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Somebody’s Gonna Pay: Mickie James Discusses Her New Album And More!

Somebody’s Gonna Pay: Mickie James Discusses Her New Album And More!

mickie-james-2013

Mickie James cut her teeth as one of professional wrestling’s most dynamic performers and, along the way, cemented herself into the history books as a multi-time champion. However, entertaining the millions and millions of fans who tune in each week to see her perform inside the squared circle is just one side to this multi-faceted artist. In 2013, Mickie James is set to take the country music world by storm! With Somebody’s Gonna Pay, her debut project for eOne Music Nashville, listeners can connect with her passion and drive from the very first notes of the album’s title track. Produced by hitmaker R.S. Field (Alison Moorer, Todd Snider, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and many more), the Jamie Hartford-penned tune showcases Mickie’s high-energy style, something she’s honed not only in the ring, but also via recent performances opening for the likes of Gretchen Wilson, Randy Houser and Montgomery Gentry. The album, produced by Field and Jamie Lee Thurston, highlights the energy Mickie brings to songs like “Best Damn Night” (which Mickie co-wrote with Thurston and Porter Howell of Little Texas fame) and “A Good Time,” (written by Bridgette Tatum) as well as the emotion found on ballads like “If I Can’t Be Me” and “Hurts Don’t It.” (penned by Kerry Kurt Phillips.) In fact, some of Music Row’s best writers have contributed to the album, including Rivers Rutherford, Tom Shapiro, the Civil Wars’ John Paul White, Odie Blackmon and Craig Wiseman. The album serves as a high-energy introduction to her work and will surely solidify her as an artist to watch in the years to come. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Mickie James to discuss her musical roots, the creation of ‘Somebody’s Gotta Pay’ and the challenges that she faced along the way!

The world of professional wrestling has been very good to you and now serves as a perfect platform to spread the word on your other ventures. Did you have any inkling when you first started out that it would lead you to the heights it has?

Absolutely not! I hoped and I prayed! I believed in myself and I believed I would make it one day but I didn’t know how far or how well I would do. Obviously, you just try to put it out there in the universe, pray about it and hope it comes true! Luckily, I was fortunate and blessed enough that it did!

You are about to unleashed your music side on the world with the release of “Somebody’s Gonna Pay.” Going back a bit, how did music first come into your life?

I grew up listening to all kinds of music. It was a very eclectic range ranging from rap to R&B to pop to country to classical. It was pretty much everything and anything! Being from a small town in Virginia and riding horses all of my life, country music was a massive part of it. I played the violin for five years in school. I still have it! I still have that ol’ fiddle. Obviously, I don’t play it as much as I used to! But yeah, music has always been a large part of my life. I think you can relate to music because of all of the stories that can be told. I have always been intrigued by how it moves me and how I have connected with it so much in my life. Also, being on the road 250 days out of the year, we spend a lot of time in the car and listening to the radio! [laughs]

Who would you cite as your biggest musical influences, be it artists you admire or a personal mentor?

I think on of my all-time favorites is George Strait. You can’t deny almost sixty number one singles through his career. I don’t know if any other artist has really done that! He has been around a long time and for him to still be out there making hit songs is incredible! When it comes to music, I grew up listening to everything. Madonna was a huge influence on me. I think it was because she was one of the first woman to be able to change with the times and stay culturally relevant. There are so many because of different aspects.

Your debut single and album share the same title, “Somebody’s Gonna Pay.” What can you tell us about the song, why you chose it as the album title and what it means to you personally?

Available May 7th!

Available May 7th!

I love that song! I absolutely love it! It is an old James Hartford song. He had written it and put it out. My producer, R.S. Field, had me listen to it. He asked me what I thought of the song when we were looking for some songs we might want to remake, redo or revamp. The song selection of an album is probably the hardest part — picking songs you can relate to, you love, you can sing, tells a story within the album itself and helps everything mesh together. When I first heard the song, I said “I don’t know! That is really country! I am not sure I can pull that one off! I love the song but I just don’t know.” He said “We are gonna throw seven guitars on it, rock this shit out and it’s gonna be awesome!” [laughs] I said, “OK!” I had so much faith in him because I had heard what he had done with other albums. He had done the Uncle Lucius who are on the same label I am. He had just come from Austin where he did their album and I was able to hear some of that. I said “If you say it is gonna rock, I believe it is gonna rock!” And it rocks! [laughs] I am grateful for that! As we went to pick out what the debut single would be, Dan Fletcher, who pretty much hired me under eOne Music, suggested that as the title. He said he thought it really set the tone for the rest of the album, for who I am and what I am trying to do! It was a perfect fit!

What made you think now was the time to forge ahead and pursue the musical side of your career?

I had put my first album out by myself. I had a cool team behind me but it was all self-released and self-financed. I learned a lot of that experience. I learned a lot of the ins and outs. Obviously, I am still learning. It is all very new to me and I am just getting my feet wet. I wanted to do it the right way and I wanted to do something that no one else is doing right now by having my own unique sound and by being who I am. I think that is the difference. Now, I am comfortable with that, rather than the first album where I just wanted to do music. I wanted to do music that I loved and a few of the songs I wrote made it on the album. I still feel as great as that first album was, it wasn’t me in a sense. I wasn’t being who I am. With this new album, I was able to hone in on that, do something unique and be myself. I was fortunate enough to have eOne behind me, R.S., Dan and my mangers pushing me. All of these people came together to help build this the way it had to be. I hope everyone loves it as much as I enjoyed making it! It is really exciting because I feel like it is a whole new chapter. It is something that is a new journey for me that, hopefully, everybody jumps on board with!

mickie-james-2013-3

What was the biggest challenge in creating this album?

The music selection was the hardest part. You want to find the songs that represent you, your life experiences or ones you can relate to. You also have to find songs you can actually sing! There were songs I absolutely loved but there was no way I could sing it do to the way it is sung or the pitch. Sometimes, if you attempted change something like that, it changes the song itself. I co-wrote a few songs on this album as well. Making sure those songs measured up to the songs I was getting from publishing companies was a challenge. It can be tough to compete with songwriters who create songs all day! They are great at it, where as I am still in the learning process and working with some truly talented people who can help teach me how to write good songs.

That is interesting. What can you tell us about the song you created in the co-writing process?

Mickie James: Live On Stage!

Mickie James: Live On Stage!

I feel the songs I write are typically from life experiences of my own or ones that I have been close to with my family or friends. It is hard because you want to write something that is going to kick butt and people are going to love but at the same time you want to male them feel something emotionally. One of the songs I wrote for this album is called “80 Proof,” I wrote with my guitarist. We were driving back from New York when we wrote the song. It is pretty awesome. It’s a drinkin’ kinda song! You know, an anthem-y, southern rock kinda song! It is really cool. That is the one I was really excited about. When we wrote it, it was more of an acoustic version. We played it a few times but hadn’t really locked in exactly how it was going to feel. I never got to hear it with the full sound until I heard it in the studio as we were recording it. That was very cool! Another song I co-wrote on the album is called “Best Damn Night”. I had two producers for this album. I had Jamie Lee Thurston for the first six songs. That was right around the time eOne picked me up and wanted to go back in the studio and R.S. Field came in. He produced the last six songs. We ended up cutting one of the first songs. Even though it has two producers, the way that it blends is still really cool. That was a big concern of mine and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work with two different artists in the magic room. It turned out awesome, it really did! Anyway, “Best Damn Night,” I wrote with Jamie Lee Thurston and Porter Howell who is from Texas. It is a cool, really upbeat, party song. The last song on the album is my TNA Wrestling Entrance music which I co-wrote with Serg [Salinas] and Dale [Oliver], who work on all the TNA music. We threw that on as a bonus track! It is just one of those songs that once it gets stuck in your head, it stays there all day.

You have quite a busy schedule with being on the road for TNA much of the year. What are plans for touring in support of the album?

I am looking forward to it! The album comes out on May 7th! I am going to have a CD release party here in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I am working out the details of that now. I am hoping and praying for the best. We are hoping to hit some of the cities as we are in them but we may also start locally, outside of Nashville or Richmond. We will see what happens. I am just going to hustle my butt off and hope for the best! [laughs]

You put out a great video for “Somebody’s Gonna Pay.” What was that experience like for you? It looked like a lot of fun!

Oh my God! We had so much fun! Honestly, I had a lot of friends come out for it. Nick Aldis [aka Magnus], who works on TNA, played the boyfriend in the video. He did a great job with that! His two buddies are out of Ohio Valley Wrestling, which is where I spent a long amount of time! I had to pull a favor. I said “They are gonna get their butts kicked! I kinda need somebody who is able to get their butt kicked and not have to worry about it!” [laughs] Joe and Jose both did a fantastic job. Obviously, Trish Stratus was there! She came down from home and it was awesome! The girl who plays the girlfriend in the video, Casey, is a friend of mine from Nashville. She is an ex-Disney princess and theater actress. Everybody did so great! I also had a lot of my friends from the music industry, songwriters, singers and Nashville friends out for the shoot. It was great because we got to hang out all day and make this video. It made for a long day but because you are with friends and people who are excited about what you are doing and vice versa, it made for a really fun day!

I am sure you have seen a lot of things during your career which would make a good read. Have you ever considered penning an autobiography?

Ya know, I have thought about it in the sense of when it is all said and done and I am sitting at home with grandkids or something that it might be cool to tell my life story from the front to the back. I feel like I am still a bit young and have so much more in front of me right now, that if I was to write a book now, it would only be half the story!

Well, ya know, Chris Jericho has two or three autobiographies, so that is one way to approach it! [laughs]

This is true! This is true! [laughs]

What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to someone who is looking to a career in music or professional wrestling. I am sure there are many parallels.

They definitely run very parallel. In all of the entertainment industry, no matter if you are a model, an actor, a singer, whatever you want to do, isn’t the easiest business. I know it isn’t for everybody but if you believe in yourself and really hone you skills to be the absolute best you can be, at the end of the day, the only person who can tell you can’t do it is yourself. You have to believe in yourself and visualize where you want to go and pursue it fearlessly. You can be whoever you want to be and that is the beautiful thing! Nobody wants to be the same thing and no one is the same person. We are all individuals and that is what makes us special. Everyone has something unique and beautiful to offer! You just have to go after what you want!

What is the best part of being Mickie James these days?

Oh! [laughs] I don’t know! [laughs] I am getting to live my dream everyday! I am hustling, busting my butt and I don’t sleep a whole lot! But, I am having fun doing it!

mickie-james-2013-2

Being in your position, you get to shed a little light on some charity work around the nation. What do you have going on in that respect?

I recently became a part of the City of Hope. I am a Citizen of Hope. I think it is just such a beautiful cause. They are working on research to find cures for many diseases from AIDS to many different types of cancer. I recently did a little thing for them where I chose a word. The word I chose for the as “Believe” because I do believe there are cures. I, as well as a lot of people, have lost family, friends and loved ones to something I believe we can find a cure for. I believe there is a way around it. I am very hopeful. City of Hope is really a beautiful cause and something special and very close to my heart. You can learn more at www.cityofhope.org. If you are on Twitter, you can follow them @cityofhope. They are really incredible!

That is great! We really appreciate you taking time out to talk to us, Mickie! We look forward to spreading the word on all of your projects!

Incredible! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

For all the latest news and dates for Mickie James, visit her official website at www.mickiejames.com. Connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mickiejames!

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (2)

Mickie James Debuts Video For “Somebody’s Gonna Pay,” Album Out May 7th!

Mickie James Debuts Video For “Somebody’s Gonna Pay,” Album Out May 7th!

Mickie James

Mickie James

What should music fans expect tomorrow when Mickie James’ new video, “Somebody’s Gonna Pay,” debuts at AOL music site TheBoot? Let’s just say they’ll find the ending . . . smashing. The video will be available, beginning noon (Eastern), at www.TheBoot.com.

The music video, directed by Blake Judd and featuring Mickie’s fellow wrestling personalities Trish Stratus and Nick Aldis, TNA Wrestling’s Magnus, is for the debut single from her upcoming self-titled album on eOne Music. The single can currently be found at iTunes – Click Here! 

“This is my first video, so it was wonderful to have so many of my friends join me in front of the camera,” said James. “And the fact that Trish and Nick took time out of their schedules to take part in it made it something very special.”

“I wanted to create a video that would really showcase this song for my fans – and Blake did a brilliant job helping me bring that to life,” James added.

“Mickie and I have connected with audiences all over the world with our performances in the wresting ring, so it was an honor to be able to connect with her once again for this music video,” said Stratus. “I have no doubt Mickie’s fans will feel the same passion and magnetic energy she delivers in this video that they have felt for years from her in-ring performances.”

“I had a blast making the video for ‘Somebody’s Gonna Pay’ – it has everything that Mickie brings to her music: passion, femininity and some serious attitude,” said Aldis. “Get ready to be singing this song all day because it’s seriously catchy!”

The Jamie Hartford-penned song – a hard-hitting country rocker – is now at radio and available at iTunes. The album Somebody’s Gonna Pay is scheduled for release on May 7.

With the release of the single “Somebody’s Gonna Pay,” Mickie James is creating a new path for herself. An entertainer and athlete since childhood, the TNA Impact Wrestling superstar – a multi-time world champion – has spent the last decade as part of some of the biggest pro wrestling organizations in the world. And now, she’s taking that same drive, desire and talent to the music world.

“There are ton of parallels as far as your confidence and your ability to be able to tell a story, both within wrestling and within music,” said the performer. “With wrestling, you’re running on raw passion and adrenaline. With music, your emotions are more present and your heart goes more into it.

With her down-home charm and high-intensity performances, the Virginia native has connected with crowds all over the world, both through television/live events in the ring, and with recent performances opening for artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Randy Houser and Montgomery Gentry. Fans also saw Mickie, along with Kellie Pickler and “Cowboy” Kenny Bartram, in her labelmate Bucky Covington/Shooter Jennings’ video “Drinking Side of Country.”

Follow Mickie James on  TwitterFacebook and at www.MickieJames.com

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DVD Review: Trish Stratus Makes Her Butt Kickin’ Debut In ‘Bounty Hunters’

DVD Review: Trish Stratus Makes Her Butt Kickin’ Debut In ‘Bounty Hunters’

'Bounty Hunters'

The WWE® has had its share of talent take a shot at the action genre in decades past. Fans certainly remember the first wave of wrestling icons taking the plunge into film as Hulk Hogan (Rocky III, Suburban Commando), “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Body Slam, They Live) and the late Randy Savage (Spider-Man). In the years to follow, Triple H (Blade: Trinity, The Chaperone), Kevin Nash (The Longest Yard) and Bill Goldberg (Universal Soldier: The Return, Santa’s Slay) continued the growing trend and added to its growing momentum. However, it wasn’t until recently that superstars like John Cena (The Marine, 12 Rounds) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Scorpion King, Fast Five, Faster) removed all doubt to professional wrestlers could not only bring their acting skills to the masses but they could carry entire films on their shoulders, turning them into box office gold.

Trish Stratus is undoubtedly on of the most talent athletes that has passed through the legendary WWE® system. Armed with killer looks, infectious charisma and a down to Earth personality, she quickly cemented herself as a fan favorite. While life outside the squared circle is has keep her exceptionally busy, it seemed a bit shocking that it took so long for the multi-faceted Stratus to make the jump to the silver screen. When the news of her action film debut hit the streets, we were very intrigued!

In ‘Bounty Hunters’, an action thriller that was an official selection at the 2011 Actionfest Film Festival, Trish Stratus stars as the tough as nails Jules Taylor. As bail enforcement agents, Jules and her two dedicated partners, Chase (Boomer Phillips) and Ridley (Frank J. Zupancic), find themselves struggling to make ends meet as they pursue deadbeats night after night. Luck seems to be turning in their favor when they get a hot tip from that could make them rich. The informant turns out to be worth $100,000 if they hand him to the authorities but if the turn him over to ruthless mob boss Hal Lambrino (Joe Rafla), he is worth a cool million! It is a difficult choice for the group to make but when the group refuse the mobster’s offer, he unleashes a gang of assassins to take out the bounty hunters and the informant permanently. It doesn’t take long for the mob boss to discover that he has bitten off a little more than he can chew as the action of the film kicks into high gear!

Trish Stratus: Making actions film a little sexier!

While the film was shot on a small budget by Patrick McBrearty (Psycho Ward), it still provides and interesting storyline for the viewer and makes the most of the tools that the filmmaker had at hand — that is what good filmmaking is all about! The film is loaded with some great fight scenes that really showcase Stratus’ skills. Long time fans of this former seven time WEE World Champion will enjoy her apprehending and taking out some aggression on a larger than life bail jumper during a workout session and squaring off against an Asian assassin named Ruby (Andrea James Lui) who wants to put an end to the bounty hunter once and for all. Did we mention that some of these fight scenes involve Trish Stratus in a hospital gown and a school girl outfit? Yeah, it goes without saying — that it is a must see! While Trish Stratus is billed as the star, her co-stars in the film also turn in decent performances to add dimension to the film. Such is the case with Boomer Phillips, who has a plethora of great one liners in the film that add a few healthy laughs to the action mix. Be sure to stay tuned during the credits to see a few alternate takes and bloopers that show how much fun the had on the set during filming. One of the most interesting aspect of the DVD is a behind-the-scenes featurette and interview with Trish Stratus, that while short, gives you some great insight on the fight choreography for this film. As a fan of action cinema, I found this very interesting and it demonstrates the great results you can achieve, even on a small budget.

Action cinema has been fortunate over the past few years to have been blessed with some genuinely talented leading ladies such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Zoe Saldana. However, there are few women with real-world knowledge of the fight game and the acting chops to back it up — Gina Carano is one of the few that spring to mind. With ‘Bounty Hunters’, Trish Stratus seems to be laying the groundwork for what could be an amazing career as a dynamic action star! And why not? She is the total package and a force to be reckoned with! She is someone who doesn’t back away from a challenge and who’s dedication will help any project rise to new heights. If you are a fan of Trish Status or great cinema, ‘Bounty Hunters’ will give you pure “Stratusfaction!”

Be sure to check out Icon Vs. Icon’s exclusive interview with Trish Stratus and get the scoop on the new film, the challenges involved with making it and much, much more!

‘Bounty Hunters’ hits DVD on February 28, 2012, from MPI Home Video. For more information please visit www.trishstratus.com or follow @trishstratuscom on Twitter.

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Pure Stratusfaction: Trish Stratus Discusses Her Action Film Debut & More!

Pure Stratusfaction: Trish Stratus Discusses Her Action Film Debut & More!

Trish Stratus is a woman that needs little introduction. Her story began simply enough — a mild mannered Canadian girl looking to turn her passion for fitness into the career of her dreams. When her dreams of becoming a doctor were suddenly put on hold, another interesting opportunity presented itself. Little did she know, this newly opened door would take her places which she had never imagined. A little bit of luck, coupled with her natural athleticism and charismatic personality would lead her to a new career path in the world of professional wrestling. As a WWE Superstar, Trish Stratus found herself battling some of the fiercest warriors ever to grace the squared circle, creating legendary moments in the ring and capturing the hearts of fans in the process! Her role as a WWE Diva would help define what we have come to know and love about sports entertainment today. Her life after her epic run as a seven time WWE World Champion is no less intriguing! After her retirement in 2006, Trish Stratus found herself in the position to bring her love of yoga to the masses. She has gone on to open the wildly successful Stratusphere Yoga Studio and has developed the Stratusphere Living product line, which caters to the growing needs of yoga practitioners around the globe. If that wasn’t enough to keep this inspiring woman busy, she is now taking on one of her biggest challenges to date with her action film debut! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Trish Stratus to discuss her unique career, her starring role in the action flick ‘Bounty Hunters’ and she has in store for us in the years to come!

You have an interesting career arc. How did you go from a mild mannered Canadian girl to the heights of professional wrestling super-stardom?

Trish Stratus

Who said I was a mild mannered Canadian girl? [laughs] I am just kidding! How did that happen? I will give you the short version of that story. In 1997, there was a strike here at York University, which is our local university. I was attending the university and this mild mannered Canadian girl had plans to become a doctor. I was in school, I was doing all of the volunteer work and doing everything I needed to do to become a doctor when my professors decided to go on strike! Then I was like, “Oh, shoot!” and my plans got put on hold. Basically, a series of events unfolded that got me to the place I am at today, which is kinda crazy! From there, I ended up working at a gym where I was approached about doing fitness modeling – which was a new industry at the time. There weren’t too many girls being featured as athletes. In the past, it had been bodybuilding women who lifted weights or girls who did bikini modeling. This was a new industry that began to emerge and Robert Kennedy, who is the publisher of “Oxygen” magazine here in Canada, was at the helm of this new industry. I always say timing is everything! At least it has been in my career, anyway! As I was waiting for school to come into session, I was approached to do some fitness modeling. I said, “OK, I will give it a try! Why not!” He took my first professional photographs, and he took me to Miami’s South Beach to do my first photo shoot. I ate, slept and trained to prepare for my very first professional fitness modeling shoot! I went on that first shoot and they contracted me, and my career as a fitness model had begun.

At the same time, I was on a television talk show, where they would have different sports figures come on and talk sports. I guess I was a good guest because not too many chicks knew about sports! They knew that I was a fan of wrestling and there was one episode when WWE was in town. They were announcing that WWE programming would be prime-time in Canada on our sports network, TSN. They had a big press conference and a live show in front of the Skydome and of course, that evening they had the big show. So again, I am doing this television show as a fitness model from Oxygen magazine, I knew wrestling and the fans were into it. That evening, that was when it all changed! I went to the show and fans kept coming up to me and saying, “Oh my gosh! I can’t wait to see you start in wrestling! When are you starting?” This was back in 1999 when the Internet was still kind of a new thing to a lot of people. Now, of course, the Internet has become a big part of wrestling and, apparently, a big part of my career! The rumor was that McMahon had spotted me, that I had been contracted and I was going to start to wrestle soon. I was like, “This is news to me!” [laughs] Of course, the Internet was going crazy and got the rumor mill going. I would be doing interviews and people would say, “Tell us about WWE!” and I would have to say, “I haven’t even been contacted by them but I love the product!” [laughs]

Trish Stratus: Wrestling Royalty

Finally, I guess the rumor got big enough that the WWE decided to find me and bring me down to Connecticut. I met with their talent relations people in 1999. They wanted to see my press kit and I had a few meetings with them on the phone. I was waiting for them to call me back and a few months went by. There is one thing I always do, which I call: preparedness meets opportunity. This is where I thought, “Well, if they call, I am going to prepare the best possible package.” So, I went to wrestling school here in Toronto to get a little training for my background. They finally called me and flew me in to talk about how I would be doing more of a physical role than females in the WWE had typically done before where they had been mostly eye candy. I told them I was up for it and that I had been training for a couple of months. That is basically how it all started! I left with a contract offer, that was in 1999. I made my television debut in March of 2000. I went from eye candy to becoming a seven time WWE World Champion! And that, in a nutshell, is how a mild mannered Canadian girl became a WWE Superstar!

Obviously, you had a tremendous run in the WWE. Is there anything you didn’t accomplish in the ring during your time with the company which might eventually draw you back in?

Ya know, that is one thing that I am very happy to say that I did, I crossed off everything on my list when I left. My official retirement was in 2006 and I can say that I really did tackle everything that I wanted to tackle. I became the seven-time champion, which is something that hasn’t been done again, to this day. I wrestled with all of the people that I wanted to wrestle with and I worked programs with all of the great WWE Superstars from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to just about everyone! I really crossed just about everything off my list. I always say that the door is still open for WWE, only because the landscape is constantly changing. With new performers, you potentially have a new match and exciting new moments can be created in the ring. The landscape of the WWE is very different when it comes to the women right now. There are a lot of very talented women that I haven’t had the opportunity to wrestle with. I always say that I keep the door open, just a little, because you never know and I am all about creating exciting moments! But at the point that I retired, I had pretty much done everything I wanted to do, so aside from a few little butts that I haven’t kicked, yes, I have done my little bucket list within the wrestling world!

You have been very busy since your departure from the WWE. You went on to develop a very cool line of yoga products. How did that all come about?

Trish Stratus In The Studio

That was sort of a happy accident! It was a very organic thing that happened. Yoga was a big thing for me during my career in wrestling. I discovered it towards the end of my career when I had a back injury and was kind of put on the shelf. I used it as a means of rehabilitation for my back. It completely reversed the damage in my back and I went back to wrestling and finished up my career while doing yoga. I really feel that yoga contributed to me being a better performer in the ring, it improved my recovery time and physically I was able to do what I had done in the past at a better capacity! I feel like I was able to handle the stress and the craziness of the WWE schedule a little bit better after I did yoga. It positively impacted my life! When I retired, I delved deeper into it and became certified in the disciple of Ashtanga. One day I decided that I wanted to open up a yoga studio and before I knew it the opportunity presented itself. I opened up Stratusphere Yoga Studio in Toronto in 2008.

The idea behind it was that I knew that I was a better person by simply integrating a practice into my day to day routine. I thought that was cool and I wanted to spread the word, so I opened up the studio to have the platform for people to be able to explore having a better life. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with my students and instructors to see who’s body responds to what. That is something that really drew me to yoga and made me realize why it has been around for 5,000 years! It is so versatile! It is one of these things where I had the Toronto Maple Leafs in or the Toronto Argonauts from the Canadian Football League. I basically saw that I was taking a regular practice and I would adapt it to what the needs of this particular body was. I even created a yoga program for golfers because I had been a celebrity ambassador for Callaway. They kind of said, “What is it you do?” and I created a 60-minute program holding a golf club. Really, yoga is just a big basket of moves and you take the ones that make sense for your particular goal. I was really on this kick about creating these unique programs.

Trish Stratus: Pure Stratusfaction!

During this time, I got approached to do the movie “Bounty Hunters.” The script had landed on my desk and at the time it was called “Bail Enforcers” but I read the script and what I fell in love with was that I was going to be doing a fighting art. I was going to go out and learn Krav Maga, which is Israeli Special Ops fighting. I was aware that I was a yogi and a retired wrestler and I needed to kick butt again, so I needed to look like I kick butt! At the time, I looked like a yogi! [laughs] I had abandoned weights and cardio and everything! It was just straight yoga! I didn’t want to abandon my yoga practice as I was training for the role, so I started integrating some strength training movements into it to kind of pump up the areas that would show more of an aesthetic thing. I started doing your traditional calisthenics like squats, bicep curls and things like that. What was neat was that people coming to my studio would say, “Wow! What are you doing? Your arms are nice and chiseled!” That is when I realized I was on to something because every woman, of course, wants chiseled arms! I realized that I had created this unique yoga thing which is now called Stratusphere Yoga. It started with that! Basically, I created this yoga thing and after the movie was done, I kept doing it, teaching it to some of my students and now some of my instructors are teaching it at my studio. I realized that it is such a cool concept and it hadn’t been done before. People either did weights or they did yoga. Now to combine the two, the strength training and the yoga, I produced a video and that is kind of how it started. The key to this was to create this product, which was taking a one pound weight, which is a hand glove that has a skid free bottom, so you don’t slide when you are doing your downward dog. I spoke to a company about creating these gloves and from there, everything happened. I had created the glove, so the obvious next step, from a yogi perspective, as a yoga practitioner and as an teacher, was to create this whole new line. Then I went and found the perfect mat and the perfect block. It just became really natural! The retailers here in Canada were really excited as I have been a face of fitness for over a decade, so the line really took off. I launched that just last year. The yoga video is launched and the product line is called Stratusphere Living.

You mentioned “Bounty Hunters” and that is the next big thing on the horizon for you. Had you ever been approached to do films before and what was it about this project that made you dive in?

'Bounty Hunters'

It was the role, it really was! A few things had landed on my desk before. You know, that is kind of the number one thing you hear when you retire from wrestling, “Oh! Are you going to be an actress now?” [laughs] I wasn’t actively pursuing it. Obviously, I had dabbled in television and I pretty much stayed in television after I retired because it was something that I had been doing anyway. To do a movie role, I thought, “I am not actively pursuing it but if something cool comes along or something I can relate to, of course I would consider it.”  It was a cool role and not too much a stretch as an actress, I can tell you that much! She is pretty much Trish Stratus from wrestling! [laughs] A couple of things sold me. The character of Jules Taylor was very Trish Stratus, so I knew I could approach that. I was learning a new fighting art and the director said, “I want you to do your own stunts, if you can.” And I said, “Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way!” I was excited to do my own stunts and it was filming in Toronto, so for me, I was still able to do what I had to do, I was staying here in Toronto and I was supporting a Canadian project. That was very important to me as I have always been a big proponent of supporting things locally. That was what sold me and I think that “Bounty Hunters” is a really fun little film!

How does stunt fighting in a film differ from the fighting you did in the world of sports entertainment?

Trish Stratus

That was probably the biggest adjustment for me, realizing, “Oh, there is no contact in stunt fighting!” [laughs] We definitely make contact in the WWE! That was a big adjustment for me, to learn to pull back my punches. It is a very different approach to how we execute the movements, so I had to adapt to that. Patrick McBrearty, the director of the film, gave us not only creative freedom to work with the script but also with the fight scenes. Once he said, “Listen, just do what you are comfortable doing and go for it.” My counterpart, Andrea James Lui, was amazing to work with. She came from a martial arts background and I came from a wrestling background. We knew that if we brought those two different dynamics together, which we were able to do naturally, it would come out well. The fight coordinator was really amazing about giving everybody their own fight style — he was very protective over the characters and what moves they would do. He would say, “No, no! Your character would do this!” I think because he was so protective of that it translated really well and created an interesting dynamic between Andrea and I. I brought a lot of my wrestling style into the role, not so much the style but how I approached the fights. I think that it translated really well and that is why there is a bit of realism in there. I have always said that when real fighters do a fight scene, they know how to take a punch to the face. They know how to, in wrestling we say sell it, sell it in a way the crowd will connect with it and that will evoke an emotion. I think that really played into it and while I haven’t seen Gina Carano’s new film, “Haywire,” but I bet you her fight scenes are amazing because she gets it and knows how to deliver for real! I hope that translates as well with our work in “Bounty Hunters.”

Did doing your first action film wet your appetite for doing more film work in the future, should the timing and material be right for you?

Yeah! I really enjoyed the process and it was a different process for sure! There was no instant gratification. I am used to doing a move and getting a lot of reaction from the crowd. I have been getting a lot of offers now and I am keeping the door open. I am focused on building my brand now and that is my main thing but if the right project comes along or there is a script that I love or who knows, maybe there is a “Bounty Hunters 2” in my future! [laughs]

I know you are into taking on big challenges and I am sure this project presented all sorts of them. What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself on this particular project?

Trish Stratus: Making action films a just a little bit sexier!

I think at the end of the day, I realized why I loved this project so much. There were two things. Number one, I love telling stories. In wrestling, you and your counterpart are given, within a two-hour program, 10 to 20 minutes which are yours. You get to create your moment within that space. I think that is where I learned how to produce moments and that led to me producing television shows when I retired because I understood that process. I think that is what I understood about this film, that I was telling a story. The words are on the paper but it is up to you to tell the story with your character. I also love producing, so when the director said that I had creative freedom for the fight scenes, it was amazing to me. I thought, “Great! What roller coaster ride are we going to take the audience on?” I think that was very cool and it is something that I really love to do, to physically take the audience on a story and make people get some excitement out of something we are doing physically!

I have to admit, I was excited in when I discovered you were making the jump to film and bringing your skill set to the action movie world. We could use some heroines who have the skills and aren’t reliant on movie magic alone. I was a little shocked it took you so long to make that transition.

You know what is cool about it? I always felt like I was missing! I would see a lot of these action movies and these actresses were playing the role of an action star but they weren’t quite action stars. I found that it was lacking something. I would always joke on the side, “Oh, I could totally kick more butt than that! [laughs] I don’t think that people realize what we do as WWE performers and that is why it works. It really does work on film. Like I said, I haven’t seen Gina Carano’s film but she is probably an example of what I am talking about. She can bring it! Did you see her movie?

Yeah, I did and you are exactly right in what you are saying.

Yeah, we get it and this is what we do! I would even say that is why Jean-Claude Van Damme’s movies … there were a little, certain something to the scenes versus some of Sylvester Stallone’s fight scenes. They are all good but I think you are going to want to watch a Van Damme fight over a Stallone fight, I think, ya know?

Yes, definitely it has a bit more realism to it in some way.

Yeah. So, I think it is time. I think it is time to have more strong female leads that can walk the walk and talk the talk, I guess you could say!

I know you entertained the thought of entering the world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) at one point. Are you a fan of the UFC?

Trish Stratus gets animated for the latest WWE video game!

Yeah, I really enjoy it. I got into it originally when one of my fellow wrestlers, Brock Lesnar, got into it. I started watching it a little bit more and understanding the product a little bit more. I hadn’t really been watching it or following it until he came along. He had the same effect on me, which I think he had on many people and he brought in a lot of new viewers. I am definitely a fan and I definitely admire them as athletes. It’s funny because I see the shift that has happened and that they have taken a few pages from Vince McMahon’s entertainment approach to the sport. It is kind of neat to see that! I did a show called “Stratusphere” where I traveled to all of these different places, all over the world and did different fighting arts. For example, I did Muy Thai boxing in Thailand. I would learn the craft and have an exhibition match with someone out of that craft. I had my first Muy Thai boxing match and it was just an awesome feeling. I loved the training. I had been retired for two years at that point, so I kind of got the bug again! I was thinking, “Yeah, I think I can do this!” and then I almost got my nose broken! [laughs] From there, I went on to shoot another show in Vietnam and took on another fighting art there. At that point, I thought, “Mmm, no. I’m good! I’m retired, I’m good!” [laughs] The bug did bite me for a bit there but it went away! [laughs]

Your career has certainly been keeping you busy! What other projects are on the horizon for you?

I am already thinking about the second DVD for my product line! The first DVD really took off and it was really interesting for me because I wasn’t sure how my wrestling fanbase would respond to my yoga product line. Twitter has been a really great way to tap into the pulse of what is going on out there. My Twitter used to be filled with, “Wow! You kicked her butt around the ring like crazy! It was awesome!” Now it is, “Trish Stratus, I am eating healthy today! #stratusphereliving” It has been cool to see the transition of people who are getting into healthy eating and are coming to me for advice. It is kind of like going full circle because that is where I started back in the day, when I went to the University for Biology and Kinesiology and that is kind of where I went back to! Developing the Stratusphere line, possibly opening another location for my yoga center up here in Canada and possibly some more movies are all on my list. We will see!

You have had such an incredible career and I am sure you have many stories to share. Have you given any thought to penning an autobiography?

Yes! That is also kind of pending! It is a matter of when am I going to do this, when am I going to tackle that and when my schedule actually allows me to begin penning a novel! [laughs] But yes, it is on the to-do list! I will get back to you when there will actually be time to do that!

Trish Stratus: Bringing Fitness To The Masses!

As you said, you are one of the most recognized faces of fitness. What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to those looking to make a change to a more healthy lifestyle?

My biggest piece of advice is to make little shifts. Everyone wants to get healthier, they want to work out more and they try to do everything at once. They kill all of the junk food and want to workout every single day! It has to be a slow and gradual process to get into it because the problem is people just don’t stick with it. Do it one step at a time. Take out this food or take out that food and start to get on the track for healthy living a little bit slower and that way you are more likely to have it stick with you. I also tell people that yoga is something that is approachable. Give it a whirl and put it into your daily regime. You will be surprised at how it helps you, as an athlete, as a stressed out person from work or as a stressed out mom with five kids running around. It is so versatile! I tell people all of the time, “Yoga just makes peoples lives better!”

You also continue to benefit peoples lives outside of the fitness realm with your charity work. What can you tell us about that?

I continue to work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca). I have also been working with a lot of local charities in my community as well! At the studio, we try to do fundraisers a lot and we do Karma Classes, which is where people come in and pay us what they will and we donate the proceeds to charity. I, with the Heart & Stroke Foundation and “Power of Movement,” I am getting ready to do something with them shortly which is to help beat arthritis. Working with them, I will be co-emceeing an event! It is cool because now I am actually taking the yoga and realizing that we can host these great events. People are coming out and having a great time but we are raising awareness at the same time!

Where are the best places for fans to catch up with you online and learn all about everything you have going on?

You can visit www.trishstratus.com! I try to keep on top of my Twitter like crazy and that can be found at twitter.com/trishstratuscom!

Thank you so much for your time today, Trish! We look forward to spreading the word about all the great stuff you have going on!

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the support!

For more information about Trish and her Yoga DVD and Studio visit www.trishstratus.com and follow here on Twitter @trishstratuscom and on Facebook trishstratuscom.


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WWE® WrestleFest™ Now Available For iPhone And iPad!

THQ Inc. has announced the release of WWE® WrestleFest, a faithfully recreated 2-D experience for iPhone and iPad based on the well-known WWE arcade game made popular in the 1990s. Complete with current-day WWE Superstars, prominent WWE Legends, an extensive downloadable content program, Road to WrestleMania® progression play and multiplayer functionality, WWE WrestleFest is available now through Apple’s App Store for the suggested retail prices of US $2.99 (iPhone®) and US $3.99 (iPad®).

In addition today, THQ also announced WWE WrestleFest is in development for additional platforms, including Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Android and PC, with a currently scheduled release window of calendar year 2012.

“WWE WrestleFest greatly complements our WWE videogames portfolio by delivering a unique and captivating way for fans to connect with the virtual WWE experience,” said Danny Bilson, Executive Vice President, Core Games, THQ. “The game’s arcade-style play, combined with present day WWE content and hints of nostalgia, is a perfect fit for handheld platforms like the iPhone and iPad.”

About WWE WrestleFest

Faithfully recreated in line with the classic arcade experience, WWE WrestleFest will provide players with a notable roster of current WWE Superstars and popular WWE Legends, including John Cena®, The Rock®, Randy Orton®, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin®, Undertaker®, Jake “The Snake” Robertsand “Macho Man” Randy Savage. They will explore arcade-style WWE action across a variety of match types, including Royal Rumble®, Tag Team, Gauntlet and Steel Cage, while competing in a number of renowned arenas like Raw®, SmackDown®, WrestleMania® and Saturday Night’s Main Event®. The Road to WrestleMania progression-style mode will encourage players to select a WWE Superstar or WWE Legend and compete in a series of challenges to win five different WWE Championships, while wireless connectivity through Apple Game Center will enable them to issue multiplayer challenges.

WWE WrestleFest will also update the gameplay experience following launch with the release of 30 additional WWE Superstars and WWE Legends, as well as new arenas, through an extensive downloadable content program. Items currently scheduled for future release include WWE Superstars CM Punk®, Triple H® and Sheamus®, WWE Legends Shawn Michaels® and Big Boss Man, as well as the classic Survivor Series® arena.

For more information about WWE WrestleFest, please visit wwe.thq.comfacebook.com/WWEgames and twitter.com/WWEgames.

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