Former WWE Diva Kristal Marshall was on Ring The Belle where she discussed her experience in WWE as well as the backstage politics that she faced during her time in the company. Marshall discussed WWE’s diversity problems, and she pointed out that it’s not just a WWE problem but a problem throughout the entertainment industry.
“I’ve been in the entertainment business for a long time in different facets of it, and this is not a WWE thing,” Marshall noted. “Across the board, in entertainment for a very long time, there has not been a representation of attractive, powerful, smart, beautiful women of color. There just hasn’t been.
“So to sit here and say that “oh it’s just WWE,” it’s not. It’s not. But the thing is the world now is diverse. The world now looks like you, it looks like me. It looks like many other people who are multi-ethnic and I think that this is the first time that I can say I think that they are doing a great job. It is diverse. It is changing. You don’t see a bunch of people with perfect bodies. There are all kinds of different body types, shapes, and I’m for it.”
Marshall also discussed the backstage environment during the Divas era. She talked about how competitive everything was and how some wrestlers had to adjust for others which didn’t allow for the women to show what they could truly do.
“The woman in the locker room, myself included, felt very stifled,” Marshall admitted. “Because for the women that were true legit wrestlers, they had to dumb themselves down to fill the role at the time. Everybody has to bring an ingredient to the potluck to make the meal work. And at that time, we’re in a different era, and we were serving a different menu than what’s being served now.
“So when you have a group of people that want to showcase their talent in a different arena, and they can’t, a lot of times, their frustration can be misconstrued as not being appreciative or being defiant or being that nasty f-word feminist. But that wasn’t necessarily the case. What the women wanted at that time was the ability to be their very best version of themselves, and I think that that fire that was lit by those women before is completely burning hard and bright right now.”
Marshall also discussed the passing of Ashley Massaro. She admitted that her passing still affects her.
“You know, Ashley and I have always been pretty close, especially through the Diva Search experience and rolling that into our time on SmackDown,” Marshall revealed. “We still kept in contact through the years. I shared a hotel room with her last January before she passed.
“[Her passing] still affects me. It’s really really hard. A lot of things don’t make sense but I think with suicide in general it’s just one of those things that no matter how hard you try to think about it and explain it away and dissect it, it’s never going makes sense why.”
WWE released Marshall in 2007 but did not acknowledge it due to her storyline with Teddy Long. She gave more details about her release and the backstage politics behind it.
“I wanted to get more information on [the Teddy Long storyline]. I couldn’t for whatever reason,” Marshall revealed. “I didn’t know anything about the Edge storyline. They were keeping a lot under wraps from me. I inquired about what was going on, and I think sometimes what I’ve learned through life is when you’re a woman and you’re outspoken, and you’re an advocate for yourself, you get labeled as difficult.
“You get labeled as hard to work with and people don’t like that. Unfortunately, I am not a fall-in-line kind of person. I’m gonna speak my mind, and I feel like the problem with up is that I was just starting to get to know the higher-ups on a more personal level and It was bad timing on my part.
“I should have probably gone more with the flow and just waited until I built more of a relationship to voice some of my concerns. And ultimately that worked against me. Sometimes you do have to shut the f–k up, and just wait until you can get to the next position to where you can speak it up for yourself.”
Marshall signed with TNA in 2009 and left in 2010. Since then, she has not been involved in wrestling. She was asked on if she would ever return, and she left it open depending on if she had the training and the opportunity to have bigger matches.
“I know for a fact if I had the opportunity to train more and to have bigger matches and to have what the women in NXT have which is a forum to grow and develop as a character and as an athlete, the sky was absolutely the limit for me,” Marshall stated. “You know if the opportunity ever comes again that I’m given those same opportunities to do that.”