Mercedes Martinez has discussed the pandemic being both a blessing and a curse for them but that the “momentum” they had in their career came to a halt.
Martinez joined WWE for her second stint as part of the company in early 2020, even making an appearance in the women’s Royal Rumble match. Unfortunately for Mercedes Martinez her WWE career then came to a stuttering stop as the world shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Speaking to DNC Digital Mercedes Martinez began by saying she felt validated by receiving a WWE contract so far into her wrestling career:
“I had an inkling of what my role was going to be. I thought in my head, ‘I’m going to validate my career by signing this contract and it’s the biggest moment in my career ever.’ It validates the 20 years I’ve been in and everything I’ve put into it and all the sacrifices. In my head…there wasn’t a clear direction as to why I got signed. Everyone knows that I’m good, I have talent, and I know what I bring to the table. I got signed and we hit it running. Then, the pandemic hit.”
Martinez then spoke at length about her time in the company during the pandemic and says that the chaos engulfing the world actually helped her personal life:
“For me, the pandemic was a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing for me because I was coming from the Indies with injuries. You get signed and nothing got stopped, it was match after match. I didn’t get a rest. The pandemic put me in a position to heal. Not just physically, it got me a chance to heal emotionally and mentally. Going as hard as I’ve been going for 20 years, there are really no breaks unless I was injured. It takes a toll on you and messes up everything. In my personal life, everything was wrong. The pandemic helped me in my personal life.”
However, professionally things began unravelling with Martinez forced to opt out of appearing on shows, meaning she only wrestled 6 times in NXT between March and the end of 2020.
“Professionally, it was a curse. It hit me really hard. You have COVID-19 happening, no one knows anything about it and I’m asthmatic, I have allergies, if I catch it, am I going to die? My son is immunocompromised because he had 20,000 things wrong with him. I had to put my safety and health first and opt out. Me opting out really hurt my career and momentum. For seven months, you didn’t see anything about Mercedes. Coming back, how do I get the momentum that I had coming out of the Royal Rumble? It’s really hard. It was trying to figure out the creative, figuring out what worked, being put with the Robert Stone brand wasn’t something that I wanted, but you have to be a team player. I had fun with it, but maybe that wasn’t the right direction I should’ve gone, but you go with it because it’s an opportunity and you take the best with the opportunities and you do the best you can.”
“As the year with dwindling down, it was like, ‘What is my role now?’ The pandemic changed everyone’s storylines. Those who worked got pushed. I opted out for my own reasons and it hurt my career. Do I regret it? Oh hell no. I don’t regret any decisions I made because I’m safe now. I’m healthy. I really think it hindered my career a little because it stopped my momentum. Coming back at Great American Bash, it was like I was ready, but I wasn’t, because we were still figuring out the creative side of stuff. I wasn’t frustrated or mad. It was just, ‘What is the universe trying to tell me? What is my role going forward? Am I going to be a major player or am I going to be brought in now to level up the girls to make sure they’re ready for the top spot.’ That’s where I was going in my head, then I had the match with Rhea Ripley and I needed that to solidify what I can bring to the table.”
Mercedes Martinez competed in her final match in the company in June 2021 as she teamed with Jake Atlas losing to the Tian Sha team of Boa and Xia Li.