WrestlingInc.com owner Raj Giri recently spoke to women's wrestling legend Molly Holly before she was a surprise entrant in last Sunday's women's Royal Rumble match. The two-time WWE Women's Champion discussed how she got her start in the WWE.
Holly began her wrestling career in WCW before joining the WWE in 2000. She said the WWE had never reached out to her, but instead she proactively sought out the company after her release from WCW. She revealed she had an assist from her mentor Dean Malenko, with whom she trained under.
"They didn't contact me, I contacted them," Holly said. "[Someone] told me that they weren't going to exercise the second year of my contract, so I called Dean Malenko, who is a mentor and a friend of mine, and I asked him, 'I'm not staying on with the WCW, how do I get in with the WWF?' And he said, 'Come to a show, come backstage, and I will introduce you to Jim Ross.' The show was actually in Atlanta, and the WCW actually already bought me a plane ticket to Atlanta, so I just took the ticket that Ted Turner bought me to go backstage to the WWF and I met with Jim Ross, and Jim Ross already had the heads up."
Holly said the meeting didn't start out as she expected. She was a bit taken aback when Ross told her where she'd have to start her career. But when she realized it would be just a stepping stone to future opportunities, she was happy to accept the role.
"So we had a meeting, where he informed me, 'We start out our girls as one of The Godfather's ladies.' I was like, 'Oh, great. Yeah.' And he was listing all the girls who went on to be famous as a result, and then he said that he'd like to offer me a developmental contract. And I said, 'Yeah, that's great,'" she said. "So I flew home and started making money right away – I was getting severance from WCW, and I was getting developmental guarantees from the WWF. The highlight of my career was sitting home and getting paid by two companies. But eventually, they sent me to Memphis to train with the likes of Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), the Mean Street Posse, Victoria (Miss Kitty) – there was a whole group of us that trained there."
Holly also discussed her favorite moments from her time with the WWE. She explained that most of her favorite experiences happened off-screen, but she pointed to her on-screen relationship with Spike Dudley as the best time of her career. The two of them were involved in a love story amidst a heated rivalry between her cousins, Crash Holly and Hardcore Holly, and Spike's brothers, The Dudley Boyz.
"I don't know. A lot of my favorite moments didn't have anything to do with being on TV. 49 states, 15 different countries – I mean, there's so many awesome things that I thought, 'wow, people save their whole life to go on vacation to Melbourne Australia, and I'm getting paid to be here.' Or, Helsinki Finland. Or wherever these gigs took me. I would be the one who would skip the gym to go see the sites," she said. "As far as my television career, I really enjoyed my character's storyline with Spike Dudley. It was fun to have acting skits and the things that the fans could get involved with, get behind, root for. So my Disney romance with Spike Dudley was by far one of my favorite things in my time with the WWF."
Holly currently serves as a female coach at "The Academy School of Professional Wrestling" in Minneapolis, Minnesota owned by Ken Anderson and Shawn Daivari, so she's helping to mold the future of women's wrestling. As far as current female superstars, Holly said she's a huge fan of SmackDown Live women's champion Charlotte. She said she's impressed with Charlotte's combination of strength and high-flying abilities, so she enjoys watching her compete.
"Charlotte really impressed me when she started doing some gymnastics things," she said. "These are things normally done by girls when they're five-foot-one and eighty pounds. But the fact that she can do them and she's so big is remarkable. I remember the first time I saw Brock Lesnar do this top-roll thing, and I was like, 'What? Wow! But he's huge!' So that's how I feel with Charlotte – she's doing things that gravity is screaming, 'Don't do that!' And she's like, 'F you gravity!' So, she really blows my mind."
Billy Gunn will be a guest trainer at"The Academy: School of Professional Wrestling" on Monday, February 19th. The first seminar will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30pm for those who have had 0 to 20 professional wrestling matches. From 8:30pm to 10:30pm will be the second seminar for those who have had 20+ pro-wrestling matches. Participation in the seminar of your experience level is $50. You can attend both seminars for $75. You can register for the "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn seminar at theacademyprowrestling.com/billy. Limited spots are available, and they will not accept registrations once the seminar is full.
Bernadette Giacomazzo contributed to this article.