It was a busy WrestleMania week for WWE superstar Carmella capped off by winning the event’s second-ever Women’s Battle Royal. The “Princess of Staten Island” also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in a "Kid Trash Talk" segment and conducted a Common Ground exercise with This Is Us star Chrissy Metz before a Be a STAR rally at a Boys & Girls Club.
“Meeting Chrissy Metz, I’m a huge fan of hers,” the SmackDown Live performer said. “Even watching her interact with the kids was really cool. Especially, it being an intimate setting like that with maybe 10 or 12 kids in there. To make them aware of the similarities and differences they have with their peers every single day is really important. They might realize they have something in common with a friend or someone you don’t really know.”
The community outreach is one of the best parts of the job for Carmella. During the rally, she spoke about navigating through cyber-bullying. It’s something the former New England Patriots cheerleader and Laker Girl endures on a daily basis.
“As superstars we’re putting ourselves out there, so of course we’re going to be critiqued,” she said, shortly after the presentation. “That comes with the territory and our job. Obviously, now everyone has a voice and can say whatever they want and feel. That’s great, but it is hard not to take some things said personal.
“Especially, when I had the title. That was something really hard for me. Everyone was going in on me every single day. Ever since then, I realized that at the end of the day, it’s great everyone has a voice, but it doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. Doesn’t mean it’s right. I realize I know who I am and how hard I work. That’s all that matters.”
Carmella is proud of her accomplishments during a solid run with the women’s championship and being the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank.
“Right now, we are in the middle of the ‘Women’s Evolution.’ To be a part of it and see women make history left and right with the first-ever Royal Rumble,” she said. “To see everything come full circle with the women main eventing WrestleMania, it seemed like a pipe dream at one point. Now it’s happening and here. It has just become normal. WrestleMania was a great experience to win the battle royal and have my parents and sister there, front row and hug my dad. There is nothing like it.”
The biggest successes in WWE has been ones who continually reinvent and evolve. Carmella is a chameleon when it comes to changing up style. The consummate entertainer was paired to R-Truth, collectively called the “Fabulous Truth.” The duo grows in popularity together with their seven-second dance break.
“I’m big into fashion,” she said. “I’m always trying to switch things up as far as my gear goes. With my hair, I’m naturally dark. I wanted to go back to my roots, no pun intended, and switch things up. I was blonde for so long. It was nice to do something different…I feel like this is the most me that Carmella has ever been. I feel like I’m going out there and having fun as myself.”
Carmella is one of many true success stories of NXT. The developmental brand recently celebrated 500 eipisodes of its TV show. This really puts things into perspective for the her.
“Look how far NXT has come. When I was there I was really starting to get some steam,” she said. “That’s when we started taking it on the road and started to do those TakeOver specials. To see NXT reach 500 episodes is so cool. I look around the roster now, and it’s everyone from NXT and those I trained with. A lot of the girls down there I like. I like what Bianca Belair is doing. I think Aaliyah and Vanessa Borne are doing this cool mean girls thing. I love that. Honestly, all the girls down there are doing great.”
Moving forward on the horizon is a Superstar Shake-Up taking place over Raw and SmackDown during two days. Carmella knows what an opportunity this can be firsthand. The question is, where she would want to go?
“I don’t know. I have been on SmackDown from the beginning,” she said. “I feel at home on SmackDown Live. It would be weird to go to Raw, but I’m excited for it regardless. I’m excited to see what happens now that I was a big winner [at WrestleMania]. I’m honestly excited for the women in general to see what the next step will be.
“…As a last draft pick in 2016, I feel like I had a lot to prove. Then getting the opportunity to win the Money in the Bank contract and cashing it in this time last year. I beat Asuka twice. I beat Charlotte Flair twice. I did all these amazing things as champion. Then this stuff with R-Truth happened. It’s been really cool. I completely changed my character. People like me now, which is so crazy. Who knows what will happen from here. I’m just excited to have hopefully a cool run as a good guy. We’ll see what happens.”
WWE's Superstar Shake-Up airs April 15 and 16 live at 8/7c on Raw and SmackDown, respectively.