Reported by Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
Nora 'Molly Holly' Greenwald Interview - Part 2: Talks about WWE, more
On Monday, February 13, 2006 at 4:18 AM EST Jimmy Van of JimmyVan.com sent in the following recap:
My exclusive interview with former WWE star Nora “Molly Holly" Greenwald is now online at JimmyVan.com in MP3 format. You can also listen to a five-minute preview clip of part two of the interview at this link:
Nora's DVD, "Nora Greenwald: Shootin' the Crap" is now available online at www.NoraDVD.com.
My book, "Wrestling's Underbelly: From Bingo Halls to Shopping Malls" is now available at Amazon.com. Visit www.WrestlingBelly.com for more information.
Thanks to Michael Patrick for the below transcript of part two of this interview.
I was going to ask this later but I’ll ask you now. Do you watch the WWE product at all now?
I try to. I don’t get to see it as often as I would like. I have a public speaking class on Mondays so I usually miss RAW. Every now and then I’ll have someone tape it for me and then I’ll watch it. I have caught a Smackdown! recently on a Friday night. I don’t watch it religiously but I try to catch it when I can.
The company, shortly after Eddie died, sort of exploited his death by turning it into a storyline with Rey Mysterio; they blew up his low rider and they had Rey calling to the sky trying to get strength from Eddie against The Big Show. What do you think about them doing something like that? Do you think there is ever a time where not everything is off limits as far as the story is concerned or is Mr. McMahon’s viewpoint of “it’s just entertainment" a good view point?
Well wrestling has never been all that moral and as far as “is what they’re doing right or wrong?"… I don’t… first of all this is the first I’ve heard of this story, just to tell you that, so I didn’t hear anything about that. There are certainly tons of things that happen on the show that I think are absolutely awful but, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if I were writing the show it’d be a “Little House on the Prairie". So it’s good that I’m not a writer because I’m sure there wouldn’t be very many wrestling fans left. As far as what they do and why they do it… there are lots of things I disagree with. Because I didn’t see that particular thing (Eddie exploitation) but that’s always kind of been the way it is; some people are offended by stuff and quit watching, some people are offended and then the next week they forget about it and, you know, it’s just the way wrestling’s always been.
Next I want to talk about Bob Holly because you also worked with him when you started out. He’s a pretty controversial guy; he’s known to be pretty stiff in the ring, he's not too kind with rookies, he’s a bit short tempered. What was it like for you working with Bob?
He was really nice to me. I was really intimidated when I first met him because I was already a Holly cousin and here he is, sitting at home with a broken arm, probably flips on the TV and thinks, “Oh great, now I have another cousin to deal with?" I doubt that he was at all thrilled that I was a part of the deal. When he finally came backstage and he was ready to work again I was really nervous to meet him because I had heard about what a hard-ass he is so I was real humble and went up and, “I just wanna... introduce myself…" and he was actually really nice. I think that because he had seen that I can actually work that he had a little more respect for me than I was expecting. He’s always been nice to me. We’ve never hung out or anything, we were never like, “Hey let’s go and get some pizza after the show."
Bob never invited you out for a beer after the show, I imagine…
No, we didn’t really hang out but it was always nice working with him.
After a little while you left Crash and Bob and you became “Mighty Molly", the sidekick of “The Hurricane". I’ve always heard that was one of, if not, your favorite time in WWE. What did you think of the character and what did you think of working with Shane Helms?
I though the character was so fun and what was so flattering was that there would be kids that dressed up for Halloween as Mighty Molly and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s me."
Do you remember what you used to say in the theme music, going to the ring?
(Moan of embarrassment)
Did somebody suggest that it end or was it like you suggested it end?
Actually Crash knew that Hurricane and I had different ideas as far as wrestling so we just weren’t working well together in that respect plus Crash also knew that I was kind of bored with the character… actually I forget how it all goes.
Well one thing that you did, I think you were still Mighty Molly at the time, was when you won the Hardcore Title. It was a brief thing for maybe an hour. But you still won it. It was supposed to be a men’s title and they put it on you, it was at Wrestlemania. What did you think of that?
It was fantastic and here’s why. I was not scheduled to be on Wrestlemania. There was a Women’s Triple Threat and I wasn’t a part of it and so I had nothing to do and I was really bummed because I really wanted to be a part of Wrestlemania. So that morning Dean Malenko said, “Hey I think you’re gonna win the Hardcore Title tonight." I’m like, “OH MY GOD! ARE YOU SERIOUS? HERE AT WRESTLEMANIA?" I was so pumped and then when they told me I was gonna win it from Hurricane I thought, “Oh he’s gonna hate me." You know, the last thing I think he would’ve wanted was to lose to a girl so we came up with the frying pan thing and the sad thing with the frying pan is that it’s really hard to fake hit someone with a frying pan so he’s like, “Just hit me." So I did hit really hard with the frying pan and I felt awful about it but it was great being the champ for like 47 minutes.
Yeah something like that.
Somebody told me one once, “Hey you held the Hardcore Title longer than Chris Jericho." I was like “Really?"
I would tell everybody that.
You totally should.
Yeah, it was really fun.
Different people look at the titles differently, like Batista really valued the World Title and then on the other side of the coin I talked to Vince Russo a couple of months ago and he looks at the titles as props. Even though it was a short-lived reign and it was part of a comedic segment, was the Hardcore Title viewed as an honor by you or did you just view it as a storyline or a prop?
I didn’t feel that I rightfully earned the Hardcore Title.
Well you used a frying pan.
Well… OK. But I’m not a hardcore wrestler. I’m the opposite of that. I’m like “No ladders or chairs or anything like that for me, please." I hate to side with Vince Russo because a true wrestling fan would respect the title but really I just thought it was for fun and didn’t particularly care who held it. Terri Runnels held it for a while…
I think Bobcat held it too.
Bobcat was the very first female champion…
And it was like thirty seconds.
And the other title that you won obviously as far as women’s wrestling goes was probably THE title, the Women’s Title and I heard a couple of things that you can confirm or deny. After you split from the Hurricane and you went heel as Molly Holly again, I heard that you didn’t want to turn heel and I also heard that you didn’t want to darken your hair.
Well you’ve got it half-right. I did not wanna turn heel because I don’t like being heel. I like being babyface and that was… I wasn’t SO against it that I wouldn’t do it but I didn’t really want to. As far as coloring my hair, I had the absolute worst, straw-like, crutchy, broken-off, fried blonde hair ever and I could not wait to get rid of it. It’s so much maintenance and it’s just icky plus I didn’t wanna be a bleached blonde bimbo in the first place. So I saw this as, great. Now I can let my hair grow natural, or at least closer to a natural color, and not have so much to worry about. So I think darkening my hair was a good part of being heel.
And that year you won the title, in 2002, your primary opponent for most of the year was Trish. She’s someone that when she first came in people saw her as a fitness model and now she’s become one of the best workers they’ve ever had. How was she to work with back then and what do you think of her now?
Well when I very first started working with her, when I was with Crash she was with “T&A", her main move was hitting people over the head with her boot or slapping people. Now she has gone to a wrestling school where she has learned a few basic wrestling maneuvers but she didn’t work on the indies and didn’t really know a lot about full matches. She had been a wrestling fan so she’d seen lots of matches but to actually feed off the crowd and know a lot about how a match works, she didn’t know much. But she was so ambitious and willing to learn it and so fantastic when it came to listening to what I had to say if I was going to work with her, and she went out of her way and flew to Florida where I was living at the time to train with me at this wrestling ring that I knew of so she could learn more stuff. Then I flew to Stamford, CT and worked with her and Stephanie McMahon to prepare for one of their matches and she was always die hard; she’d have big bloody lips and black eyes and she’d never complain. She was always like, “Alright, what’s next?" So I really admired how tenacious she was and she’s always improving. The way she goes about… she still has a different outlook. She has a lot of mentors that have been very successful and I have different mentors than she does so sometimes our mentors… the advice we’d get would conflict but it’d be like two great ideas at the same time. So that’s what’s so great about having people like Fit Finlay around to help us sort through which idea we were going to do at what particular time. As far as her right now, now that she does know how to wrestle and is great at having full matches it’s really fun for me to see her keep women’s wrestling on the map. Without her and Victoria it could easily fade away but I think those girls keep it grounded and now it’s their responsibility to the girls that only slap, how to turn them into wrestlers.
Something else I wanted to ask you about ... were you on "Fear Factor"?
I was on Fear Factor and when I got the call to do it they called me up and said, “Torrie and Stacy don’t wanna do the show but Lita’s doing it. We can’t find anybody else. Would you do it?" I asked “What is it?" and they told me, “It’s this show called "Fear Factor"." I said, “I don’t watch TV. I have no idea what "Fear Factor" is." They said, “Well it’s on a major network and it’s kind of a big deal." So I said, “OK, whatever." And I called up my youngest brother Luke, and said, “Hey Luke, I’m gonna be on this show called "Fear Factor"." And he goes, “You’re gonna have to eat worms." and I asked what he was talking about. He starts telling me about this show where they eat gross stuff and I said, “That is so fake and, trust me, I know what fake is." So I went into this show assuming that it was fake or rigged or predetermined whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately it was all very real.
The first stunt was the helicopter stunt and I did pretty well on that one simply because when you hang from a bottom rung on a ladder, as a gymnast I just did a single-leg loop through to get up on the ladder. That took me two seconds, it was easy. As far as getting up the ladder, I have friends who are on the ring crew and they showed me how to climb up a rung ladder when you do lighting; have the ladder facing between your legs instead of having both feet on the same side. So I already knew that and I climbed up the ladder pretty quickly and aced that stunt.
The next thing was that we had to go to this restaurant and eat these really gross things. They totally tricked us though because they don’t let us know what we're going to do until it’s time to do it. So they gave us this huge catered meal like chicken and potatoes and we got really stuffed. Then they bring us over to this restaurant and I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is the part my brother was telling me about". We had to roll a die to see what ingredients would be in our BRAIN milkshake. The consistency of the brains was, like, oatmeal. Even if it was a chocolate shake, something that thick when you’re already full… come on. So I was supposed to drink sixteen ounces of this thick oatmeal-looking substance that was full of brains, cod liver oil, bile, and fish eyes. If you’ve ever been on the beach and there’s rotting fish and you’re like “ew that smells awful." it tasted like it smells ten times over. It was so bad and so I didn’t pass.
You didn’t finish it.
But they still let $10,000 go to the charity of my choice so it was good even though it was gross and I was crying because I was so messed up from that gross stuff. Something good still came out of it and they actually replay it here in the States every six months. They play it a lot even though it was years ago. Every now and then someone will call me and say “Hey, I just saw you on Fear Factor."
OK. See I didn’t know that they feed you first, that is kind of a lowdown trick.
Yeah it is awful.
Well I was saying this earlier but it seems that one name, it doesn’t matter who I talk to, the one person that everyone always has nothing but good things to say about it you. It seems that you’re very well-respected as a worker and as a person and it’s well-known that you’re a devout Christian as we talked about. What do you think about WWE’s decision to kind of push the envelope? Starting in the 90’s showcasing women in bras and panties and stuff like that because you’re someone who I think has always been known as a professional person and agreeable to work with. Did they ever ask you to do anything you didn’t want to do? I know they did these Divas DVDs, Hedonism, and all that kind of stuff. Did you ever have any problems with those kinds of things?
To tell you the truth, most of the stuff, they leave it up to the girls to decide what they’re going to wear or what they’re going to do. Honestly, if you see something really strange, a lot of the times it’s the girl’s idea of how she wants to make a statement or be remembered or shock the audience. Especially in the Divas photo shoots we buy our own swimwear, we do our own poses; we do it however we want to. So if you see something that’s kind of really risqué, chances are it was the girl’s idea and not Vince McMahon’s. There are times on TV, like for example, when Jackie Gayda was asked to flash… she didn’t want to but she didn’t tell Vince she didn’t want to so Vince did not know she didn’t want to. Most of the locker room knew that she was devastated about it but she didn’t have the guts to say no. With me there had been a few times where, for example, in the storyline with Spike. He had given me a rose or something and they wanted me to say in the ring, “Well since you’ve given me something I’ll give you something in the hotel room." I felt it was so dumb…
It wouldn’t have matched the storyline either.
I thought, “Here I am, we have this cute Disney storyline and I’m saying I have something for him in the hotel room." It seemed like it didn’t fit. Because I didn’t want to do it since I didn’t like the way it was written I suggested to them if I said “And I have a present for you," and then whisper in his ear and he can make an expression. That way people can draw their own conclusions as to how innocent or dirty they wanted it to be. They were really flexible about it. Almost every time I didn’t want to do something I would come up with something else.
Another example was, they wanted me to have a swimsuit contest with Terri Runnels. I thought “Isn’t that kind of boring?" Obviously she’s going to wear a skimpier swimsuit and she has a way better body and she has that vampy sex appeal and I was a heel at the time. I thought, “What’s the point of both of us both walking out in swimsuits and then she wins and I beat her up?" Since I didn’t want to do it I tried to think of something better where it could be funny. So I went up to Vince McMahon and said “Hey! What do you think about this? I’ll wear a grandma swimsuit with the lady’s swimming cap and bring a pair of flippers and I’ll be like, “This is swimwear. This is a swimsuit competition for swimming."" So I tried to sell Vince McMahon on how funny and entertaining and hilarious it could be if I turned it into a comedy thing instead of an actual swimsuit contest and he loved it and said, “Oh that’s great. Yeah we’ll do that." So I was like, “Whew, good." Now it’s not gonna be like, “Oh, you’re fat!" it’s gonna be “Oh you’re hilarious!" I wanted to make it entertaining and not stupid. So anytime there’s been something I didn’t want to do they were really great about changing things around.
That brings me to the next storyline as far as them maybe doing things you didn’t want to do and it was a storyline they came up with that involved the size of your backside. I heard a couple of things about it. I heard that Stephanie McMahon pitched the idea to you and it was supposed to be a one-off. Trish was going to make a comment or something. The next thing you know they’re doing angles around it, they’ve got Jerry Lawler making wisecrack comments about it and it goes on for weeks and weeks and weeks. The funny thing is that you’re not exactly Bertha Faye. It’s not like you were an out-of-shape Diva to begin with. What did you think of that whole thing? I know it wasn’t really over and they didn’t get the kind of reception they wanted. What did you think about that?
I actually go into great detail about that on my DVD but some things on my DVD that I don’t mention, which I’ll tell you is that Jerry Lawler came up to me and said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do about this gimmick. I am getting hate mail from all around the world. People are so pissed that I’m saying all of this but I’m just trying to sell the gimmick." He’s coming up to me asking what we’re going to do about it. He’s worried about his future because of all the people that are so upset with him for saying things they thought were really hurtful and mean. It’s true, I’m not a size two but because like you said I’m not Bertha Faye, I thought, “What an insult to people’s intelligence. They see what I look like and, yes, I’m probably fifteen pounds bigger than Trish but is that something to make a storyline out of?" It just seemed so dumb to me. But yes, I didn’t like it, I thought it was stupid and you’re right, the fans, as hard as they tried… yes there were fans who went along with it and were like, “Oh, you’re fat." But it didn’t… I’ll tell you the best part, the only great thing that came out of the whole thing was when I would do the grandma panties thing and get de-pantsed - that was my idea. The first time… we did it at a few house shows before we did it on TV so we could make sure it worked, trying to perfect the actual costume to rig it up so there were no malfunctions. It was so fun to be pantsed, wearing these grandma panties and trip all over myself and just have the audience in an uproar. That was the only good thing about that stupid gimmick.
One other thing I want to talk to you about as far as you being professional and being agreeable… Wrestlemania 20. That was when you worked with Victoria and you ended up having your head shaved completely bald. Who came up with that one, first of all? I heard that was your idea.
Yes, it was my idea.
So you didn’t mind being shaved completely bald? We’re not talking about a buzz cut…
Honestly, it was supposed to be about an inch long. We had the guard on the razor so that my hair would be about an inch long. As I’m struggling in the chair and Victoria is trying to shave my head the guard breaks off of the razor. She starts clipping and she says through her teeth, “I’m sorry." Because she saw it and it was cutting my head and scraping me. It was so painful but I had to struggle because I can’t make it look like I want my head shaved so I had to go with it.
Was the Women of Wrestling promotion an inspiration? I remember that they did that; they had one of their girls shaved bald on a pay-per-view, I think it was, and then you guys did it right afterwards.
I had no idea that that had happened. I’ve never seen… What was it called? Women’s…
Yeah, there were called WOW, Women of Wrestling and I remember they had one girl that WWE almost signed but the girl that got her head shaved, I believe her name was “Icy" or something. She played this frozen bad guy and she got her head shaved bald on a pay-per-view after losing a match.
No, I didn’t see that. But I didn’t think that I was the first girl. I mean you had Demi Moore and Sigourney Weaver that did it. To me, I was like, so what. Lots of women have had their head shaved and I knew it would grow back so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I knew it would shock the audience but I didn’t think that I was doing something that was an original idea or anything.
I actually got a picture from Valerie Coleman. She sent me a picture of you standing there with your bald head, smiling next to “Superstar" Billy Graham. I still have that picture to this day. It’s so funny just seeing you, knowing how you were, and all of a sudden you’ve got this bald head with a big smile on your face.
Right afterwards I came back and I had so much hair in my mouth, it was so gross. I rinsed out my mouth and then they wanted to clean me up with the clippers to make sure it was all even and they were having this backstage camera and I didn’t know what the camera was for. I didn’t know if they were doing a documentary or a behind the scenes look or whatever and they wanted me to appear devastated. Since I already came back through the curtain I was done acting. I was already so exhausted from pretending that I was being tortured that I just wanted to be myself. So I was sitting there with Charles Robinson and he was talking with me as they were clipping my hair and they were in my face with the camera and they asked “Aren’t you going to act all disappointed?" I said “Right now, could you just let me be myself for like five minutes?" I just wanted to enjoy the fact that I was just on Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden. I just had my head shaved and I just wanted to be happy and excited. I was tired of acting and I just wanted to be myself. So they weren’t really happy with me backstage but it was a really awesome feeling to know that I was a part of Wrestlemania 20.
What do you think of John Laurinaitis, Johnny Ace? He’s the VP of Talent Relations now and I don’t know if he gets a raw deal but it seems like a lot of the talent don’t like him. They were happier when they reported to Jim Ross; they think Johnny Ace is a little strict. What did you think working for him as opposed to working for JR?
I preferred working for JR.
Yeah, I think that’s the consensus.
Although John Laurinaitis is so handsome and charming you just want to like him. But I disagree with a lot of his policies and… yeah, I just preferred working for Jim Ross.
And one of those policies was the dress code.
He was giving out fines if guys showed up in jeans. I remember Rey Mysterio, I think, got a fine. I heard that he had a list of items that were banned and a lot of those items were things the women commonly wore.
One of my concerns about the dress code is that I usually… at least 90% of the time chose to travel alone and I chose to stay in roach motels. I know that people would think that’s weird but I like to stay in really crappy “mom & pop" motels that have saggy beds and brown water running from the sink. It’s just my style.
Brown water is great.
The other thing is that before the dress code went into full effect there was a thing we were going to do at a high school and I had on a pair of ripped blue jeans. One of the office people asked me to go change. They said that they wanted me to wear some business attire for the appearance. I told them, “When I was in high school and I saw someone come in to talk to me who looked like a teacher I didn’t give a crap about what they had to say. I can’t relate to that person and I look at them as a librarian and I don’t think they’re cool." I told them, “I think I’ll connect with these high schoolers a lot more if I’m myself not putting on an act." I was just passionate about wanting to wear the ripped jeans that I came to work in that day and they wouldn’t let me. They said, “No, we’re sorry. You’re representing a company. We want you to dress like a professional." So I went and changed and did what they said. I felt like a… sell out or something. I don’t know, I felt phony and it’s bad enough I had to be phony on TV and now I had to be phony in a place where I get to make a difference in the lives of a group of school students. So, yeah, that was definitely something I disagreed with was the dress code.
Starting around 2004 was when WWE started doing these rounds of talent cuts. The excuse always seemed to be a budget cut issue or they didn’t have anything creatively for the person. What do you think about the talent cuts and the excuse that it’s budgeting?
Well I guess I don’t really understand how the money system works. I don’t know how much Vince McMahon and the WWE pay for advertising. I’m sure there are a lot of expenses that I don’t know anything about as far as people who are actual employees, not independent contractors. They do have lots of employees that they have to pay. Like I said, I have no idea what WWE does with their money. When I worked there I would just hope that I would get enough to break even and possibly make a profit.
As far as them cutting people because of budget cuts, there were some who got cut because I could tell they weren’t drawing any money and I thought it was a wise business decision; people who had been given lots of opportunities and just didn’t have it. There were others who I was totally shocked and could not believe they fired. For example, Nidia has so much charisma, she’s a fantastic wrestler, she’s got sex appeal… she’s fantastic. I was just shocked that they would throw away that talent. There are other people too… Rhyno, for example was always a fan favorite and…
Charlie Hass, although he’s coming back apparently.
Oh, really? I didn’t know that.
Yeah, so it’s just… I don’t know why they do what they do. It doesn’t make sense to me.
What did you think of the Raw Diva Search?
I tuned in every week to see who was gonna win.
Yeah, I had my favorites and… yeah, it kept me glued to the TV. I betcha it did other people as well.
Sure but a lot of the girls were wannabe actresses or models, they weren’t really wrestling girls, and the winner was guaranteed $250,000 bucks for one year which is a lot of money. Was there any animosity or did you just look at it as a piece of business?
It didn’t bother me any. Christy Hemme was the winner when I was there and I just felt it was someone new to work with. I didn’t see it as a threat to me or my future in any way.
OK, now let's confirm or deny another rumor since you mentioned Christy Hemme. It was April of last year when you left WWE. At the time you were putting Christy over on TV for two or three weeks in a row. Was there any truth to the rumor that you weren’t happy with that and left for that reason?
No truth to that at all. The reason why I left, I go into detail on my DVD. I honestly am someone who will do the job to Lillian Garcia or to whomever… I don’t care. When I worked with The Hurricane I would always volunteer to lose to Torrie Wilson. Hurricane would always be like, “Stop it. Quit volunteering to lose to her," ... He always had more of an old school approach that, “If you win, the people think you’re a good wrestler." To me, I didn’t care. Maybe I should’ve but I just didn’t. I didn’t care who I lost to or if I did my cool moves. If the fans were happy, than it was worth it.
My exclusive interview with former WWE star Nora “Molly Holly" Greenwald is now online at JimmyVan.com in MP3 format.