RF Video Shoot Interview with Dawn Marie

This was released in 2008

The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs at two hours and twenty-six minutes long.


Dawn Marie talks about being a huge fan of wrestling growing up. She mentions the fondest memories of her family were watching wrestling with them. Dawn Marie said she grew up poor in New Jersey.


She talked about being homeless at age 17, living out of her car as she “grew up quickly” as she put it. She worked as a bartender then at a “bikini bar” in New Jersey. This was about 1987.


Eventually, she worked her way through school and decided she wanted to be an entertainer. She got a few modeling gigs then one guy came in and talked about wrestling. He asked her for pictures as he had a poster deal. After a while Dawn Marie stopped and talked about wrestling some more with the guy, who called her up the next week and got her a gig at a local indy shoot. Dawn Marie said she was joking and had not seen wrestling in years. She ended up managing Tony Atlas against Jimmy Snuka and talks about how for the first time in her life, she fit in somewhere.


Dawn Marie was also in real estate. She went to NYU to be an appraiser for commercial investments. After finishing school, she was the director of a real estate firm at age 24 but said she did not like the corporate life to the point it made her cry as she talked about growing up in a broken home and had no role models besides TV and did not understand why she miserable but after working that show, she left her job.


She began to work on the Independent scene, saying she was lucky to make $25 a gig. Dawn also continued to dance to pay bills. She then credits learning the business from those like Buddy Landel, who taught her the politics of business and felt bad for her as Missy Hyatt was rough when teaching her the business. Dawn said that after a few months in the ECW locker room, Paul Heyman pulled her aside and wanted to know who taught her the business as she adapted herself well. This leads to her putting over how much of a genius Heyman is in terms of reading and using people.


On meeting Pat Kenney (Simon Diamond) for the first time, Dawn said they met while working in PCW. She mentions they were friends first then dated a few years later.


Dawn Marie said working in a business around men did not bother her as she was raised by her dad since she was five years old and worked in a go-go bar surrounded by men for years.


She got her break in ECW after Heyman was negotiating with Terri Runnels to come to ECW but the WWF offered her a deal. Heyman needed someone to feud with Tammy Sytch then Jeff Jones called her and asked if she could be there by 4pm that day, after calling her at noon. She brought all her go-go gear and did not who to meet but called Pat Kenney, who instructed her what to do. She was told to get in a catfight with Tammy, who would pull her clothes off and reveal her bra and panties. Dawn Marie said back then, that was unheard of in wrestling and thought this could ruin her chances to go somewhere else but said she went back to the first rule, which is always do as asked to the best of your ability.


A week later, she got called up again by Bubba Dudley an asked if she could make it to New Orleans. When asked if there was a plane ticket, she got yelled at for thinking she was a star for thinking one shot at a show earns her a ticket but got to the show and then got paired up with Lance Storm.


She felt intimidated at first in the ECW locker room but hit it off with Tammy at first and said she wanted to focus on business with her and making sure things went smoothly and to not piss people off. Dawn Marie felt that Tammy was easy to work with and never had a problem working with her at all. She loves Lance Storm and how he is one of the nicest people on earth, especially his dry sense of humor. Dawn Marie said the rumors of them being involved romantically were ridiculous and they both would laugh at that. Dawn said he is also a stand up guy.


Once Lance left ECW, Dawn Marie did a little bit of commentary but nothing else and thinks she was being punished due to not getting along with Francine, who she claimed had a huge tie-in with the office. Dawn also claimed later on that she was making more than Francine and that pissed her off when she found out. When asked why that was the case, Dawn Marie said that she saw Tammy in a higher light than Francine due to the fact she was in the WWF and looked up to her because of that. She also felt that Lance protected her from Francine when he was there. Dawn said that Francine made her life a living hell to the point she would go home and cry but said ultimately, it made her stronger and make herself better. She gives examples of how Francine would refer to “she” and “it,” even when right next to her. Dawn said that she went to Joey Styles on what to do and her told her to punch her right in the face as Dawn pointed out how she could not do that as her boyfriend (Simon Diamond) was also working for the company but did end up getting her revenge at a house show in Toronto when she hit her during their spot. After that, Francine reportedly requested to never work with her again.


Dawn is asked about other guys in the locker room. She said that RVD was really laid back and you would barely even know he was there. On Steve Corino, Dawn talks about growing up with him in the Independent scene and puts over how he handled his run in ECW while having marital problems. She calls Tommy Dreamer a “non-confrontational” personality who lost a part of his heart when ECW closed down.


On if there was any interest on WCW’s behalf, Dawn said she was thinking about it as they showed interest. However, she did not want to go as she told Heyman after signing a contract with him, she will honor it and not abandon ECW as she is good for her word and expects the same from him as she said Heyman respected her a lot after that.


After ECW closed, she talked about having problems with her boyfriend as they were trying to think of what to do next. She went back to dancing and felt mad at why he would let her do that and that there was a ton of ex ECW and WCW talent available for indy bookings and not that many shows. She talks about having to learn how to actually wrestle and started to train at 30 years old.


She talked about turning down the WWE at first as they only offered a Developmental Deal, stating she was 32 years old and could not relocate to chase her dream. After that, they called her up again and said they would teach her on the road (1:09). She credits Fit Finlay, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Arn Anderson for all teaching her everything. She said Arn taught her how to be a heel and Benoit taught her aggressiveness.


On Vince McMahon, Dawn said that he is intimidating but credits him for being able to let people talk to him, unlike most CEO’s out there in the world. She also talked about how Vince put over her work ethic and even said to her if most people shared her work ethic, he would not have the problems that he did with the rest of the roster.


Dawn talks about doing a lot of charity work for the WWE as she acted like an ambassador. She talks about wanting to talk to kids and would request to speak with them, especially, underprivileged children as she wanted to share her experience with them and how not to let your past dictate your future.


She then talked about being split from Simon Diamond as she was on the road with the WWE while he was an agent for TNA. Dawn said they also split up and after that she developed a relationship with someone on the road and said that others thought she was cheating on Simon but she claimed they were already broken up at that point and he even new about her new relationship.


Dawn said that she and Lance pushed for them to be an act to the WWE but they kept refusing to the point that Lance got heat on him for that.


Her angle with Torrie Wilson was the creation of Paul Heyman. He told her that she had to make it work as they were running out of stuff for her to do at the time. Dawn said the toughest thing to do was kissing Al Wilson but Vince loved that and even said he wanted to see tongue. Torrie herself thought it would be good to ask her dad to take part as she rarely saw him as they asked her if she’d prefer an actor in the role. Dawn puts over working with Torrie and how they were the best when together. She also said they were going to have the storyline go longer involving lawyers and Torrie’s brother but it all got nixed.


Dawn said that Nidia was her partner in crime and said they got in trouble together. She then talks about the “Posse” which included both Dawn and Nidia as well as Rey Mysterio, Rikishi, and Chuck Palumbo. Dawn said the rule was the girls had to keep up with the guys, who would drink a lot. She tells a story of stopping at a sex store with Nidia and they bought some “pocket rockets” and as she distracted Palumbo, Nidia would slowly rise it up his leg. Dawn then talked about constantly playing tricks on the guys with dildos.


On whether the rumor of her affair was true, Dawn said it was but when asked, refused to talk about it and said other people have lives as well. (The rumor was here affair with Kurt Angle).


She liked working with Charlie Haas and met him years earlier at a Jersey All Pro show. Dawn said she even had a crush on Charlie back then. Dawn also said she was friends with Jackie Gayda as well.


Dawn Marie got pregnant and then went on a sabbatical and returned for One Night Stand but was released after that. She still had problems with Francine even on that show. Dawn said she went to say hi to Francine at the show. Francine pulled her hand away so Dawn decided to grab it and pull her around and said it was nice to see she was still the same douchebag she was as Dawn was upset and went to the agents. Regardless, Dawn said that Francine deserved that job as she was part of the ECW legacy and not surprised that she got hired by the WWE.


On she gave birth, Dawn said that there was never a plan of her going back to the WWE. She was going to go to TNA but felt she did not fit their criteria and thinks her weight gain might have hurt her. Dawn then said she is a mom and a realtor then talks about some personality clashes that also hurt her from going into the company.


After getting released from the WWE, Dawn talked about going in a downward spiral as she questioned what she was as her life was changing. Dawn said she was a stress eater and put on weight then felt she did not know how to communicate with people outside of wrestling. After therapy,  Dawn said she felt better but her sister was struck with RSD and became feeble and weak. As this was going on, she talked about seeing all the wrestlers from the 70’s and 80’s and how there bodies were broken down. Once after seeing the Iron Sheik passed out in a wheelchair at the airport, she realized this man was 70 years old and selling his pictures still for a living and that was when she started the idea for “Wrestlers Rescue.”


We then get Torrie Wilson and Dawn at a different location as they are talking. It was backstage at the inaugural “Wrestlers Rescue” event.  Dawn said she wanting to fit in the WWE and was a little intimidated by Torrie, who she felt was a star and beautiful. Torrie seems taken aback by that. Now, Danny Doring comes in with cake for the girls and joins in briefly before going back to the girls.


Torrie said that they became like sisters and sometimes while fighting out in the ring it felt real.


On if women fight with anything in wrestling, Torrie said some people have this preconceived notion that the women are “whores” and that its hard to prove yourself or be taken seriously when put in pudding and bra-and-panties matches. Dawn said it was mandatory that they trained daily but when you put so much effort into things only to have a pudding match, why are you beating yourself up for this then. They both said that fans never got to see what they could all do in the ring. Dawn said that Torrie was begging to get hit by a chair or tossed into the steps in storyline but they never went for that.


Dawn talks about struggling to keep up her body at an older age and how she would go on a liquid diet three weeks leading up to a photo shoot. Torrie also joked that Dawn did not like to work out. Torrie said its tough as you had to work hard on the road to keep your body in shape when you are constantly wearing bikinis on TV.


Torrie talked about how her life changed in the WWE, especially after Playboy, but the main thing is that you really do not have a life as you are constantly on the road in the public eye.


They both talk about sexism in wrestling. Dawn jokes about “8×10” girls who she says are those that send in photos of themselves and get jobs. She does not blame them but gets upset when they do not want to take advantage of the opportunity. Torrie said you can see right away who will not last in the business and sometimes it is a bit funny to see the prima donnas go down until they leave.


Torrie tells a locker room story. Dawn was there as Sable walked in and asked her to witness something. Sable then went over to tell Torrie her Playboy issue sold more copies than her as they both laugh about that. Dawn then talks about running around the women’s locker room naked a lot. One time, there was someone there who was really disrespectful so she bent over naked right in front of their face and turned her head around to say “nice to meet you.”


On getting stiffed in the ring, Torrie said Lita did it a lot when they started out. Torrie said they are good friends though.


Torrie talked about how she loved being a heel but it just didnt work out as Dawn asked who would want to boo her.


Regarding Vince McMahon, Torrie said he cracks her up and when seeing him walk backstage, she just wants to laugh.


Whether or not things will get better for women in the WWE when Stephanie McMahon takes over, they both say yes. Dawn said that Stephanie told her she did not want women to be ditzy and weak but rather strong and athletic.


On life changing outside of the WWE, Torrie said she sometimes misses her friends and performing but after 8 years on the road for 250 days, she had enough. Dawn talks about now having a family and that is her greatest gift.


They both liked Paul Heyman the best out of bookers they worked with. Torrie put him over for helping them get into their characters.



Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought this was an interesting interview. From a non-wrestling aspect, you could have really dug into Dawn Marie’s life and probably came away with something highly interesting. If she ever wanted to take part in the Kayfabe Commentaries “Breaking Kayfabe” series, I’d certainly be interested in hearing that interview.

The part with Torrie Wilson I enjoyed. Both of the girls were really laid back and hearing them talk about how they were treated as far as performers makes me feel bad for them. Thankfully, the WWE is moving away from that today and its all for the best. Both of them showed a lot of personality and likability here.

Back to Dawn, she seems likable but her stories were all over the place when it came to her fidelity to Simon Diamond.

Overall, I was intrigued by this shoot. I think it was a good interview, more for Dawn talking about her life than wrestling. This is probably not everyone’s cup of tea for a shoot interview but this held my attention almost the entire time. I thought it was a good.


Next week, I will be recapping the Ken Kennedy shoot interview.


You can purchase the DVD for $20 or download a digital copy for $9.99 by clicking on the links below: