On a recent episode of her Cigars, Scars and Superstars podcast, Terri Runnels dished on some of what happened backstage at the 25th anniversary of Monday Night RAW. As one of the female wrestling legends who appeared on the show, Runnels revealed her role was actually reduced from what she had hoped it would be.
Runnels said she originally had hoped to appear alongside her ex-husband Goldust. She worked as his manager under the name Marlena during the Attitude Era while they were married. Goldust had approached Vince McMahon with the idea, but it was shot down. According to Runnels, McMahon had grouped all the returning female superstars together so if she appeared with Goldust it would be unfair to the other superstars.
"We were all told to meet at the stage for a rehearsal," Runnels explained. "I had kind of had a bit of a heads up, and I hope I am not spoiling anything when I say this but Dustin [Rhodes] had said to Vince [McMahon] that since she is going to be here anyways I would like for her to walk me to the ring. I loved that idea, and Vince said to him, 'No because she is going to have her own spotlight.' I asked him what that meant about me having my own spotlight? Would I be going out to the ring with him and there's going to be a spotlight on me? He said that he doesn't know but that I was going to have my own spotlight"
Runnels said she was disappointed with how the female wrestling legends were presented. She felt that there was room for more of them to be used in other ways and others felt the same way.
"So I get there and they call all the girls and we get to the stage and they literally said that we are going to call you out in this order and this is the mark you are going to stand on; you are going to wave and walk back. We all kind of dropped our jaws and said that you have to be kidding me! We were looking out to having my spotlight [as Marlena] and I even emailed Vince McMahon and told him that I am bringing my gold dresses just in case you change your mind.=," she said. "Dustin Rhodes said to me later on that he doesn't know what it means but it does mean that you are not going to come out with me. I sent the email just hoping that Vince would change his mind, so that was disappointing. It was not that I wanted to be alone where I say to everyone, 'Hey, look at me. I am a diva extraordinaire, I need my own spotlight' No. It just felt like we were misused, which is the best way for me to explain it. I felt that there was a better way for us to be used, but don't ask me because I didn't really think it out. I just felt like you have a lot of talent and we were just in there waving."
Runnels said she felt bad for the fans, because they didn't get to see her and Goldust together again. Even though she and Rhodes have been divorced for years, they have an amicable relationship and share a daughter. Goldust was willing to put aside any differences and have them appear together just to please the fans.
"Fans want that. They want to see Marlena and Goldust. That was a really cool gimmick the way we used to be," she said. "I believe the young fans who don't have any memory of Goldust and Marlena, I think that they would grab a hold of it as before. I don't believe it would be that cutting edge stuff that we did before; it was PG-13."
Runnels said she was happy she was allowed to appear at RAW 25 because it was her first appearance in the WWE since leaving the company in 2004. Bbut she was still disappointed with how she and the other female superstars were used.
"I am happy that I got to wave and say hello to my fans. That they were able to say, 'Oh my gosh, there she is.' It has been 13-14 years since they had seen me that long," she said. "That component of it was awesome, but lackluster and disappointed was the best way to explain it. I had very high hopes; all that and then some, as I'm sure others that attended had the same high hopes. I do hope that some fans were able to leave there and say that they got my money's worth."
Runnels also discussed her disappointment in Goldust not being featured at RAW 25 even though he is one of the longest tenured superstars on the roster. She revealed that Enzo Amore being suspended after rape allegations surfaced is what forced Goldust off the show. Amore was supposed to have a segment with Goldust, but the writers couldn't find a way to add him back to the show when those plans were scrapped.
"The APA guys were sitting at the tables and were like, 'Oh my gosh, they just got Enzo.' Enzo was supposed to be first at the APA table. The more important to me was that he was supposed to work with Goldust. Goldust is the oldest working star in WWE and he was literally not written in Raw 25. Him and Enzo were doing something in the ring but it got scrapped of course," she said. "Enzo's situation affected him. Dustin is a huge part of Raw and literally he was not in any video montage; all the 25 that they threw up all those moments in Raw history, I did not see him there. That was a huge part that was missing and you know, that was wrong. I really felt bad for him about that. He is my child's father. I am really proud Dustin. Proud of the way he lives his life now. He is an incredible father to Dakota [Runnels] and he's busted his a** for Raw fans for so long and he was just left out. I realized that it wasn't planned to leave him out, but it just sucked."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Cigars, Scars and Superstars with Terri Runnels with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.