There’s an old adage that says when you come to a fork in the road, you’ve got to choose a path. With their respective WWE careers seemingly at a permanent end, both Dawn Marie and Francine have come to that proverbial fork — and the respective paths each woman is hoping to follow couldn’t be more different.
Their paths weren’t always so divergent. Indeed, both women are best known for the time they spent as valets in the original ECW, Dawn Marie (Psaltis) having started there in 1998, Francine (Fournier) a few years earlier in 1996. After that company folded, Pasltis joined the WWE roster and remained there until the summer of 2005, when she was released while off on maternity leave (it has been reported that a related dismissal lawsuit was recently settled). Fournier, meanwhile, stayed out of the mainstream for the most part, working the occasional indy date, and it wasn’t until WWE resurrected ECW before she was seen again on national television. Her run was a very brief one, and she was let go in the fall of 2006.
Both of them at the same fork in the road, the question that each woman must consider is which path she’s going to head down now?
For Dawn Marie, the answer is, hopefully, back from where she came.
“I want to come back,” she told SLAM! Wrestling with determination. “I love the business, I miss the business, and I never really finished. I had some weight issues after the pregnancy, but I’m trying really hard, I’ve been working out really hard, and hopefully (I’ll be back) soon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving being a a mom (her son will turn two in December). But I’m getting antsy, and want to come back.”
In light of her recent dispute with WWE, it’s not really surprising that she doesn’t see returning to that company as an option — “You never say never in this business, but I could probably say ‘never'” — but instead has her sights set on a different women’s division.
“I would love to be part of the TNA women’s division,” she said. “I think TNA is a great company, they’ve done so much in the past five years. It reminds me a lot of ECW, and that would be a great place for me, I think. I’d love to be part of something that’s growing, something that you can feel pride in being part of.”
Francine’s path, meanwhile, is pointed to a different place. She’s walking that aisle — not towards the ring, but rather towards the altar.
“I got engaged,” she proudly beamed. “I’m getting married next June, so I’m doing the planning for that right now. That’s keeping me pretty busy. I’m from a big Catholic family, so there’s a lot to do.”
That’s not to say she has closed the door entirely on professional wrestling — though she is emphatic that her fiancé is not a wrestler (“No. No, no, no. He’s a good guy.”). Just that it isn’t her goal to return to the industry on a full-time basis.
“I work for WEW (Women’s Extreme Wrestling), an all-woman company that runs the occasional pay-per-view. I do a couple of indies here and there, and I like to do a lot of autograph signings. But I’m not too keen on doing this full-time. If something comes up, if the money’s right, I’ll consider it. But I don’t want to be in the ring anymore.”
“Right now, I’m focused on my wedding plans, becoming a mother one day, planning a family.”
Though they’re headed towards different places in their lives, the two women do have something in common: a strong appreciation for their fans.
“Through everything,” said Dawn Marie, “the fans have really helped motivate me and support me. I appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Francine echoed that view. “I want to thank the fans for all their support. I love ’em.”
DAWN MARIE STORIES
- Sep. 26, 2008: Dawn Marie’s WrestlersRescue helps grapplers, sister-in-law
- June 25, 2008: Dawn Marie battles to help ailing sister-in-law
- Apr. 10, 2002: Dawn Marie lives and learns
- Jun 11, 2009: Francine brings ECW stars together for a good cause
- Jun 4, 2005: Francine pumped for Hardcore Homecoming
Bob Kapur would like to marry a woman wrestler some day. If you’re one, and single, and not scary like Awesome Kong, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.