Recently on The Art Of Wrestling, professional wrestler and pro wrestling podcast trailblazer Colt Cabana interviewed former WWE Women's Champion Molly Holly, also known as Nora Benshoof. Holly talked about being considered underrated, approaching Vince McMahon after an episode of WWE Monday Night RAW to quit, and why so many professional wrestlers struggle when returning to so-called 'civilian' life.
According to Holly, people frequently tell her that she was underutilized as a WWE talent or underrated as a WWE performer; however, Holly disagrees with such assessments.
"[Interviewers] automatically say, 'oh, you were so underrated' or 'you didn't get the credit you deserve' and I think to myself, like, 'okay, well, I was Women's Champion. I have an action figure. I was on video games. I was on WrestleMania. How is that being underrated? Like, I think it went pretty well.'"
During the interview, Holly recalled going to McMahon to quit WWE. Apparently, while McMahon was "great" about it, then head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis, was upset that she went over his head to speak with WWE's Chairman.
"It was on a Monday night after RAW. And some people are like, 'oh, you lost to Christy Hemme. Is that why you quit?' I don't even remember the match. Like, I just knew that I cannot do this one more day, and so I waited until after RAW. I waited by Vince's office. He came back from gorilla [position] and I said, 'can I talk to you?' and he said, 'yep.' I went into his office and I thanked him for everything he [has] ever done for me. I said, 'could I please be let out of my contract?' I had like nine months left."
Holly continued, "Vince was awesome! Oh my gosh, he was so great! Like, he went on and on and told me all this stuff about how much he appreciated me, what a contribution I had been to the company, I mean, he just raved about me. And he told me, he was like, 'if you just need time off, if you need six months off, whenever, you're welcome to come back.' And so, he had pretty much said, like, 'you're just welcome here anytime.' And the next day, John Laurinaitis called me and he's like, 'how come you didn't talk to me?' because he was in charge of Talent Relations and he was kind of upset that he didn't know anything about it and that I went over his head and talked to Vince directly. I didn't feel like Johnny could communicate to Vince in the same way I could, but Johnny was like, 'are you sure you don't just want some time off?' and I was like, 'I'm just done. I'm just done.'"
In Holly's estimation, so many people flounder after retiring from pro wrestling because their sense of belonging is gone and they lose their identity. Holly likened the situation to soldiers returning home and suffering from PTSD.
"Why so many wrestlers have a hard time thriving after pro wrestling because they had their sole identity and their sense of belonging wrapped up into wrestling. Also, you do develop bonds with people. It is a trauma bond. You go through this crazy circus with the pressure of TV and the pressure that Vince McMahon puts on you are all these things and you're speaking your own language, your own jargon, which you understand you're doing this really weird thing and other people can't totally relate to the lifestyle that we live. And so, when people get injured, get fired, then all of a sudden, they step out of the community and the sense of belonging into isolation and they feel helpless. They feel like, 'well, now what am I going to do? How can I relate to people?' And they've already set their mind that they've lost their identity."
Listen to the show here. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The Art Of Wrestling with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: The Art Of Wrestling