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Ditzy diva Maria just plays the role
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


Maria in the ring for an interview segment.
2006 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved


What's the first thought that runs through a reporters mind when they sit down to interview a celebrity?

In my experience, it's always been one of two things: "Wow, you're so much smaller than you look on TV," or; "Wow, you're so much prettier than you look on TV."

But when I chatted with WWE Diva Maria earlier this month, it wasn't her height or looks that caught me by surprise.

"Wow," I thought, as the conversation started rolling, "You're so much smarter than you look on TV."

Granted, that may not seem like much of a compliment -- Maria hardly carries a rocket science reputation, playing the role of the ditziest Diva on Raw each week.

But after years of talking to wrestling vixens of all shapes and (implant) sizes, I've come to expect the same generic, bland personality from all of them.

With rare exceptions (Trish Stratus) WWE Divas tend to come off as cookie-cutter Playboy wannabes -- Nice to look at, pleasant to talk to, but ultimately void of any kind of individuality or personality. They tend to treat the wrestling business as little more than a glorified stripper job.

Going in, I knew Maria wasn't going to be as dumb as the character she plays on Raw each week. But I really wasn't expecting the ex-Hawaiian Tropic model to be both intelligent and articulate, with a business savvy that defies both her age and career choice.

"You walk on eggshells backstage," Maria said, explaining the intricate locker room politics like a seasoned veteran, rather than an industry newbie.

"It's a mindset of being respectful to everybody and shaking everybody's hand, no matter how you feel about them. It's a business where you have to pay your dues, and in that sense, I really love it. "

So how did such a smart girl get cast as WWE's resident dumb blonde?

"I was 22 when I joined WWE, and I think the character came out of being naive and young. It's playing off my innocence, but it's also playing off the fact that everybody has a bit of ditz in them.

"People enjoy watching because they have dumb blonde moments too."

Like most female mat stars, Maria wants to market herself as more than just a pretty face.

"Everybody has a butt and boobs," she said. "Some may be better than others, but what's the big deal when you've seen them a million times?"

But unlike other ex-models who take to the ring, Maria seems to understand that not everyone can become the next Trish Stratus.

"I don't think I'll ever be a wonderful, amazing wrestler like that," she said. "The thing with me is; I'm not fearless in the ring. And I truly believe that Trish was.

"But I will put as much effort into learning as I can. I actually want the (women's) title, and that honestly makes me different than a lot of the girls."

But Maria knows it takes more than big talk and brash soundbytes to become a bona fide worker. And she has the bumps and bruises to prove it.

"Wrestling is tough. I've kickboxed and taken dance before, but this is a different kind of physical. Dancing is muscle sore, but wrestling is bone sore.

"It's the most physical, body bruising thing you can learn how to do."

RELATED LINKS

  • Nov. 8, 2006: Maria aspires for a lot more
  • Nov. 5, 2006: Maria's a red-hot Diva with dreams
  • Nov. 4, 2006: Maria makes her Cyber Sunday picks


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • More Maria! WWE Divas Do New York - The Lingerie Edition DVD