If you ask WWE superstar Carmella, it has been an absolutely F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S few weeks.
That’s because the “Princess of Staten Island” was called up from the NXT ranks to the SmackDown Live brand. She watched with everyone at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando when the announcement was made during the draft and her life changed forever.
“I was so overwhelmed,” Carmella said, looking back. “I was the very last pick. Of course, I wanted it to happen. I was hoping it would happen. But by that point I was thinking, ‘This is not going to happen for me.’ So when it did, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it.”
Her supportive WWE brothers and sisters offered genuine congratulations, and the 28-year-old went home that night wondering what was to come.
“I could barely sleep because I was so overwhelmed,” Carmella said. “I had no idea what the next step was. It’s not like anyone was saying, ‘OK, now that you are drafted. So here is all your information.’ It was like, ‘You are drafted. See you later.’ I went home and had no idea what to expect. Am I going to SmackDown this week? Am I going to live events? I had no idea. It has been so crazy and exciting at the same time.”
It’s hard to believe Carmella was initially introduced on NXT television as a hair dresser with Enzo Amore and Big Cass. The former New England Patriots cheerleader and Los Angeles Lakers Girl fit in well with the charismatic duo. Their natural chemistry resonated with audiences with the unit becoming one of the most popular fixtures on the roster. Enzo and Cass (who happens to be Carmella’s boyfriend) have since moved to the Raw brand.
“They’ve been there for a few months, so they’ve been super helpful,” she said. “Any questions I have, Cass is always there to give me advice. They are my boys no matter what. Even though we aren’t on the same brand, they are always going to be my boys. They are always helping me and doing what they can to help my transition easier.”
Many were surprised the night after WrestleMania when Carmella didn’t join Enzo and Cass in their official main roster debut. However, she takes pride in proving she can be successful on her own.
“I totally look at it as a great opportunity for me because I spent years on the sidelines of the NFL and NBA,” Carmella said. “With the boys, I was essentially a hype girl and there was nothing wrong with that. I had so much fun with them in NXT. Now that I’m here on SmackDown Live myself and knowing I have this opportunity to shine. I’m not just a hype girl. I’ve been doing this and working hard for the last two-and-a-half years. I’ve been the ring doing a lot of work. So I’m excited to show the world what I can bring to the table.”
She has felt welcomed by the locker rooms of each Raw and SmackDown.
“All of the girls have been so helpful,” Carmella said. “Becky [Lynch], I spent some time with her in NXT. So she has been very helpful with any questions I have. I’m like constantly texting her with, ‘Please help me with this.’ Sasha [Banks] has been really helpful as well with me. The girls are just great.”
Carmella, whose father wrestled for WWE as enhancement talent in the 1990s, is truly living her dream. The icing on the cake: Being included in the upcoming “WWE 2K17” video game which bows Oct. 11 and performing recently on her first SummerSlam.
“I never even wrestled at a TakeOver special,” Carmella said. “I’ve been on TakeOver before with the boys, but never had my own match. So I can’t even believe that. I’m ready for these opportunities to show everyone what I have been doing for almost three years.”
After initially getting her footing, Carmella has shown a means streak on SmackDown attacking a returning Nikki Bella. She already lived up to her “Baddest Chick” moniker … and it’s only the beginning.
- Watch SmackDown Live Tuesdays at 8/7CT on USA Network.
- Carmella will compete in the first-ever women’s six-pack challenge at Backlash Sunday, Sept. 11 at 8/7CT on pay-per-view and WWE Network.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.