After starting in the adult film industry, Trina Michaels started in wrestling in 2008 at an XPW reunion show. Since then she has worked throughout SoCal and has made appearances on TNA, Lucha Underground, and Ring of Honor. We talked about her start in wrestling, compared wrestling promoters to people in the porn industry, why she doesn’t think she can ever be in the WWE, her hot tub interview, and more. Click to read the interview.
Steve: First of all, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. I know you haven’t been around SoCal in a while, but I think you were at least a big part of it for a while and it’s interesting to catch up with you and see what’s going on.
Trina Michaels: Yeah, thank you for having me on. It’s always good to talk to somebody from my hometown area.
Steve: I know you’re a big San Francisco Giants fan for some reason. Are you from Northern California or Southern California?
Trina Michaels: I’m from San Francisco but I lived in LA for many years, so it kind of feels like a second home.
Steve: I usually start at the beginning. Were you a wrestling fan growing up?
Trina Michaels: Definitely not as a child. I was not aware of wrestling. I was in a very conservative, quiet home, so I always laugh about this to the day. In high school I remember telling my mom, “I want to take kickboxing,” and their reply was, “Why can’t you pick something more feminine like ballet?” I wasn’t a fan girl and as I got into it by the time I turned 18, 19. I don’t know. I guess what attracted me to it was the storytelling of it. How people were on this big show and made their life seem bigger than your wildest dreams, so I guess that’s what kind of attracted me to it.
Steve: Was there a certain wrestler that was your first favorite?
Trina Michaels: Yeah, during the time that I officially got exposed to wrestling I think my favorite would have to be Trish Stratus. She really caught my attention and held it.
Steve: We’ll just gloss over this a little bit, people can use Google to get more info on this part of your career [laughs]. You were in the adult film industry.
Trina Michaels: Correct.
Steve: How long were you in the adult film industry?
Trina Michaels: I started doing movies probably around 2004. I started in wrestling about 2008. You do the math. I’ve actually been in wrestling longer than I was making movies. I think that’s considered cross over enough. You know?
Steve: Oh yeah, definitely. How did you transition? I know you were an on XPW reunion show. Was that your first introduction to being in wrestling?
Trina Michaels: Yeah, that was my first gig that I ever worked if you want to call it that. That was my first exposure to the business. From there it took its own little course. I had friends in the industry. They introduced me to other people and it just … “Hey you want to come do this show?” “Okay.” Somehow I found my way out here to Florida and got on the biggest iPPV network in wrestling. So, it’s been good.
Steve: How did you first hookup with XPW?
Trina Michaels: I knew one of the producers for the reunion show and they needed some extra females so they called me.
Steve: After that you started getting into wrestling. Did you do any kind of training at all?
Trina Michaels: Very little. I’ve got to be honest most of my training has been on the job.
Steve: As far as dealing with the adult industry and dealing with wrestling promoters, where have you met the sleazier people, wrestling or…
Trina Michaels: That is a very good question. I don’t have any negative experiences from the adult industry. I’m sure there are girls that have some bad stories. For me it was always business. I just went in and did my job and nobody really bothered me or tried hitting on me. When that is your job it’s not really such a priority to be getting it off camera. You know what I mean? I didn’t have any bad experiences in that business. Wrestling, you know, let’s see, I either get promoters who are trying to be too handsy and the complete opposite or I get promoters that say “oh no, I run in the church so I can’t book you.”
Steve: Just running the website for all these years, every so often something shady comes up like a promoters who run a charity show and keeps all the money. All sorts of sleazy things that goes on. That’s why I was kind of curious about that.
Trina Michaels: “Oh, no. We didn’t make any money. Sorry we can’t pay you.”
Steve: I think that happens one out of every five shows or something. [laughs] I always get emails people wanting to have us post on the site that they didn’t get paid for a show. If we posted that every time that’s all that there would be on the website is people complaining about not getting paid.
Trina Michaels: Unfortunately that does happen.
Steve: From XPW, I know you started working with Bart at AWS and Battleground Pro. How did you get involved with AWS?
Trina Michaels: I knew people that went to the shows so they introduced me to Bart. I wound up working with the Balllard Brothers for AWS. That was back when he still ran outside of his little comic book store.
Steve: With the Ballard Brothers … I don’t know if I can say it’s a big shoes to fill or whatever. When I think of the Ballard Brothers and having to valet or manager type role I always think of Cheerleader Melissa and you think of where she’s come and I think you’re the next person after Melissa. I don’t remember them having a regular valet between you and Melissa to be honest.
Trina Michaels: Yes, I know it was her and then me. I like how you put big shoes to fill. She is one of the top girls ever. I always had a great time with Ballards and they were a great introduction for getting used to working shows and what to do and how to how fun. I have fun when I work with them.
Steve: They seem like really nice guys. They look exactly the same as they did in 1999. [laughs]
Trina Michaels: I know I love it. I love them.
Steve: They looked old back then but they haven’t aged since.
Trina Michaels: They’re just kind of ageless. [laughs]
Trina Michaels: That’s funny.
Steve: Then you went in SoCal Pro also with the Ballad Brothers?
Trina Michaels: Yes.
Steve: Do you feel like there’s a difference in the fan base between AWS and SoCal Pro where AWS is more like internet fans?
Trina Michaels: I would say AWS fans are definitely more aggressive. They’re definitely more aggressive then SoCal Pro fans. SoCal Pro fans are probably more family oriented. AWS is more like hardcore fans.
Steve: SoCal Pro, like you said, are more family oriented. Did you ever have any issues there? Did any families every complain or anything like that?
Trina Michaels: No, I didn’t have any issues. I know even if you look back on my YouTube page some of the footage I have on there from the SoCal Pro shows, I remember yelling at some lady and I think we were arguing about boobs or something like that. She was a big lady, she had big boobies. I was making some gesture like “whatever.” But, no. I love the fans. They’re great.
Steve: Also 2008, I think you were in a AAA in Mexico.
Trina Michaels: Yeah, I was on the AAA’s Christmas show in Tijuana. That was pretty cool. Definitely a different experience then working shows in the states. Let’s see. Goodness who was in that match? Konnan, Rocky, X Pac was in that match. If I remember it I took a Bronco Buster from him. There was few more people too. I’m sorry I can’t think of their names.
Steve: Going down to Tijuana is always such a crazy experience as far as how into it fans get down there. I’ve seen people throwing chairs into the ring and all sorts of stuff.
Trina Michaels: Their fans are crazy. Like no rules.
Steve: After that you moved to Florida, what prompted you to move to Florida?
Trina Michaels: A change of scenery. I like the beach and the tropics and stuff. It was the right opportunity to come out here. It’s been good as well. It’s given me a chance to work with different companies and stuff.
Steve: It seems like Florida is a lot like SoCal where there’s tons of different promotions running, but there seems to be more that are doing iPPV there. I don’t think anyone out here is doing anything like that right now. I know that you started attending the TNA tapings at that time. Did TNA at that point talk to you about coming in.
Trina Michaels: I’ve actually finally had the opportunity to work with them this year. It was just one show. It’s still a chance to let them see what I can do. I was part of their Knockouts Knockdown pay-per-view earlier this year. You should check that out. It was a nice little run in and I got my girl to win. It’s all that matters.
Steve: You still have come back out to SoCal since you’ve moved to Florida.
Trina Michaels: If it’s the right show I will make an appearance in Southern California. The Ballards, I know they have their promotion that they started last year. I came out for their first show on that. The Ballards were facing their long time rivals. I had to be there to defend them on that one. I camde out for AWS’s quote, unquote last show ever. How many times have I heard that line. [laughs] I have not been out to SoCal Pro in quite some time. I should see what we can do about that.
Steve: You’ve done a lot of lucha shows. I know after being in Mexico you worked for Lucha Las Vegas. Do you prefer working in front of lucha crowds, versus American crowds?
Trina Michaels: No, I don’t prefer it. I also did Viva La Lucha show last Halloween. I had the opportunity to manage along side Damien 666 and Bestia 666. That was pretty awesome. Three days with them. That was cool. The Viva La Lucha shows, they definitely have a different feel to them. Luchadors work the ring different. It was kind of interesting. Like “I don’t really speak your language, but we still figured it out.”
Steve: I have to bring this up, maybe your biggest contribution to SoCal wrestling would be your interview with Shawn in the hot tub. [laughs]
Trina Michaels: Oh, good god. [laughs]
Steve: I think that set him on another level of famous fans after that.
Trina Michaels: He made a t-shirt of us. Come on.
Steve: I actually saw somebody wearing that t-shirt at a PWG show.
Trina Michaels: Oh, my god.
Steve: You should hit him up for some of the money from the shirts.
Trina Michaels: Right. Where’s my $4. [laughs]
Steve: You really started a trend, because after you did the hot tub interview he’s had more and more people doing the hot tub interviews.
Trina Michaels: Goodness.
Steve: Thunder Rosa did it recently.
Trina Michaels: I met Shawn at an AWS show probably 6 months before that and he had done a little interview. To his credit he’s gotten better at doing interviews, because that first one was like “what?” He’s funny.
Steve: He’s a really good guy and really devoted to wrestling. There are probably some promotions that would go out of business if he stopped going to shows.
Trina Michaels: Right.
Steve: Moving on, in Florida I know you are working for FIP and they do iPPVs , how has that experience been?
Trina Michaels: It has been great. It’s good training ground to get you used to cameras and used to working in crowds and stuff. It is a great experience. I’ve had 2 very character-driven roles with them. I would like to say that my abilities as a manager showcased the wrestlers talents even more. I think me and my, I call them clients, me and my clients make good teams and our own strengths kind of played up the other people’s strengths as well.
Steve: Going back to what I was talking about earlier with the SoCal Pro, how the first time I saw you was on a SoCal Pro show and I’d wrote a review afterward and I went back and read my review to see what I said. I mentioned that I thought you did a really good job. At that time for being as new as you were in wrestling I thought you did a really good job where you added to the match, but didn’t take away. You were able to get heat but you weren’t taking heat from the match itself.
Trina Michaels: Thank you. I appreciate that. There was a show we did at a bar in Tampa and the bartender and the owners see us all the time and they see us when we’re not in character as well. I call them friends. They’re friendly with us. On one of our shows I came out in character at the beginning of the match and I was asking the bartender for some shot glasses, but I asked her in such a way that I saw the fury in her eyes, like she was about to punch me across the bar. It was like “yep, I’m that good at my job.”
Steve: That’s pretty funny. I know that you did something with Lucha Underground too?
Trina Michaels: Yes, I did have the opportunity to work with Lucha Underground. It was only dark match, but that I think is definitely a highlight of my career. Building up to coming down the tunnel for them. It was awesome. As soon as I came out, and it’s only because I’m from SoCal, everybody’s like “I know you. You’re Trina.” I had a “Trina” chant going.
Steve: Did you get any feedback from them? Were they interested in bringing you back?
Trina Michaels: Not at that time. I still reach out to them. They haven’t been able to find any other role for me to do unfortunately. Still, the experience was like “wow.”
Steve: I know that I read somewhere that you don’t think that you can ever been in WWE because of the adult film past. Do you think that Lucha Underground or TNA is high as you can go or is there something more that you want to get out of wrestling?
Trina Michaels: I’ve also been able to work with Ring of Honor recently as well. I’ve done a couple shows for them. I think at this point it’s just a matter of trying to get somebody to notice the work that I’ve put in and put me on a main roster regularly. That would be amazing. I know it’s a little tricky in my position because I’m not a wrestler. I am a manager. I am there to get attention for my guys and I’m there to assist getting a win. It requires a promotion having the right roster for me to work with. I think if anybody gave me a spot and they gave us a regular role and said “here’s what we want you to do,” I would knock it out of the park whoever I work with. Your question is can I go any higher than TNA. I think WWE is too corporate driven and stuff like that, so they wouldn’t be able to get past some of my character background because they are afraid of the consequences. I think Lucha Underground and TNA have a little bit more flexibility, but again, it comes down to finding the right role.
Steve: Do you feel like that you came in too late? Like if you were to have been born 10, 15 years earlier and you started wrestling in the early 2000’s when WWF was having its attitude era or ECW-
Trina Michaels: Of course I would have been a great fit. All this comes back around circles, so…
Steve: You never know where it’s going to go.
Trina Michaels: I can be good. I promise. I can be really nice and have a halo and everything.
Steve: I think they make a bigger deal out of it than they really need to. I don’t know.
Trina Michaels: My opinion has always been promoters decline to book me for that one specific reason of my background. To me that’s the benefit of booking me. That’s the draw of booking me is my name and the existing fans that already follow me and then get exposed to your product. It makes sense to me, but apparently not to them.
Steve: I can understand if they’re running in a church. Maybe they might get kicked out, but I agree.
Trina Michaels: I’m not going to come in half naked. [laughs]
Steve: Aside from WWE are there any promotions that you really want to work for that you haven’t had the chance to work for yet?
Trina Michaels: A promotion that I would like to work for … I can’t think of any at the moment.
Steve: I know you’ve hit all the big ones, Ring of Honor, TNA…
Trina Michaels: House of Hardcore!
Steve: The Tommy Dreamer one?
Trina Michaels: The Tommy Dreamer one. Yeah. Which is silly. I don’t know why I don’t swallow my pride and ask him, because I know Tommy but I don’t know. It’s just silly.
Steve: I think you would fit in really well with that since it kind of goes for the old ECW vibe.
Trina Michaels: Yeah, that edgy vibe. I like to say I was extreme back then and I’m extreme now. I still do all the crazy wild stuff.
Steve: Before I let you go on this is there anything that you want to plug or anything that you want to plug?
Trina Michaels: Let’s see. I know most of your readers are probably in Southern California, but if there’s anybody on the East Coast I will be in Edison, New Jersey November 4 through the 6 for a convention. You can check my social media for that. Other than that, follow me on Twitter @trinamichaels.
Steve: Thank you for your time.
Trina Michaels: Thank you for having me.