For the first time in my life as a casual wrestling fan, I tuned into Monday Night RAW specifically to watch a Divas match. I say specifically because I obviously never complained about watching Trish Stratus, Stacy Keibler or Torrie Wilson battle it out back in the day, but this time I was doing it as a brand new superfan of the WWE’s Divas Champion Eve Torres.
Before I had the chance to spend some time talking with her last week, I admittedly didn’t know much about the woman who has held the Divas title more times than any of her peers in the four years since it was created (she’s also tied with four other WWE women’s champions for 4th on the all-time women’s champions list). I knew that Eve was a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers back when they were still the laughing stock of the NBA and I knew that she had recently won the NBC reality series Stars Earn Stripes.
But after talking to her, I can say with confidence that she’s going to be a star well beyond her days in the WWE, as her combination of talent, confidence and compassion have developed her into the rare breed of entertainer that welcomes challenges and the chance to bust her ass for success. Eve gave me some insight on what it’s like to jump blindly into the WWE, how she kicked Superman’s ass, why she should be the star of the WWE’s next action movie, and how learning Jiu-Jitsu has made her one of the most influential women in the country.
With Leather: One of your very first gigs was as a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers. What was it like being a part of the more entertaining team during their games?
Eve Torres: It was a little disheartening at times. But it was actually a really fun experience for me, because the funny thing is that I had never even been to an NBA game until I walked out there for my first game as a dancer. Basically, I had courtside seats because all I knew was being on the court and in the action. It was a lot of fun.
With Leather: Since Doug Christie was on that team, were the dancers ever instructed to steer clear of him, lest they feel the wrath of his overprotective wife?
Eve Torres: We were given instructions to steer clear of all of the players, because that’s standard practice for any dancers with an NBA team, so no interaction.
With Leather: What pushed you to make the leap to the WWE in 2007? Was it the potential for fame or did you already have the fighting spirit by that point?
Eve Torres: I felt like the WWE had all of the elements that I was really passionate about combined into one, because I was always very competitive. I was a gymnast growing up and I was interested in martial arts, so I had that competitive spirit for sure, but I also loved to perform, I love to entertain and I love to travel. To be honest, the thing that I really loved about the WWE is the work that it does with the community, whether through Make-a-Wish or visiting the troops overseas. I felt that these are elements of myself that I really love, so I felt that the Diva Search was a thing that would be right up my alley. I still didn’t know quite what I was getting myself into, but five years later I know that it was meant to be.
With Leather: When you were declared the winner of the 2007 WWE Diva Search, did you have any idea in your mind that you’d eventually win 3 WWE Diva titles?
Eve Torres: When I approached it, I did say in my head, “I don’t want to be just a WWE Diva, I want to be a Diva champion.” I’m not doing this just to do it, I’m doing it to be the best at it. That’s kind of the way I approach everything. I had no idea how far I would come and what I would learn, but at the time, in my head, I definitely told myself that I would be the women’s champion here and I will be at the top.
With Leather: Why did the WWE discontinue the Diva Search after you won? Was it because they knew they struck gold with you?
Eve Torres: Actually, there are a lot of rumors that they’re going to do another Diva Search, and I’m hoping that there is one. The WWE has found incredible female talent through the Diva Search, even it’s the women who are kind of casual fans and just aren’t sure if they can commit all the way or the women who are intimidated about the approach and the FCW. Hopefully we do another one because it would be great to see more women coming into the division.
With Leather: With Kelly Kelly gone and Beth Phoenix soon departing the WWE, how do you see the landscape of the Divas changing? Can we expect to see more of the remaining Divas or is there some young talent that will be coming in?
Eve Torres: It’s hard to say, because we never really know what they’re thinking. As much as people think we really know what’s going on, we really don’t. On Mondays at 4 PM, half the time I have no idea what’s going on. Right now, we have a great group of girls – hungry girls – who all want to contribute to the Diva division. That’s what I really care about. Obviously, I’m delighted that I’m part of an interesting storyline, but whatever I can do to help this division and get it back on top is just something that I – and all of the other girls – am willing to do, whether that means helping new talent that comes up or re-polishing the talent that already exists on the roster.