I don’t know why – I’m sure some will say I’m being pig ignorant or obtuse or something – but I don’t know much about Shelly Martinez. Sure, I know the basics, that she was Ariel in the revived WWE incarnation of ECW, she left there due to some altercation or other with Batista and then she enjoyed a run in TNA as Salinas, the feisty valet of tag team LAX. But that’s about it. I can’t tell you why I don’t know much about her, but that puts me in a fairly privileged position for this review of Girl Talk with Shelly Martinez, a shoot interview from Highspots conducted by SHIMMER interviewer and ArenaChicks commentator Amber Gertner.

This is Amber’s first attempt at a one-on-one extended interview, and straight out of the gate, I’m going to tell you that she did a great job. She has a plan on where she wants the interview to go and what topics she wants to cover, though isn’t afraid to deviate from her crib sheet if something sounds interesting. She also contributes to the conversation – and it’s a proper conversation, not a list of questions rifled to the interviewee – when she has personal opinions or insight into a subject.

It’s something Amber agrees with. Before writing this review, I asked Amber for some thoughts. When it came to the conversation, she admitted that “It was a real pleasure to conduct my first shoot interview with her. I felt it was more like an intimate chat rather than just a shoot interview.”

And that’s exactly how it comes across. Combined with the pleasant and comfortable setting of a brightly lit bedroom, the two-camera setup and having Amber in a two-shot for when she’s asking questions or for a cut away from the same static shot for too long, it makes for a really easy shoot to watch. I often get put off watching shoot interviews because of the potential monotony of the view, regardless of how great the content is, so to make a bit more viewer friendly is a great idea, and makes the whole affair feel less formal.

I’m not going to go into great detail with much of the content, as that would negate you watching it in the first place, it’s worth mentioning some of the more interesting topics which Shelly discusses. For example, did you know that Hardcore Holly made Shelly cry when she auditioned for Tough Enough 2 in Las Vegas – more to the point, did you know that she even applied? How about her stiffing a current WWE Diva when they were both in Ohio Valley Wrestling because said Diva was refusing to sell for her? What about why the Sandman has legitimate heat with her, but at times can’t remember why, and when he does know, it still makes no sense?

Speaking of heat, Shelly goes into great length about the situation with Batista, and how it eventually led to her quitting WWE after hearing the immortal cliché that “creative has nothing for you”. She talks about how it started with her talking to Melina, and reached a boiling point just minutes before she walked down the aisle at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. But aside from Sandy and Big Dave, she also talked about supposed friction between her and Stephanie McMahon, rubbing Paul Heyman up the wrong way and putting her hands on him, fooling around with two wrestlers in TNA who remain unnamed, and dealing with TNA itself, both with the payscale for the girls – she says she earned more in Ohio Valley Wrestling on a WWE Developmental deal than in TNA, post WWE – and concerning her departure from the promotion after choosing to make a movie. Shelly is open, frank and honest with her stories, accepting blame when she feels she did wrong, apologising publicly for past mistakes and being brutally frank with her past.

Ah yes, her past. This is where the shoot takes a turn and goes from being about the bullshit concerning backstage politics and her not accepting things at face value and asking questions if they need asking. Said Amber: “Shelly shared so much with us and was incredibly frank on honest about everything in her life, not just the wrestling parts.”

Martinez tells us about her almost being raped while in WWE, having family members who were in gangs (and may have been involved in someone’s death), and her brief dalliances with softcore pornography. It’s at this point where things get heavy. Really heavy.

Shelly completely opens up her past and tells Amber about how she was sexually abused as a child, and how she pushed those memories into the back of her mind for years following her abuser’s death, only for it to explode and have all of the experiences flood back to her. It’s somewhat uncomfortable viewing, but you feel like Martinez leads you by the hand through it. The overwhelming impression that you get from her is that she is very at peace with herself these days. Had this interview taken place after leaving WWE but before joining TNA, this may have been a much more tense offering. However at this point, here in 2011, Shelly seems to be very philosophical, and can clearly see the forest, despite the trees. She understands how that contributed to her entering a violent relationship, and distancing herself from “negative energy” – which she says is why she has no intentions of returning to WWE.

Don’t feel sorry for her though, as she doesn’t feel sorry for herself.

Another reason why Shelly is so chilled these days is because of her use of marijuana on a medical basis, and how it’s a big 180 from her youth when she was anti-drugs. She discusses how she became dependent on muscle relaxers while in WWE, and how legally smoking weed has helped her take stock of her life and decide what she really wants to do.

Finally, she explains the video she made where she said she was “breaking up with wrestling”, and how it all came about after originally sending a message to Dixie Carter, and fits in with her life experiences and confrontations within the wrestling industry.

Amber points out that “I think people will be very surprised with the person Shelly really is; people have stereotyped her so much and I think this interview will certainly open up people’s eyes to the incredible heart, soul and passion that Shelly has.” As someone who had no real impression or opinion of her, I left liking Shelly Martinez. She’s open, honest, opinionated, has dealt with a lot in her life and still carries a positive attitude for the most part – obviously, nobody’s happyhappyjoyjoy all of the time – which is inspiring to see. If you’re looking to watch this for amusing anecdotes and road stories, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. But if you want to be allowed a look into someone’s soul – someone who isn’t desperate to get back into wrestling, so has no real agenda – then check it out, either by buying the DVD, or like me, watching it online at Highspots.tv.

About that – if you’re interested in having the choice of a shedload of shoot interviews, matches, TV shows, Q&A sessions – hell, there’s one with Bret Hart that goes about 70 minutes – and a section entirely dedicated to women’s wrestling, I’d give it some consideration. There’s a 7 day option for $10, but for $15, you can browse for 30 days and indulge to your heart’s content. The Girl Talk DVD is $20 plus S&H, so you’re actually saving money by watching it online, and you get the option of getting your fill of other media while you’re there. Honestly, it seems like a much more sensible option for the thrifty wrestling fan.

As it pertains to this shoot itself, it’s separated into numerous bite-sized chunks, ranging from about 5 to 25 minutes, so if you wanted to just grab one section at a time, it’s very easy to do so. However, the chapters aren’t numbered and are given titles instead, meaning on two occasions I was accidentally watching the presentation in the wrong order. As a suggestion, it would be nice to be able to compile your own playlist which you can leave running on an autoplay if you so choose, similar to what YouTube has. It also means you wouldn’t have to search for the content on your return if you log out, as it could store on your account. Like I said, it’s a minor thing, but it means you wouldn’t have to search for the next chapter every time.

- Lee Burton

Follow Shelly Martinez on Twitter and at her website