McCool Explains Why She Left WWE, Cites Animosity Backstage
Speaking to former WWE Divas Lilian Garcia and Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool took part in her first interview since leaving WWE Monday night on the AfterBuzz TV AfterShow for Tough Enough. The multi-time champion says her peers’ animosity towards her behind the scenes played a huge factor in her decision to part ways with the organization.
Below is a transcript of her appearance on the program, courtesy of MichelleMcCool.net.
Lilian Garcia: Why did you leave on top?
Michelle McCool: You know, it’s nothing that has culminated overnight. That’s for sure. I mean, I’m going on six years, and you know- I mean, Lilian, Torrie, you know- six years is really a long time for one of the girls. I do a lot, and I’m thankful for that. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and in a man’s world, too. It’s just a fight, every single week, this job. I was in it to win it. I did fight, stand my ground. Add to that, these past couple of years has definitely been the most fun I’ve had in my career. But again, it’s not something that has culminated overnight. It’s something that I’ve actually been thinking about for a while. Something that I even thought about doing earlier than Extreme Rules, but I wanted to go out in the right way, and I wanted to do what was right for Layla. We’ve worked together as a team these past few years, and she’s done so much for me, for each other, that I wanted to go out doing the right thing. Working a program with Layla, while short, it was fun. I also kind of wanted [my exit] to be unexpected to the fans, and actually to some of the Superstars. I wanted to give them something unexpected. I wanted them to expect the unexpected, and hopefully we did that.
Torrie Wilson: Do you feel like the more you went up the ladder, getting the belts and being on television and had all these great things happening, do you feel like you had to work harder to prove yourself to the women? Did you see a lot of clawing and backstabbing, or was it… helpful?
Michelle McCool: Oh, gosh. No. You know the answer to that question! (laughs) The higher you climb the ladder, everyone is going to have a reason as to why you’re there, why you’re on TV, and they don’t want to believe the fact you’re in the working hard, fighting for storylines. Instead of complaining about only have two or three minutes on TV, you want to make those two or three minutes mean something, so that you can go somewhere the next week, and the next month, and then the next three months. And that’s what Layla and I did. And, yeah. A lot of people just didn’t want to believe that; I just think that’s the easy route. I think that they did, in their hearts, know that. The backstabbing, the clawing, it’s always there. It definitely comes up more when you’re on TV a little more often. And I can laugh. A prime example, Layla and I. We pitched an idea when we were going back and forth between RAW and SmackDown. We did a pre-tape on RAW when we got kicked off: so, we show up at RAW and get kicked out of the building. Two weeks later, they call us up to be on RAW again. It’s like, dang! Of course, all of the girls are complaining. We’re just like, ‘hey, we tried to get kicked off the show. It’s not our fault. Sorry we’re here.’ But you know, it’s like. Somebody else step it up! And I know that sounds horrible, but that’s what it is.
Torrie Wilson: Do you feel like that contributed to you wanting to step away or not? Because it was getting to be… too much?
Michelle McCool: Yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s hard. Torrie, you know. You’re the same way. I think we have a lot in common, as far as our hearts go. It’s just hard when you’re not that kind of person. When you don’t want to be miserable, when you don’t want to have that drama and… the drama just follows you. All due to the situation or the position that you’re in. It wears on you, as much as you’d like to say ‘I don’t care what the girls think!’ or ‘I don’t care what they’re saying!’ – I just want to go out there and do my job! It got harder each and every single week, just because it hurt me as a person. The kind of person that I am. You don’t want to feel that way.
Torrie Wilson: For someone that personally saw you, and how hard you would work, even before you were on TV-and I traveled with you-just how hard you worked, how many storylines you came up with to me, and with me, to work with me! It’s just actually frustrating to think that people would think you’re not working hard.
Michelle McCool: Well, thank you for saying that. That means a lot.
Lilian Garcia: And let me tell you something. Not only did you work hard in the ring, but also on your outfits! That meant a lot to you. Talk about being creative: I saw you being creative in your moves, in your entrance, but also in your outfits. I remember [you] coming out with the most amazing gear, and just going, WOW! You’re going to get noticed just based on that – and your body! Holy cow, girl!
Michelle McCool: Oh, please! (laughs) I think the whole Flawless thing backfired in my face. I’m just like, ‘oh, man! We’re out here calling ourselves Flawless, and being the most obnoxious characters, that even I wanted to slap myself sometimes!’ Even I would get sick of watching myself on TV! But let me tell you about the first night. And I just thought that it would only happen on the first night that I left WWE. I had almost an entire large pizza-you know me and stuffed crust! I had me a whole cake with frosting, and the problem is, I’ve done it almost every night since! The whole ‘Flawless’ thing is kind of out the window! (laughs)
Lilian Garcia: Um, Michelle. I have some bad news for you. Since I’ve left WWE a year and a half ago… I can’t… stop… eating! I can’t stop cheating!
Lilian Garcia: Do you have anything that you regret that you didn’t get to do?
Michelle McCool: Well… you know what? Somebody asked me that question in passing, not long ago. It’s crazy. I’ve really done a lot. You know, when you’re out there, and all of the drama is going on every single week, and you’re fighting every single week, you know. It just gets harder. And then you forget. Which is horrible! But you forget about all of the wonderful things that you’ve done. I was the Women’s champ, the Divas Champ, the unified Champ, Layla and I were co-Champs. I was in the first [Diva’s] table match. You think of all of these things, and it’s like, wow. I like to think of myself as a humble person, and I hate talking about myself, but… that’s kind of a lot stuff, you know. That’s pretty cool. I can’t think of anything where I can look back and wish that there was something that I could have done. Even with all of these opportunities.
Torrie Wilson: Yeah, well… you could have won the Golden Thong Award!
Torrie Wilson: Well, at this point are you thinking that you’ll never, ever, ever, ever return back to WWE or what?
Michelle McCool: Well, that’s not my intention at all. Right now I’m just trying to breath for a little while. And, you know… enjoy life and see where it takes me. So hopefully, I can just take that attitude and let it carry me from today to the next day to the next day…
Lilian Garcia: Speaking of Tough Enough, you came through a similar competition. How do you feel about a show like that?
Michelle McCool: Well, you know. A lot of people don’t know, and it’s funny, that I actually filled out all of the paper work for the original Tough Enough and that I was going to apply. I still have all of the paperwork, but I just began my teaching career instead. Obviously, I love the show. And yes, I went through the Divas Search. And it’s funny, you know? Because everyone puts this ‘staple’ on you that you’re just a ‘Diva Search Reject,’ which there were several of us at the time, which is fine. But I often wonder that if I had gone through Though Enough and became a ‘Tough Enough Reject’ would so many people hate on me the way they do as a ‘Diva Search Reject.’ I’ve always wondered that. So that’s funny. And I actually do love the show. I’ve trained with Bill DeMott, down in Deep South. And even watching the drills tonight, I’ve been through them all. I know exactly what the contestants are going through. In the end, it’s a mental game, and they’re going through some tough times. Believe me. Again, I love the show, I love the concept.” … “Times have changed, you know? Times have definitely changed. Some of the girls backstage are just… yeah. From the time that I came in, back with Dawn Marie, and everybody else. Today? It’s just a whole different ball game these days.
Lilian Garcia: Do you stay in touch with anybody, after you’ve left?
Michelle McCool: Well, I stay in touch with Layla and Vickie. And, um… Nattie, every once in a while. She text me yesterday, actually. And Kelly. But…. sadly, that’s about it. Kelly, Layla, Vickie and Nattie on occasion. …Yeah.
Lilian Garcia: Well, I’m curious now. Since we all know that feeling, what’s next?
Michelle McCool: That’s kind of scary…
Lilian Garcia: It is, right? It’s scary, but exciting.
Torrie Wilson: And then it’s scary to think about going back! To the traveling, at least.
Michelle McCool: Well, I certainly don’t want to be near any airplanes or airports anytime soon, that’s for sure. But it is, it’s really scary. But it is also exciting! Like this week, for example. I spent the weekend with my parents. I can’t even tell you the last time I spent an entire weekend with my parents, or my godson, for that matter. I’m just enjoying life. But, I have also kept my teaching license active.
Lilian Garcia: So is that what you’re thinking? Or is there something else brewing in your head?
Michelle McCool: Nope. There’s nothing brewing. Though, I wouldn’t mind it, I think I would be a darn good Tough Enough trainer! Nobody has mentioned that to me, I swear to you, but I am throwing it out there. I think I’d have fun and I’d do a good job. It’s just that I’m such a big fan of the show, and I’ve worked under Bill. I know his personality, what his drills are like, I just… I don’t know. Why not throw another personality on that show? Sort of right up my alley.