Former WWE Diva Serena on coming to LI, concussions, having kids
If you want more out of your women’s wrestling than the 60-second “matches” you typically get between two bikini models on WWE each week, than you should definitely get over to Deer Park this Saturday for what promises to be a very unique event.
Women Superstars Uncensored has made a name for itself over the last year as, arguably, the premiere women’s wrestling in the United States, and it’s coming to the NYWC Sportatorium on Saturday for Breaking Barriers 2. The venue is located at 435-13 Brook Avenue in Deer Park, and bell time is at 6 p.m. A meet and greet with the stars of WSU begins at 4 p.m. Go to WSU’s web site for tickets to the show, which will also be streamed live via Internet pay per view on GoFightLive.TV.
In addition to a six-women War Games match, the show will feature a match involving former WWE Diva Melina taking on a mystery opponent.
Melina was originally set to take on fellow WWE alum Serena, who was best known as a charter member of C.M. Punk’s Straight Edge Society. Unfortunately, a serious concussion forced Serena to pull out of the match. But she still plans to be there, supporting a promotion that she has “a lot of personal investment in.”
“It’s really cool for me because [WSU] brings in such a plethora of girls, ranging from really young and inexperienced girls to the older more experienced girls. So everybody can help out everybody in so many ways,” said Serena, 25. “All the girls want to create an amazing product and to bring out the bets in each other. And that’s really something rare.”
Founded in 2007, WSU has earned a reputation for boasting one of the most athletic and toughest rosters in the independent scene, regardless of gender. The ladies of WSU are known to wrestle bouts that last upwards of an hour, and perform moves that would make their male counterparts jealous. Serena acknowledges that, like in all women’s wrestling, sex appeal is a factor—but it’s not everything.
“I think that it always has a part when it comes to the women, and it always will in every company. Everybody likes to look at something nice, but it’s prioritized differently in WSU than it is in other companies,” she said. “It’s not the main priority. The wrestling is. That’s just an added bonus.”
Serena has been a fixture in WSU, which primarily runs shows in New Jersey, since her brief, but memorable, run in WWE ended last year. And unlike in WWE, the seven-year wrestling veteran has been given plenty of opportunity to show what she can do in the ring. Why she never got that chance in WWE is “kind of a hard question to answer,” she said.
“I don’t really know what was going on in their minds, in my bosses’ minds, during my time in WWE. I think that the plans were there to eventually have me break out and be in the ring. But the role that I played on television, that wasn’t part of it…So it was just wrong place, wrong time as far as a wrestling role goes,” she said. “It was definitely a lesson in patience and I had to know and trust that it was just not the right time, and that it was for a reason. Of course, I was very anxious to wrestle. I always wanted to. And the few opportunities I was given on the road to wrestle, I was ecstatic.”
When she did wrestle in WWE, it was sometimes alongside C.M. Punk, who she first met while both were training in WWE’s former developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, several years ago. Even then, Serena saw in Punk the makings of a main event star.
“I could see that this guy believed in himself,” Serena said. “I think that’s the number one thing that leads to success in this business, is that belief in yourself. If you don’t your just going to get eaten alive and you’re going to sink…Punk obviously has done the opposite of that, because he’s always known how good he is and how talented he is and he’s never doubted that. He’s always believed that he should be on top, and that’s exactly where he deserves to be. And he’s worked very hard to get to that point.”
Sadly, Serena’s own dreams of making it to the top of business, and having a long career, have been put in jeopardy by a several concussions—the most recent of which resulted in a doctor advising her never to wrestle again. Serena said she’s been “doing a lot of thinking” about what the future has in store for her.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about it right now, especially because everything just happened,” Serena said. “I’m 25-years-old and what I always imagined was that my career would go for as long as I wanted it to, and that I’d have that in my control. Now I’m suddenly being put in the position where it’s not in my control, and where my body is maybe not going to last as long as I wanted it to and as long as I idealized it lasting. So there’s definitely a large element of worry right now.”
Although it was one particular injury that triggered her most recent hiatus, Serena said it’s the long-term effects of many concussions she’s suffered during career that scare her the most.
“I always want to tough it out and power through things and get over it, but this is one of those things where it’s not a broken arm. I can’t put a cast on it,” she said. “I could be fine right now, but if I continue to get head injuries, it could be something that will really haunt me later in life.”
And although she says wrestling is her “first love,” Serena said she does want to be able to enjoy “all of those other really wonderful things in my life,” including starting a family one day. She said such personal goals usually don’t mesh well with a life in pro wrestling.
“I do think that in a business like pro wrestling… it’s a ticking clock. Sure women do have families and children later in life. But by conventional standards, there is a timetable there. And I think that women have to prioritize a little differently than men do,” Serena said. “Guys have a lot more freedom and a lot longer of a timetable to be successful and have longevity in their career.”
Serena said female wrestlers don’t only have to worry about being too old at the end of their careers to have children, but also too banged up to do so.
“The abuse that we put our bodies through is also an issue. A woman has to be in a particular condition to have a healthy body in order to have a child. And that’s something that people don’t even think about,” she said. “What we do to our bodies I don’t think is conducive to having a child and being healthy along the way.”
Although her long-term future remains uncertain, Serena said she is excited about being in Deer Park this Sunday, if only as a spectator.
“I’m excited to watch it from that aspect,” she said. “I think it will actually make me happy to be around it.”