Francine makes Extreme return

"She's a queen," Balls Mahoney said about fellow ECW Original, Francine.

The stunning Diva returned to her roots on Sept. 19 when she accompanied Mahoney for his match against new breed representative Kevin Thorn. She may be a queen, but unlike most other women of royalty, Francine has no problem doing the dirty work.

A pioneer of sorts in the sports-entertainment world, Francine isn't a woman who made it just because of a pretty face. She put in hard work and training to get to where she is. As much as any Extremist in ECW history, if not more so, Francine exemplifies the blue-collar approach to wrestling that ECW is all about.

"Francine was one of the premier managers in ECW," said ECW Original Tommy Dreamer. "She managed a lot of guys to championships. She was an amazing asset to ECW. She was trained to be a wrestler and not just T and A, which a lot of girls are."

Francine's toughness isn't only measured in her bruised and battered victims. She has experienced as many obstacles as just about anybody else in sports-entertainment history. Yet, she's still going strong and looking as beautiful as ever. Highlighting her collection of injury stories is the day Bam Bam Bigelow picked her up and performed a press slam by throwing her across the ring.

"I just fell on my pelvic bone and fractured it in two places," Francine said. "It was a lot of fun. I was on crutches for about seven weeks. I didn't miss one day of work though. It's all in a day's work here. It's fun."

She has the looks of a supermodel and the attitude of Sabu: a dangerous combination for anybody who gets in her way.

"She was famous for being very, very tough," said Joey Styles. "While she wasn't a full-time wrestler because we didn't have a full-time women's division, I could tell you that for real, Francine in her seven years at ECW broke her nose, her ribs, her pelvis, and she never missed one show."

Dreamer said he's extremely excited to see Francine back in ECW and helping out Balls Mahoney. He feels she could help anybody's career and he was proud to see Francine in the corner of an ECW Original.

While Francine does stand with a special group of people who trace back to the origin of the extreme brand, she looks to be more than a nostalgic reminder of the old days. Perhaps her attitude will rub off on the other Extremists and Vixens and make ECW even more competitive than it already is.

"In the original ECW, amongst the female competitors, I think it's safe to say Francine was known as the toughest lady in the locker room," said Tazz. "There was some joke that she might have been tougher than some of the guys. She's done everything in that ring that was ever asked of her. And she just keeps on ticking."

Whatever is asked of Francine this time around, you can be sure she will do it. And if she gets hurt along the way, it will only give her more battle scars to show off. It takes a certain type of person to handle being on the road all the time and going through injuries every step of the way, but Francine does it with grace and a smile.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to be able to work again," she said. "Being on TV again is a great honor and it's a great opportunity. And I get to work with a lot of the Original guys who I love and admire and a lot of new people that I've met along the way. So everyone's been great so far and I'm just anxious to work. I'm just happy to be here."

In her first substantial ECW on Sci Fi appearance, it only took a few moments for Francine to commence kicking ass again. When she saw Thorn's gothic sidekick Ariel interfering with the match, she leaped on the vampiress and made her sorry for her actions. No one else is happier about her return than Mahoney.

"I admire her," he said. "I always have. I don't have anything bad to say about her. She's hard-working… What a sweetheart. I love her."

Francine said she has enjoyed every minute of her seven years with the brand. Back in ECW and seemingly in Mahoney's corner, she plans to do whatever she can to get her longtime friend some gold around his waist. Tazz sees Francine as the missing piece to Mahoney's puzzle as he is no longer so one-dimensional with her in his corner.

"Now [Balls seems to have] this hot chick who's kind of mean and violent and who's tough also," Tazz said. "So it's a match made in heaven. Beauty and the beast."

For now, it's back to work for Francine. First on the agenda: keeping Ariel out of Mahoney's business.

"I don't like Ariel," Francine said. "She's a creepy vampire and I don't like vampires… I intend to be around for a long time so she just better watch who she's messing with… If she keeps getting in my face, I'll just take care of her like I've taken care of every other girl in the past."

The two Vixens faced off in an Extreme Catfight last week, but the contest ended when Thorn and Mahoney got involved. What will happen as this rivalry heats up? Find out what Francine has in store as the hostility continues on ECW on Sci Fi, Tuesdays at 10/9 CT.


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