Life after professional wrestling has been very successful for the former three-time WWE Divas champion, Eve Torres, and almost as busy and demanding.
After leaving the WWE in January of 2013, Torres has focused on being an instructor for the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Women Empowered Self-Defense Program and also landed a recurring role on the El Rey television series Matador.
Now she will be making her film debut in Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, which will be released on DVD via Universal Home Pictures Entertainment on January 13, 2015.
Torres is part of an ensemble cast that includes MMA notables Roy Nelson, and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, kickboxing icon Don "The Dragon" Wilson, UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie and seasoned actors Rutger Hauer and Michael Biehn.
"It was an awesome experience," Torres recently told MMAmania.com. "I play Chancarra, who the heroine of the movie has to fight to continue her quest and I am a roadblock in her mission and we have a pretty epic battle inside of a cage. It is one of my favorite fight scenes. It is really intense. It's really awesome. There's a lot of pro wrestling and jiu-jitsu involved and MMA, it's really cool and it was really fun to do."
"Anybody who loves the MMA and WWE worlds are going to love the scenes they came up with. The fight sequences are awesome. It's entertaining. It's funny. Everybody has a fun role and it's great. The stunt coordinator, Grant Powell, was really good and he did a lot of research. He wanted to incorporate some wrestling and jiu-jitsu and that is definitely what he did."
The film was shot in Romania and Torres said she believed it to be her first time in the country, but due to years of a crazy traveling schedule sometimes "you kind of forget what places you've been," she said.
The former Divas champion didn't get to meet a lot of the cast until the screening due to different shoot schedules, but the actress says she spent the most time with Ellen Hollman, the former Spartacus cast member who plays the female lead Valina, who became a good friend.
"When you have to work with someone for three long days, when you are almost punching each other in the face for eight to ten hours a day and if you don't have a good chemistry with that person or if you are butting heads, it can be a really miserable experience," she explained.
"But, I was so lucky. She is a super-hard worker; she's really talented; she's beautiful. It was a great match. I was so grateful to have her be my first person to work with on film. She was game to do anything. She is awesome. She is fierce and beautiful and great in this film."
Torres is set to head back to Hong Kong to finish up her role in her next film entitled Skiptrace, which stars foreign-action legend Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville. "It was another fun-filled experience with a lot of learning opportunities," she said.
Now that she has well into her acting career has been away from the WWE for over a year, does she miss it at all?
"I do miss it, but I don't miss the schedule. I miss being in the ring. There were some great moments that I had and some amazing experiences, but the schedule is so hard on the body and the spirit. Now that I'm married and starting a new life. With these new opportunities in film and television, I wouldn't be able to do them and still be working there. Not to mention, my involvement with the Gracie Academy and teaching with the Women Empowered Self-Defense Program, which is kind of where my time is split right now, between those two things. It is keeping me very busy."
Torres married Rener Gracie in 2014. And like her jiu-jitsu black belt husband, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu plays a very huge and impactful role in her life. Not just what she has gotten out of it for her own "personal growth," but what she is able to teach others in the Women Empowered Self-Defense Program.
"I mean really it means everything to me," Torres said. "It has been one of the most impactful parts of my life. It has only been the last five years that I have really been teaching and only since I've stopped WWE that I could really focus on it. But even in my experience in the last year, year and a half. Being able to travel to where we teach at different Airforce bases to certify instructors to teach on base. We are teaching women every week here at the academy from all walks of life, from all age ranges, from young teenagers to grandmas, to mothers, to women who are just starting their families.
"And so, watching that transformation and the confidence it gives them and how they use that confidence in other areas of their life is so fulfilling. I've always had energy to do that. No matter how tired I am or what else is going on in my life, when it comes time to teaching and sharing this with others I just get so excited and passionate about it."
Women in professional wrestling have come a long way from the early days when there were only a handful of women wrestlers on the roster.
Even the huge explosion in the 80's -- when the WWE was the WWF and it combined with MTV for the "Rock ‘n' Wrestling" connection -- pales in comparison to what it has now become. With the WWE Divas championship and the E! channel's Total Divas show reaching a larger audience, women are a huge part of the promotion now, and Torres was part of that surge in popularity.
And when she was WWE Diva's champion, it definitely felt strong and confident to command the crowd's attention and be at the top of the professional-wrestling world. She was empowering women in a different way than with the Gracie Self-Defense Program.
"It really was amazing," Torres said, looking back on her WWE career. "Like you said, that is what I loved about the Divas. They are these beautiful, athletic and charismatic women, but they kick ass in the ring, too. I think that is the best message to send to women is that: yes, we can be glamorous and feel beautiful and look a certain way -- and if that makes you feel confident, than more power to you -- but at the same time, we can still be tough, we can be strong and we can be fierce. I think that combination is a really important one to send to everyone and to young girls."
It goes without saying that UFC women's bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, has also made a huge impact on females all over the country and around the globe, for that matter.
In the last two years, since Rousey has burst onto the scene with her beauty and her undefeated record as a professional fighter, she has opened huge doors for women in MMA and has dominated the competition since initiating the first-ever women's division in the UFC. The Olympic medalist has found her way on dozens of magazine covers, TV talk shows and become a household name.
Torres admits she is a "huge fan" of the UFC champion.
"She is just awesome," she said. "She is obviously a friend of the family because Rener and Ryron both work with her. She has completely changed the game for women, for everything I feel like. If a woman can be the main draw on a card -- a female fight on the card -- that is huge. She is breaking so many barriers and that is really to be admired and she is so fun to watch and to watch train as well. She is also a big fan of the wrestling world. So it is pretty cool to see that."
The former WWE Divas champion has experienced first hand how much positive influence she has had on female wrestling fans, and she praised Rousey for the big and powerful message she is sending to women everywhere.
"To know that you can be as beautiful as Ronda Rousey and be one of the top fighters in the world, that is a great message to send," said Torres, who credits her 2011 Survivor Series match against Beth Phoenix at Madison Square Garden as her favorite career moment.
"I think the WWE Divas do that as well, and for me, that is what I liked about it. I liked when I had that title, I am embodying what this is about."
Sorry WWE fans, while she does miss her time as the WWE Divas Champion, she admits that she would not be able to return to that lifestyle again.
"I would never be able to go back to the full-time WWE schedule unfortunately," Torres said. "I am just kind of at a point in my life where the opportunities with film and television -- which I really enjoy -- and teaching at the Gracie Academy for the Women Empowered Program, that I am pretty busy as it is. And also my new life as a wife. I am at a good place and to go back to that traveling schedule wouldn't really be conducive to my lifestyle."