It took years, but Melina made it back to WWE TV in 2019.
The five-time Women's Champion had been back in the ring and taking independent dates for quite some time, but the call didn't come until eight years after her WWE departure. At Raw Reunion, she appeared as a special referee for at 24/7 Title segment, before sharing her joy with WWE digital following the show.
When speaking to Fightful, Melina remembered WWE reaching out to her to make the appearance happen.
"Mark Carrano (made the call)," Melina said. "That was really great to me. It was really good for my soul. I loved it. I loved reconnecting with everybody and seeing how everybody’s doing. I kinda forget that it’s been so long. Oh, my goodness, it’s been 8 or 9 years. To be able to see everybody again, and everybody has got family and gotten older. I was like, “Aw, man. I missed you guys.” So, it was very therapeutic for me."
As for the experience, she said it was a positive one, but couldn't pinpoint if there were any major changes in the company since she'd been there last.
"Maybe its just that it’s different people. I could tell that for the reunion the people who came back, we were all more bubbly. But probably because we don’t work there all the time, so everybody’s just happy [agreeing]. But, it was just the different energy wise. We were more chipper, and they were more serious," Melina recalled"
Though most remember Melina for her six-year WWE run, she actually got her first screen time on Tough Enough Season III. Melina nearly made the show before being eliminated in the final round of cuts before getting to the house. She remembered the experience being a hectic one.
"I totally remember just going from room to room and different things to do when it comes to filling out your application; and then another room, then you have to get interviewed; and then another room for your physical, and then another room to talk to everybody; and a waiting room. There’s just so many places to go and there’s just so much to the process just to get that first initial shot to be seen. And that’s not even getting to the first episode," Melina said.
Under two years later, she'd be signed by WWE after working independent events. She wouldn't directly attribute her signing to being in front of WWE during the reality series, though.
"It didn’t hurt," Melina admitted. "But, the thing is, it’s just the persevering. Okay, I got seen. Al [Snow] saw me, but then at the same time it’s continuing to go to every single workout and try out that I could. I would drive every chance I got and then if WWE was around I would make a phone call or e-mail and see if I could get in there. So, for me it was not only that, I was very diligent about making sure I was being seen as often as possible."
You can see our full interview with Melina at the top of the page, and check out her weekly on NWA Powerrr Tuesday nights, streaming on Fightful.com