Quick history lesson — during the collapse of World Championship Wrestling in early 2001, some of the Nitro Girls were busy working on a side project outside of professional wrestling. Even though Tygress (Vanessa Sanchez), Fyre (Teri Byrne) and Storm (Sharmell Sullivan) had already been released by WCW, they kept in touch with members of their former troupe for their new venture into the music world.
Nitro Girl Spice (Melissa Bellin) and Fyre discussed their ambitions for Diversity 5 along with a variety of topics in May 2001 with YourMVP.net.
How did Diversity 5 get started?
Spice: “Actually, a lot of other people approached us. Producers, friends of friends. At first we didn’t like the idea – but then we thought, ‘Well, we love to perform – and we always sing together.’
Basically, it was just the people believing in us and coming to us that made us take that leap of faith to start the whole process. We got with our attorneys and started to find out about different songs and different producers. There’s a lot involved. It’s been quite a road, but I’d have to say it was other people that encouraged us to do it.”
How did you choose the members of the group?
Spice: “It wasn’t a choice. The five of us have been inseparable. We really had a natural bond. I think it really started when Sharmell Sullivan – well, she used to be ‘Storm’ in the Nitro Girls [and later ‘Paisley’] – joined us in our old wrestling organization. The five of us started bonding and forming friendships that took us well past our work as on-air talent.
Who guides the group and decides on how Diversity 5 should sound?
Spice: “We definitely, collectively have equal say in what direction we want to go. It has been an evolving process. It really has. We’re starting on some new songs that are going to be different than what is on the website www.Diversity5.com right now. Teri and I have been the ‘masterminds’ business-wise. The other girls were still busy working with WCW [until their release this past February and the company’s subsequent collapse and purchase by WWF], so Teri and I had to take the reigns to really make this more of a reality. Everyone has equal say and contribution in what direction we’re going next.”
Fyre: “The best part about our sound is that we have a great dance song on there, which just seems natural for us to do because we’ve danced together for so long and fans are going to love it. We also have a pop song on there, which is a natural progression. Our next song is going to be a little more rock. Our music is turning out to be as diverse as we are. We really like that. We haven’t pigeon-holed ourselves into one genre of music. We are able to do all of it. We all have different sounds. We all come from different backgrounds. Our music is going to be a mixture of rock, pop, dance music fusion. It makes us even more unique.”
What about the obvious comparisons to the Spice Girls?
Spice: We’re definitely not trying to be ‘Girl Power.’ We’re trying to put out a stronger message. We’re not speaking to 10 year olds saying, ‘Love your best friends.’
That’s very important as well. What we’ve all talked about, though, is that so many groups out there are very young and are appealing to the young. While we definitely want to appeal to the young, we want to be proud that we’re women. We’ve got bodies. We’ve got personalities. We’ve got talent. I don’t think we’re trying to be so cartoonish, I think, as the Spice Girls. Teri, help me out here.
Fyre: We’re definitely going to be original from any other girl-group out there. The main thing is not so much our look, it’s the age-group we’re in. We’re not the 17, 18-year old kids. We’re not the 20-year old boy-bands. We’re strong, independent women. Yeah, we have a diverse look, but we’re completely different in the message and the image we send. The Spice Girls cater to young girls junior-high age. I think we’re going to be appealing to a more adult audience.
While it’s obvious that Spice and Fyre had high hopes for the project, the group never gained any real traction beyond releasing this CD single consisting of two tracks. After Booker T. signed with the WWF, Sharmell left D5 to be with him and was promptly replaced with Nitro Girl Chiquita (Chiquita Anderson).
Diversity 5 did make one television appearance in October 2002 in an attempt to win $25,000 on Fox’s 30 Seconds to Fame, but the former Nitro Girls were voted off after their performance. Beyond that, there’s not much else online about them or what else Spice and Fyre tried to get going for D5 in 2001. Supposedly, there was a performance at a New Jersey wrestling convention that summer while Fyre made appearances at Wizard World to debut her new comic Stiletto (which ended up never being released as far as I can tell).
Beyond that — nothing!
This 2-track CD single along with a handful of promo photos are the only proof of Diversity 5’s existence. You guys will never be able to understand how excited I was to get the green-light on uploading this one. Tracking down these recordings is close to impossible as the only people who seemingly have original copies got theirs through someone close to the members or D5. I’ve found one person years ago who had it and promised to send me a copy, only to have conveniently “misplaced” this gem somewhere within his treasure pile of wrestling rarities.
Thankfully, a friend of the site named Craig stepped up and sent over the files. He wasn’t willing to give them up at first though, something I understand completely due to having similar rarities in my own personal bootleg collection (my stuff is mostly KISS demos and live soundboard recordings though). Seven months later, he messaged me again out of the blue and sent over these songs as he now saw “no point at holding these back”.
Apparently, putting these two Diversity 5 songs online might actually piss off the hardcore wrestling theme collectors out there, but it’s Christmas! I’m all about the spirit of giving this time of year!!
Side A – “Shake Me Up”
Glorious, isn’t it?
To be honest, after all these years of trying to get these songs, this was EXACTLY what I was envisioning in my mind. The lack of any substantial info about Diversity 5 forces me to guess that you’re hearing Nitro Girl Spice on the lead here, but I’m not one-hundred percent certain What I am certain of though is how it’s not surprising that D5 didn’t break into the pop music charts. 2001 was dominated with the super polished production of acts like Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguliera — this wasn’t gonna touch anything on the radio.
The chorus does kill me though:
“If you wanna shake me up, and me shake down
You’ve gotta take the train, and go downtown
You’ve gotta walk three blocks, to hear the sound
Of the beat that moves me, round and round
The music’s playing, and my body’s swaying
Did you hear them saying, it goes
Boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie – now get down!”
Positive note: This is better than anything 3 Count or Jillian Hall ever put out, so at the very least, Diversity 5 has got that going for them.
Maybe their next track is better?
Side B – “I Promise”
It actually is! This is a solid pop soft-groove! I easily envision a music video where Diversity 5 is slowly moving along to this beat out in a winter wonderland, dissipating in and out while snowflakes flutter down upon them. Fade in some shots of Chae with her (at-the-time) real-life boyfriend Kevin Nash snuggling together wearing winter sweaters in front of a sizzling fireplace. Chae takes a finger-tip of the melted marshmallow from her hot cocoa and puts it on the tip of the nose of “Big Sexy”, because they’re so playful!! This shit writes itself!
Actually, I might’ve stolen this entire concept from NSYNC or an O-Town Christmas video (minus the Kevin Nash part), but it’s all right there. Production is much better on this track, definitely something that could easily stand alongside hokiest of love songs from the Britney Spears of this era.
Diversity 5 intended to produce more music, but that never materialized. All we have are these two tracks to remember (or critique) them by, and that’s fine. Better to be left with an impression that there could’ve been a possibility of success if Diversity 5 pushed through than receiving a full album of hot, absolute garbage like Hulk Hogan or Macho Man Randy Savage.
37-year-old World Championship Wrestling fanatic/collector/hoarder. Runs a soil analysis lab in Austin, TX by day and scans in old wrestling magazines by night.
He’s got posters on the wall, his favorite rock group’s KISS.