|By Raj Giri||July 10, 2012 | Comments|
Make sure to check back tomorrow for our second part of our interview, where Kanellis discusses signing with ROH, turning down TNA, problems in WWE and much more.
WrestlingINC: You started off your career with the Diva Search, how did that come about?
Maria Kanellis: I was watching Monday Night Raw and they were advertising for it. [Laughs.] Honestly, everybody asks me this question and everybody thinks that I just came from a model search. But, me and Michelle McCool were the only two that self-entered online -- not from an agency -- we just loved wrestling. So, I entered online and I made it to the next round. The only reason I knew I made it to the next round before they told me a week after was that I saw my picture on Monday Night Raw when I was watching the show.
WrestlingINC: Had you been a wrestling fan for a long time before that?
Maria: Yeah, I've been a wrestling fan. I probably got back into it when I was 16, 17. But I was a wrestling fan since I was a little girl. I used to watch it with my dad and my brother.
WrestlingINC: Who were some of your favorites growing up?
Maria: I loved 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. I love the guys that can talk. I'm a big fan of The Rock, but I'm also a fan of Coach. I just thought Johnathan Coachman did such a great job -- every single time he was there with somebody, he just really brought out the personality of anybody he was interviewing.
WrestlingINC: When you got the call, what was that like having been a fan and getting that opportunity?
Maria: It was insane. The most insane thing in the world. I was screaming and jumping up and down. At the time, I was in Louisville, Kentucky, coming back from living in my car down in Miami, Florida. So, you can only imagine how I was feeling going from living in my car down in Miami, Florida to coming back to Louisville, Kentucky. I just had done "Outback Jack," which was a reality show, and I got the call to do World Wrestling Entertainment. It was insane.
WrestlingINC: After the Diva Search, you went to OVW. What was that experience like?
Maria: It was two and a half years that I was down in Ohio Valley Wrestling. It's been a big part of my life now in the sense that I love that period of my life so much. It was like my college years. I didn't go to college other than here and there in my failed attempts to go to school. So, Ohio Valley Wrestling was my college years.
WrestlingINC: So, you started your run in WWE in 2005, can you describe that run?
Maria: Oh, my gosh. It was a mix of everything. I was 22-years-old, I never experienced anything like that in my entire life. The first time I was on live television, was the first time I'd ever been in front of a live crowd that size. Just getting over that in itself was insane. I didn't come from the independents, so wrestling was all new to me. I was training down in Ohio Valley Wrestling at the same time I was on the road. I was training with Fit Finley.
I didn't get as much time in the ring as I would have liked. It's funny, because now I'm getting more time in the ring then I ever did when I was in WWE. I'm learning a whole lot more. But, it was insane. It was wonderful, it was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I considered WWE my family for a long time. They gave me my start, really.
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