Interview with Layla (FSM 107; June 14)
With her very first words to FSM, Layla professed her love for new partner Fandango. In the midst of a UK tour, Tom Skates dances around the storyline with the WWE Diva.
You’ve recently switched into a role as Fandango’s dance partner. How are you enjoying that?
I love him, and the most important thing is that he loves me. He just loves me! (laughs) It’s great because I’ve gotten to go back to my dancing background. A lot of people don’t realise I was a professional dancer before becoming a wrestler.
Can we expect you to do some wrestling again soon?
I’ll just say that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. As much as I love dancing, just keep your eyes tuned in, and hopefully I will be back in the ring wrestling.
You had quite some time off last year. What exactly happened?
It happened during the highlight of my career – a Loser Leaves WWE match with Michelle McCool at Extreme Rules in Tampa. I actually hurt my knee before the match – I didn’t know, and went out there and did that match. When I look back, I can see I was injured, but I guess too much adrenaline was in my body and I didn’t notice. Around a week later, I went for an MRI because my knee was so huge, and they diagnosed me with a torn ACL and MCL. I had to have reconstructive surgery, and then rehab.
The physical therapy for that is honestly the most painful thing I’ve ever been through in my life, but I did it, and then six months later I was told I had to have surgery again because something kind of went wrong, or sometimes you over-train. That’s why I was out for a year. I worked my butt off to prove that this was not a career-ending injury, and thank god I got the opportunity to come back.
You’re part of a contingent of English competitors in WWE. Are you enjoying having them around?
There’s a few of us there now, and they’re all champions. I’m glad that I have people around who can relate to me; when I make jokes, now they get it! (laughs) Before, only William Regal was on the same wavelength as me, and everybody else would be looking at me like, “That girl is crazy!” They often don’t get that English sense of humour.
Maybe it’s time to have an English stable with all you guys in it together?
That would be amazing – can you imagine that? You could even put Drew McIntyre and Sheamus with us. That’s something we need to try and pitch and work on. I’d want to be the manager, though. I don’t want to be a wrestler; I’ll let Paige do all the work and I’ll just stand there and do the talking. Paige is young and fresh, she can do the fighting, and I’ll just get involved if I have to. It could work with William Regal as the boss.
As someone who’s been in WWE for eight years, do you feel a sense of responsibility to help the new wrestlers when they first come in?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I guess I baby Paige a little – she calls me Mummy Bear! I do a little bit, but also I think I’m learning a lot more from the new girls; they’re coming in, and I see them fresh-eyed and ready to take anything on. I can learn from them to stay fresh and stay hungry.
Paige is amazing; she’s going to do very well, and I’m very happy for her. I was there on the day she did her tryout; it was a TV day, and we were filming Raw. I was there, her mum was there, and they had her in the ring. I remember saying, “Wow, she’s good and she’s beautiful – I think she’s going to do well.’ And look at her, she’s done amazing.
Do you ever get asked for your opinion when they’re looking at new people?
No, of course not – they know what they want. We just watch sometimes!
Just to run your eye over the competition?
No. Well, maybe, yeah (laughs). It depends.
Total Divas has been a big success. How come we’ve not seen you on the show yet?
For me, I’m fine if I’m on the show and I’m fine if I’m not. I’m just happy that the Divas have their show – those girls are doing a great job. Everything that you see on there is realistic – that’s how they are. Daniel and Brie are in love and embracing it, and are comfortable showing the world.
The fans really do want to be a part of your life every single day, and now they have the opportunity to see John Cena with Nikki Bella and Daniel with Brie – it’s amazing. I don’t know if I want people to see so much of my personal life; if you do that type of reality TV, then you’re putting yourself out there more even more than you already are.
What goals do you have left in WWE?
I feel like I’ve done pretty much everything... (pauses) I think I want to do something totally different and totally exciting, maybe an official position like General Manager of Raw or Smackdown. That would be awesome. That’s the only thing I think I haven’t done.