Early in her WWE tenure, Candice Michelle was heavy-linked to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in an on-screen romance angle. During the Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Michelle admitted that the storyline, including having to kiss Vince on a few occasions, was uncomfortable. With that said, she is upfront about how it was all just apart of the job.
“I remember it was awkward,” Michelle said. “I do think there was like two, maybe three, I don’t quite remember to be honest. But also it was how it was back then. I remember it just kind of trickled down from girl to girl. Everybody kind of went through that. Even though it’s awkward to do, it was just part of my job. There was no intimacy, we didn’t think of it like we’re actresses and we’re going to win an Emmy nomination or something. We’re young and we’re dumb and we’re innocent, and we’re happy to be working. That’s just part of it.”
During her career, Michelle scored high-profile victories that would eventually lead to a WWE Women’s Title reign. While Michelle enjoyed traditional singles success, she did compete in numerous WWE Diva-styled stipulation matches such as the Playboy Pillow Fights and Wet-n-Wild matches.
“Most of it I did not like,” Michelle said. “The worst match ever in my life is the pudding match. I mean, that is just like, we had pudding in our ears! Anytime we were given a match, we took it as an opportunity. All the women there did. ‘Pudding match? Okay, great. How do I body slam you into pudding, I can’t even pick you up out of the pudding!’ I’m trying to do a DDT in the pudding, and I’m just like, this looks terrible. Probably the world’s biggest rib on us ever.
“But it was part of building that tenacity. I never felt like I was at a point to where I was like, ‘No, I’m not doing that.’ I also didn’t mind being eye candy, I was eye candy for most of my life. I did magazine shoots, I was a model. That part never bothered me. But when you get a WrestleMania match and you’re realizing the gift of that, and the importance of that, and the level of that, and then they’re like, ‘By the way, we’re going to put a bed there, and you’ll wear a gown with a bikini underneath it, and you’ve got to get the gown off down to the bikini…’ And I just remember Torrie and I just sitting there like, ‘Okay, how do we do this move off of the bed?’ It just really built our character, I guess, we had a lot of fun, and that was that era. I wish it was more like this era, but you know it paved the way for girls to not have to do that anymore.”
As mentioned, Michelle would go on to win her first WWE title when she defeated Melina for the WWE Women’s Championship at Vengeance 2007. While Michelle admitted she did not feel entirely prepared for the victory, she emphasized how much she relished in the moment when it happened.
“I mean, incredible,” Michelle said. “We went down to the ring, most people know back then anyways and for the level I was at, they don’t tell you that until you go down to the ring and chat about what match you’re going to put on. I heard that, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is the moment.’ And I just remember promising myself that when it happens, to be in the moment the best I could. I wasn’t planning to cry, I wasn’t planning to laugh, I wasn’t planning to gloat, just to do what you feel like your body would do. When you reach such a goal of that magnitude, that high and that moment and that gift, it lasts about a day. Because what happens the next day? Now I’m the champ, and everybody’s after me. So the work is twice as hard. Now you got to get better, you got to create new moves. Everybody now hates who you are. That moment was really, really special to me. It was very authentic. I remember it, like my shirt was falling off, I had the dingiest black bra on. If I had planned that, I would’ve worn a nice lace bra for everybody. But the moment was just real. It was raw. I looked like a hot mess, but it was like the hard work really paid off.”
After a 105 day reign with the title, Michelle’s career came to a screeching halt. She dropped the championship to Beth Phoenix at No Mercy 2007, and suffered a severe injury in the rematch just two weeks later.
“I had the match with Beth Phoenix, 2 out of 3 falls match,” Michelle said. “And I was knocked out on TV. Came home, broken collarbone. Like most wrestlers, especially new ones like me, we don’t want to lose our spot. We want to get back as fast as we can. I came back too early is the short answer. I remember being backstage, and my husband’s a doctor, and we x-rayed my collarbone, and he’s like, ‘It’s still broken babe.’ And I was like, ‘It’s fine. I’m fine. Look at me, I’m fine!’ And we went backstage, and they were also like, ‘Still broken.’ Somehow, I convinced the doctors and Vince and I went on for that match, and on the first dropkick, I shattered it. But I finished the match, and I’ll never forget at the end the ref goes to raise my hand. And when he’s going to raise it, I thought I was smiling like I was playing it off, but I was really like, ‘I cannot raise my hand. Go to the other side.’ So he goes around, raises my other hand, and yeah. That was pretty much the end of my career.”
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