Raj Giri of WrestlingINC.com recently interviewed former ECW and WWE superstar Dawn Marie Psaltis. During the interview, Dawn discussed starting the Wrestler's Rescue charity, recent accusations from Kamala and The Blue Meanie, past controversies, the business today, if wrestlers are better taken care of now than in the past and more. Here are some highlights:
WrestlingINC: When you first started Wrestlers Rescue, where did the idea come from?
Dawn: I left wrestling in 2005 to have my children and my son. I was away from it for about two years. Then, what happened was I started to go back into it, started to do autograph signings. I guess from stepping away from it and going back, it made me realize things that needed to change, things that were going on.
So, I was at a show in Chicago and I saw The Iron Sheik and he was just in really bad shape. I just saw that and it just made me sad that he was living his life in a wheel chair due to needing a double knee replacement. There's no reason for that. In any other business, if you needed a double knee replacement due to your career choice, it would be covered in some way.
Asbestos. I like to use that for an example. Once they realized what happened and people were breathing in harmful air and giving them lung cancer, there was a class-action suit and they were taken care of.
Same thing with the ring. The ring was really stiff back then, it barely gave. So, there's a lot of knee replacements and hip replacements. Things like that. Nobody takes care of them. They were left on their own to take care of it and that's a very expensive bill to take care of. So, I just saw the need and started the foundation and thought that this would be a really great way to stay within the business and change it in a positive way at the same time.
WrestlingINC: When you did start the charity, how was it going initially?
Dawn: Everything has an uphill battle. It's something that's new and people get nervous when it's something that's new. I talked to a lot of old-timers and asked them how they felt about it and getting a lot of ideas and suggestions from them. Everything has gone really well, actually.
Up until the Steve Williams campaign, and [we] raised a lot of money for him. Unfortunately, he passed before the campaign was over. Then, we had the rumors around about that. People used Steve's campaign to tried to sabotage us. There was a gentleman named Michael Porter who wanted $500 for rent and we don't give out money for rent. They didn't understand that. He said to me, 'If I don't do that, I'd be sorry.' Well, they made me sorry. Because I didn't give him the $500 towards his rent, he made up all these lies about the Steve Williams campaign, saying I never paid him and that I was investigated by the IRS and the FBI. I mean, crazy, crazy stuff. The fact that he was saying I was being investigated by the IRS is insane because we weren't even open a year yet. I didn't even have to file taxes yet. [Laughs.] The FBI? Come on. The FBI has a lot of better things to do than investigate me.
People want to believe what they want to believe. There's a really big smear campaign. I did the same thing I'm doing with the Kamala issue. I put all the proof up. I did pay Steve Williams, I have the check on the website. All the other allegations that they said about me, I just proved them all wrong. That's the best I can do. I can't make people think something other than what they think they know.
WrestlingINC: With Steve Williams, what happened to the money that you raised? Did you end up donating it or did you put it towards the charity?
Dawn: No, I gave it to 'Doc'. ... If you go on our website and if you go to one of the top buttons that says 'Financial', you'll see the actual check with his signature on it where he signed it off. 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams did not attack us. No, no. Michael Porter's people, who I didn't give pay for rent, wanted to try to get rent money out of me. They told me I would be sorry if I didn't give them the money. What they did was created all these lies around 'Dr. Death's' campaign. 'Dr. Death.' at that time was passed on, so he couldn't defend me. So, they used something like that, which is very sad and disgusting in my eyes. Using someone that's passed to get your way.
WrestlingINC: Since then, Brian Heffron (a.k.a The Blue Meanie) has said that Jerry Lynn never received money for back surgery.
Dawn: What happened with Jerry Lynn was we were coming off the smear campaign with Michael Porter and 'Dr. Death'. Jerry had called me in the summer and I told him, 'Jerry, I don't know if we're going to be able to do anything because we just had a really horrible smear campaign lead against us. But, let me see what I can do to help you.'
So, I called the Cauliflower Alley Club and told them what was going on with Jerry Lynn. Alley Club gave him $2,000. Then, I never was able to do a campaign for Jerry. So, I never did a campaign for Jerry, So, therefore, he never got any money. I was never able to do a campaign because of all the bad press that we were just coming off of.
Meanwhile, I wanted to do a campaign for Jerry and I did one autograph signing. In that autograph signing, I went around and collected autographs because I wanted to do something for Jerry. I collected two or three autographs from everybody that was there. There was maybe ten people there. I got a doll from Axel Rod, an action figure. There was nothing of significant value that was collected and that's what Brian is talking about. He gave me two or three pictures towards Jerry Lynn and I never did a campaign and hes mad that I never did a campaign.
Then, I took his two or three pictures and I recently told him, over Twitter, I said, 'Brian, if you have a problem with me, we've known each other for... (Continues on next page)