Melina is back on your screens, and trying to take over NWA's Women's Division.
Outside of a brief run on Lucha Libre USA, Melina had been off of national wrestling since her WWE departure. A return in 2019 to the National Wrestling Alliance brand brought worldwide name value to an already blossoming division.
But who brought her back? For Melina, she told Fightful that a collective of NWA personalities contacted her and made the case for her to join.
"The whole collective because everybody’s a group like Nick Aldis and Billy [Corgan] and [Dave] Lagana. Just everybody, they all reached out and I heard what they were doing and then I realized when they told me everybody was going to be there, I was like “This is my family! I know all these people.” It makes it that much more fun, you know what I mean? When it’s everybody you know. When we were younger we went through the worst ‘cause we don’t know what were doing, we’re kinda fumbling around. Then you make your mark, then you start understanding. You appreciate the wrestling. You get through the politics and then you realize,“Oh, my goodness, I was stressing out over nothing.” Then you start relaxing and just enjoying the work. Now the group of us understand that together and so we’re able to make a better show from it. Because we want to help each other and we understand how to make it best when it comes to our souls as well as the product," said Melina
Ahead of NWA's Hard Times, Melina's on-screen partner in Thunder Rosa takes on rival and women's champion Allysin Kay. The feud has featured beatdowns, F Bombs, and plenty of personal creativity. The latter is something that helped lure Melina to the company.
"It was the people and how they want to have give people creative liberties," Melina said of her decision to join NWA. "So, instead of stifling people or trying to tell them, “Okay, no, we’re going to take your character and slowly turn it into something else.” They see what you bring to the table and cultivate it, and are like “Hey, we support this, what do you think?” The fact they want your creative input, just makes a huge difference. I was like ‘Oh, my goodness, I love that. I want to be able to continue to make my character do incredible things.” So, the fact they want to support that sold me huge."
Despite being involved with wrestling for almost 20 years, the NWA's approach is way different for the five-time former world champ. Studio wrestling is fresh, yet familiar, and a major attraction to what the company is doing. The promo-heavy company has a setting similar to what they featured in the 1980s, and it's admittedly a big adjustment for Melina.
"Oh, my goodness, it is different because the one side of fans…when I hear them say stuff and I want to react or say anything to them, I can’t turn away from hard cam. So, it’s an adjustment, but it’s something because I’m used to doing stuff on TV that I’m aware of. “No, Melina, you can’t do that. You gotta make sure the people at home can watch everything, but that the fans behind us know… You know the fans. since they grew up with wrestling and they know everything, they understand that, “Oh, they can’t look at us because the cameras over there.” They’re very forgiving and understanding. So, I know that and appreciate that. But, I can’t help, part of my heart is like “But I want to look at you guys I want to face you and have you see my facial reactions," she said.
NWA's Hard Times takes place this Friday, January 24 from Atlanta, Georgia. Fightful will have full, live coverage of the show.