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FORMER WWE STAR ASHLEY MASSARO PASSES AWAY

By Mike Johnson on 2019-05-16 19:42:00

TMZ.com reported this evening that former WWE star Ashley Massaro, who won the second edition of WWE's Diva Search in 2005, passed away early this morning in Long Island, New York after being transported from her home to a hospital.  Massaro was only 39 years old.

Authorities received a call from Massaro's phone seeking help at 5:23 AM. 

Massaro, a native of Long Island, NY was recruited by a casting director into the second-ever WWE Diva Search contest while competing in a swimsuit competition.  With background in modeling and pageants, plus her tomboy rocker look, Massaro stood out and was declared the winner, earning a one-year deal with WWE as well as a $250,000 prize.

With very little training, Massaro was brought to the Raw roster as a babyface, where she was immediately put into a feud with Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle.   Trish Stratus aligned with Massaro to even the score, feuding over several PPVs in bra and pantie matches and other similar stipulations that were the norm for the Divas division at the time.   Massaro then moved onto a feud with Mickie James, but that story was cut short when Massaro suffered a fractured left fibula in her leg while being eliminated from a battle royal on Raw.  Massaro underwent surgery and continued to make non-physical appearances on Raw.

Massaro was moved to the Smackdown brand, feuding with Michelle McCool and Kristal Marshall before segueing into a valet role for Brian Kendrick and Paul London.  The trio began feuding with MNM, which led to Massaro challenging then-WWE Women’s Champion Melina at Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit.

After taking time off to repair a screw in her leg (from the surgery to repair her broken tibia) that had loosened, Massaro took part in a storyline to promote Maria Kanellis as the next Diva to pose for Playboy.  She remained with the company until 2008, when she was released from her contract a week after she requested an exit in order to take care of her sick daughter.  It should be noted there were claims of personal issues she was dealing with at the time as well.

Massaro’s biggest accomplishments for the company were outside of the ring as a representative for WWE, however.  She was WWE’s then-annual Playboy cover model in 2007.  She then represented the company on CBS’ reality series Survivor: China, being eliminated in the second episode of the 2007 season.  She also guest-starred on Superman origin series Smallville as a villain alongside Kane.

In the years since her WWE departure, Massaro rarely wrestled but was a consistent personality at pop culture and pro wrestling conventions.    Outside of pro wrestling, she had been hosting a show on Long Island radio station 94.3 The Shark.

In recent weeks, she had begun training again at the New York Wrestling Connection's school in Long Island, seeking to get more involved again as a wrestler on the independents and wanting to train as if he was just starting out, feeling she never truly learned the business after being rushed onto TV so quickly. 

In 2016, Massaro joined the concussion-related lawsuit against WWE, alleging that she was sexually assaulted during a trip overseas for a 2006 "Tribute to the Troops" event in Kuwait and that the company, upon learning of the assault, met with Massaro "to apologize for their negligence, but [they] persuaded her that it would be best not to report it to appropriate authorities.’’   WWE, in responding to that allegation in the lawsuit, referred to it as a "baseless and inflammatory allegation."  The lawsuit was later dismissed with Massaro's claims being tossed out of the case for not being relevant to the core crux of the case, which were allegations that the company did not properly educate talents on the dangers of neurological damage from performing as professional wrestlers. 

TMZ is citing that Massaro's death today is, according to local authorities, "Non-criminal."  Her passing is being investigated by The Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

Obviously, we send our deepest condolences to Massaro's family, friends and fans at this time, especially her daughter.

 

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