Highspots Presents: Diva Diaries with Daffney

This was released in December 2013

Michael Bochicchio is your host

It runs at three hours and five minutes long.

 

The talk about the first interview they had 11 years prior as Daffney said she had no concept of a shoot interview and bashed Eric Bischoff the whole time as the host tells her this will just be a “spontaneous conversation.” (I feel that’s an accurate description of his interviews). Daffney even mentioned how she worked in the Highspots office then has the host open up a bottle of champagne for her that she will drink during the interview.

 

She talks about her athletic background in gymnastics and in soccer where she played goalie in high school. In college at Georgia State University, she loved the production side of the entertainment industry and worked with pre-production then took some acting gigs. She got hired by WCW as an actor and was paired with Crowbar then after that she was hired full-time and went to the WCW Power Plant on the weekends to train. When WCW closed, she trained at Dusty Rhodes wrestling school and mentioned that she paid her dues in reverse.

 

On her WCW audition, Daffney said she was following WCW at the time and they called her up to audition for a crazy stalker character. They flew her and another girl to Minnesota, where Nitro was taking place, and chose her as she looked the part. She said the WCW crew was shocked she knew the wrestlers and some of the current storylines. She remembers sitting down at catering where she saw Jim Duggan and the Harris Brothers and said they were nice. Daffney said they filmed a pre-taped segment right then and there. Her first appearance in front of a live crowd was Starrcade 1999. She put over Diamond Dallas Page for being really nice and helping her out with how to run and slide into the ring.

 

Daffney said she was a huge fan of Sherri Martel as a kid and wanted to be more physical as a manager like she was but then decided to try and make it as a wrestler. She credits Molly Holly for helping her out at the Power Plant but eventually Molly was released and she was trained by Dewayne Bruce and Paul Orndorff. On the first WCW wrestler that hit on her she says it was Virgil, who liked her ass and said stuff that would make her feel uncomfortable. Daffney said she tried to be “one of the guys” as a wrestler and was comfortable around everyone else. Daffney even said she usually traveled with the guys as it made her feel safer then said she’d get a hotel room with two bed and sleep in one of them while everyone else used the couch and cots and would drive them around in her rental car too. She usually traveled with Crowbar, Shannon Moore, Shane Helms, Jamie Noble, Kaz Hayashi, and Wolfie D. Daffney said that Crowbar taught her to do “spotty” things in the ring but credits Helms for teaching her the basics.

 

On the other women in WCW, Daffney talks about knowing Miss Elizabeth from Lex Luger’s gym and said after her workout she would drink one Coors Light as a post-workout drink. She mentioned Tylene Buck (Major Gunns) was difficult to be around and left then came back as Major Gunns as the locker room chatter was that either Kevin Nash or Arn Anderson brought her back to the company in a “casting couch” type of situation. Daffney adds that it’s more prominent in wrestling than people think.

 

We get a story about The Wall. Daffney said they were at the bar after a show were told Don Harris she could squat him. She then made a bet about squatting someone that weighed more than him (285 lbs). The Wall weighed 305 lbs then Daffney got him across her back as the bar chanted as she squatted him three times. Tank Abbott was there and told Wall to stand on his face and that happened too as we learn that Tank Abbott had false teeth. Daffney talks about the wrestlers having a great bond while on the road.

 

Daffney is asked about Ric Flair. She feels empathy for him as he has an incessant need to act like his character 24/7. She tells a story of Ric having a party for his son David’s 21st birthday. He wanted to thank her for helping out David in wrestling, feeling that she enhanced the product. That night at the bar, Ric told her she was like a daughter to him and bought her a drink. Daffney has lost touch with David but said they were cool with each other. She felt bad for David as he was in way over his head and was called up while in college to be part of WCW.

 

The host now asks her about Eric Bischoff. Daffney said he was not only unapproachable but would not even bother making eye contact as he calls him the biggest male chauvinistic pig there is who feels that women are beneath him. She talks about trying to contact him for weeks about an idea for her wedding gown match against Stacy Keibler and when they finally met he kept cutting her off and never listened to or wanted to hear the ideas. Daffney said Bischoff only told her the finish, which was Keibler would lose after taking off her dress because she would think the fans wanted to see her body but that her dressed would get half-ripped off. She then wore a lycra body suit under her dress that made it appear she was naked underneath but in reality she was covered from head to toe.

 

Daffney talks about being in tears when being asked to do a striptease while working for TNA. She approached Terry Taylor, who did not understand why she was so upset, and added that she did not even wear anything sexy at the time. The explanation she got from Vince Russo when asked to do this was that she won an online poll for the sexiest Knockout and thought the fans would want to see her strip. Daffney said they told her how much time she had so she very slowly took off her top hat and choker and that was it and remembers her mom calling her after the fact who knew her daughter was uncomfortable when watching the segment. Daffney said she is proud for sticking to her guns and not taking off her clothes as she is a wrestler and should be respected. This leads to a discussion on women in wrestling and being asked to do segments like stripping as Daffney said she noticed those who spoke up had belts around their waist and wondered if she could have been champion if sticking to her guns more.

 

She talks about the Knockouts being told to come in early while she was in TNA to train in the ring. Daffney said Dutch Mantell was in charge of them and Savio Vega was their agent. Daffney came up with the Shark Girl gimmick and Governor character and Dutch liked them but added he really hard to win over. We then get a story about Dutch when at the end of practice one day, he left and said “remember what you are girls.” They all went silent then Daffney forgets who said it but someone replied “a novelty” as Dutch said “that’s right, you’re a novelty.” Daffney says that took all the wind out of her sails and mentioned they were the highest rated segments on Impact. Daffney does say the WWE treats the women as novelties and the only actual “wrestler” on “Total Divas” is Natalya while the rest are models they trained. She then adds with the amount of control that Stephanie McMahon has today why wouldn’t she want the Divas portrayed as athletes rather than a novelty act.

 

Daffney is now asked about the age old question in wrestling on whether or not you are an independent contractor or an employee in regards to her lawsuit against TNA. She talks about how tough it is when you are off TV and not making any money and that the general public had no idea what she was trying to do with her lawsuit. Daffney thinks fans believe she got hurt and sued because due to the fact TNA did not pay for her medical bills. She mentions how she got hurt doing a drill in OVW while part of WWE Developmental and was cared for with therapy and treatments and says its smart that Vince McMahon did that but in TNA, there was never any concrete policy and the company only paid for injuries to the bigger stars as others were left struggling. Daffney said she could have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company but chose a workman’s comp claim to prove to the courts that wrestlers are really not independent contractors. Daffney says she hates to say the word “union” because people see that word in a negative light but they definitely need something along those lines to protect wrestlers. She says they are actors and athletes but not protected by SAG or an athletic commission. Daffney said it was financially impossible to afford personal health insurance while working for TNA and had to go to a public health center for her treatment as it was the only thing she could afford. Daffney says she has Bipolar Disorder and takes medication daily that without insurance can cost over $600 per month.

 

She talks more about the lawsuit and said if another wrestler joined her in this suit they might have been able to make actual changes in wrestling. Daffney reached out to others, some said they would join but others declined. She mentioned Jesse Sorensen and when he broke his neck with Dixie Carter making public statements about taking care of him for life. She called him up and suggested he speak to her lawyer after their conversation. Daffney wondered if they were taking care of him when Impact was taping on the road as she doubted they would fly him all over the country for production work. Daffney texted him the final day he had to submit a Workman’s Comp claim to remind him about this and really wanting him to call her lawyer but never called back and Sorensen got released four months after the deadline. She says it was a big thing to ask of Sorensen as he was young and starting his career and was risking getting blackballed by joining her lawsuit.

 

Daffney is now asked why she appeared in the crowd at the TNA Knockouts PPV. Her lawyer said she should go to a TNA event. Daffney said a lot of former Knockouts were asked to come but most declined. She made signs that were supportive of her friends and wore a hat and long-sleeved shirt then as the last match started she took off her hat and shirt then stood up a few times when no one else was in the crowd and could be noticed in the crowd. Daffney said it was a silly thing to do and might have come across as vindictive or bitter but just wanted to do this in her fight to care for wrestlers and to stick it to TNA a bit.

 

The host now asks her about having Bipolar Disorder. He said when Daffney worked for Highspots they took multiple road trips and he had no idea about her mental illness. Daffney said it was a tough decision to go public, especially since her character was someone who was crazy. She talks about being diagnosed ten years prior and she takes medications twice a day. Her first manic episode was in February 2003. She remembers being really depressed when WCW went under and that her marriage was suffering. After being placed on antidepressants and having them not work, her psychiatrist suggested that she was bipolar. Daffney said she was then starting to experiencing decreased sleep and delusions of grandeur and said she was like this during her WWE Developmental contract. Daffney puts over how the host was always there for her and brings up giving books to family members in an attempt to help them understand the disorder. She mentions how its hard work to but with the right medication and treatments you can manage well.

 

She talks about the SHINE promotion and how its a sister promotion to SHIMMER. Daffney says they are more storyline based than SHIMMER and puts everyone over but does wish there were more female agents.

 

The final part is a bonus where Daffney shows us all of the tattoos of masked wrestlers on her waistline that include Shark Boy, Mil Mascaras, La Parka, Curry Man, Hurricane, Black Tiger III, Blue Blazer, El Santo, Delirious, Black Pegasus, Matt Classic, and Mr. JL. After that there is some Twitter questions. She talks about pitching an idea to the WWE writers where she would be Carlito’s valet. Daffney does the accent she used and mentioned she was the one who first called him Carlito as before he went by “Carly.”

 

Final Thoughts: After watching this interview its tough not to like Daffney as a person. Between her struggles with mental illness and being a woman in the wrestling industry, she has faced many challenges but maintains a positive outlook. She also did not avoid any questions and was candid on just about every topic. She did not hold any grudges here and like the host said, you would have no clue she was carrying a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Daffney came off as soft-spoken and intelligent throughout the interview.

Its also another interview that after watching you have less respect for TNA as an organization. Between sexism and screwing over their talent they continue to remain a black eye on the wrestling industry even under a new name and ownership today.

Overall, I highly recommend this interview. Daffney was open about her life and career making the entire three hours entertaining, which is tough to accomplish. I have a great deal of respect for her as a person.

 

You can purchase this interview on DVD for $14.99 or download a digital copy for $9.99 by clicking here