Former 5-time WWE Women’s Champion Melina Perez began her career in professional wrestling in the early 2000s. That career started off in southern California which led to a tryout for WWE’s ‘Tough Enough’ series to eventually making it onto a WWE roster and being with the sports-entertainment company for seven years. Melina managed John Morrison and Joey Mercury to three tag team title victories and captured the WWE Women’s Championship and the Divas Title in her own right.
Melina embarked on her journey as an independent wrestler in 2011 and toured the world for a year before taking a three-year hiatus from the sport. She made her return to the ring in 2015 for the Maryland Championship Wrestling promotion and went on to have a 350-day reign as MCW Women’s Champion. Fast forward to this past July, it came full circle for Melina when she returned to WWE for the RAW Reunion special where she was involved in a 24/7 Title segment. Melina spoke with POST Wrestling at Starrcast IV and told us about the closure she received by returning to WWE over the Summer.
“Oh my, it was therapeutic. I needed that, because I needed closure. I needed closure. I needed to say goodbye to the people I needed to say goodbye to. I needed to talk to the people who we never said goodbye but we never said our feelings. So it’s like some of the girls I worked with, I told them how I felt and the funny thing is they started telling me how they felt. You know, I always thought I was an oddball but we all thought we were oddballs and we kind of were never too scared to open up to each other so it was very therapeutic and now I have my sisters, and now I’m there for them that much more after being out of there, so it was beautiful.”
Melina has been able to showcase her promo skills on the NWA Powerrr series that airs weekly on Tuesdays on the organization’s YouTube channel. At NWA’s ‘Into The Fire’ pay-per-view, Melina will be in action as she’ll team up with either Thunder Rosa or Marti Belle to take on Ashley Vox and the NWA Women’s World Champion Allysin Kay. Melina formed a trio with Thunder Rosa and Marti Belle on NWA Powerrr and she explained during our chat that the vibe and energy from the fans while filming the show was amazing. She admitted that initially, she was skeptical because she wondered if the crowd was going to be reactive or in-and-out. She added that seeing the likes of Ken Anderson and Colt Cabana just shows that those talents and more names on the roster are far from being done in the wrestling business despite the years that they’ve tallied up.
“Oh my goodness! I’m so glad we’re talking about this. Okay, it was so freaking amazing. So I went the day before [I debuted on the show], because I wanted to see what NWA was all about. I needed to witness this, and I’m watching — I actually watched from behind everybody, and I saw the audience, I saw it from above the studio and then I also went backstage and saw it from the TV. I watched every episode, I see every person’s reaction and everything. The energy and the fans are so freaking amazing. I was really skeptical. I was thinking, ‘It’s small. Will people get really into it? Are they gonna be one of those crowds where it’s kinda like they just watch and they don’t cheer?’ No, they were so energetic. They loved everybody there, and I love to see… during my era, I loved seeing Ken Anderson. I love Colt Cabana and there was so many people where I was like, ‘God, I haven’t seen you guys in such a long time, like personally, and to see you and work with you, that just made my heart love wrestling all over again’, because you want to see these personalities. They’re not done. Just because they’re a little bit older and they’re not in the WWE, doesn’t mean that they’re done. No, they’ve only just begun.”
Having been a part of that intimate setting for the NWA Powerrr tapings, I asked Melina does she prefer the more intimate settings like the GPB Studios over the larger-scale buildings. She said that she does like the smaller venues and stated that when one attends a WWE event, they tend to look at the screens and titantrons more than the action in the ring but with the GPB Studio, wrestling fans are up close and personal and are key components to making the show what it is.
“I actually do [prefer the intimate settings]. People were tripping out because they thought… I feel like sometimes when you’re in a large venue like that, like WWE style, you might as well just watch it at home sometimes because you end up watching the titantron or the big screens and everybody’s too small and you can’t really see anything, but at least you get the feeling of interacting with the fans who love what you love and love the characters that you love. When it comes to a place like NWA, you are right there with the wrestlers. You get to see everything, you get to hear everything. You get to interact with fans, they interact with you and it’s just amazing, and it’s not like an indie show either. It’s unique.”
NWA’s ‘Into The Fire’ pay-per-view takes place on December 14th. The event will be Melina’s first match since November 2nd and the audio from our interview can be heard on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.