December 12, 2009
Maryse: The Diva you love to hate
By "Bloodthirsty" BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
A few weeks ago, Maryse Ouellet made her return to Monday Night RAW after an injury had put her out of action with a goal to regain the Divas Championship. She’s hoping her chance will come at, or not too long after, this weekend’s WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view. SLAM! Wrestling had a chance to sit down with la femme belle days before the big show.
Though she isn’t scheduled to appear on the show, which emanates from San Antonio, Texas, and will be broadcast in Canada on Viewers Choice, Maryse is excited about the event. As its name suggests, it will be heavily-laden with gimmick matches.
“I would say it will be a pretty hardcore pay-per-view,” she predicted. “It reminds me a little bit of ECW, what they were doing a little while ago.”
In keeping with the theme, matches will include a Ladder match (Christian defending his ECW belt against Shelton Benjamin), a Chairs match (Batista versus Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker), a TLC tag team championship match (Jerishow vs. D-X), and a Tables match for the WWE championship match, where newcomer Sheamus takes on champion John Cena.
That last match is the one that Maryse says she is looking forward to the most, as she’s a fan of Sheamus’ in-ring style and also of his look.
“Sheamus is really different,” she said about the challenger. “He’s got a really unique look. He’s so white, and with his red hair and beard, it’s so weird! John Cena is pretty white, but he looks really tanned compared to Sheamus. I like his charisma in the ring, his aggressive style, and he’s got a great bad guy personality.”
In terms of villainy, Sheamus might be only behind Maryse with respect to dirty tactics. The self-proclaimed Sexiest of the Sexy returned on the Thanksgiving edition of RAW when she disguised herself in the Gobbledy Gooker costume and sneak-attacked the Divas champ Melina after a match.
Interestingly, Maryse was not familiar with the Gobbledy Gooker character before donning the disguise, as she was only seven years old when the derided character was first introduced. And her experience with working in the costume was as easy as it was fun for those who remember watching it the first time -- which is to say, not so much.
“They sent me pictures over e-mail to help me prepare myself,” she revealed. “When I saw the costume, I was like ‘Oh boy.’ That night, wearing the costume, I was walking out of the curtain and up the ramp, and I couldn’t see out of the costume. The eyes are white, and with the strobes, it just reflected inside the head. I was totally blind. I was trying to get to the ring as fast as I could, and I was so worried that I would just fall down the stage or down the ramp on my way to the ring. My heart was racing, I was freaking out. Especially when there’s 20,000 people looking at you, and the cameras are on you and it’s live TV. At some point, I was almost tempted to lift the head off so I could see, but it had to be a secret that it was me underneath, so I couldn’t. What we have to do for the show, right?”
Still, the show must go on, and after revealing her identity, she was glad to hear the boos and catcalls from the live crowd once again, after being away from the ring for several months.
Her knee was actually hurt in December of last year, in her first match as Divas Champion, but she continued to wrestle until July.
“I had dislocated kneecap, and had torn ligaments. It wasn’t really painful, just annoying -- the swelling in my leg just wouldn’t go down. So I decided to go get it fixed.”
After months of extensive rehab, Maryse is happy to say that she’s fully recovered.
“Now it’s perfect,” she beamed. “It’s like I have a brand new leg. I can train for three hours and it doesn’t get swollen at all, so I’m pretty happy about that.”
For her, that kind of injury just comes naturally with the territory, and she considers that just one of those things that you have to accept in this job. To succeed, in addition to being able to cope with the physical aspect, you need to have a passion for the business and a motivated drive for success.
That, she has in spades, evidenced by her achievements both in and out of the ring. In addition to being fluent in both French and English (which she learned in only two years), Ouellet also holds a black belt in martial arts, has a University degree in Business, and in her time off takes acting and improv classes to help improve her performance craft.
“To do the job that I’m doing, to be on the road 300 days a year, to be up at 4 a.m. for interviews, to travel all around the world, and to do so many different things at the same time, you have to be really versatile. You have to be a professional, or else I don’t think it’s going to work out for you. You have to be focused, or else you can easily lose it.”
In the end, she said it’s the reactions of the fans that makes it worthwhile.
“There’s nothing like performing in front of a crowd of 10,000 or 20,000, or 100,000 like at a Wrestlemania. I think modelling is boring. You can walk a runway, but that’s nothing like walking down a WWE ramp where the fans are ecstatic and they’re screaming so loud. I love it."
As a heel, she particularly loves it when the crowd is screaming for her head. Maryse prefers being the villain, revelling in the boos and catcalls when she comes to the ring, and particularly when she dismisses the fans, or her opponent, with her infamous hand flip.
“I never planned on doing it,” she said about that particular taunt. “I just did it one night and it caught on. People would come up to me to take a picture and they’d ask me to do the hand thing. So I thought I should keep it. It’s not something I would do normally, it’s really the character.”
Constantly refining and improving the character is an important aspect to being a Diva, and is something that Maryse aspires to do constantly. She named two people that she’s learned from in that regard, the first being her current nemesis Melina. Her second inspiration?
“The Rock. Even though I’m a girl, I look at him as an inspiration. He was just amazing. He had a lot of range in his character, he had the crowd reacting every night no matter what he was doing. It’s really hard to do, and he did it really well.”
While achieving his level may be a long-term goal, Maryse doesn’t attempt a guess as to how long that may take her, nor try to plan out that far in advance. For her, it all depends on whether she will still be happy at that point in time.
“If you were to ask me five years ago where I would be now, I wouldn’t have known. When I look back and think about everything I’ve done in the past few years, I can’t even remember everything. So, where I will be in even six months? That’s a big question. What I can say is that no matter what I’m doing, I’ll be doing something that I like. As long as I’m happy, and I enjoy doing what I’m doing, I’ll keep going.”
WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs will be broadcast on pay-per-view on Viewers Choice Canada.
"Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur is heartbroken. He has a business degree, lived in Montreal for a while, and takes improv classes. Yet with all of that in common, Maryse still wouldn't accept his marriage proposal. E-mail him your tales of romantic woe at email@example.com.