In a revealing interview with Steve Gerweck, former WWE diva and other half of wrestler-turned-MMA fighter Bobby Lashley, Kristal Marshall opened up about a wide array of subjects, including her controversial WWE release, the political problems she faced there, her short stint in TNA last year, as well as her hopes that Lashley will return to pro wrestling full-time one day.
Despite reports that Marshall and Lashley split last year, something Marshall even confirmed on her Twitter at the time, it appears the two are now back together, with the former diva noting they just had their second child, a daughter named Naomi (the couple have an older son, Myles, born in 2008). Marshall briefly acknowledges their split last year, but refrains from going into depth on the matter, simply saying, "We have problems, like everyone else. We work it out."
During the interview, Marshall talks about her WWE career, including her time in Deep South Wrestling, one of WWE's developmental territories at the time. She notes the problems that she, as a model and television personality (Marshall was a Barker's Beauty on top-rated game show The Price is Right), faced when dealing with male and female wrestlers, many of whom resented her because she did not have a wrestling background:
I don’t think they wanted to me to get good. I don’t think they wanted me to learn. I don’t think they wanted anyone else to see that I wanted to learn. I think that, unfortunately, there was still a lot of animosity between the models that were coming in and the girls that were wrestlers.
Marshall's gripes that people in WWE did not want to help her or see her succeed echo the complaints that many other divas, like Maria Kanellis, have had. In recent weeks, Kanellis has been vocal about WWE's reluctance to offer proper support to the women as they attempt to make the transition from mere eye-candy to trained wrestlers. Kanellis insisted that, rather than being lazy or unwilling to learn, the girls were simply restricted by the strict confines WWE placed on them.
Marshall also gave a rather worrying insight into the lives of current WWE divas. When asked about how she found time to train and eat properly while on her hectic road schedule, she confesses that she regularly starved herself in a bid to keep her figure in the image-obsessed WWE:
I didn’t really eat at all when I was on the road. I didn’t eat and didn’t train. I look back and pictures now, I was scary skinny. I am not that thin anymore. I was malnourished.
She also spoke about her controversial exit from WWE in the autumn of 2007. Reportedly, WWE's decision to release Marshall came after she refused to be paired romantically on-screen with SmackDown star Edge for what was supposed to be a rehash of the steamy Edge/Lita pairing in 2005 and 2006. There were also stories that she was difficult for the creative team to deal with.
Marshall, who now works in the hair and make-up business, would later confirm the Edge story herself on her website, saying she had chosen not to take part in a "morally degrading" story line, although she denied reports that she had a "huge ego" or was corrupting her boyfriend Bobby Lashley, then a major star in the promotion (the two had started dating earlier in the year).
Marshal claims to Gerweck that, in addition to turning down the Edge story line, she felt WWE, who were weary of their relationship and the apparent negative influence she had on him, were actively trying to split her and Lashley up:
A lot of (my release) had to do with Bobby. They thought that he was unhappy with certain things I was being asked to do. They thought I was going to create a problem with their top star. And (they thought) if they got rid of me, maybe he would find a different diva and there would be no more issues.
She also disputes the long-held theory that Lashley, who left WWE in 2008 to pursue an MMA career, parted ways with the promotion solely due to pressure from her:
People said, 'Oh, she made Bobby leave.' Come on, do you think Bobby would have walked away from making a tremendous amount of money because of me? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
For the record, in addition to having MMA ambitions, it was widely rumored that Lashley had had problems with SmackDown's head writer, Michael Hayes. Marshall even claimed in an interview with Diva-Dirt in 2009 that Hayes, who was suspended from WWE in 2008 after reportedly using a racial slur to Mark Henry, had said several blatantly racist comments to Lashley, and that this was the main reason he walked out of the company.
Marshall also spoke glowingly about her brief stint in TNA early last year as a manager to Lashley (who at that point was attempting to work for TNA and Strikeforce), noting that were allowed a great deal of freedom and that their son could travel with them.
The thing I liked most was we got to bring our family there. We got to bring our son with us. It was a great family experience.
Interestingly, Marshall indicated that she would like to see a return to pro wrestling for her long-term boyfriend. Lashley has seemingly given up his pro wrestling after parting ways with TNA last year:
He’s going to kill me for saying this. But I would love to see Bobby go back to wrestling. He has so much unfinished business. He’s the champion they need right now. I hope I can convince him eventually.
While the jury is out on whether pro wrestling "needs" Lashley back (unless he's magically developed a personality and/or charisma in his time away from the business, I seriously doubt it), it's a good, lengthy interview worth listening to.