Traci Brooks remembers her wedding like it happened only yesterday. With friends and family watching, her heart pounded as she walked down the aisle towards the man that had captured her heart, the man with whom she would share the rest of her life, WWE superstar John Cena. Wait… what?
“Yeah, someone hacked into my Facebook account, and that’s what they wrote,” Brooks laughed during an exclusive sit-down with SLAM! Wrestling. Fortunately, both Brooks and her actual husband, TNA star Frankie Kazarian, are able to find the humour in such things.
“John’s actually a friend of his, so when I told Frankie, he though it was funny. ‘At least you’re married to a friend of mine.’ What else can you do, but laugh? There’s a lot of people who want to bring negativity, who want to bring you down. You can’t let them stop you from being happy.”
Case in point is how Brooks feels about TNA Wrestling, her former employer. Brooks had been with the company since 2003 until she was released earlier this year. It wasn’t a surprise, she said, when she got the call that delivered the bad news.
“They hadn’t really done anything with me for the last year or so that I was there. After the Main Event Mafia (storyline ended), they had started an angle with me and Alyssa Flash, but after she left, they didn’t have anything for me.”
While some people in her circumstances might lash out at the company, Brooks has no intention to do so.
“When I got fired, a lot of people told me that I should go out and bury TNA. But why would I bury a company that employed me for seven years?” she argued. “Anyone that loves wrestling, I would think would actually want TNA to succeed, and not want to see it be buried. As a wrestling fan, you would think they would want more wrestling, and so would appreciate having an alternative to WWE. Why would they want me to bury it?”
Indeed, the only regret that Brooks has is that because she wasn’t there in person when the bad news was delivered, she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to all the people — in her words, “the family” — that she got to work with over the years.
“If there is one thing that I would say was disappointing, it’s that I never got a chance to say goodbye to the guys behind the scenes. The lighting crew, and the makeup artists, the construction guys, and the carpenters — the guys that make up the production. I miss the talent, of course, but a lot of them I get to see on the road.”
In Brooks’ case, “on the road” includes appearances at numerous conventions and wrestling for various independent promotions all over North America.
“A lot of the conventions I do aren’t even wrestling conventions,” she clarified. “I do a lot of comic-cons. There’s actually a lot of crossover market with them and wrestling and Playboy (while still with TNA, Brooks shot a pictorial for the magazine’s website). They’re a lot of fun, because not only do you get to meet the fans, but also because of the people you get to meet just by being there.”
“I ran into (actor) William Forsythe at a convention. The Devil’s Rejects is one of my favourite movies, so the fact that I got to hang out with him was really cool.”
Which is not to suggest that Brooks is looking to join him on the movie screen any time soon.
“If someone came up to me and said, ‘You want to be in a movie?’, sure, I’d consider it. But it’s not something I’m actively pursuing. A lot of people see it as a natural extension of what we do, but I got into wrestling because I love wrestling. I’ve done some acting, and it’s fun, but I’m not trained to be an actor. I’m better in front of a live crowd anyway. I love being in the ring.”
To that end, Brooks has been very active on the independent scene lately, having done various shows in the States and in Canada, most recently touring with Maximum Pro Wrestling (this interview was held at last month’s MaxPro show in Woodstock, Ontario).
“It’s kind of come around full circle,” she observed. “I started off in the indies, and I’m finishing up in the indies. In between, I’ve been doing it, knock on wood, injury-free, for the past 11 or 12 years, and I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled the world. It’s been great — and it still is great.”
Of course, with so much time being on the road for shows and conventions, it can be hard to co-ordinate schedules with her husband, who has his own appearances to make when he’s not in the Impact Zone.
“It can be hard,” Brooks acknowledged. “In October, we (saw) each other three times all month. But you have to make sacrifices like that. There were times we’ve passed each other in the airports, and it was like, ‘Hi, I remember you!'”
“You just have to make it work,” she said matter-of-factly. “We both understand that, even though it’s a major, major part of our lives, there’s more to life than only wrestling. You have to put work aside on the days that you’re both at home together.”
While that’s a challenge for any couple, certainly being in the public eye can’t help make things easier. As with the Facebook hacking incident, there are people out there that, for whatever reason, like to knock people down.
“There is so much negativity,” she said, disbelievingly. “We hear people who say, ‘wrestling couples never work out,’ and you sometimes feel that they just don’t want you to be happy. Why be that way? We’re not going to let those people ruin our lives. We just laugh.”
So, would it be only fitting to quote ‘Mrs. Cena’ as having said “You can’t see me get upset about such things?”
“I’m getting a new Facebook page,” Brooks deadpanned, before laughing out loud.