ECW legend & former WWE superstar Francine recently reflected back on her wrestling career during an appearance on The Ryback Show.
Francine is considered by many to be a legend of the professional wrestling industry. She is most known for her lengthy stint in ECW from 1994 to 2001 in which she was one of the organization’s most popular stars, working alongside the likes of Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Bam Bam Bigelow, Shane Douglas, and many more. She performed for the WWE from 2005 to 2006 as part of their reincarnated “ECW” brand.
During a recent appearance on The Ryback Show, Francine opened up like never before. Take a look at highlights from the interview below.
On her ECW debut & meeting Paul Heyman for the first time:
I met Paul for the first time and he says to me, ‘You’re going to take a chokeslam.’ And this is how green I was, ‘I don’t even know what that is.’ He goes, ‘Do you not want to do it?’ And I go, ‘No, I’ll do it. I just don’t know what it is’. “He says, ‘Don’t worry, the boys will help you.’ So, they had me be a fake beauty pageant winner, and I wore this gown, and I came out and I was waving at everybody, and I was the guest timekeeper, and I sat there and rang the bell.
The next thing I knew, there was a guy called ‘911’. He comes over, and I don’t even know if I knew the spot. He just grabs me and pulls me in from where I’m sitting, gives me the chokeslam, and it’s like white noise. You don’t hear anything, and I’m laying there and I’m like, ‘Did I do good?’ I don’t even know what’s going on. They put me on a stretcher, they took me outside, they put me in a car, and they took me home. I didn’t even go to the locker room because it was old school back then. And I go home, and I said, ‘Do I have a job?! What just happened?’ I didn’t know! Either Dreamer or Paul called me and said, ‘We want you to come to the next show,’ and I was like, ‘I guess I did okay!’
On Heyman being one of her biggest supporters:
Like Paul used to say, ‘I gave you the ball, but you ran with it and you had it.’ He used to always tell me that. ‘You have it. Don’t underestimate yourself, don’t sell yourself short,’ because I would always second guess myself and I think a lot of people do. But right then and there, I fell in love with the business. And as you said earlier, it consumes some people. Well then, a 20-year-old kid with no family, no boyfriend at the time; it’s just me.
On how she fell in love with the wrestling business:
So, wrestling became my life. I still had my family who I loved dearly, but now, I have this other family because I’m on the road four days a week. So, it’s a different dynamic, but I fell in love with the business and the sport itself when I was training, and when I finally got called up and started to work, my mind frame was that I want to do what other girls aren’t doing. I want to take every guy’s finisher. I want to do it, and I never want to practice because I wanted it to be organic, so I never wanted to go out there and say, ‘let’s practice this,’ unless I was doing a move to a guy. Then I’d say, ‘let’s go over it a couple of times,’ or whatever. But if I was taking a move, I never wanted to practice because I said, ‘If it hurts or it’s scary, I’m not going to do it a second time.'”
On how she felt when ECW folded:
Well, I was devastated when we folded because I kind of went down with the ship. A lot of us did. We were hanging on for dear life because we were just trying to make it work for so long, and it wasn’t the boys’ fault. I’ll tell you that, because we did everything that we could do to keep it going.
On if she still gets recognized by fans:
The difference, I feel, between the females and the males is your face is recognizable. This is what [the males] look like all the time. This is not what I look like all the time. I can go to a supermarket and shop, and no one will know who I am.
On if wrestling is brought up during her day-to-day life:
I have volunteered at my kids’ schools and no one has ever recognized me. It’s a secret in my house. We don’t talk about it because I never wanted the parents to look at me funny, or if she’s in a bikini or she did this. I want them to like my kids because they’re good kids. I don’t want them to take anything out on my children. So, we never talked about mommy being in wrestling. It was a secret, but for a good 10 years, no one even knew who I was. I could walk around town and nobody knows.
Watch Francine’s appearance on The Ryback Show in full via the video below.