Carmella Is Ready to Make WWE ‘SmackDown’ History at Rolling Loud Music Festival
Carmella calls herself the “Most Beautiful Woman in WWE.” This is an individual who does not lack confidence. That’s something that comes in handy when you have spent much of your career proving the haters wrong. Carmella went from last draft pick on SmackDown to multi-time champion and the first-ever Ms. Money in the Bank.
Despite past success, Carmella hasn’t been able to reclaim the top spot in the ladies’ division. Her July 23 match challenging Bianca Belair for the blue brand’s women’s title is a chance to get back to glory. They’ll face off live at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, during the top hip-hop music festival Rolling Loud. The night’s special edition of SmackDown is broadcasting in two locations for the first time, also simulcasting from Cleveland.
Here, Carmella previews the historic showdown and talks new faces in the locker room and life back on the road.
WWE is back touring. What has the transition been like?
Carmella: So far so good. I’m right back in the fire, but I’m so excited. It’s crazy how much I missed the chaos of the road. It feels like it has been so long.
You and (boyfriend and WWE commentator) Corey Graves are on separate brands. With the increased travel, that can’t be easy.
It’s going to be difficult. When we first moved in together, the pandemic hit. We’re together all day, every day, and still traveling to work together and traveling home together. We were so used to being around each other. Then when he went over to Raw and I went over to SmackDown, it was a huge adjustment at first, but we got some time apart. Now live events are coming back, and it becomes when are we going to see each other? He has kids, so it’s balancing that. But I’m not worried about it. We’re so strong and solid and will figure it out.
How do you feel about the recent additions to Friday nights with Toni Storm, Tegan Nox, and Shotzi Blackheart coming from NXT?
I think it’s a perfect time. We need to switch it up a little bit. It’s been a while since the draft. It’s good to change up the landscape and give women new opportunities: have an opportunity for new matchups, established names helping these new girls come into the roster and do some cool different storylines. I know when I came on, the girls were so welcoming and so kind. I think it’s important to pay that forward. We had such good camaraderie in our locker room. I’m grateful for that.
When Bayley got injured, you stepped in to face Bianca Belair. You’ve certainly developed a reputation for being that reliable performer who can deliver when given the ball.
It’s flattering. It makes me feel my hard work and dedication don’t go unnoticed. When things get put on me last minute, whatever. I want them to know I can rise to the occasion. It was so unfortunate what happened to Bayley. I feel awful and hope she comes back soon. All I’ve ever needed was an opportunity here. Remind the powers that be that I’m here. I play ball, I do what is asked of me, and go above and beyond. I do that in all aspects of my life, not only in WWE.
Where did the “Most Beautiful Woman in WWE” moniker come from?
It just kind of happened, to be honest. I’ve become known for pitching ideas and character ideas. I think it’s great if people hate it. I love it. For me, it’s another layer to my character. People may say, “Bring back the old Carmella.” Things can’t stay the same. You have to grow and evolve. If I’m the same Carmella as the one in 2016, how boring would that be? Whether I’m with R-Truth or James Ellsworth or Reginald, I make the most of everything. I think it’s cool to show the diversity and that you can do different things, that I’m not this stagnant character.
You’re getting ready to make history at Rolling Loud. What can we expect from this rap and wrestling connection?
There are going to be over 80,000 people there. This is the first time WWE is partnering with a rap festival. This is huge—the fact Travis Scott, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion are performing in the same venue. To even be in the same vicinity as these people is huge. This is monumental and a huge moment for WWE. I’m happy to be part of it. It’s wild.
Is there another unique place you would like to see WWE run an event?
If they can run an event at BottleRock Napa Valley. I would be in heaven.
You have been growing your wine brand, Capo Cagna. You’ve really parlayed what you’ve done in WWE into other ventures, very much like the Bella Twins.
They have definitely paved the way. They are household names. You know them through WWE, but also what they’ve been able to do with their reality show, building their wine. I want to do that too and show there is more to us than what you see on TV. For me, my wine brand is all about raising your inner boss babe, and being authentically yourself, and not apologize for it. I think that is a great message I try to spread to all our followers, but especially our female ones. It’s important for them to see there is much more to us than what you see in the ring. We’re entrepreneurs, good role models. I want to empower women.
What would winning the women’s title mean to you this time around?
I think the first time I was champion nobody really wanted to see that. By the time I was really on the roll there, I lost the title and went to the back of the line. I’ve proven myself and know what I’m capable of. Another title run would solidify me as a history-maker in this industry. I do get overlooked because I’m not one of the Four Horsewomen, Alexa Bliss, or Asuka. I’m Carmella and have a lot to offer. This time around it would be different because I can enjoy it more. Now I know I deserve to be champion because look at me, I’m Carmella.
You’ve done well in WWE, wine, podcasting, reality TV. What else is on your vision board?
To be on a sitcom would be an ultimate goal. If Truth and I could have our own sitcom, are you kidding me? That would be awesome. Ultimately, I have no idea what the future holds. I just want to keep pushing and working hard and being a positive role model for women. Whether it’s writing a book, telling women to follow their dreams, and embracing their inner boss—I want to be the best version of myself.
WWE SmackDown, Fridays, 8/7c, Fox