Ashley Massaro Interview

Three broken bones – a broken ankle, knuckle and foot. Concussions. A harrowing tale of pain and suffering for hours on end. A Championship belt, preordained for a Wrestlemania match, only to be derailed by a broken foot. Her Survivor China experience the cameras never captured. Through it all, she did it for her fans. Here is part of her story exclusively told to Kandy.

Backseat Broken Ankles
How many years did you participate in the WWE?
3 and a half years.

The abuse the body takes must be real. Have you ever suffered a serious injury?
I was one of the three final girls in a Divas Battle Royal and it was I, Mickie James, and Candice Michelle. Candice flipped Mickie and I over the top rope to win but when we hit the ground I landed awkward and broke my ankle; my first serious injury. I have a nice shiny metal plate in there now.

How long were you sidelined?
Oh man, they tried to put me on TV anyway. I was in an angle with Trish Stratus and Mickie James. They did this angle where Mickie was obsessed with Trish and she kidnapped me. So, I have my cast on my leg but I was still doing … They put me in the ring in this gift box, bound and gagged… It was just an insane angle but it was fun to do… It was silly stuff …

But, you were under contract.
Yeah. They wanted to get their money’s worth.

Yeah, exactly.
You know how it works … And it was good that they did that because the less time you are on TV, the moment the audience would forget about you. So, you want to be continuously shown on TV.

And did they explain at all that you had a broken ankle?
Yeah. They had too. It had happened on live TV.

Were you in tears when that happened?
I was hysterical. I mean … there is no crying in wrestling. It is very much like a fraternity backstage.

So, there is no crying in wrestling?
There is no crying in wrestling. You got to be badly injured for tears to be acceptable.

When you were injured, did they stop the match?
It happened at the finish anyway. I was just on the side, wailing and holding my leg. They didn’t know if I was just selling really good, like I was just selling the injury really good … I finally was able to flag down a ref and they came over and the EMTs came. But they had to go right into the next segment so Lita and Edge were making their entrance and they’re like what is she doing out there. So, … they put me on the stretcher and brought me back …

In an air cast?
They brought me to a local university hospital. They are like it is pretty badly broken. You need to have surgery. Usually with WWE if you have an injury you see this doctor who is in another state. I was close enough to home that week, we happened to be in New Jersey that week, and it was decided it would be easier to get treated by an ortho in NY, my home state. They put me in the back of one of the talent executives’ car and he drove me with it loose, not in a cast not in an air cast, nothing, just loose the whole way, I am in the backseat crying the entire way. I hold back the tears … but it was bouncing around …

This is after going to the University hospital? They didn’t put it in an air cast?
No. When I got to the hospital, the people that were there, the doctors that were there were more like college students. They were like you need to sign this. You need to sign this. I open my eyes and I am like this is a blank piece of paper. Why am I signing this? And, I am signing autographs. I didn’t realize they were asking for autographs instead of treating me. I’m like can we do this after… I’m like, I definitely don’t want to be treated here. I’d rather go home and go to a real doctor. And I’m signing my full name because I am thinking these are hospital documents I am signing. No, they’re just paper that they want me to … XOXO Ashley.

Do you recall the time frame between injuries?
I can’t think of dates. I’ve had so many concussions.

So, how many concussions do you think you have had?
I’ve had a couple. I had one, a pretty bad one during a rehearsal. I was taking a neck-breaker from Torrie Wilson and I just went down head first. I just drilled my head into the mat. All I saw was this white flash. I guess I was out for a couple few minutes. I opened my eyes and Trish Stratus, who was my tag team partner at the time, was lying next to me. She was like it is okay. You are just looking at this, looking at that. Playing it off like I didn’t have a concussion. She knows how it is. She was trying to help me. You don’t want to get pulled off TV but at the same time …

Survivor – Huddled Together Like Penguins
Let’s talk about Survivor.
I was doing Survivor in China and I only found out 10 days before WWE wanted me to go. They just had this deal with Survivor that they were going to send one of the wrestlers. Because my Playboy cover was coming out the same time they wanted to cross promote or whatever.

Is this WWE Survivor or TV Survivor?
This is the TV show Survivor. I did not last long needless to say. My Executive Producer … he was like just don’t get voted off first. I’m like. I’ve never even been camping. I’m not even joking. I have no idea how to be outside. I’ve never been camping. I have no clue what I am doing. I’m like, can’t they just send somebody else? One of the guys like John Cena? He’s like, you think we are taking Cena off TV? I’m like, ok, you’re right.

Was it Celebrity Survivor?
No, it was just a regular Survivor. But they were just putting a wrestler on to promote.

Did you get voted off first?
I got voted off second. I was like I got to get out of here. It showed me at my weakest points. On TV I am supposed to be a super hero that can beat anybody. You know like this super hero on WWE and in Survivor it was total opposite … it was so bad.

How many days was this?
It was six days that felt like six months that I was out in Survivor.

So, you actually lasted 6 days in Survivor?
Yeah, but we didn’t have water for the first 5. I was drinking out of puddles. I got sick. It was a nightmare. They have so much footage of me throwing up. That was my big debut on Survivor. Keeled over. It was awful. I’m in the mud rocking back and forth. I just want to go back to WWE.

Did Survivor take over a month total?
I thought I am going home after I got voted off. See you guys, I am like putting my flame out myself hahaha … Nice knowing you all. I’m making promises I can’t deliver on to my tribe. If you vote me off I promise I’ll get you the cover of this magazine. I’m telling the girls this. Stuff I have no control over. Just trying to get off of the show. And, … they didn’t vote me off first. I am like, noooo. I have to spend another 3 whole days here.

Your tribe lost both challenges the first two times. Isn’t it like the tribe that loses has to vote off a member?
Yes, I had trouble with my team at first. We weren’t the strongest of the two tribes, that’s for sure. It is a lot harder to win when you’re not … And the first day, I’m like, yeah we got this, we got this. Then I got sick from drinking the muddy water and that was it. I was like tapped out. I need to go home. I miss my job already. I was happy to leave but then you get on this boat and they bring you to this area that is secured and they are very serious about keeping it a secret with Survivor. I am like I know about that. We call it kayfabe in wrestling. You don’t have to tell me not to say anything. I do pre-taped shows. I know how it works. And they are like, we don’t care. We have to put you in isolation for the next 40 days. I am like, whoa! What?! That was in my contract and it was like this thick (signals with her fingers several inches ). And WWE went over the contract for me so I had no idea I was going to get stuck in China for 40 days; in isolation no less. I wasn’t allowed to talk to or …

The other people as they were eliminated?
Yeah, they were kept secret so you don’t know who was …

Oh, come on?
Yeah, that’s how far they went. That’s what I mean. It’s like insane. I couldn’t even talk to the people who had been voted off before me.

That’s torture.
It was torture. I was in my cabin, and it was like a cabin in the woods. It was in the middle of nowhere in China. There’s no electricity. I am pacing back and forth.

We already know you don’t like cold.
Exactly. And it was monsoon season so you were wet the whole time. 24/7. The whole time we were out there it was monsoon season. It was just coming down. My teammates and I, we weren’t getting along, you bet your ass we huddled together like Penguins trying to keep warm.

The six days you were out there?
The six days that I was out there.

You were better off staying on the show.
That is what I realized after. I’m like I should have stayed out there… They are like it is in your contract. I signed my life away. They have your passport, your credit cards. They don’t give you anything back because they don’t want you sneaking away. I was like Rambo though. I went, I am not even joking, I cased out the whole place. When I was allowed to walk around and see, go get my food for the day or whatever, I went through the woods, it was far, it was probably a 3 to 4 mile hike through the woods, to where the producers were all stay-ing at this hotel, … also in the middle of nowhere, …they had the camera crew and everything, they had under these canopies outside. I am like I guarantee there is a satellite phone in there and I am going to get it. I am going to find it. … I went through the woods every day. I would see who came in and out, what time … and I finally had the balls to go … ran into the little hut, looked everywhere .. and there was a satellite phone. I made two phone calls that were like 10 seconds long each because I didn’t want to get caught in there. I didn’t know what they would do.

What can you say in 10 seconds?
HELP ME! That is what I did. I didn’t even know what time it was when I was calling home but I called my Executive Producer first. I’m like you got to get me the fuck out of here. Like now! It is so much worse than I can tell you. Just say I have an emergency. Call them, do whatever you have to do. Get me out here … He’s like, alright, I am on top of it. Go. And I called my mom …, tell them there is a family emergency or something … you got to get me out of here. I got to come home. Bye…

Did it work?
No. After the two of them worked on it together, the company and my family, they were able to get me home two days earlier so I actually spent 38 days in isolation, not 40.

Did you have to go back for the reunion show?
I did.

Were you nice?
I was nice because it had been a long time since .. the reunion show is after the whole show airs and everything. It finally had been enough time I was back to normal. When I came back from Survivor though I was like full on PTSD central. I am rocking back and forth in a room. {laughs}

Were you first the wrestler to appear on Survivor?
Yeah, I was the last as well.

You killed that Golden Goose, huh.
Exactly. Sorry.

How was it? Let me tell you…
And it is funny because you have to do so much press after you get home, after you are kicked off and they air the episode … It was a great experience… I had a little trouble with my tribe. Everything was great … It was not great, but I’d love to try it again to be honest because I feel like I would be prepared the next time and even though what I went through was awful, I’m a warrior and I’d love to give it another shot. At all my signings Survivor fans always ask me would I do it again and the answer is yes I would. I’d just be ready this time.

Immortalized in Plastic
Was it (the WWE) worth it?
I loved it and I hated it at the same time, because of the injuries and stuff. But, I loved the fans. I grew up watching wrestling. I never thought in a million years that I would be a wrestler.

Do you ever get invited back? Do you ever do alumni stuff?
Not recently. I kind of grew away from them. I used to take my daughter to go see when they were in town, to go see the show when she was still young, after I had initially left. We would get the front row seats and she would interact with the wrestlers. The guys loved her backstage. Big Show use to carry her around on his shoulders … all the girls loved her.

Do you keep in touch with any of the girls?
I love all the talent that I worked with. They are all amazing, talented athletes and entertainers and I respect them, and this business more than I could ever describe. I am best friends with Shelly Martinez, still friends with Victoria, Torrie, Kelley Kelly, Christy Hemme, Brooke Adams, Melina, Trish, Lita etc. … we all still do shows together and the shows are like family reunions because you were on the road with these people for years so they are like family, all of them to me.

How odd is it to have somebody pay you money to have your autograph? This many years out of wrestling I didn’t think I would be able to. The wrestling fans are so awesome. They are so loyal … They bring my covers. They bring my posters. They bring my action-figures. The video games.

You have an action-figure.
I do.

That’s pretty neat.
Yep, immortalized in plastic.

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