Source: Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald
One half of TNA Wrestling’s Shore duo, Cookie, was recently interviewed by the Miami Herald. In the interview, she states that she didn’t even realize how big her first interaction with JWoww was until she saw it on CNN. Of her breakthrough to the mainstream media, Cookie says: “For me, that was like, ‘Wow. What is going on?’ It was only our second week on TV. It didn’t even seem real until a friend of mine took her BlackBerry and took video of us on CNN and showed it to me. I was like, ‘You have to be kidding me.’ We did something awesome. It was a ton of fun, and I was happy to bring that much attention to me and the company.”
The interview is pretty good – check it out below or read it on the Miami Herald website here.
In a two-week span, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s Cookie became the talk of the mainstream media world.
The new TNA Knockout debuted with her broski Robbie E on the Oct. 7 edition of TNA’s iMPACT! last year.
The following week the entertainment world was buzzing when the tanned and talented duo stood in the ring with Jenni “JWoww” Farley, one of the stars of MTV’s popular reality show “Jersey Shore.” Cookie, also known as Becky Bayless and Brooke Lynn, was even Jersey Shorish, before MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
The standoff led to a catfight between Cookie and JWoww.
Five months later, the appearance is still surreal for Cookie, who recently appeared at the Wizard World Miami Comic Convention, meeting and greeting convention goers.
“[Cookie/JWoww] was on TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, and then it was on CNN,” Cookie said.
“For me, that was like, ‘Wow. What is going on?’ It was only our second week on TV. It didn’t even seem real until a friend of mine took her BlackBerry and took video of us on CNN and showed it to me. I was like, ‘You have to be kidding me.’ We did something awesome. It was a ton of fun, and I was happy to bring that much attention to me and the company.”
It was a night the native New Yorker will never forget.
“The night before we were going to tape, we found out [she was] coming. It was shock and super excitement,” Cookie remembered.
“Obviously, we wanted to do something special. So we were super nervous, but I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better, and I couldn’t have asked her to be easier to work with. She [JWoww] was really up for anything.
“I slapped her in the face. Obviously she was out of her element. She has never wrestled before, but she wanted to learn as much as she could. She really did a great job. She was a lot of fun to work with.”
The moment is also a reflection of how far Cookie has come. A lifelong wrestling fan, Cookie’s wrestling career started nine years ago at the now defunct Doghouse in Brooklyn under the guidance of Homicide and Low Ki (WWE’s Kaval). She was also helped along the way by TNA agent Pat Kenney (Simon Diamond) and World Wrestling Entertainment announcer Matt Striker.
Cookie, real name Rebecca Treston, spent years on the independent circuit as Becky Bayless. She gained experience wrestling, managing and announcing for top indie companies including Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor and all-girl company Shimmer Women Athletes.
The hard work paid off last year when Vince Russo of TNA creative presented an opportunity for Cookie and Robbie E, known on the independents as Rob Eckos.
“Vince Russo’s daughters love ‘Jersey Shore,’” Cookie said. “They actually have him watching. I’m actually a huge fan myself, have been since the show started.
“The funny thing is I was doing a similar character [named Brooke Lynn] for an all-girls promotion called Wrestlicious, with Jimmy Hart. She was a loud-mouthed, bratty New Yorker, as opposed to being a loud-mouthed, rowdy girl from Jersey.
“It’s not that different. Rob got a tryout here, and TNA wanted to find a girl to put with him. Jimmy Hart and others from TNA that I’ve worked with before, were saying, ‘We got to get Becky.’ Two weeks I was there for a tryout. Two months later we were on TV.”
Robbie and Cookie had only met a couple of times, but TNA teamed them for the tryout. They wanted to see their dynamic. Their debut was only the fourth time working together.
“We are constantly trying to grow as a team,” Cookie said.
“I think our dynamic is such an important part of what we do. Robbie without Cookie or Cookie without Robbie would not be the same. What would Snooki do without Situation? Their interactions are so important. So we are having a lot of fun with it. We are stuck together.”
Critics pegged Cookie as the reincarnation of “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.
“I think it is funny because I’ve been doing this character since before ‘Jersey Shore’ was on television,” Cookie said.
“So when people say I’m a knockoff of something, I tell them to go back and see some of my old tapes. See I was doing this before Snooki even knew who Snooki was. Honestly, for the criticism, as long as they are talking about us and watching, I’m happy.
“If they stop talking about us, then I’ll worry. As long as they are paying attention, if it’s negative attention, it doesn’t matter to me. We are just working hard and having a lot of fun with it.
“The feedback has been way more positive. A critic is a critic, but from the fans, the feedback has been amazing. I get so many tweets and Facebook messages, e-mails and fans who met me in person, telling me how entertained they are. It’s been so overwhelmingly positive. That is what is important. Not about what critics say, but if the fans are entertained. I’m a fan. So I’m happy that I can entertain the wrestling fan. That is what I’m here to do.”
Cookie is a proud member of the TNA Knockouts’ division — a roster of diverse female talent.
“We are super lucky. They obviously put a lot of time and attention in the Knockouts division, where each one of us has a distinctive character,” she said.
“It’s not like, ‘I’m a happy go-lucky good girl.’ Or, ‘I’m a $#%^%y bad girl.’ We all have distinctive characters, and we get a decent amount of TV time where we are allowed to have different storylines going. There is me and Robbie against Traci [Brooks] and Frankie [Kazarian] or the Beautiful People and Winter and that whole dynamic. Then you have Velvet [Sky] and Sarita, with Rosita coming in. We are all different.
“We really get a chance to show our characters, have some fun and show ourselves. I couldn’t ask for a better locker room.”
Cookie’s transition into TNA was made easier because she knew many of her co-workers.
“I’ve know them for years,” Cookie said.
“Velvet Sky was one of them. She is from Connecticut. I’m from New York. I’ve known her since 2002. I’ve known Angelina Love since 2003. My first real match was Mickie James in 2003, so that is my best friend in the business. Tara is just amazing. She has been there and done that with everything. She is so helpful and so sweet.
“From the day of my tryout she went out of her way to help me and teach me. She is an absolute sweetheart. She is the momma hen. She is definitely one of the leaders of our locker room. I couldn’t ask for a nicer person. Everything she has done. She could have an ego, but she absolutely does not. Mickie James is another one who has done it all and is such an asset to the company. She is such a wonderful person. She helped me since I started.”
Determined to continue her progression and improve in the ring, she trains at the Team 3D Wrestling Academy in Kissimmee, outside of Orlando. Cookie thinks the dedication the TNA girls put into their performance is what separates the Knockouts from other women’s divisions.
“I’m going to be biased because I’m a Knockout, but all the Knockouts you see in TNA are professional wrestlers,” Cookie said.
“We all have trained, worked our way up the ranks. We all started at the bottom working in front of 20 people for no money. We have all worked very hard to be where we are at. We take a lot of pride in what we do. We take a lot of pride in being the best we can be and entertaining the fans and putting out the absolute best product we can.
“We are passionate. We love wrestling. No offense by this, but we are not models that somebody found in a catalogue and decided to send to Tampa for two years to train. We are girls who grew up wanting to be wrestlers. We all feel very lucky to be living out our dream and entertaining people. I really think that passion shines through in what we do.”
As the months go, TNA fans may see more Cookie in-ring action.
“I’m hoping for it,” Cookie said. “Of course managing Robbie and getting that X-Division title back is first priority, but you are going to see me mix it up with the Knockouts more in the near future. I’ve been training for that. If the opportunity presents itself, I will be more than happy to kick some butt.”
This may come sooner than later as the Knockout will be joined by Angelina Pivarnick on the Thursday, March 3 edition of iMPACT! (9 p.m. EST, SpikeTV), taped last week from Fayetteville, N.C.
“I kind of got my %$# kicked by JWoww,” Cookie explained.
“So we brought in Angelina, since her and JWoww have their little thing on Jersey Shore. We kind of brought her in, so I kind of have someone who has my back. You guys are going to have to watch the next two weeks of iMPACT! to see what Angelina does. She is very involved. Let’s just say that. You might see new Knockout tag champs in the future.
“I can’t wait for fans to see. Robbie, Angelina and I almost got booed out of the building. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. It was electric. We knew we had something to prove. We knew this was a big moment for us as a company to do the tapings on the road. It was a very long day.
“Especially with Angelina being there, but it was a wonderful experience. I couldn’t have asked for it to go better. I’m super excited for people to see these tapings. The fans brought it to a new level, and the performers brought it to a new level.”
Cookie patiently waited for her big break in the business. Her family didn’t necessarily approve of her decision to pursue a pro wrestling career. They wanted the college grad to return to school for her master’s degree. In spite of this, the smart Cookie is making the most of her opportunity. She is living her dream.
“My goal was always to wrestle professionally for a living,” Cookie said.
“I didn’t know where it was going to be, but that was my goal. To me, that is making it. To be able to pay my bills and do what I love. I never wanted to be an actress or model or anything like that. I wanted to be a wrestler.”
She is a wrestler first. However, that’s not to say Cookie wouldn’t consider a “Jersey Shore” cameo.
“I would be up for it,” Cookie said.
“MTV, if you want to give me a call, I’m up for it. I don’t know if Situation wants to be upstaged, but if anyone can do it, it’s going to be me.”