Shannon "Daffney Unger" Ward
Inlewd.com front man CJDark recently had the chance to conduct an in depth interview with one of the most sought after personalities this industry has created, Daffney (Shannon Ward). We had a chance to discuss many issue's with Daffney (Shannon Ward) and present this interview for all of the Daffanatics out their in internet land. You can visit Daffney's home on the web at Scream-Queen.com.
CJ: One of the frequently asked questions for any pro-wrestling DIVA usually revolves around T and A. This industry is governed by a male demographic (typically ages 15-34), and that usually leads to the inevitable, 'Would you ever consider posing nude for "Playboy"?
SW: No, I don't think I would ever do anything in the adult entertainment industry. I'm sure it has helped many women boost or start their careers, but it's just not for me.
CJ: I'd like to turn to a semi-serious topic for the next question. Being familiar with your biographical information (as I am) and having had the opportunity to read various interviews you have previously given, I have come to to the conclusion that you are a very well educated and intelligent young woman. This topic deals with stereotypes. Dressing as Daffney, did you ever come across a situation where people put you in a certain category without first getting to actually know who you really were? (You know, "You can't judge a book by its cover"?)
SW: Yes, I think that it is pretty common in everyday life. If caught in Daffney attire, some people would automatically assume that I was a Satan worshiper or a floozy. Sometimes, when dressed in something where my tattoo was visible, I would get the same thing when not dressed as Daffney. I try not to judge people and hope that they would give me the same respect. I haven't had a lot of these instances, just every once in a while.
CJ: Speaking of perceptions. Where do you hope pro-wrestling goes, in reference to how the women are depicted? So much emphasis has been put on T and A. Do you think the companies should try and emphasize a bit more of the B and less of the T and A? (B of course being "Brains").
SW: I wish that there would be a greater emphasis on women characters instead of trophy girls. I enjoyed it most when Daffney had lines and I had to act. There definitely is a place for phenomenal looking girls, (especially if you look at the target demographic) but I think that there should be a few intelligent women to portray a greater percentage of the different types of women on the planet.
CJ: And we know the "Daffney" character was created by the WCW Creative Department (bookers/writers). But how much of the actual "Daffney" character ("Stalking Freak" who wore black lipstick and had tattoos's) was contrived by the creative team, as opposed to added by yourself through personal touches. In other words, was Daffney more an extension of your personality, or just a contrived character you were playing on TV?
SW: Daffney's personality does not really reflect the real life Shannon, well, maybe when I was six years old. I'm an actress and I was acting. As far as Daffney?s development, the creative team came up with the character, but I added the wardrobe and makeup touches. A few tank top ideas came from other wrestlers, crew members or my husband.
CJ: I'm glad you brought up your husband. I was recently, as of about two months ago (maybe sooner) informed that you are actually married to Rich Ward (who has also been featured on our web page in an interview session) and who is formerly of Stuck Mojo, and currently with Sick Speed, and of course Fozzy. As the wife of a rock star, what demands (if any) does that lifestyle put on you?
SW: It actually is a marriage made in heaven. I think that because both of us are in the entertainment industry we are both understanding when it comes to traveling and taking care of business. Also, my husband is a huge wrestling fan, and has worked with wrestlers longer than I have. He did the Stuck Mojo Rising video with DDP and Raven and his flock in 98, and works with Fozzy currently. It helps that he enjoys studying tapes and watching the weekly shows with me each week. He even gives me pointers.
CJ: And what do you think of your husbands musical talents? (I'm personally a huge fan Stuck Mojo, Fozzy, and Sick Speed! And I think his music is awesome.)
SW: I think he is a genius. He can write rap/rock as in Mojo, mainstream rock as in Sick Speed, and he can even write pop or background music. He is well rounded in that way. I believe in him and his new band Sick Speed 200%.
CJ: Well, I think Sick Speed is going to be big, myself. Turning back to your "Daffney" character for a moment. When Daffney first showed up in skits on Nitro, I was personally excited, as well as a bit turned on. Because I had always stated what pro-wrestling needed was a 'Goth freak' or 'metal-freak'. I was always excited by female characters like Luna Vachon, and even "freakish characters" like Goldust. Whereas; I understand the character Daffney wasn't as deviant as Goldust and Luna Vachon. The fact is, Daffney was the first female in recent memory (and I have watched pro wrestling for twenty years) who had tattoos's and black lipstick, and piercings, etc.. That was exciting to me (I saw it as groundbreaking)! But, developing these types of character's on TV isn't usually easy. Did the infamous Time Warner led Standards and Practices limit the character development in any manner?
SW: Thanks for the compliments. I never really had any problems with Standards and Practices because I didn't do anything that was that risque. I had a evil look, but focused more on comedy. The only case that comes to mind is when I made a shirt that said Wall Sux. I asked if I could make one and they asked me to spell it S-U-X instead of Sucks. But it was no big deal.
CJ: I understand your favorite movie actress is Fairuza Balk (of "American History X", "Craft", and "Waterboy" fame). I have to commend you on your selection. She happens to be one of my favorite actresses as well. When you initially burst on the WCW Scene in those vignette's (as a crazed love sick fan) my comment was that you reminded me somewhat of some of Fairuza's character's in movie's (Mainly because she always portrayed "freak's" with black lipstick, tattoos's, piercings, etc.) Was any of your work with WCW inspired in part by Balk's characters in other movies?
SW: Actually my character was molded after Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers, but I definitely pulled some from Fairuza. I like her look and think she is very versatile.
CJ: This one is strictly for me, Do you ever (or are you currently) wear black lipstick off camera?
CJ: During your stay with World Championship Wrestling, who would you consider to have been your best friend?
SW: I would definitely have to say Chris Ford (Crowbar) He is just an all round wonderful guy. We would ride together on our long trips and chatted all the way. Not only that, but he always would look out for me in the ring He wouldn't let me do a move he felt would be dangerous. And he always tried to work in a spot for me during the match.
CJ: Can you relate any wild stories or crazy times that went on backstage in WCW or on the road?
SW: I'm not a real wild person, sorry if that is boring. Crowbar, Sugar Shane and I would drive together on those long road trips and listen to Andrew Dice Clay or the Jerky Boys and laugh our asses off, if you consider that wild. They were GOOD TIMES.
CJ: Not boring at all, at least not from where I stand. We have heard many stories about new talent having been treated unfairly by the "MAIN TALENT" in WCW. Did you ever get treated unfairly by anybody in WCW?
SW: No. Everyone was really nice. Sid Vicious would ask me to scream so to scare everyone when they weren't expecting it, and Goldberg would always make a point to read my tank top each week to find out what it said. It made me feel good that most of the guys backstage usually got a laugh out of my shirts.
CJ: What about the management? Some of the same accusation's regarding the management are always discussed online. Most of these accusations have been picking up steam online because of Eric Bischoff's involvement in the "GOLD CLUB" trial. And rumors have begun suggesting the DIVA's in WCW were treated as sex objects and treated very badly. Did you see any of this in your stay with WCW?
SW: No, in fact Bischoff required the girls to have their outfits okayed by management. As far as the Gold Club goes, I feel that it's not my place to judge. I personally wouldn't set foot in the establishment, or hook up with one of the girls, but to each their own.
CJ: What about squabbles between the top talent which were highly publicized online? Did you witness any of the these highly publicized politics?
SW: I saw the fight between DDP and Scott Steiner. It just sort of happened and I looked around for the camera, and then realized it was real. I'm pretty sure they have put it behind them now.
CJ: That must have been a bit unexpected to say the least. But, for our female readers, do you have any tips about entering the business?
SW: Because I didn't enter this biz in the traditional way, I find it hard to give others advice. When I was released I simply went back to school to learn my trade a little better. I recommend that people attend reputable wrestling schools, but having a college education to fall back on is very smart. One never knows if they will succeed or if they do, they might seriously injure themselves and need another source of income.
CJ: Speaking of other interests outside of pro-wrestling. I understand you have quite the athletic background in sports such as Soccer? Did this aid in your wrestling cross-over?
SW: I have played soccer since I was five. I was a varsity goalkeeper in high school, and thought that, with some experience diving on the ground, wrestling shouldn't be too difficult. Boy, was I wrong. Although I feel that my goal keeping background helped, wrestling is much more difficult and has taken quite a bit of training to get used to.
CJ: Who was the greatest influence on your life growing up (or currently?)?
SW: Without writing a novel, I would have to say my parents. My father is a very hard worker and a great man. He has wonderful morals and is totally supportive of me chasing my dreams. My mom is a never ending source of love and support. I feel truly blessed to have such a great family.
CJ: If you could do one thing to make this world a better all around place...what would that be?
SW: I feel that education is vital is one's life. I support literacy in adults and children. I also feel that college should be made available to more people who are willing to go, and can keep up with some good grades.
CJ: About your future. If Vince McMahon came knocking on your door with a contract in his hand and wanted to bring you to the WWF or THE ALLIANCE would you agree to work for WWFE right away?
SW: It would have to be something I discussed with my husband.
CJ: Assuming the details of the contract are agreeable by all parties?
SW: I don't like to count my chickens.
CJ: Yeah, Before they hatch.. I got ya. : ) Okay, so much is always negative in these interviews. We have discussed this in e-mail, coming off a bad situation that I think we both want to forget about. So turning away from any negative questions. I would like to focus on the positive for a moment here. Can you name somebody in the industry you to this day, respect and admire?
SW: I admire Dusty Rhodes a lot. He is honest, hard working, talented, and I feel as though TCW is a second family. Everyone there is helpful and kind, and I have learned so much in my seven months there.
CJ: And I would be hard pressed not to go the other way, and ask if there is anybody in this industry today that you have no respect for?
SW: Not really.
CJ: WWFE purchased WCW. What does Shannon Ward think about the purchase for the industry? How will it effect the industry?
SW: I don't really like to jump to conclusions. I think that I'd like to give it a year or so and see what the future holds. But, it's unfortunate that there is only one show on television. I think competition is good to keep one on their toes. Or, I wish some of these smaller territories could get their shows on TV at least in their area.
CJ: Do you think there are any line's which shouldn't be crossed in pro wrestling? Violence wise or in any other form?
SW: I have been very pleased to see that in the past few months I think the amount of "foreign objects" has not been as great. I enjoy seeing the occasional table smash or chair shot to the back, but I hate seeing these wonderful athletes getting repeatedly hit over the head. I also think that the ads with the talent stating, "don't do this at home" are a great thing.
CJ: Well, I would like to personally say, It has been a pleasure and a breath of fresh air to be able to conduct this interview with you. I wish you the best of luck in your career, and certainly hope to soon see you on my TV working for some national wrestling company in the near future. Thank you again, Shannon.
SW: Thanks again Mark for the great interview. Daff.