Brooke Adams has spent her entire adult life in front of the camera – as a swimsuit and fitness model, a dancer in WWE’s Extreme Expose, a three-time Knockouts champion in TNA, part of the successful Aces & Eights storyline in TNA and a competitor on the Amazing Race.
But her latest television appearance is different because Brooke Adams isn’t playing a character in a storyline. She is Brooke Adams, a mom who has allowed the camera “into my own personal world.”
Adams and fiance Weston Piper are among five couples as they embark on being parents who are featured on the second season of Rattled on TLC (10 p.m. ET). Adams’ and Piper’s story begins to unfold with Tuesday night’s episode. In the episode, Adams is in the hospital when her water breaks three weeks early.
Jace Wayne Piper was born in September.
“I’ve obviously been on TV for a really long time, but that’s a character-based show,” Adams, 32, told For The Win. “But this (show) is you. This is black and white. It’s transparent as it gets.
“You find yourself thinking, ‘I don’t know what the world is going to think of me. Am I a great mother? Am I failing? Are there things that I should be doing or should have researched more?’ When you take on a show like this, you’re putting yourself out there to be a judged and sometimes that can be hurtful.”
Adams – who primarily wrestled under her given name – knows well the glare of social media and the double-edged sword it presents. She has used Twitter and Instagram to show family photos and to promote wrestling memorabilia, products and appearances.
She also find fans who have confused her character with her real life, though, and that completely irks her.
“Yes, my name is Brooke on Impact Wrestling and for all the years I’ve been wrestling or a model, but I’m also Brooke who is a whole different person at home,” she said, her voice rising slightly. “I read comments online like, ‘How is your son going to be proud of you for taking half-naked photos or this video shoot you did or the seductive role you played in professional wrestling?’
“When I got into pro wrestling, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew I was pretty enough, had a nice body and I used that to my advantage. One of my moves was known as the ‘Stinkface,’ although I call it the ‘Ass-tastic.’ People write, ‘How can your son be proud of you? Isn’t he going to be embarrassed by what you did?’ I don’t think of it that way, but it’s very hurtful to read. That’s me as a character, as a wrestler. That’s not how I am as a mother. It’s not like I’m running around the house giving the ‘Ass-tastic’ to whoever walks in. That can be a little frustrating.”
Early in the series, a pregnant Adams is in the gym with Piper, who is a personal trainer. After she does side raises with weights, she put them down and says, “What is happening to my body?”
For Adams, the changes caused by pregnancy were difficult.
“Every woman wants to be perfect and every woman in the world who gets pregnant just feels so less than perfect,” Adams said. “You are juggling your new body and the way you feel and the way people perceive you. On top of that, my whole career has been around my body and looking a certain way. People can tell me all day long, ‘You rocked this pregnancy, you’re glowing, I hope that I can look like you when I’m pregnant.’
“But at the end of the day, I was asking, ‘Is my body ever going to go back to normal? Can I ever go back to professional wrestling? Will be stomach be the same? Will I get rid of all this extra weight, some of the stretch marks, the discoloration of my skin?’”
The show also focuses on concerns Adams and Piper have regarding finances. Without actively wrestling, Adams did not have a regular source of income. She last worked for Impact Wrestling in early 2016. On a Facebook Live video in June 2016, she announced she was no longer under contract. At the time, she was about five months pregnant.
The fitness that typified her wrestling career became a key part of her pregnancy.
“The day I found out I was pregnant, I thought, ‘I’m going to have this baby and I’m going to go right back to wrestling. This is my career, this is what I love and my passion,’ ” Adams said. “From the day I found out, I ran three miles a day every single day until I was 8 ½ months pregnant. I was huge out there doing a 27-minute three-mile run. I kept working out. I felt horrible, but said, ‘I’m going to go out there and get this done even if it’s the only thing that I get done today.’
“It was something that was very important to me to have a healthy pregnancy and be able to bounce back as quickly as I could so I could take care of my family.”
Adams said she has spoken with colleagues and former Knockouts champions Madison Rayne, who had a daughter in August 2013 and was back in the ring in months, and Taryn Terrell, who had a daughter in March 2014 and was back in the ring by June.
Will Adams go back into the ring, with Impact or elsewhere? And if so, when?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Adams said. “I go back and forth with having this huge identity crisis with myself. ‘No, I’m not just a mom. I’m still this sexy athlete that can go in the ring and drop an elbow off the top turnbuckle on anybody and will do moves that I have never done but do them on TV. I’m still that person. I’m still that Brooke.’ I think I have that internal battle.
“At the end of the day, I still don’t know. What if I go back for selfish reasons and I get hurt? What if I can’t care for my son the way I need to? What if I break my neck or become paralyzed? I’m still battling that to figure out what it is I want to do as far as wrestling. Right now, I’m trying to help people get to their fitness goals. Is that my new passion? Can I do both? It’s up in the air.”