport at 5 in the morning, you better believe I’m gonna stop and sign what they have.”
Time to confirm or deny some rumors. I heard that there was animosity in the company because WWE was paying all of your traveling expenses whereas the wrestlers have to pay for their own lodging, rental cars, food, etc.
“That’s not the truth,” said Amy. “We paid our own. They sort of had us on a trial period before they offered us contracts, and during that trial period they were paying, just like during the Diva Search, they were paying our hotel and our car, and our airfare. But once we actually came on the roster, we worked the exact same way as the wrestlers, we paid our own hotel, we paid our own car, own food, all of that.”
We’ve got to talk about the Japanese tour. One rumor was that some of the wrestlers were upset because you apparently requested a row of seats on the plane to lay down?
“Okay, what the truth is, is that before we left to go on the whole entire tour, most of the wrestlers were up in First Class, I’d say 85%, and in the back of the plane were the rest of the Divas, and the crew, people like that. We were told that there would be plenty of seats for all of us to have three seats to ourselves. So everyone, all of the Divas, the rest of the wrestlers; a lot of the wrestlers wanted to get out of First Class and come back because they wanted three rows to sleep. So we all had that. That was nothing that I requested, that was something that I was told that we all should just do.”
It’s been known that with some new employees, there have been initiations. I heard a couple of stories, I won’t mention the wrestler’s name if you don’t want me to. I heard that somebody poured a drink on you on the plane?
“That’s correct,” said Amy.
And I heard that this same performer apparently threw tampons at you or something?
“That’s not true,” she said.
Do you want to say the names of these performers?
“No at this point I don’t care. I think that they’re people that… it’s gone to their head. They don’t know how to be human beings. They believe in their… they think they’re Batman. They truly believe. They’ve bought too much into it. Honestly I just sort of feel sorry for them. Because of everyone, I was the one person who always stuck up for them, and always did my job, and never gave anyone attitude, and was always very sweet. If one person did not deserve to be treated like a dog, it was me. And that’s why I was really blown away that someone… and I’ll tell you why I was told that I got a Bloody Mary poured all over me in my sleep. And prior to that, someone slammed up against my head and threatened me. And I was told that what happened was, I was training and I got thrown out of the ring and I landed on my tailbone. Fit was like, ‘You need to go see the trainer, get some ice, and get some Advil.’ And I was like, okay. And so they were mad that I had gone to the trainer, because I don’t deserve… because they get hurt every night. So how dare I take two Advils from their supply, and how dare I take ice. That was what I was told, and that’s why I somehow had retribution against me while I was sleeping, on an airplane that I couldn’t even escape from. I’m all of 5’4″ and they’re like 6’6″, 6’8″. To me I just went, ‘You know what,’ … we got to Alaska and I just said, ‘You know what, I’m done.’ You know? There were girls at that point that were on the roster that were just being ridiculous, and the things they were doing and saying and the way they were dressing and no respect for the company. I just went, ‘I don’t really need to be treated like this.'”
After that tour, somebody sent me a picture, it looked like it was a flier from a Japanese strip club…
“Ya it was,” said Amy.
… and it had your likeness on it.
“Ya it did.”
I also saw a picture of a magazine cover, and it was the exact same picture…
“What happened was, I did a catalogue called Leg Avenue, and there was a picture in there… I had this silver outfit on. And a year or something after that, I get sent this magazine called V-Twin and I’m like, ‘Why is my picture from Leg Avenue on the cover of this magazine?’ So I contacted the company and I’m like, ‘Look they stole this image,’ and they said they were handling it. Well I get busy with my life, I move on. Well then we get to Japan, and then this flier has the exact same picture that was taken from the catalogue. It’s clear that it’s the same exact picture.”
I heard that the wrestlers found the flier…
“I guess they were walking by, and I guess what happened was, when they said, ‘Oh does this girl work here?’ and they go, ‘Oh yeah she works here… she’s not here now, but we can get her for you.’ I’m like, are you kidding me? And so I was disturbed only because I have a huge lawsuit as it is against a bunch of people on the Internet for stealing pictures. But I don’t own that picture. That’s not a picture that is in my repertoire. That’s a picture that came from a catalogue… I wanted everyone to understand because I was very insulted. And they were like, ‘We don’t care, most of these guys’ wives are strippers,’ and I’m like, ‘Well good for them.’ If that was something that I did, then of course it’d be like ya okay, who cares. But it’s not something I did, so I sent WWE the actual catalogue with the picture, then the magazine cover with the picture, and then the strip club little card flier. It’s all the same picture. It’s so obvious that it’s stolen. So that’s that whole story.”
You decided while you were in Japan, enough is enough and you were ready to leave the company.
“It wasn’t necessarily in Japan. In Japan, I confronted the wrestlers during dinner, that had brought the flier. And I confronted them because of the way they did it. We were doing a scene… we were pre-taping or we were getting ready to, and they started going, ‘Oh this looks like an interesting place to go,’ so that I could see the picture. So they did it in front of me, almost as if they were trying to degrade me. I didn’t understand why, especially this particular group of wrestlers, why they would do that. And so, I confronted all of them and said, why would you do that? Of all the girls that are new, why would you do that to me when all I’ve done is try to do a good job, and respect you, and do what I’m told. They basically… it was explained to me, ‘Look, we’re inviting you into the Boys Club. And if we were doing it to make fun of you, we would have done it behind your back…”
So, like an initiation basically.
“Exactly. And so then once they explained it and they all apologized, I was like, all right, I get it, I’m sorry I got upset at you guys. I just want you to know that I’m part of your team, and I’m not an outsider. I don’t want to feel that way. And that was it, so that was done. So that was fine. But then the plane ride… it was two totally different people that don’t even know me that did this to me on the plane.”
From the other brand.
You got to Anchorage…
“The minute I landed, I started calling every airline getting a flight home.”
Did you confide in anybody that you wanted to do this or was this something you did on your own?
“Right after it happened, I’m soaking wet with Bloody Mary all over my head and my back and all my clothes. I’m like, ‘No. This is not right.’ Any other company… if you worked at McDonald’s and you were in the break room and someone came and poured a milkshake all over you, they’d be fired.”
I understand that Shane McMahon was on that flight.
Did he or Johnny Ace try to get you to change your mind or try to talk to you?
“Yeah they did.”
But by that point your mind was made up.
“I just knew that this was not gonna be… this was how it is. And people may get fined, but nothing’s gonna happen, nothing’s gonna change.”
Depending on where they are on the roster obviously.
And the one on the Raw brand was a guy they were starting to push, so it was kind of like a slap on the wrist.
“Exactly. So why am I gonna subject… when I don’t really need to? Why would I subject myself to potentially more than that? I don’t care about earning my stripes, I’m not in the Navy. I didn’t sign up for that. I already earned my stripes. I’m a professional. I’m not some girl who just stepped off the boat from Idaho, and I’m just begging to sleep with all these wrestlers and hope to… that wasn’t who I was. I learned the brand. I understood it. I was coming up with marketing ideas for my character. These were conversations Vince and I had. It just was so… it was just… such a slap in the face. And that’s not even me being like, ‘Oh I’m better than anyone.’ It’s not. I just… I don’t think anyone would go through that.”
For several weeks after you left, the company tried to get you to come back.
Did Vince himself call you up and try to get you back?
“No Vince was hurt at that point.” (he had Diverticulitis)
Was it just Johnny Ace or Shane McMahon?
“Ya. When I talked to Shane and said, you know, ‘It was nice meeting you,’ he said, ‘You mean seeing me?’ They definitely understood and they weren’t trying to be like, ‘Oh who cares if this happened to you?’ They definitely acknowledged it and they were trying to talk to me about it but, at that point I came back, and I booked another movie, and just started working, and I realized my path is to continue doing films and stuff.”
Part two of the interview (which is 29 minutes in length) is now online at JimmyVan.com in Windows Media and Real Audio formats.