• 12/01/2017 (8:13:32 pm)
  • Bob Mulrenin

Depending on your pop culture perspective, you may know Milwaukee native Candice Michelle as a professional wrestler, Playboy model or the star of one-of-the-most talked about Super Bowl commercials in history.

Candice Michelle Beckman Ehrlich, who grew in Greendale, but left for Hollywood at age 18, has done a bunch of different things, but in 2005, her career really took off, thanks to a controversial Go Daddy commercial about a “wardrobe malfunction,” and her subsequent debut in wrestling. In 2007, she was the WWE Woman’s Champion, but her career ended in injury in in 2009.

Now a 39-year-old mother of three daughters, Michelle works with her husband, an L.A. chiropractor. She also planning on becoming a motivational speaker. But when wrestling came calling to give her a chance to fight one more match – to go out on her own terms – Michelle jumped at the opportunity. She’ll wrestle on her home turf at Saturday night’s House of Hardcore event in Waukesha.

We sat down with Michelle Thursday afternoon over brats – she says she misses the sausages in Milwaukee – at Vanguard. Joining us was Tommy Dreamer, a wrestler and promoter who made the easy call to entice Michelle back into the ring after almost eight years out of the business. Enjoy this latest Milwaukee Talks.

OnMilwaukee: How did you respond to Tommy’s offer to wrestle again?

Candice Michelle: I just knew what he was going to say, and I knew it was the perfect timing. And it’s just such a gift, really, what he’s giving me. I didn’t realize I had so many feelings still, because I’ve been grateful to have moved on after wrestling, which I feel is a really hard thing to do.

But I had a beautiful family. I’ve been a mom full time. It was just time for me to be me again, to find out who I was. So to have this opportunity, to be in my home town, to come back and wrestle and to face my fans, and face my fears and everything that happened …

You’re crying right now. Are you ready for this?

I did training at Knox Pro Wrestling Academy, back in L.A. That first bump … woo! That sh*t hurts. You forget. And my body forgot. I trained for a month and a half there a couple times a week. I cried every time I was there. Whether it was because I was in pain or because I missed it, or because of facing those spirits.

Is this a one-time thing?

Final match, yeah.

I don’t know a whole lot about wrestling after 1990 or so, but one thing I remember is that wrestling fans are incredibly passionate and have long memories. What do you think it will be like to see your fans again?

I have so many emotions for this weekend. You know, there’s excitement to see people. There’s fear. How you’re going to be accepted, how you’re going to perform.

Uh oh, you’re crying again.

Tommy Dreamer: She’ll cry no matter what.

Michelle: There’s gratitude for being here and to be able to do this. My whole family’s coming. There’s so much love for the business, and respect for it. It’s awesome. I’m excited to just lean into it, and give it my best.

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