WWE tag team legends The Hart Foundation
Please note this interview was conducted after the last WSU event where Ms. Martinez won the championship from Angel Orsini. See www.wsuwrestling.com for information.
Alan Wojcik: What made you wake up one day and say I want to be a professional wrestler and talk about training for the business under Jason Knight at the Power Station.
Mercedes Martinez: I had no intention of actually becoming a pro wrestler but at that time I was playing basketball for college and got hurt. I always been a huge fan of wrestling so when I found out there was a wrestling school in my hometown, I had to check it out. I knew who Jason Knight was so I knew that if I was really going to train, then I was in the right place. It took off from there and it hasn’t stopped since…lolAlan Wojcik: What does your family think of your wrestling career?
Mercedes Martinez: My family is very supportive and encouraging. They always told me to follow my passion and put everything I have in it. My brother is a fan as well as my uncle. If it wasn’t for those two I most likely wouldn’t like wrestling. My mom hasn’t seen me wrestle live as she thinks its a lil tough to watch me and the things that gets done to me, but she does watch me on dvds and I know she’s very proud of me.
Alan Wojcik: Most wrestlers say their character is them with the volume turned up high. How much of you is in Mercedes Martinez?
Mercedes Martinez: Hahahaha, Mercedes Martinez is defintiely a small part of me. if anyone knows me, I’m a big kid at heart who loves to joke around and just chill, hangout and be very laid back. The way I see it, Mercedes is that mean streak in me if someone was to mess with me in my private life.
Alan Wojcik: You’ve worked for the Wild Samoan operated WXW. What’s like to work for that legendary wrestling family that seems to add members daily.
Mercedes Martinez: I LOVE WXW!!! I am honored to work for Afa and WXW. Its been a blessing to be part of a company that truly makes you family. Afa has done so much for me in upgrading my craft and teaching me new things, that I always wonder how can I repay him. He has given me opportunities and advice on anything and everything that I can possibly imagine. Afa or Pops as we call him, is my mentor and I truly love working for him. They make you feel like your are their child and not just a wrestler and I genuinely appreciate it.
Alan Wojcik: Your online bios show you have worked for the ultraviolent IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling promotions. What do you think of wrestlers like Necro Butcher, Wife Beater, Nate Hatred and Mad Man Pondo who reveled in the violence.
Mercedes Martinez: I don’t knock anyone who wants to wrestle hardcore and do that at every show or weekend for that matter. Its definitely not my way to wrestle for a company unless it calls for it. I think any wrestler who revels in that violence truly enjoys it. They are also the nicest guys you’ll ever meet so it always shocks me to see them put their bodies through all that. But I always say, we do crazy things for the fans!!
Alan Wojcik: In the last few years women’s wrestling in America has grown to see the forming of Shimmer, WEW and Women Superstars Uncensored. Do you think this is good for the business to give ladies an alternative to working as a Diva or Knockout?
Mercedes Martinez: Its about time women wrestlers are the in the spotlight instead of the special attraction!!! I think its awesome that companies like WSU, SHIMMER, and WEW are giving women wrestlers a place to showcase their talent instead of being looked at like a piece of meat or eye candy. Back when I started there was barely any female wrestlers and I had to wrestle men, which I don’t mind. I was seen as an athlete because of that, but was still hearing from the crowd “take it off, show us your puppies, etc.” It got really aggravating that fans would disrespect us for giving them a hard fought match. I somewhat blame the WWE for that as they were promoting divas and hiring models instead of actual wrestlers. If the WWE would treat their women wrestlers like athletes just like the men, then “we” as female workers wouldn’t have to try so hard to gain respect from our peers as well as the fans. I don’t put down the girls who want to be seen as only divas, but just stay out of the ring and go valet/manage if you just want to look pretty in this business. I’m very proud and happy to see companies now treating women wrestlers with respect and acknowledge our talent in the ring as we can draw the crowds as much as the men can and sometimes better. It gives us a platform to be the stars and the men be the undercard. Its been a long time coming and I’m glad I am part of something that has given the opportunity for women wrestlers to shine.
Alan Wojcik: WEW and WSU seem to be polar opposites on the spectrum. Did you feel uncomfortable working for a promotion where the ladies were sometimes working topless?
Mercedes Martinez: Well WEW and WSU are definitely totally different companies and they have their own fan base. I had no problems working for WEW and wasn’t uncomfortable being around naked strippers etc…They are there in WEW to do whatever they were hired to do and I was hired to wrestle in the ring. As long as I wasn’t in the ring with someone who wasn’t properly trained then I had no problems with the company. Granted, it does gets hectic in WEW but they have their way of doing business and showcases both the T and A side of wrestling as well as the athletic side of wrestling. Hey sex sells so WEW puts in all together in a different way that maybe not all ppl agree, but I have no problem with it at all.
Alan Wojcik: Being part of the Shimmer roster got you booked on Ring Of Honor shows and you briefly joined the Vulture Squad. Your thoughts on working for ROH and their seemingly overcritical fanbase.
Mercedes Martinez: Working for ROH is great. Their fan base def appreciates great wrestling in every aspect that wrestling is viewed. I never knew how the fans would react to me, but I’m ecstatic that they viewed me in a positive light and love my style of wrestling. ROH fans are brutally honest and if they don’t like your match or see something they don’t like, they will voice their opinion. I see it as a challenge to step up my game as I want to always entertain the fans and always give 100% and more.
Alan Wojcik: Several former opponents like Traci Brooks, Cheerleader Melissa and Talia all work for TNA and you wrestled Victoria on a WWE event. Is that somewhere you would like to eventually work?
Mercedes Martinez: My dream has always been to work for WWE but the reality of it happening is far fetched. I had my dark match with Victoria and I got positive feedback from it but it never went further than that. I guess it was bad timing as I went out for surgery a couple of months later. TNA I would love to get the chance to showcase my talent but its up to fate. They know who I am and they know what I can do, and when they are ready to have Mercedes Martinez on their roster, then I will be more than happy to be there. If not, then it wasn’t meant to be as I truly believe things happen for a reason and I can only do so much to try and realize my dream.
Alan Wojcik: If possible compare the fans and booking styles of Shimmer against WSU.
Mercedes Martinez: SHIMMER and WSU are almost the same type of companies. The style that they are booked in WSU is based locally and give local female wrestlers the chance to shine in a promotion that can help them grow into a better wrestler. It also gives the fans a change of pace and see a womens show based on those local wrestlers and the surprises that it gives with special matches and etc..there’s nothing like WSU in the northeast and if you can’t afford or go to SHIMMER, then WSU is the place to be. It gives you raw emotion, athleticism, as well as great entertainment and showcases some of the new and upcoming female stars as well as gives you the veterans that paved the way for women wrestlers today. SHIMMER on the other hand, tends to showcase talent from all over the US and overseas. They are the main stream of womens promotions and their fans follow with a sense of pride. This is where the wrestlers can test their knowledge against some of the top female workers in the world and the fans genuinely appreciate it and sometimes ask for it.I tend to think SHIMMER has always raised the bar for women as they tend to book matches that no one has seen before and that what makes them different.
Alan Wojcik: A couple of years ago you suffered a severe shoulder injury. Did you think “my career is over” and what was the recovery process like?
Mercedes Martinez: In 2007 I had major shoulder surgery that required me to be out of work and wrestling for about 1 1/2yrs…The surgery consisted of tightening my shoulder capsule as well as shortening of my ligaments. It also entailed the fixing of my shoulder blade as it was winging out of its socket..basically what kept happening was that my shoulder kept dislocating to the point that all I had to do was comb my hair or put my coat on, and it would just pop out and hang there until I somehow put it back into place…it was a very painful process and wrestling made it worse. It came to the point that after all the rehab and injuring it thru work and wrestling, I had to get the surgery. Recovery was horrible and very painful and long process. I was in a constraint type of sling for almost 3 months 24/7. I couldn’t really take the sling off and I had friends help me dress, shower, comb my hair and even help me eat. I literally had no use of my right arm. By the 6th month I had to go through a process called manipulation in which they knocked me out and literally moved my arm in every direction possible to break up all the scar tissue that built up. That was just as painful as the surgery. Rehab was 3x a week for about 2hrs each session and I had to do my own rehab at home as well. By October of 2007 I was able to move my arm and had about 75% of my mobility and my dr said to stop wrestling as I wouldn’t get any more mobility. But I pushed on and kept pushing my limits and I went on a tour to Australia in Nov for NHPW. I wasn’t going to wrestle but I had to test myself and see how far I come along and that was going to break or make my decision to keep wrestling or not. I wrestled twice in Australia and it was very easy matches but entertaining. I knew I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to be back to where I was when I left or better. I thought that this was going to be the end of my career as I at times couldn’t see myself putting my body through all the pain and suffering I went through.At the same time, a month before surgery, my father passed away so that just added to me not wrestling anymore and surgery was a way out as well.It was a very emotional roller coaster for that whole year and I truly thought I was never going to wrestle again even if I was 100%.But that trip to Australia def helped me and gave me life as I felt the fans warmth and love and it pushed me harder to get back into training. I eventually got back in the ring in April of 2008 and on a regular basis in May of 2008.
Alan Wojcik: Last month I saw you wrestle Shimmer champion MsChif on a Full Impact Pro event. What do you think of her as a wrestler and the fans of FIP?
Mercedes Martinez: The fans of FIP are great. Its almost the same fan base as ROH as they know all the wrestlers and appreciate great wrestling. I think sometimes they don’t know what to expect when the girls come out and wrestle but they respect us enough to show us support and not yell idiotic things. As far as MsChif goes, I think she is a tremendous wrestler. Her style is very unorthodox and unique and that is what sets her apart from all the other wrestlers. The only thing I see is her main flaw is that she has to be able to adapt to other styles of wrestling. I believe that being SHIMMER champion will elevate her as a wrestler and will make her step her game up. All the other female wrestlers will have to adapt to her style as well as she tends to be very flexible and tends to feel no pain when she’s in submissions. I think she will make her mark in female wrestling if she hasn’t yet.
Alan Wojcik: You’ve been in the ring with two ladies the fans seem to fear but also admire, the Amazing or Awesome Kong and Amy Lee. Are they the stiffest people you have worked with and if not who is?
Mercedes Martinez: I love Amy Lee as she is one of my greatest friends in this business. She is a tough bitch but in the ring with me, I think I’m more stiffer against her. Lol She’s knows when its time to get serious in the ring and when we work, I hope I bring out the best in her. She has never taken “liberties” on me whatsoever and neither have one. When it comes to Amazing or Awesome Kong, she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. In the ring she is a beast but that’s how far it goes against me. She has never once stiff me in the ring and she can be a little rough but that is her nature. It builds her character and she never wants to intentionally hurt anyone. If I could say who is the stiffest person I worked thus far, it would have to be Cheerleader Melissa (Kong’s manager in TNA). Her forearms are lethal and granted I throw forearms, but I think she always tries to rip your head off. Lol she’s a great worker and we always have great matches with our sense of strong style of wrestling and sometimes she does get a lil carried away but its all good…I still love that girl.
Alan Wojcik: Doing DVD reviews I have found WSU is definitely different than other promotions. Namely due to the presence of Beatdown Bettie member Rick Cataldo. Your thoughts on his presence in WSU, does he hurt or help the promotion?
Mercedes Martinez: Rick Cataldo…he’s such a character for WSU. I don’t think he hurts WSU at all. Sometimes he gets a little carried away with his promos and his divaness, but overall he’s entertaining and really does want to learn the business. He plays his character so well that you either get disgusted, smile, laugh or any form of reaction for him. Now if only he can really start taking wrestling a little more seriously and you’ll never know how far he can go in WSU.
Alan Wojcik: You won the 2008 WSU J-Cup event defeating Princess Jana, Becky Bayless and Angel Orsini in one night. Talk about that night and how do you prepare three matches so the fans don’t see repeat performances.
Mercedes Martinez: That night was insane. It was my actual 1st tournament back from injury and I was very skeptical and nervous that I was competing. I hadn’t had a full length match since coming back in early 2008 so the J-Cup was my time to shine and see if I can still be on top after a painful surgery and long absence. To prepare for this tournament I had to study every wrestler that was entered. I didn’t know who I would be wrestling and didn’t know if I could make it past the first round. I had to take my precautions and strategize my moves and use certain moves in certain matches if it needed it. With Jana, I already knew what I wanted to do in the match and it was just a matter of getting around her offense. I did get the ring and was happy with the first round performance. With Becky Bayless, I knew she was a sneaky wrestler and would do anything to win. She doesn’t have much offense but she’s uses dirty tactics and I had to make sure I was one step ahead of her and keep her grounded as much as possible. In the end I prevailed after some crazy stunt she pulled with trying to screw me out of the match. I got caught with a weapon only after she brought it into the ring and dq me cause he thought I used it on Becky who was playing dead in the ring as if I hit her. Of course Tammy aka Sunny came to the rescue and restarted the match and I won. Of course after that performance I was a little drained and feeling the effects of being gone for so long. I had my 3rd match with my good friend Angel Orsini at that time. We always bring out the best in each other and this match I literally used everything I could due to the fact that she knows me so well. In the end however, I caught her off guard and beat her to win the J-Cup. I was excited humbled and shocked as I didn’t think I was going to win. But it was an accomplishment well deserved since before surgery I went to the finals of 2006 J-Cup and lost after dislocating my shoulder.
Alan Wojcik: With Bison Bravado as your partner you competed in the WSU King and Queen Tournament. What did you think of the concept when WSU unveiled it and do you think it was a success?
Mercedes Martinez: I love the concept of the king and queen tournament. It can upgrade and bring out the best in a female wrestler if she has to get in the ring with a guy. She has to be quick smart and not be afraid to mix it up. As far as the guys, they obviously take no mercy on the girls and rightfully so. The way I see it, if your getting in the ring with a guy be prepared to get hit and beaten on like guy and of course dish it back to them 10x harder..lol I think it was a great success. As you can see this year there’s another tournament. I think the fans love seeing something different in wrestling and this is it. It can pair up some whacky teams and its a great night of wrestling and entertainment.
Alan Wojcik: Past or present who is Mercedes Martinez’s dream opponent and why?
Mercedes Martinez: There’s so many people to choose to be my dream opponent whether it be past or present. So I’m going to name a few and state why. My first would have to be Wendi Richter who helped paved the way for us today. I’ve seen a lot of her matches especially with veterans that still wrestle today like Malia Hosaka. I would love to see how the old school can deal with the new school style like strong style. I would also love to wrestle Leilani Kai who I think was a major player in changing the way people saw womens wrestling. A veteran who I thought was way beyond her years when she wrestled. I would love to have the chance to wrestle Victoria again without the WWE antics. I think she’s truly a remarkable wrestler and without WWE, she can utilize her full potential against someone like me with my rugged strong style and technical ability. she reached some of her peak with WWE against Trish Stratus but that was just the beginning.
Alan Wojcik: You have been working with Angel Orisni for several years as tag partner and opponent. Since I will be interviewing her as well, tell me what makes her a good opponent and what do you think she might say about you.
Mercedes Martinez: I would hope Angel Orsini has remarkable and great things to say about me as I’m about to say about her. Angel Orsini has been part of my learning in the early part of my career and we traveled everywhere. We were tag partners for a bit and eventually went our separate ways as she went overseas and I kept traveling all over the US. She always makes me raise the bar and makes me step up my game anytime I get in the ring her. I have the utmost respect for her and for what she has done in this business and for what she has accomplished in her career. Not only do I constantly learn from her each and every time I’m in the ring, but I know because of our unique style, we always have some kick ass matches. I will always thank her for helping me in this business and thank her for the countless matches that we have had and will have in the future.
Alan Wojcik: By the time this interview makes it online you and Angel would have fought in a hair vs. championship bullrope match. After the cage match in January what other stuff do you two think you can do to escalate the feud or is it time to move on to other challengers?
Mercedes Martinez: Well that cage match was INSANE!! Obviously after that outcome it was necessary to keep the feud going into the hair vs title bullrope match.
Since the outcome is already out there, we all know that I am the new WSU womans champion and I surely didn’t lose my hair. I believe that this feud can continue for only a little while longer as its been going for a year and there’s not much more we can do to keep the fans wanting more from this feud. I finally proved to her that I can beat her one on one with no interference or tricks on her part so she has to respect my wrestling ability as well as respect me. The feud has made for some memorable matches in WSU as well as in my career and I thank WSU for giving us both the outlet to creatively raise the bar and give the fans a reason to come to WSU. I think now’s the time for me to prove why I won the title and prove to the whole roster that I am a worthy champion that with bring class, heart and make the title mean something to all those who choose to wrestle me for it. I’m a fighting champion and I’ll take any and every contender. As far as Angel Orsini goes I think its time for her to stay focused and wrestle other contenders and again eventually come back into the title picture. Other women wrestlers on the roster are stepping up their game and they’re rising in the ranks so if she wants a piece of me she has to keep winning and keep and earn her spot.
Alan Wojcik: My fiancee’ has a love of tattoos and she noticed in photos of you online you have several. Talk about the body art and why do that to your body?
Mercedes Martinez: I love my tattoos and I think its a beautiful way to express yourself and tell a story of who you are and what you love. Most of my tattoos are symbolic for the most part while some are just are that I love. I have 8 altogether which 3 of them are blended into 1 huge tattoo piece. My first tattoo was a chinese symbol that stands for scorpio and that’s below my neck and in between the shoulder blades. Obviously I got it because I’m a scorpio and its small because It was my 1st tattoo and I was nervous. My 2nd tattoo was the bar code on the back of my name with my siblings birth dates on it. I put this tattoo on me because it was unique and different. It symbolizes the fact that as siblings we are all the same but different in our own way just because of our birth dates. My 3rd tattoo is a scorpion with the zodiac sign above it on my left inside wrist. Again I got it cuz I’m a scorpio til death..lol My 4th tattoo was a concept I came up with to symbolize my heritage and the fact that I believe in my faith. So, I got on my lower back a cross with the Puerto Rico flag in it, with angel wings coming out the side of it, with the concept of it coming out of flames. What this means is that I’m proud to be Puerto Rican and I love god and that I will always fly out the depths of hell with my angels by my side. that’s the whole concept of the tattoo. My 5th tattoo was a very personal tattoo as it was a tribute to my stepfather, which I consider my father as he raised me since I was 9. Its on my left shoulder blade and it has the Congos with music notes along with the phrase “this is not a goodbye” over the top of it and “its a see you later” on the bottom of it. My dad loved playing the Congos and in Puerto Rico he was part of a band. I truly miss him and this was my way of showing that I love him and that he’s always a part of me and watching me wherever I go. My 6th tattoo was my stomach tattoo in which I put under my belly button “only god can judge me”. Obviously its part of my faith and to show that I really don’t care what people think of me as I answer to no one but him. My 7th tattoo is one that just got finished and was in the works for about 2 months. It connects my lower back tattoo with my stomach tattoo. Its a tribal band that goes from my lower back and around my waist to the front of my stomach and ends with a tribal below my phrase tattoo. I got this tattoo because I wanted something unique and felt that my stomach and back tattoo were getting old and plain. So I figured why not connect it with a tribal band and make some beautiful art out of it. There really is no symbolic nature to this tattoo, as this is just a tattoo of pure art and beautification of my body. My 8th tattoo I got on my inside right wrist. Its a cross with rays around it. Its still in the works of being added to as I found it to be plain and way too simple for me. Lol.. Those are my tattoos and I just now finished the final session on my waist tribal tattoo and going to get started on finishing and adding to my cross tattoo .I also have in the works another tattoo that’s going on my right shoulder but ill wait till all of you see it when it gets done. Let’s just say its a personal piece for me. And like I said, I get my tattoos because I love expressing myself through my body. All my tattoos are a reflection of who I am or what I experienced and Its a beautiful way to showcase someones artistic talent as well.
Alan Wojcik: In addition to a myspace page( www.myspace.com/mercedesmartinez) you have your own website, www.thelatinasenation.com. Who runs it and tell the fans what they can find there.
Mercedes Martinez: The website is run by a guy named Rob McCabe. He’s a big time wrestling fan and one of my biggest fans. He came up with the idea of me getting the website as I was unable to really stay in touch with my fans through Myspace. I have no access to internet or a computer anymore so it was becoming hard to update my fans. On the site you can purchase my merchandise as well as see my upcoming show dates. Also, if you become a premium member, you get exclusive inside information on matches and shoot interviews. We also incorporated a biweekly internet audio in which we talk about nonsense and the real life of Mercedes Martinez as well as give my thoughts on upcoming shows and afterthoughts after the show has ended. Its a unique concept that we are still improving and hoping to start doing live one day. You can also but some of my matches in single form as well as a new concept called custom photo sets. This entails the fans to pick my outfits, settings, etc for a 50 photo disk. I usually screen the emails and work with the fans on the customs and I make sure that’s its tasteful and creative. Its something different that I came up with to let fans see Mercedes in a different light and not just in the wrestling ring. So the site is a great way to keep fans updated on all new merchandise, upcoming shows, real life issues, etc…
Thanks to Ms. Martinez for taking time out of here extremely busy schedule. Thanks to the management and staff of WSU for their time. Their next events are set for April, log onto www.wsuwrestling.com plus checkout www.ShimmerWrestling.com for info on their events